We are studying what life was like in WWII this term. On Monday we investigated how much food people would get in the war. We found out that rationing started because they didn’t have enough food for everyone. People were only allowed 2oz butter ,8oz sugar, 2oz cheese ,4oz bacon and ham ,40z marg ,3 pints milk , 2oz tea , 1 fresh egg , 1 packet of dried eggs every 4 weeks.
On the 8th of January 1940 butter , bacon and sugar were rationed.
People had rationing books so they could get their food each week. Adults got more food than children.
For year 5’s Working as Historians project it was decided to look at WW2 . For our romance event we looked at food rationing and recipes cooked during that time.
We cooked raspberry snow and tasted Norfolk pudding. We used sago, milk, water, jam and sugar to make raspberry snow. We didn’t taste the raspberry snow as it wasn’t cooked properly but we did examine it. The class thought it looked like melted strawberry ice-cream with bits in it! (No one dared try any!)
There was also some Norfolk pudding to try. This was made using rice, milk, currants, sugar, candid peel, salt , sultanas, suet and nutmeg. This received a very mixed review with some children enjoying it and others not. During the war imperial measures like oz and lbs were used instead of metric so that is something we will need to get used this term during cooking.
Where do I start… well to be very precise, the story started for us on the 29th March 2018. This is my reflection and a timeline of our project. I hope that it shares our work and gives you a better understanding of how we get from a dream to achieving!
It was the morning after our current Year 6’s had performed in their Y5, working as artists, Opera. A spectacular performance: written, sound-tracked and staged by the children. It was a huge show and the audience was blown away… we had musicians and stage directors; actors and costume designers. It was a truly collaborative project – it brought together school and families.
We sat in the staff room and listened to Duncan talk about the next idea from The Common Lot – Stories from Stump Cross. This original working title was given to us and the concept was the retelling stories of this historic area of Norwich. I’ll be honest, it didn’t fill me with enthusiasm. In fact, I thought we couldn’t possibly do something like that as it just wouldn’t capture the interest of the children.
Fast forward to the Autumn Term. A more focused planning meeting with Duncan, Louise, Pete, Alix and I – now with the renamed title Anglia Square – a love story firmly on the table. We mapped out our Spring term with Anglia Square as the historical focus for the work that we were going to complete. We planned in core texts and we discussed the key partners we were going to be working with. It was starting to shape up as an exciting project. I was still apprehensive that we would find aspects of this difficult to fit in with the workload of Year 6. We prepared for our two-day Romance Event: day one involving a site familiarisation visit, initial photography and a walk around the area; day two looking at the maps, project overview with Duncan and how to carry out successful research. All of this whilst planning to successful continue our learning in maths and reading.
Our first day back and the first day of our Working as Historians project started with a field trip to Anglia Square. We walked the surrounding areas, we took initial photographs and we learnt about some of the history of the area. It was a simple familiarisation visit – one that didn’t give the children any bias – just a chance to see the area with fresh eyes.
The next day back at school we met Duncan and Jeannette. They shared the vision of the project – A story retelling the history of Anglia Square and the North side of the river.
Over the coming weeks we completed timelines, historical map analysis and story writing. This was complimented by workshops delivered by photographer and teacher Sam Robbins. He worked with both Year 6 classes to look at the way we can make our photography better. Pattern, texture, repetition and viewpoint. These four aspects of photography were to become integral to our next visit to Anglia Square.
After having our original date postponed for our second visit to Anglia Square we visited again early in the month. Three groups of children and three tasks. Photograph Anglia Square using the newly learned photography skills, conduct interviews with members of the public, and follow a historical tour of the area with Simon Floyd and Duncan. During the day the children carried out some amazing work. They took professional photographs using the ipads, carried out over 100 interviews that would form part of the research for the script writers of the show, as well as learning lots about the local history and industries.
Having taken a range of photographs the children were then tasked with editing and selecting their best images. These images were then sent over the local art and design group – Print to the People. They set to work turning the pictures into screens ready for our screen printing workshop.
Over two days at the start of March we saw 4 groups of children working tirelessly with the workforce from Print to the People. The children reflected on their views of Anglia Square to create collages that showed their feelings and the atmosphere in the area.
Alongside this, children were able to learn about, and create their own screen prints using the photographs taken in February. An array of colours, designs and creativity saw some excellent work.
