History is taught in order to give pupils’ an interest in and understanding of significant events and people in the past, the influences that they have on our lives today and to teach them to have empathy with others (understanding that modern views of society are different to those held in the past).
We aim to enthuse pupils with an interest in the past, developing their understanding, enabling them to enjoy the richness of cultural and social heritage in Britain (including British values SMSC) and the world and appreciating how things have changed over time.
Pupils are taught to develop a sense of chronology and to understand society and their place within it. They are presented with opportunities to develop their skills of enquiry, investigation, analysis, evaluation and presentation through a variety of activities. Pupils experience real history through themed days within school e.g. Roman Day for Year 4 and Viking Day for Year 5, drama, debates and visits to historical sites such as Norwich Castle Museum. Such activities provide a stimulus for cross-curricular opportunities, including speaking and listening and writing. We also use artefacts, visual resources and Information Technology to inspire children to learn more and stimulate their curiosity about the past.
On Wednesday 11th December, Year 3 had a visitor from Portals to the Past to consolidate our learning about the Ancient Egyptians and the remarkable events in their history. The visitor brought lots of resources with him which enabled us to visualise and use some of the objects in the same way as the Egyptians! The children dressed as they wished in relation to the Ancient Egyptians. We had many Egyptologists, Pharaohs, servants and even some mummies and a god! The children were able to talk about their costume amulets, such as the eye of Horus for good luck and golden jewellery to signify wealth.
Firstly, we began the day by talking about the geography of Egypt and the changes over time to it’s parts and it’s rulers. We had learnt how to identify key features of a locality by using a map and discussed famous landmarks in Egypt, but our visitor taught us about the reasons for their appearance and introduction due to some of the ideas from Pharaohs over time, like the Pyramids and the Valley of the kings. The children showed off some of their learning by describing the place and events that they had already learnt about using geographical language.
We applied the skill of researching from the given information boards and learnt some facts about many things, including why Gods and Goddesses were so important but are no longer worshipped in the same way. Use of our previous internet searches for information, the things we found out on the information boards and from our visitor helped the children to come to the conclusion that Cleopatra’s love stories played a large part in the demise of the Egyptian rule. It was interesting for the children to consider how invasions from other cultures, such as the Persians and the Greeks, had an influence on their faith and that once the land became Roman led, the land became Christian, then later Muslim and Egyptians ceased to worship their old gods and goddesses. We also learnt about the influence of some of these invasions on the language used, such as the word “pyramis” which translates to “wheat cake” as the pyramids reminded them of the shape of their wheat cakes with a pointed top.
We were shown lots of objects and applied the skill of deducing and answering questions about the purpose of the artefacts and the photographs; the children were able to give plausible explanations about what they thought the objects were for by considering the clues given e.g. A small pot used to hold kohl, an earring stud and versions of alabaster pottery.
We knew that Ancient Egyptians played board games and so it was exciting to play a game that would have been played by children in Ancient Egypt called ‘Jackals’. The children were able to apply their historical understanding skills to discuss similarities to games developed and played today, like snakes and ladders! We were told that some of the games had markings for which the instruction was unknown so some of the children were able to suggest inventive game rules to do with these markings.
In the afternoon, we took part in and watched a role-played version of the life and death of a pharaoh, including his mummification! We watched the process that we had learnt and discussed the job roles of different people that would have been employed in the process. In class we had already carried this out on a tomato before the day, but watching this on a life size dummy allowed us to really visualise the process and consider the significance of this event in their culture on history.
Finally, we played a game of hounds versus jackals. The objective of which was to aim for the animals that would have been present in Ancient Egypt. Each animal had different points for their temperaments and importance in Ancient Egyptian life.
Quotes from the children about the day –
Leo “I liked it because I like watching and listening to all the things we have learnt about the past”.
Bailey “I like Egyptian day because it’s very fun as we get to dress up and play real life board games like the Egyptians”.
Lexi “I enjoyed being able to research extra information about Tutankhamun”.
