A time and a place for learning

Date Posted: 20/01/2015

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has developed a new Key Stage 2 History workshop, A Time and a Place, which aims to bring Shakespeare and British History to life in both practical and creative ways.

A Time and a Place has been developed after consultations with teachers and curriculum advisors for the new Primary curriculum.

The workshop makes children play at History detectives for the day, examining primary evidence to understand and interpret the past.

Earlier in the year, children from Bidford C of E Primary School visited Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Stratford upon Avon and participated in the workshop.

The children enjoyed connecting artefacts and events in History using a brand new interactive timeline, unearthing artefacts in dig boxes, examining residue boxes for clues about the past, taking part in a Rot or Not Challenge and discovering the amazing Roman and Saxon finds in the trust’s collections.

They were especially excited to see the Saxon grave goods that were found in the local area.

Students were introduced to the story of the unearthing of a seal ring, with the initials WS, near Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon.

They examined the evidence to work out who the ring might have belonged to, recognising the importance of primary sources, and studied the birthplace as an example of built archaeology and learnt the Shakespeare story.

Making Saxon brooches and writing with quills

In the afternoon, having gained inspiration from the trust’s outstanding Saxon Collection, the children made their own Saxon brooches to take home.

Other activities included writing with quills and creating a seal using a WS replica ring. The day culminated with the creation and curation of a museum, displaying a collection of writing materials through time, inspired by William Shakespeare.

Nicola Hawley, children’s and families’ education officer commented: “We were very impressed with the children who were fully immersed in our hands-on activities and asked really insightful questions all morning.

“The feedback from the teachers was wonderful. They were impressed by how the course helped the children grasp the very difficult concept of chronology, the number of Roman and Saxon finds in the collections, and how inspired the children were by the activities.”

The class teacher from Bidford school said: “This was an excellent school trip – well organised with plenty of hands-on activities.

“It put the different periods of history into context in a lively and interactive way. I would highly recommend this workshop to all schools.”

Living History

Two outcomes of the development of this course has been making the trust’s collections more accessible, and working collaboratively with the Living History Group, Thegns of Mercia.

‘The Thegns’ created a light-weight, replica shield and boss, based on their research of the collections at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust for the children to handle in this educational workshop.

This shield forms one of the key artefacts on the interactive timeline. Using the timeline, the children find out about historical events, people and places and also develop a sense of key changes in history.

The timeline was commissioned especially for A Time and Place and promises to be a useful visual aid in helping to develop chronological understanding.

If you are studying the Romans or Saxons or looking for a local study or post 1066 theme, the A Time and Place should be a good course for your school to book.

To find out more, contact the Learning Department at: education1@shakespeare.org.uk or 01789-207131.

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