March also saw us work with BBC Voices to learn about interview techniques. The workshop saw children familiarise themselves with the digital voice recorders and practice with their friends in preparation for interviews with Daniel Swift-Gibbs, Reg Walker and Eric Kirk in the next few weeks.
Alix and I also got to make our first radio appearance as part of the BBC Radio Norfolk coverage of the Anglia Square – A love story project. We were so lucky to get to talk about the children’s work and what it meant for us!
Interviewing. Our classes worked together to create a series of questions to ask our interviewees. Reg Walker was our first visitor. An ex HMSO employee, local resident and grandparent of past Wensum pupils. He spoke about the development of Sovereign House, how he moved to Norwich to work for HMSO and the demise of HMSO and Sovereign House in the early 2000’s. You can listen to clips from his interview here..
Later that week we were able to interview Daniel Swift-Gibbs, a local architect and resident in the Anglia Square area. He spoke about his vision for the area and how it could look in the future. He spoke about what it was like to be an architect and how he viewed the area of Anglia Square. You can listen to clips from his interview here.
Finally, we interviewed Eric Kirk. Eric is the Manager for the Square. During our interview Eric spoke about the life and timeline of the square, his role and how he has seen the area change for better, and for worse.
The end of March saw Wensum host its first Working as Historians research conference. With all the year groups bringing together their research from the term to present in a range of different ways.
In year 6 we hosted a showcase of our creative work and the history of Anglia Square. We had listening stations to share the interviews and in Sycamore class we hosted a live debate about the future of Anglia Square. The event was attended by parents, pupils from Avenue Junior along with members of the public that we had involved in our project. It was an amazing opportunity for the children to share their hard work with such a wide audience.
This also signalled the end of our historical and research part of our project. The next phase of project was to start in June when we would be completing our creative part and composing a song to fit into the final production of Anglia Square – A love story.
At the start of June, we worked with Duncan to think creatively about Anglia Square. We conducted drama workshops thinking about what Anglia Square meant to us. We then picked out words, phrases and sentences that were to begin to form our song. These were then taken to Charlie Cain – our lyrical genius – who over the next three days helped to turn these into a song. All of the work was completed by the children in our classes and the children worked incredible hard to make this come together.
Over the next few weeks, children rehearsed the song and prepared for the shows. The first show came the day after the Lord Mayor’s celebration. Children were part of the show from the first scene in The Garth. Moving from the Garth to St George’s Green where we listened and learned more about the history of the North Side of the river.
Finally, came our moment. All the children were singing the song that they wrote and composed in front of crowds of up to 50 people a go. They sang with passion and pride. They sang and shared they feelings for Anglia Square. This was incredible to see our children as part of such an amazing spectacle. Shows performed to over 300 people each night. A show that perfectly encapsulated the history of our wonderful city and more specifically the area North of the River.
My final thoughts
As someone that grew up in and around the area of Anglia Square – North of the river – it felt as though it was more than just teaching our children new skills. We were investing time in our local history and sharing it far and wide.
We have a year group full of amazing children who have been: historians, artists, photographers, interviews, researchers, song writers, composers, performers, geographers and much more. Our children will look back at 2019 and remember when we shared the history of Anglia Square: with our school; with our local community and the City of Norwich. I am so incredibly proud to have been part of this – As I know the rest of our team and school are too.
Thanks must go to the many people that have made this possible:
Duncan Joseph, Simon Floyd, Charlie Cain, Jacqui Mackay and The Common Lot – You have supported, guided and made us and our children feel like a real part of this show. Hearing lines in the show that were from our children’s research was such an amazing moment.
Dr Jeannette Baxter – Thank you for teaching our children how to research, how to interview and helping us bring everything together for our History Research Conference
BBC Voices – Thanks to Gary and team for helping our children to learn how to use the equipment that we needed to carry out our interviews. Also, thank you for inviting us in to talk on the radio about our part in the project – that was a highlight for me!!
Reg Walker, Daniel Swift-Gibbs and Erik Kirk – Thank you for letting us interview you. The children were very grateful and you really engaged with them and gave us honest, thoughtful and sensitive answers to the children’s thought provoking questions.
Sam Robbins – The delivery of workshops with the classes to develop their photographic skills brought responses that we could never have dreamed of. The pictures that children captured were amazing. They were able to capture the many angles of Anglia Square and your guidance was very much a part of that.
