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Invaders and Settlers: Anglo-Saxons
Art and Culture

Learn about the cultural significance of storytelling, poetry, music, jewellery and feasting to the Anglo-Saxons. Work towards creating an Anglo-Saxon feast. Write sagas and kennings to perform, cook food to eat and make jewellery and instruments.

Session 1 Storytelling

Objectives

History

  • Understand that many different peoples have settled in Britain since the start of the Common Era and have helped shape the nation.
  • Understand connections between cultural, social and military history.

English

  • Become familiar with a range of books, including myths and legends.
  • Check that the text makes sense to them, explaining the meaning of words in context.
  • Predicting what might happen from details stated and implied.

Teaching and Activities

The children will find out about the importance of storytelling in Anglo-Saxon culture, look at some Old English and attempt some translation.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To understand the importance of oral storytelling in Anglo-Saxon society.
  • To become familiar with an epic poem written in Anglo-Saxon times.

Children will:

  • Discuss story telling as an important part of Anglo-Saxon culture understand that stories were passed down orally so that they changed over time.
  • Understand that the Anglo-Saxons spoke an old form of English that has evolved into the modern language today.
  • Understand the term ‘alliteration’ and use the poetic technique.

You Will Need

  • Beowulf by Kevin Crossley-Holland and Charles Keeping
  • Beowulf by Michael Morpurgo and Michael Foreman

Session 2 Music

Objectives

History

  • Understand that many different peoples have settled in Britain since the start of the Common Era and have helped shape the nation.
  • Understand connections between cultural and social history.

Science

  • Find patterns between the pitch of a sound and features of the object that produced it.
  • Find patterns between the volume of a sound and the strength of the vibrations that produced it.

Music

  • Improvise and compose music for a range of purposes.
  • Play musical instruments.
  • Develop an understanding of the history of music

Teaching and Activities

The children will learn about music in Anglo-Saxon society and prepare instruments for their feast.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To understand the importance of oral storytelling in Anglo-Saxon society.
  • To identify the types of musical instruments that were played in Anglo-Saxon times and create some simple musical instruments with a range of notes.

Children will:

  • Understand the importance of music in Anglo-Saxon society.
  • Make simple musical instruments and explain how to change the pitch and volume of the notes produced.

Provided Resources

  • Extracts from ‘Beowulf’
  • Information on Anglo-Saxon musicians
  • Pictures of musicians from manuscripts
  • The Story of Caedmon
  • Caedmon’s Hymn
  • Instructions for making a whistle
  • Instructions for making a harp

You Will Need

  • Large sturdy plastic straws
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Elastic bands
  • Something to draw around

Session 3 Kennings and Riddles

Objectives

History

  • Understand that many different peoples have settled in Britain since the start of the Common Era and have helped shape the nation.
  • Understand connections between cultural, social and military history.

English

  • Identifying how language, structure and presentation contribute to meaning.
  • Discuss writing similar to that which they are planning to write in order to learn from its structure, vocabulary and grammar.
  • Build a varied and rich vocabulary and an increasing range of sentence structures.

Teaching and Activities

The children learn about kennings and riddles and prepare their own to perform at their Anglo-Saxon feast.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To understand the importance of telling riddles and using kennings in Anglo-Saxon society.
  • To recognise, understand and write kennings and riddles.

Children will:

  • Recognise kennings and create some of their own.
  • Understand how important kennings were in Anglo-Saxon poetry as descriptive language.
  • Answer riddles written in a typical poem structure, as kennings or as prose.

Provided Resources

  • Kennings; Anglo-Saxon riddles
  • Contemporary riddles
  • Kenning and riddle answer sheet
  • Riddle planning sheet

You Will Need

  • Individual whiteboards and pens

Session 4 Jewellery

Objectives

History

  • Understand that many different peoples have settled in Britain since the start of the Common Era and have helped shape the nation.
  • Understand connections between cultural, social and military history.

Art

  • Know about great craft makers and understand the historical development of their art forms.

D&T

  • Generate and develop their ideas through discussion, annotated sketches, prototypes, etc.
  • Select from and use a range of materials.

Teaching and Activities

The children will look at Anglo-Saxon artefacts, particularly jewellery, and make their own to wear at the feast.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To understand the uses of jewellery by Anglo-Saxons and learn about its production.
  • To understand the skill needed by Anglo-Saxon metal workers and create some Anglo-Saxon-style jewellery.

Children will:

  • Explain how archaeologists use objects to work out what life was like centuries ago.
  • Understand the significance of jewellery in Anglo-Saxon culture.
  • Describe some Anglo-Saxon jewellery and/or decorated objects.
  • Make a replica piece of Anglo-Saxon jewellery.

Provided Resources

  • The English Heritage Dustbin game
  • Pictures of Sussex grave artefacts
  • Burial descriptions from ‘Beowulf’
  • Information on Sutton Hoo and the Staffordshire Hoard
  • Images of Sutton Hoo and Staffordshire grave goods
  • 3 instruction sheets on making necklaces and brooches
  • Pictures of brooches
  • Brooch design templates

You Will Need

  • Clay
  • Cocktail sticks
  • Needles
  • Thread
  • Paints (including metallic colours)
  • Brushes
  • A round cookie cutter
  • Equipment for drawing geometric designs
  • Safety pins
  • Sticky tape
  • Beads

Session 5 Feasts

Objectives

History

  • Understand that many different peoples have settled in Britain since the start of the Common Era and have helped shape the nation.
  • Understand connections between cultural, social and military history.

DT

  • Prepare and cook a variety of dishes.
  • Understand seasonality.

English

  • Discuss writing similar to that which they are planning to write.
  • Organise paragraphs around a theme.
  • In narratives, create settings, characters and plot.
  • Read aloud their own writing.
  • Participate in role-play and performances.
  • Gain and maintain the interest of the listeners.
  • Summarise main ideas.

Teaching and Activities

A final feast gives the children a meaningful setting in which to perform their music, sagas, kennings and riddles as well as dressing up and eating Anglo-Saxon foods.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To understand the importance of feasts in Anglo-Saxon society.
  • To write a mini-saga, then perform mini-sagas, poems and riddles.

Children will:

  • Appreciate the importance of feasting in Anglo-Saxon society.
  • Try some Anglo-Saxon foods.
  • Write a mini-saga in 50 words.

Provided Resources

  • Information on Anglo-Saxon feasts
  • Descriptions of feasts from ‘Beowulf’
  • Examples of mini-saga drafts
  • List of foods for a feast
  • Recipe for pottage

You Will Need

  • All arts, crafts, and literary projects from sessions 1–4
  • Food for the feast