On Friday, I took my intrepid urban explorers from Year 4 on a tour of East London. It is my favourite school visit, and I have mapped out a great route that allows us to explore the features of urban settlements, taking in the towering skyscrapers of Liverpool Street and the City of London, before we move into Spitalfields and explore the rich history of immigration and refugees in the area. We explore the market, which has been there in some form since the 1600s, and then through the old Huguenot houses where the French Protestants settled when fleeing persecution. On then to Brick Lane where we could see how 20th Century migration has transformed the community; it became a place of refuge and settlement for economic migrants from Ireland who worked alongwide the Huguenot weavers, for Jews fleeing persecution in Europe and more recently since the 1960s, a home for the large community of migrants and refugees from Bangladesh/East Pakistan.
The visit also gave us ample opportunity to explore our art topic, which we are teaching separately to our Geography, but with good quality links being made. In art, we are looking at graffiti and the question of whether it is art, vandalism, neither or both. The kids were wowed by the quality of the urban artwork which can be found all over Brick Lane – political, eyecatching, bold and for the kids, very cool and exciting.
The new addition to the visit this year was that I encouraged as many children as possible to bring a camera of some sort. I always love seeing how the kids see the world differently to how we do, and having cameras really complemented the work we were doing on Sensory Mapping. These photos on this blog here were taken by the children in my group, to whom I trustingly gave my iPhone. I cannot wait to see the photos that all the other 26 kids took, and if I get more as good as these ones – skewiff, often blurred but focused right on what the kids find interesting – I shall have more fascinating things to share.
Enjoy the kids pics, and in the spirit of generosity, here are all of my documents I used to plan and teach the visit, including the Activity Pack I made for the kids. If you want guidance about doing this visit (or heck, if you want to bring your kids and allow me to lead it, maybe?!) message me on here or on Twitter (@jonnywalker_edu)