Year 4 began their drama by using the wireless, an artefact from our Aid Raid Shelter, as a starting point for learning. The drama techniques we incorporated included voice collage, conscience alley and sensory journey. The aim was to tell the story “Sounds at Christmas” through drama. This story featured a family who used the wireless as a form of entertainment during WW2. We looked at the importance of the King’s Speech at Christmas time to hear updates on the war, but also to give hope and lift spirits of family members back home.
At Home for Christmas: The nutcrackers.
Year 3 used a pair of nutcrackers as a way into our drama sequence.
By giving the nutcrackers their own history, we were able to perform in role as both the nutcrackers themselves and as the family members who owned them.
To help us get into role we took part in several activities starting off with a visit to the Air Raid shelter museum, to look at the artefacts that would have been found in a typical wartime home, and also to find out what it would have been like during an air raid. We also made Christmas decorations in the wartime style – we created paper chains, snowflakes and paper dolls.
For each part of the story we used different drama techniques to help us develop the story further. After the drama concept was explained the children worked either independently or in groups to develop a drama sequence. They worked collaboratively to share their thoughts and ideas and listen to those of others before testing the ideas to see which would be the most effective. They gave mini performances before going back and making changes to improve their sequence.
For our overall performance, we discussed which drama sequences would help us tell the story in the best way, and planned how to incorporate as many ideas as possible.
The children persevered with their performances and improvised appropriately when they needed to.
When the Siren Wailed Year 3
We began by looking at some photographs of gas masks and discussing what we already knew about them and what we wanted to find out. We then deepened our knowledge and tried to answer our questions about the reasons for gas masks, the different types, air raids and the impact on children’s lives during WW2. Having learnt about air raid shelters, we visited Clifford Road’s air raid shelter to look at the gas masks, the siren and to imagine what it was like to live through an air raid.
We looked at old photographs of air raid shelters at Christmas time and read recounts of childhood experiences. From this we learnt that people made their own decorations and air raid shelters were often decorated too. We learnt how to make traditional paper decorations and the children particularly enjoyed learning how to make paper snowflakes.
We discussed how music during wartime was through the use of radio programmes. People could only listen to what was being played on the radio at the time. We listened to and compared two different versions of ‘Winter Wonderland’, Guy Lombardo’s 1934 version and Robbie Williams’ 2019. We talked about the significance of the lyrics and found out that the song was originally written as a poem.
We learnt the song ‘Winter Wonderland’, adding percussion parts, solo singing parts and small group ensembles to sing the echo part of the song.
We put the performance together as a class, with children improvising the spoken parts and suggesting ideas. The script was written incorporating as many of the children’s suggestions and ideas as possible.