On Tuesday we visited The Shire Hall Museum in Dorchester. This museum is based in the old court house and still has the courtroom and cells where prisoners were kept. We went to discover more about a young boy, Harry Parker, and why he had ended up in the courthouse 150 years ago. We wanted to compare his life to the life of children today.
We started by learning about the story of Oliver Twist and how Charles Dickens had written this story to raise awareness about the plight of poor, Victorian children. We learnt how he had run away to London, learnt to pick pockets and was eventually rescued. The children then compared his story to that of Harry Parker. We used photocopies of original documents e.g. newspaper cuttings, prison record, to find out who he was and what he had done. At seven years old Harry was accused of setting fire to a barn in Wareham, ended up at the courthouse in Dorchester and was sent to a reform school for five years. The children played detectives to see how much in formation they could find out from the sources and tried to decide whether they thought he was guilty or innocent based on the evidence given.
Then the children got a tour of the museum, including the cells which were dark, cold, chalky and dusty as well as being a little bit scary. Luckily we all got out safely! We looked at some of the pictures of other prisoners and read about the crimes they had committed. As a final activity we looked at photographs of toys and talked about which ones would have belonged to the rich children and which ones poor children, like Harry might have had. The children then got to make their own peg dolls. They looked amazing!
All the children were engaged, talkative, excited and behaved beautifully throughout our trip. It was a real pleasure to take them out and they all had a great time whilst learning a lot. If you get a chance, it would be well worth returning as a family.
Their independent writing this week was based on their trip to Shire Hall and they wrote some super recounts of their visit , showing how much information they had taken in.
Today we have done some art work based around the 100 year anniversary of the end of World War One and we have talked about the importance of Remembrance. The children were each given a map of the Somme and we talked about where the river is and how many men died there. Then they cut out a soldier, coloured and cut some poppies and added crosses. Hopefully this creation will help them remember why the 11th of November is such an important date. We also had a two minute silence in the classroom.
Thank you to eveyone who has bought in milk bottle tops - we now have enough. Next step is to turn them into wheels on our axles so we can build some vehicles. Watch this space!