The Sea Company

Sunday, November 26, 2006


We agreed to go back in time to remember the salvage of The Red Flotilla. I laid out a huge sheet of paper on the floor and we started to map out what the shipwreck had looked like when we found it. The children were very immersed and specific about the details of the wreck and a clear picture soon emerged. They then went back into role as the divers, working in pairs to search the wreck for salvage. As they 'found' things they drew pictures of them and stuck them onto the picture of the wreck in the place they were discovered. The children are so familiar with the diving routine now that they got into pairs, checked each others' equipment and practised their signals without any prompting. Some of the divers began to find bones so we stopped to discuss the implications of this. So far we knew nothing about who might have died in the shipwreck. Here was evidence that some people had died. I was slightly concerned about this moment because I didn't want this to turn into a skeleton frenzy, but, amazingly, the children were reasonably restrained - treating these finds seriously and discussing what to do with them. Someone decided that we do have a specialist 'bones' team back at HQ so we would need to pass over the human remains to them.

Back at HQ the children went into role as restorers and filled in reports about their finds. A small group volunteered to be the bones team and took the evidence (in the form of pictures) outside the classroom with clipboards to investigate the bones and write their report. The finds were fascinating and included: a flag with faded letters; the Captain's log; maps; a cracked cup; a buckled shoe; a necklace of pearls; a rusty key; a broken clock (somone suggested that the time on it might be the time the ship was wrecked); part of the steering wheel etc. Again, I will use these ideas as 'gifts' to further the drama - maybe we can begin to find out more about the people on board - or how the ship sank. We were so busy restoring that I had forgotten about the bones team outside in the corridor - they had been there nearly 1/2 an hour and came back with pages of findings which formed their report! Great engagement today!


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