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"They've fallen asleep waiting for a train"

April 1, 2018

Answer to the morse code from our last blog: CLARE HOLLINGWORTH ONCE SAID, IF YOU PUT ME IN A RICKETY LIFT, I WOULD BE TERRIFIED. IT IS JUST THAT I DO NOT FEEL FRIGHTENED UNDER MACHINE-GUN FIRE.

 

Today the Royal Air Force celebrates its 100th Birthday. There is a remarkable picture of Clare Hollingworth, during her time as the Daily Telegraph defence correspondent 1976-1981, in what is probably an British RAF Plane.

                                                                                                                                              Clare Hollingworth Collection

 

We love this picture because it sums up what we have read about her daring nature - ‘playing a slightly uncertain game… unsure of which way it would go’. She liked ‘being in a plane about to bomb something, or being on the ground in the desert when they’re advancing’.

 

Hollingworth’s daring nature is something that the year 2 students we’ve been working with have picked up on. They used words such as inquisitive, adventurous, daring and brave to describe her character.

 

Over the last 12 weeks we have been working with Rydon Primary School to deliver weekly drama workshops focusing on Clare Hollingworth and exploring her “Big Scoop” reporting on the outbreak of WWII. It was initially surprising to us how little the 6 and 7 year olds knew about WWII. In our first session with the year 2s, we showed them the picture below:

 

 

We asked them what they thought was happening?

“They’ve fallen asleep waiting for a train” was the reply.

 

After this workshop we realised that:

A. We would need to spend more time exploring the context of WWII and therefore, Clare’s “Big Scoop”.

B. The children’s understanding of bombs and the underground/ trains is modern acts of terrorism.

 

In the following sessions we used different stimulus to further explore aspects of WWII including; Prisoners of War, The role of Women in the War, Morse Code, Carrier Pigeons, Parliament, Front-line soldiers, European Countries involved and The Blitz. Creating soundscapes and freeze-frames from news reports/ headlines and photographs allowed children gained a basic understanding of WWII. From here we introduced Clare’s story using facts about her life, quotes from her book and images.

 

Students decided that they would create scenes that told Clare’s story from birth to her receiving an OBE “from the queen herself!” as well as show the wider context of WWII through decision making in Parliament to front-line soldiers.

 

Rydon Primary School joined four other schools at the Exeter Phoenix on the 22nd March to share their performance about Clare Hollingworth on a professional stage. Read more about this in our next blog update on the 1st May.

 

We asked the children at Rydon if drama was a good way to learn about history and 91% of them said yes or sometimes. They said that drama can “help you connect parts of history and you can learn more information about things”.

 

Thanks for reading!