Re-enactment as a Form of Narration

Our papier mache map showing an Anglo Saxon village, the burial at Sutton Hoo and Offas Dyke
Our papier mache map showing an Anglo Saxon village, the burial at Sutton Hoo and Offas Dyke

We made the above papier mache map, not to scale (measuring about 3 meters by 2 meters) whilst we were studying the Anglo-Saxons (see here for how).  However, I knew we would be using it for the Vikings, Middle Ages and very possibly beyond, making it a good investment in terms of time and effort (it cost very little in money!).

Our huge papier mache map of Great Britain, showing the explorative paths taken by the Vikings (shown by little Smartie Viking ships!)
Using the map to show the explorative paths taken by the Vikings (shown by little Smartie Viking ships!)

Last week it made it’s third outing as a tool for visually narrating the events leading up to 1066 and the Battle of Hastings.  I collected a pile of knights in two different colours, some horses, boats and labels of all the areas we would be covering.  The map was laid on the table.  I asked one child to narrate what happened after Harold was crowned the new King of England.  The other two had to then arrange all the props to show this pictorally.  They took it in turns narrating one scene at a time:

Harold was informed of the imminent arrival of both Vikings on the North East coast and the Normans on the South coast.  The wind stopped the Normans from sailing, but Hadrada and Tostig made good time to arrive first at Riccall
Harold was informed of the imminent arrival of both Vikings on the North East coast and the Normans on the South coast. The wind stopped the Normans from sailing, but Hadrada and Tostig made good time to arrive first at Riccall
Harold called upon his brothers, northern earls Edwin and Morcar to fight against Hadrada.  Hardrada defeats the Anglo Saxons in the Battle of Fulford
Harold calls upon his Northern earls, Edwin and Morcar, to fight against Hadrada. Hardrada defeats the Anglo Saxons in the Battle of Fulford
Harold takes the difficult decision to travel North to fight against Hadrada, leaving the south undefended
Harold takes the difficult decision to travel North to fight against Hadrada, leaving the South undefended
Harold defeats the Vikings at the Battle of Stamford Bridge.  Hadrada dies
Harold defeats the Vikings at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Hadrada dies
A few viking ships are allowed to return home.  Harold then hears of the Normans landing on the South coast, so he gathers his army and wearily marches back to London.  He collects extra soldiers on his march back
A few viking ships are allowed to return home. Harold then hears of the Normans landing on the South coast, so he gathers his army and wearily marches back to London. He collects extra soldiers on his march back
Once in London he holds a meeting, increases his army and decides to march to Hastings to surprise the Norman army
Once in London he holds a meeting, increases his army and decides to march to Hastings to surprise the Norman army
The Anglo Saxon foot soldiers meet with the Norman army on the 18th October 1066.  The Normans have calvery which are knights on horses, which Harold does not
The Anglo Saxon foot soldiers meet with the Norman army on the 14th October 1066 on Senlac Hill. The Normans have calvery which are knights on horses, which Harold does not

I then photocopied the photos and narrations to make them into notebook pages to pop in their Middle Ages file:

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All in all, a very effective way of narrating quite complex history!

9 comments

  1. For some reason, this link no longer takes me to your page. I get the message “page cannot be found”. Can you help me? Thanks.

  2. How long does a narration like that take? I have a son who hates writing so this would really suit him. The note pages are great!

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