Print to the People – Taking the children’s photographs and turning them into art! Asking the thought provoking questions that allowed the children to create collages that expressed their opinions about Anglia Square.
Pete and Victoria – Thank you for accommodating our ideas! We couldn’t have done it without you support and allowing us the freedom to teach such an amazing curriculum to our children!
All of our children and families – This project has been one that has truly captured you. It has made us all reflect on what the local area around us means to each and every one of us. Some of us want change, some of us don’t. But we know that our opinions are all valued whatever they may be. You made sure the children were in right places
None of this would have been possible without the support from:
The Norwich Freemen’s Charity, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, and many more.
This week the UEA drama students did 2 workshops with us. We played lots of fun confidence building games and made some funny sketches where we had to translate someones made up language. We also created our own short miming scripts about our mornings.
We used natural materials to dye our fabric for the next section of our applique. We found leaves and flowers and placed them under the material. We bashed them with a stick and then used a roller to squeeze out all of the colour.
Working as historians
We continue to finish our project on Norwich through history. This week we have looked at how the Normans built the city and it’s defenses. We looked at old maps of Norwich which show the wall and we compared with the modern map. We found that many of the places in Norwich still exist today. We also used google maps to follow the wall around the city and have a look at the parts of it that are still standing today. We have begun to plan our 3D model of the city ready to begin building the walls next week.
We also looked at Castle design and looked for the weaknesses in the castle to plan an attack. We presented our plans of attack to the rest of the class.
LE: Today we did plans of how we would attack and defend a Norman Motte and Bailey castle. We had a bunch of allies and we all thought of different ways to get in. The defenders on the other hand are doomed because they are going to come in and kill them all.
NK: We drew a plan of how to build the Norman castle and wall in Norwich.
MH: Different people planned how we were going to attack and defend the castle. THere were many plans and we worked in pairs. We also worked on making a 3D model of the castle. We played sleeping lions, I was the 3rd one left out of 2 and 1.
On Wednesday, we were creating ideas for the Lord Mayors Procession. LE and I went to a meeting to share ideas.
DV: We got some leaves and flowers and smashed them up. We used a roller to make a pattern on the material.
JP: We played a few games with the UEA drama students. We played a different language game, someone made up a language like “blahs slubas blah blah blub” Someone was a translator and had to make up what the other person had said.
JB: My favourite thing this week was when we were drawing our plans of how to get into the castle.
ZW: I found it funny when I mimed taking my dog for a walk.
JE: We drew a model on cardboard of the Norman castle and we drew the river, bridges and the wall.
This week we have begun looking at the Norman invasion of Great Britain. We studied the Bayeux tapestry and the story that it tells about the battle. We learnt about Harold and William and how they both thought they should be the king of England so had a battle in 1066.
We then had a go at drawing our own section of the tapestry.
We have been thinking about how things look different from other peoples points of view. We had a selection of items on the table and drew what we could see. We found that everyone’s drawing was slightly different because of what they could see.
We thought about how the Battle at in 1066 would have had people from 2 different points of view. We took the sides of the Normans and the English and thought about how they would have felt about the battle and Harold dying and William being King.
Thanks to everyone who joined us this afternoon to celebrate the amazing achievements of our young historians. It was a busy afternoon with packed classrooms as families sat alongside children to listen to the presentations. One teacher commented on the lovely ‘vibe’ around school, while another reflected on how much shared joy there was in the classrooms as the children enjoyed presenting their research to the families. Thanks to all our families whose support for and interest in the work we do makes the projects so meaningful for the children.
What an amazing day! I’ll let the gallery do the talking, but I would just like to extend a huge thank you to Avenue Junior School who joined us for the day and both presented their historical research and listened to others present their work. I’d also like to thank Simon, Duncan and Charlie for helping make the day just that little bit special. Tomorrow afternoon we are throwing open our doors for the family showcase from 1.30pm – 3pm. Come along and find our all about the extraordinary work the children have done this term.
With the children gone for the day, the teachers stayed on to get the school ready for the big day. Tomorrow we look forward to welcoming children and staff from Avenue Junior School as they join us for our inaugural Schools Research Conference.
Fantastic day today. Rehearsals for the performance of Come Yew In! with Charlie; interviews with Duncan; last minute corrections, adaptations, script changes. We ended the day with a rousing performance of CYI! We all left with smiles on our faces and that curious mixture of excitement and trepidation….