Tudor Day 2015 6Year 8 students from Harrow Way Community School have spent the day as Tudors, with a little 21st century twist. The History students, learning all about 1500-1750, came off their usual timetable to enjoy a day of Tudor themed lessons from the Black Death in Science to the creatively named ‘Great Tudor Bake Off’ in Cookery!

Callie Essop, Curriculum Leader for History explains the value of involving a number of curriculum areas in the project: “Cross-curricular lessons are always very effective. The students can immerse themselves in a theme for an entire day and the different approaches to the lesson, be it Dance or English, really enhance their interest in the subject and embed the learning. We have adopted this approach on a number of occasions and it is always a huge success with the students and staff enjoyed taking part.”

Harrow Way have introduced to the country for the very first time, the Great Tudor Bake Off. Paul and Mary’s challenge, via their cookery teacher, was to bake up some traditional Tudor Tack Ship’s biscuits. Students followed a traditional recipe (with a little added butter) and according to official tasters the biscuits tasted rather good.

Diana Scrivener, internally renowned choreographer, who has worked with directors such as Martin Scorsese, Ridley Scott and Guy Ritchie and worked on Downton Abbey, Sherlock Holmes, Elizabeth, Robin Hood and other films, ran a session on traditional Tudor dances. Students were put through their Tudor paces learning Sellengers Round and Branle des Sabots. A particular highlight of Diana’s sessions was the opportunity to try on some authentic Tudor costumes including head-dresses, dresses for the girls and coats and doublets for the boys.

Photo 02-10-2015, 09 58 50On a more serious medical note, students explored Tudor medicine in the Science workshop, focusing on the Black Death which killed 1.5m people. They looked at a number of the remedies used to cure people during this time such as rosemary oil and made their own potions using vinegar and herbs.

When learning all about Tudor times, the great playwright Shakespeare must inevitably be included and in the drama workshop one of his most popular plays, A Midsummer’s Nights Dream, had students working in small groups and devising short pieces of drama based around extracts of the text. These were then performed on a digital Globe Theatre stage with bubbles and glow sticks used as props to tie in with the play’s theme.

Students became Tudor time detectives in the English session using a giant treasure island board game to collect clues about different Tudor pirates and then using the ‘treasure’ collected in the game to design a ‘wanted’ poster of the pirates.

Callie Essop concludes: “Each session had the students examining Tudor times from a different perspective, adding depth to the experience that we would not have achieved in one classroom alone. The day was superbly rounded off in the art workshop where students designed Tudor portraits in the style of some of the greatest Tudor artists Hans Holbein the Younger, using a cool technique called pouncing. I can confidently say that our Year 8 History students are now very well versed in the period 1500-1750.”