As part of our Enrichment Week, we took the time to celebrate and commemorate the D-Day landings on 6th June 1944 “the beginning of the end of the war.” Today, the children of Toftwood Juniors were humbled when they learnt about the great sacrifice of those who took part in WW2.
“We don’t always get to reflect on how they risked their lives for us. We should be grateful for what they did.” William Year 5
All the children were shown images and a presentation of the Normandy landings on D-Day and each class discussed how significant the event was for future generations. They were shocked to learn about the brutality that had engulfed most of Europe during the Nazi reign of terror and found it difficult to understand how a person could be persecuted because of their ethnicity or religion. Children from all year groups, commented how silly it was to dislike someone for this reason. One child said “It is not a good way to behave.”
The children’s comments were all about the importance of standing together and being resilient in the face of adversity. They reflected on how important working as a team is and how closely the Allies worked together in order to be victorious and end the war.
“There would have been more casualties and destruction without the help of our allies.” George Year 6
“If we didn’t have our allies then the operations would have failed. We would have been outnumbered as they had better weapons than us.” Blake Year 6
The final comment has to go to Martha, Year 5
“I appreciate what they did for us. They are heroic, brave and extremely selfless – no matter how big or small their job was – they are all heroes.”
On Friday the 15th of November, year 5 enjoyed a fantastically vicious Viking visit. Our learning truly came to life with the help of Thorul Hammerson, our visiting Viking. By dressing up in fantastic costumes, the children felt that they had been transported back in time. We learnt that his trousers that were made of plentiful material, were to demonstrate his wealth, as was his silver-tipped leather belt and bag.
We had studied the significance of artefacts; how they can indicate how far and wide the Vikings had travelled and traded with places as far away as North Africa and Constantinople. Being able to hold them meant that we could appreciate what Viking life was like, with several families all living in a long-house alongside the animals. Through Thor’s clever questioning, we were able to piece together the facts that we had already learnt and apply this knowledge. Eg. where did the horn come for to make the drinking horn?
We were also surprised that many of the Viking words for cutlery and kitchenware are very similar to words we use today eg “ketill”
We were also interested to learn other words with Viking origin eg “Ransack”
from the old Norse “rannsaka” which means to search a house. Also, “window” which literally translated means “a wind-eye”.
We knew, from our study of artefacts that chess pieces and dice had been found, made from walrus tusk or reindeer antler. Therefore it was great to have the chance to play a fun game of ‘Fox and Geese’ which tested our tactical moves; one fox tries to eat the 13 geese and the geese win if they manage to block in the fox.
In the afternoon, the children watched as he made some coins which would have been worth £25. If you wanted to spend less, you chopped the coin in half or even quarters, known as a “four-thing” (farthing). Who knew a blunt axe could split a watermelon in half as well as split your money into pieces?
The following quotes show how much this visit added to our learning……
Autumn – “It’s been a fun day and it gives you a lot of education.”
Jasmin – “It’s interesting to learn about the Vikings. The day has helped us to learn how they lived.”
Paloma – “A super experience.”
Amelia – “We had a slashing time.”
This year within the Federation we marked Remembrance Day with the selling of poppies, and a whole school assembly at both the Infants and Juniors with a 1 minute silence at 11am. The Junior children discussed the first world war and thought about places in the world where people are still suffering from war today. The children at the Infant school gathered together to discuss the importance of the day. They learnt a little bit about the history of selling poppies, what they represent and why we come together every year to mark this event. The Reception children showed the school the poppies they had created in class. During the assembly the children were shown a short animation designed to explain Remembrance Day to young children. https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04p4zsl/poppies
The Federation were also very lucky to receive a visit from the British Legion in the lead up to Remembrance Day.
