Last half term, my class topic was Ancient Greece. This has always been one of my favourite topics and I was really looking forward to it. I wanted a single story to hang various writing outcomes from and opted for The Siege of Troy.
Last year, I’d attended PrimaryRocksLive and been in Tim Taylor’s Mantle of the Expert session so decided I would put the class in role as experts in the story. They were King Priam’s counsellors, making decisions that would affect the course of the story.
In short, the class absolutely loved it. And from them I got persuasive speeches, descriptive writing, Elegies for Prince Hector, debates, and ultimately a narrative of their escape from Troy.
The other thing that struck me was how I was able to contextualise the knowledge they were picking up – we were debating what to do with the horse when some children decided that not taking it into the city would anger Poseidon, and he was a god who was quick to anger. This was something we had discussed through reading other myths and legends, and yet it had a major influence on the decisions the class made.
As a side point, the class voted that the horse should be brought into the city. When they learned of the consequences of that decision, their faces were incredible. It mattered to them what happened.
Going back to the writing, that mattered too. A description of Achilles was important because the Trojan soldiers had to be able to identify him on the battlefield. Persuasive writing had to be really persuasive because you were trying to convince a king. The Elegies were all full of sadness and anger over the death of Prince Hector. All in 4 short weeks. It was utterly magical.
This half term we move on to the Romans, who knows where that will take us.