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Lesson ideas

Conflicting scenes

The essence of drama is conflict and it is a good idea, when possible, to set up contrasting scenes as the narrative unfolds. Decide with the children on five tableaux (still images) illustrating the pleasures of Rome and five scenes of their expectations of Britain. Divide the class into five groups, each with responsibility for showing one scene of Roman and one of British life. Each group morphs in slow motion from the Roman idyll to the British nightmare. The teacher can structure and describe the scenes to appropriate background music. The narrative might be along these lines: as a Roman watches the sea lapping against the prow of the boat, she thinks of the life she left behind. We see her recollection of the gladiatorial games in the coliseum, followed by a mist which parts to reveal the coast of Britain.


These can be composed to the appropriate god for a safe voyage (Neptune), for strength in battle (Mars), for peace (Venus), for husband and children (Hera). Prayers can be practised and recited in suitable voices in front of statues illustrating the gods' areas of responsibility.

For example, a warlike tableau for Mars.

Physical theatre

Look at pictures of weapons, ballistas, catapults, battering rams, towers and palisades and get pupils to construct the shapes with their bodies.

This helps them understand the effectiveness of these machines and fortifications, and also, by involving more children actively, supports engagement and management.

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