Romans – A Force for Good or an Evil Empire?

Over the Summer we are hoping to create a number of projects to complement our scheme of work. I’m keen to hear from schools about topics where technology could be combined with other subjects in school. Our scheme of work gives flexible objectives where teachers have the freedom to plan to suit their curriculum with their equipment. There are times when some teachers just want to pick up a series of exciting lesson plans and resources to inspire children.

A few weeks ago I ran a half day session with four schools to go through such a series of lessons. Children from year four and their teachers attended. Over the morning we covered the main parts of a series of lessons. Teachers took away the lesson plans so they could try them after having seen what the children would be doing. It also meant the children attending could take key roles when the lessons ran in school. The topic was the Romans, we were using the Media Strand of Curriculum Innovation’s Computing scheme of work and the schools attending all had iPads. Although this was History based, the need to produce written work in subjects other than English meant that the activities were all meant to inspire writing.

Children had to decide if they were for or against Celtic people joining the Roman Army. Everything they produced had to contain bias. This started with photography. In the  Media Strand of our Computing Curriculum children in year four should:

Capture appropriate quality still and moving images.

The children took photographs of objects that showed the Roman Army in a good or bad light. These might be excellent weapons, money or destroyed items from a village. Cloth from our local market made a professional looking backdrop.

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We then used green screening for our photos, again we used this to show the Roman Army as a positive or negative organisation to join.

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These images were added to a poster. In the year four of our media strand pupils :

Identify features of good digital creation design.

We examined good and bad examples of posters before coming up with our own criteria. We then created pro or anti Roman Army posters using the Pages app. The example below is one of my examples with the children’s images added as we didn’t have time to do all this in the morning. We also had a radio advert to make!

example pro poster

The last thing we did was use Garageband to make a pro or anti recruitment radio advert. Once more we listened to examples and came up with criteria of well made adverts. I created my own which can be heard here, followed by an example made by a pupil from Saltaire Primary. Will you join? make your decision!

I’d love to hear from teachers who want ideas for combining technology with a topic to make an engaging teaching sequence for children.

Tim Bleazard

Tim has over 20 years experience as a primary school teacher, twelve of them as an ICT co-ordinator. In 2009 he was seconded to Challenge City Learning Centre and used the opportunity to assist schools in their understanding and use of a range of new and emerging technologies. He joined the team as a Curriculum Innovation Consultant in 2012. Tim is a qualified E-Safety Mark Assessor, CEOP Ambassador, Apple Professional Development Authorised Trainer and a Google Certified Teacher. Tim’s role includes evaluating a range of mobile devices (Apple, Android and Microsoft) and advising on their appropriate use in schools. Tim is passionate about blogging, programming and using creative digital technology such as video, animation, photography and audio to raise attainment across the curriculum. He leads the very successful ‘Media Literacy Leaders’ project in partnership with Bradford UNESCO City of Film, the British Film Institute and Cape UK.

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