On Monday 23rd September 2019, Year 6 were transported back to Ancient Greece through our Greek themed day. We are currently studying Ancient Greece as part of our history topic this term. We started the day by being introduced to our Greek visitor who told us a story about Athens, Sparta and Persia. We volunteered to play different characters so that we could really understand what it was like for people living at the time. Our Greek visitor helped us to play a Greek game known as ‘Petia’. We played in pairs with the aim of the game being to block and take your opponents counters. Another activity in the morning was solving a puzzle named ‘Stomachion’. There were lots of different shapes that we had to fit together to create a square. There are many ways to do this and many other shapes that you could make. Some people used a prompt sheet to help them whereas some groups enjoyed the challenge of solving it themselves. In the afternoon we took part in our own Olympic games! We competed in two teams, through traditional sporting challenges. We had great fun encouraging and supporting our team mates. Our Greek day helped us with our learning as it inspired us to write our own Greek myths using the stories we have studied in class as well as the stories told to us by our visitor. It allowed us to visualise the different people of that time and understand their thoughts and feelings.
History Spring Term 2019
Stone Age Day
Year 3 has a special Stone Age visitor who taught them all about the history of our country over 12,000 years ago.
Year learnt all about the different types of amazing creatures and animals (bison, boar, cave lion, mammoth and wolf) that roamed the earth then and how Stone Age people lived and fought. We had no idea that the Stone Age people sought the protection of living together in Community or that they were prey!
It was very exciting to see how Stone Age people made fire using a bow drill. Our visitor showed us how the fire is started by hitting two sharp pieces of metal together.
Year 3 really enjoyed the day and loved dressing up as Stone Age people. It was fun and we learned so much about this time period.
Anglo Saxons at Norwich Castle
Year 4 enjoyed a fascinating day at Norwich Castle, learning all about the Anglo-Saxons.
As they arrived, the children met a metal detectorist who discovered a brooch in Norfolk that reveals the story of Thurweald, an Anglo Saxon King and his people. As part of the day, the children met different Anglo Saxon characters who revealed the story of Thurweald, who had died. The children enjoyed making replica Anglo-Saxon broaches, they met a trader and handled some genuine artefacts, sat with a wonderful story teller to act out the legend of Thurweald’s defeat of the monsters in the forest and even learned how the Anglo-Saxons buried their dead.
Anglo Saxon Day
Year 4 took part in a fun-filled, fact-fuelled day to round off their Anglo Saxon topic. They learnt about runes; how to make Anglo-Saxon pottery and how to cook an Anglo-Saxon recipe – honey shortbread. It was delicious!
The children were told with the Anglo-Saxon tale ‘Beowulf’ and then, like true Anglo-Saxons, deciphered original Anglo-Saxon riddles before creating their own. Year 4 were taught how to do an authentic court dance and then learnt how to play Nine Men’s Morris – an Anglo Saxon board game.
The day was a fantastic finale to a truly memorable topic!
Year 5 have had an interesting and fun project learning all about the Mayans. We did not even know where they lived or when at the beginning of the topic and now we know all about their religion. This involved lots of sacrifice of animals and people. We have discovered about their everyday lives and how some aspects of their culture lives on in the present day.
We explored them through the Text “The Corn Grows Ripe” which we all enjoyed and we have created some rather spectacular Mayan masks.
Through this topic, we went on to have a South American Day where we learned how to weave and how and where cacao beans are produced and then turned into chocolate.
It was a really information topic and the South American Day was a great finale!
History Autumn Term 2018
Ancient Egyptian Day
The year 3 children learned about the fascinating Egyptian civilisation and how the mummification process occurred.
They had a visitor from Portals to the Past and during this day they completed a fact finding activity, played some Ancient Egyptian board games and had the opportunity to look at some artefacts.
An amazing day was had by all Year 3’s and they left Ancient Egyptian Toftwood familiar with everyday Egyptian life!
The children in Year 4 had a very special visitor to link in with their history topic, pupils were immersed in all things Roman.
