I ran a small workshop for Year 5 at Burford Primary School in Nottingham a week ago and found it very rewarding. The reward of which I write is not the beer they gave me as thanks for my efforts but rather the simply incredible level of engagement of the whole class.
We began the day with a discussion about what is cool about the Vikings (my answer would be ‘everything’), looking at how far they travelled and the ships they used, before turning to Viking-related things closer to home like place names and English words that derive from Old Norse. Then we looked at how we know about the Vikings, what their daily lives would have been like and the stories they told. Viking riddles were told and answered, notes were written home to the children’s parents in runes and many questions were asked and answered . I was particularly taken with the question about why the Vikings fought the Anglo-Saxons: “Did they fight because they could not understand each other?”
We concluded the day by forming up in shieldwall and chanting “Odin” in the playground to get the children in character as berserkers while banging on their (imaginary) shields with their (imaginary) weapons. Note to self: I need a large stock of foam shields and swords! There was some shield-biting but no foaming at the mouth fortunately. I hope that the children are all suitably enthused about Vikings now and I look forward to hearing that they have pursued this interest further in the future.
My thanks go to Year 5 and to Ms Chapleo for being so good to work with. Your enthusiasm has really enthused me further. Oh, and the beer is a pretty good reward on top of the children’s enthusiasm, and it is very much appreciated!