Springfield Primary School Jersey: Visiting Anglo-Saxon Britain with now>press>play

In order to explore the Anglo-Saxons as part of their KS2 History curriculum, the Year 4 class at Springfield Primary School used two of now>press>play’s audio Experiences. Their teacher Brett Crossingham kindly provided us with a case study on how the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings Experiences helped immerse Year 4 in their History learning — as well as some brilliant writing examples!

“It was enjoyable to feel like we were an Anglo-Saxon, being on the farm, and learn about what life used to be like for them.”

How we used the Anglo-Saxons Experience

now>press>play was used as a hook at the start of our Anglo-Saxons unit, as part of our topic. Our autumn History topic is all to do with Neolithic and British Invaders, so this Experience fitted in nicely.

We then wrote newspaper reports about what happened and the near battle that took place (we did the same when we used now>press>play’s The Vikings Experience). This cross-curricular link worked well between our English writing unit and History.

We used the included Quiz after the Experience, which the children really enjoyed. This formed an interesting discussion, and the pupils could really explain their answers and link it back successfully to the Experience.

We chose to use now>press>play for this lesson because it was an exciting experience that we knew would give the children lots to write about when they came to writing newspaper reports in English. It also heightened their interest even more when learning about British invaders for our History topic.

“The best part was when the Saxons and the Vikings were about to have a huge battle, but then important news arrived from King Alfred that the war was to stop. I felt very relieved!”

“The best part was when the Saxons and the Vikings were about to have a huge battle, but then important news arrived from King Alfred that the war was to stop. I felt very relieved!”

Enhancing our creative writing with the now>press>play Experiences

During our follow-on writing tasks, the class were very good at putting themselves in the Anglo-Saxon child’s shoes. They could really describe how the child must have been feeling, and they linked this back really well to the Experience.

For example, the adjectives used to describe how the child must be feeling right before they were about to be executed were really interesting to hear. These sorts of discussions were useful, as the children were mindful to use interesting adjectives when writing their newspaper reports.

Below are a few examples of the newspaper reports we wrote after doing the Experiences. The Anglo-Saxon Experience was more of a driver for the ideas and planning stage, in which we focused on the main features of a newspaper and answering the 5Ws: Who, What, Where, When and Why. The Vikings Experience is what they based their main newspaper reports on.

“It was quite scary, especially when we thought we would be executed by our own villagers. It was also tense when we thought there could be a huge battle between the Saxons and Vikings. Thankfully there wasn’t in the end.”

The impact of using now>press>play in our History lessons

The now>press>play Experiences help us engage the children from the very beginning and allow them to feel like they were really there. This in turn forms memories and enables them to remember interesting facts about the Saxons that will stay with them for a very long time.

From the very start, the Experience tells the listener that Anglo-Saxons were very dependent on their farms and how important animals and the growing of crops were for them. So, it gave them a really good understanding of their way of life.

It was also interesting to have a better understanding of the friction and hate between Anglo-Saxons and Vikings and the many battles that took place between the two tribes.

An old Anglo-Saxon ruin. Text reads: You're standing in a muddy field in the countryside. Can you see the tall wooden fence at the other end? Point at it.
In our Anglo-Saxons Experience, children must protect their village from invading Viking marauders...
A Viking longboat sailing on a body of water. Text reads: Food is scarce in the Norse lands, and you and your sister, Freja, have heard tell of other Vikings travelling to England to start a new life.
While in our Vikings Experience, they sail across the seas and explore the other side of the conflict.

What our Year 4 children thought of the Experiences:

“I found it interesting to hear about their hate for The Vikings and the battles they used to have.”

“It was interesting to hear about how important animals and crops were to Grindan in the Experience. He really wasn’t a very nice man though!”

“It was interesting to hear about how important farming and animals were to the Anglo-Saxons' way of life.”

“It sounded like [King Alfred] wasn’t as bad as I thought he would be. His decision to divide the lands was a nice thing to do. In the end, it was quite a happy ending so that was good and a huge relief!”

now>press>play has been a brilliant tool for us. It has been used mainly as a “hook” at the start of a unit and then can be used to consolidate learning at the end of a unit. We have loved using it, and the children always enjoy the Experiences.

When reflecting on their years in class, many of them stated that they enjoyed the now>press>play Experiences the most, as they supported their learning and made them feel like they were there.

We’re very grateful to Brett and his class for sharing their experience using now>press>play. If you’re interested in using our Experiences to enhance your curriculum, you can book a free trial here.