A Those History People workshop aims to take pupils and teachers back to key historical moments in the past as if they had actually travelled there. Those History People uses a combination of practical making activities (based on historically accurate research), spreading news and rumours (to spread historical information) and role-play.
An example day runs like this (but remember we can be flexible to accommodate your school’s needs).
- 08.00 – 09.00: Arrive and set up in hall
- 09.00 – 09.15: Briefing for adult helpers
- 09.15 – 09.30: Introduction with pupils
- 09.30 – 10.30: Practical Session One
- 10.30 – 10.45: Break
- 10.45 – 11.30: Practical Session Two
- 11.30 – 11.45: Tidy and pack away
- 11.45 – 12.00: Classroom Session
- 12.00 – 13.00: Lunch
- 13.00 – 14:50: Afternoon session
- 14:50 – 15.00: Plenary
The Dark Ages Workshop Example:
Let’s take a closer a look at what a day looks like using our Dark Ages Workshop. By the end of the day we aim that the pupils will have a solid understanding of Ælfrēd’s defense of Wessex from the Danish warlord Guðrúm and the Great Heathen Army (Vikings). The day tells the story of how Ælfrēd was defeated at Chippenham and in less than six months drove out the Viking invaders. Ælfrēd eventually entered into an alliance with Guðrúm leading to the founding of the Danelaw.
Starting The Day
We aim to be with you at 8am and we will set up the hall before the children arrive. The tables will be covered with green linen cloths and lit with parchment lanterns, with high quality replica equipment for the pupils to use.
There will be a weaver’s house, a church where the pupils will make ink and write to Ælfrēd, a potter’s where the pupils will make fire blackened pottery and so on. In the centre will be a fire pit, representing the Jarl’s house (if you’ve chosen to be Vikings) or the Ealdorman’s house (if you’re Saxons). The pupils will gather around the fire for the introduction and news instalments in Ælfrēd’s struggle. They will also pretend to cook and learn to play Tafl (an early form of chess).
As The Pupils Arrive
When the pupils arrive they will be met at the school hall door by a Viking or Saxon lord, who will conduct them into the dimly lit hall. The atmosphere will be set with period music, lanterns flickering on each table and the fire burning in the middle of the hall. It will be as close to being in a Saxon/Viking longhouse as you can get in a school hall.
Morning & Afternoon
We will keep the introduction brief, staying in character and focusing on history whenever possible. Then it’s to work, and the pupils will be learning all morning, making artefacts, spreading news, playing at the fireplace, learning Tafl, learning to fight like a Saxon or Viking forming shield-walls, going on patrol and all the time we will add to the story, teaching children history. The morning will end with Ælfrēd’s victory over Guðrum and forming of the Danelaw.
In the afternoon we begin with a recap of the history, before returning to the village in the present where we excavate it as an archaeologist to learn about our ancestors. There will also be a story-telling session and classroom activity when the hall is unavailable.