I don’t normally do role play. The thought scares me. I’m concerned it will end up with boys mock fighting with rulers and that the kids won’t learn as much. But I like to test myself and experiment with my pedagogy and this is one of these experiments.
In the summer at the SHP conference I was inspired. Performing in one of Kate Brennan’s scripts about the changing nature of Fountains Abbey I saw that if done properly this is another tool that can be used for great impact.
I am currently revamping all my lessons for the Norman Conquest unit for GCSE History (OCR B) and I got to the lesson on the Battle of Hastings. Last year I did a dreadful job with this, really underplaying the story and resulting in kids having shallow knowledge of the key events. This year I was determined to do it better and deliver a really knowledge rich learning opportunity.
So to my experiment. Could I produce a knowledge rich role play on the events of 1066? Over the last few weeks I have been slowly pottering away at the script below. It covers all the events from the aftermath of the Battle of Stamford Bridge to the death of King Harold. It is knowledge rich as it goes into a LOT of depth about these events. This is not a role play you’d want to do with Year 7 as the events, terminology and characters would confuse them. Plus I shoved in as much historiography on the event as I could too as I wanted that rigour.
Additionally it has been checked by experts! Firstly Helen Snelson who does this kind of thing far more than me gave me some ace pointers about characteristation and secondly Ian Dawson poured over the scripts and ironed out any historical inaccuracies he could find (there were many).
This is designed to last an hour. I have no idea if it does as I am yet to teach it! January is when I’ll do it for the first time but I thought I would share it as it might be useful for your classroom as I know the Normans are a very popular topic. If you do try this out let me know how it goes please! Fingers crossed I’ll post again in January once I have tried it out too. Enjoy.