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Week Commencing 20th October 2014 - Victorian Schoolroom

Welcome back to Holly Class page! We hope you had a resful half term and are ready for another fun packed term ahead as Christmas approaches!


School Trip to Reading Museum – The Victorians

On Thursday 23rd October we went on our school outing to Reading Museum to conclude our learning in History on the Victorians. Everyone made a tremendous effort to get dressed up and all certainly looked as if we were part of the Victorian era! Some of us really got into character and remembered what it was like to be a child in Victorian times and didn’t smile or were very serious for our photographs!

We got onto the coach and went to Reading Museum. When we arrived we were met by Ms James who was our Victorian teacher for the morning. We noticed straight away she was much different to Mrs Turrall! Ms James was in character to give us the full experience of what it was like to go to school in the Victorian times. (She was a very nice person and if we didn’t like something she came out of role to reassure us all it was pretend!)


Before we went into the school room we had a quick talk about what we had learnt about the Victorian times and Ms James was very impressed by what we all knew. We had to line up in silence to go into the school room and one line of girls and one line of boys. The boys also had to remove their hats before they went into class. Ms James showed the boys where to sit and then the girls as they weren’t allowed to sit together.


The whole morning we did lessons as they would do in the Victorian times. We each had our own desk to sit at that had equipment inside ready for each lesson. We started off with the register and as our name was read out we had to stand us and say ‘present please mam’ which we found quite strange! Next we all did a morning prayer and then Ms James did a hand inspection to check that we had clean hands.  We had to put our hands on the desks and when Ms James put her cane on the desk and said ‘turn’ we had to show our hands!

Then we did our number practise using the slate boards which were inside our desks. This was an interesting experience and we had to write 23.10.1893 as our date! The noise the slate boards made were squeeky and loud.

When we had finished doing our numbers on the slate boards, we did our reading practise where we had to read some words and sentences from the blackboard when Ms James pointed to the sounds. The book looked very old but it was similar to how we learn to read at school today in the method.

Next we were shown how to use the ‘dip pens’ and the pot of ink. We each hand a special copy book to do our handwriting practise. We dipped our pen into the ink pot and then copied the print on the line. We used special blotting paper to stop the ink smudging over the page. It was quite tricky writing with the dip pen but we did really well.

From handwriting with dip pens we moved onto a quick geography lesson where we looked at the map and flags of countries. Some of us were helpers to stand with the flags at the front of the class. After our geography lesson, we did something we had never heard of before. Ms James led us in ‘drill’ which used to be done before break time. We looked to the wall, looked to Ms James, looked to the window and back to Ms James. Then we practised our marching and arm movements. It was fun and different.

Sadly our time in the Victorian school room came to an end, what an incredible experience it was! Ms James came out of character to speak to use about the cane and the dunce hat. She asked for some volunteers to show how the cane and dunce hat would have worked. The children were reassured that they wouldn’t actually be hit with the cane! Mani was brave enough to go to the front and Ms James showed the cane and what the child would have had to do if they were getting the cane (bend over and the cane would have hit you on the bottom!) Daisy was brave enough to demonstrate wearing the dunce hat and Ms James explained that you would wear this if you had got your work wrong.


Before we left we discussed why the classroom was quite dark and why the room had high windows. As we had been learning about the Victorians we knew there was no electricity in the Victorian times as so they relied on natural light from the big windows. Ms James gave us a quick demonstration of how the lights would have worked in the classroom and explained that they used gas to light up but weren’t used very often.


We really enjoyed our time in the Victorian school and have enjoyed looking back at all the pictures. We really do look as if we went to school in the Victorian times! What a fantastic experience to have. Most of us agreed we prefer to go to school now rather than in the Victorian times although some of us said we really liked the Victorian classroom! I’m sure we would soon change our minds if we had to go everyday...


In the afternoon we had a workshop on Victorian toys with Katie. She showed us lots of popular toys in the Victorian times and we recognised some that we still have today although made slightly differently. We had a go at playing with all the toys and then made our own cup and ball toy. We had a competition to see who could get their ball in the cup.

We had a great day at Reading Museum!

Check back soon for more updates!