The children learnt about key historical figures, significant places, weapons and battle techniques and important dates relating to Roman Britain. After splitting into the three classes, each group participated in themed activities. These included playing a Roman board game called ‘Delta’ which involved sliding counters and scoring points using Roman numerals; learning about and handling real Roman artefacts; and finding out lots of facts as part of a Roman quiz. In the afternoon, the children were immersed in a Gladiatorial fight in our very own Toftwood Arena with our Toftwood Emperor!
On this brilliant learning day, Year 5 met a rich Viking man (who had expensive trousers). In the hall we learnt about the Vikings as that was our topic in history. All of year 5 were in the new hall as it was a good experience and fun way to learn about the brutal invaders. Also it is a bit like a school trip but in school.
First off, we went into the hall and there was a very well dressed Viking who was called Thor. The Viking explained what their countries were called and were they came from which were Denmark Norway and Sweden. He also said that the reason they came to England was because there conditions were very poor and cold .Thor then showed there countries on a massive map and there was also the countries they invaded on there.
Next, year 5 rushed into the assembly hall as we were very late, we were late because we talked about what equipment they would have in their house and what it looked like also the Vikings jobs for the girls and boys. After brake, some classes were lucky enough to play a board game named fox and geese. After that, our class did a quiz on their lifestyle, gods and toys the children played with in the activity we did it with a partner my partner was Amelia.
Then, we went and had lunch in the other smaller hall and had a play before going to see him again. Secondly, we all came back to the new hall and sat around the tall, hairy Viking. When we were sitting in the circle with all of year 5s classes. Whilst in the circle, Thor showed us some metal and some coins he then put the coin on the stand and put the decorated metal on it and hit it with a very heavy hammer. When he was making the special coins there were lots of bangs and some coins did not have the pattern centered so he had to make more.
After that, the man showed us many different weapons that only the men would use because they went to battle. Some of the weapons varied in types like an axe that was as big as a toddler also there was a spear and sword the spear was bigger than him and the sword was very precious as it can break or snap easily.
Then, we saw some armour: a real Viking helmet that had a sharp point on top which was almost as pointy as the spear that was quite scary to be honest. Thor said that the Vikings did not actually have horns on their helmets it was from an opera to tell which Vikings were bad or good. After that, someone from year 5 went up on stage and wore real Viking chain mail! The boy from the crowd said it was very heavy and tried to jump but only managed 2cm off the ground.
Some people had quotes on the afternoon “my favorite part was the afternoon” also “the afternoon was the best because we got to see the weapons”
Near the end of the day, the tired Viking asked us things in old English then we had to figure out what he was saying then say it in English. Most of the time he was saying parts of the body some of it was tricky even though we are learning old English in our English lesson. It was very funny hearing some words.
The overall opinion from Year 5 on Viking day is that it was mind blowing, factual and informative.
In the Autumn term, Year 6 studied Ancient Greece as part of our history topic for that half term. We studied the History of Greece by learning about the geography of Greece, roles of women, education in Ancient Greece and the Greek gods and goddesses.
We took part in a ‘Greek themed day’ where a Greek visitor helped us to play Greek games and we took part in our own Olympic games! We dressed up as traditional Greek characters.
This learning inspired us to write our own Greek myths using the stories of Theseus and the Minotaur, The Gorgon’s Head and Persephone. We debated the differences between Athens and Sparta to decide who had the better way of life.
Remembrance Day 2018
With the centenary of World War 1, Toftwood Juniors chose to commemorate the event by having a whole school assembly with Mrs Hughes and then discussing it further in class with the teachers.
The children understood why we wear a poppy as a symbol of Remembrance Day. The children across the Federation, have been creating their own poppies as a sign of respect. These were tied to the gates and fences of the Federation schools.
The day was also commemorated by the Kitchen staff. They baked and decorated poppy biscuits for the children as yet another visual reminder of Remembrance Day.
In class, the children participated in discussions about the trenches. They found the trench life of World War One unbelievably difficult to grasp and displayed great respect for the soldiers that took part in it. Many children also shared family anecdotes about their own relatives that had been in both World Wars.