This morning our Year 3 students had a very early and exciting start to their school day, as they quietly filed into the Preparatory School Theatre at 8am, to be met by Toba a Viking woman from Jorvik (York).
Mrs Jane Radford and Mrs Jane Egden, our Year 3 teachers, were concluding a unit on Vikings and this session was going to be a chance for the students to ask a number of questions, as well as learn some additional information from a “real” Viking woman.
I had arranged this on their behalf 3 weeks ago (after a tip off from Skype in the Classroom), and the Jorvik Viking Centre had kindly agreed to a later session (9pm York time) to enable our students to have this wonderful learning opportunity.
It was an engaging and interactive hour long session, with Toba asking our students a number of questions, to which they could answer many of them, demonstrating some excellent learning had already taken place as part of this Viking unit. Toba showed a number of tools and weapons that were used by Vikings, with the swords and axes drawing excited “oohs and ahhs” from our students.
When it came to discussing personal hygiene, we learnt that the Vikings were very cleanly people, especially when compared to their contemporary Saxons who only bathed three times a year! When it came to dealing with nits and lice they had special combs for this and would also wash their hair in urine to kill the lice (to squeals of “that’s so gross” from our students!). You could tell who had done this as their hair turned very blonde!
Towards the end of the hour, our students still had a few remaining unanswered questions, which Toba kindly answered, including this one of “who were Vikings afraid of?”
As a group of teachers, we were very impressed with the quality of the session, it was informative, fun and engaging for the students involved. We got to see and learn about lots of different Viking tools, traditions and daily life. What was also pleasing was a number of parents stayed along to watch the session and be involved in the learning – porridge was even being prepared for afterwards!
Building on from our Mystery Skype earlier this term, it is great to see teachers looking for ways they can bring experts into the classroom through technology and present authentic learning experiences for their students.