THE ILIAD PROJECT
Creativity. Culture. Rigour. Laughter.
The Iliad Project introduces children and young people to one of the most ancient and timeless stories - Homer's 'The Iliad', the tale of the Trojan War. Jonny's whole-class retelling draws out the drama, rivalry and philosophy, and it is shared with pupils in a way that is memorable, entertaining and age-appropriate.
Through engaging with extracts from Homer's 'The Iliad' as well as storytelling, role-play, writing-in-role and analysing paintings, children learn of a rich interpretation of one of the oldest stories of European civilisation.
The focus of the project is on developing deep enquiry, philosophical discussion and analytical skills. I make it very fun too - unashamedly so. Drawing out the strangeness of the story, with comedic retelling, ensures that all children will be able to access the story, and enjoy doing so.
Our interpretation of the story explores the tales of the Apple of Discord, the Marriage of Helen and the Birth of Achilles, and uses these three strands to preface the events of the Trojan War.
Pupils in Years 5 and 6 will engage with extracts of the Homeric text and learn high level comprehension strategies, as well as develop techniques of storytelling and art appreciation. Through lively facilitation, children freely take roles within the narrative and the project is a great vehicle for the development of students' oracy and performance.
Pupils in Year 3 and 4 will take part in the project as above, but with less of a focus on extracts from the Homeric text. The focus is on philosophical discussion, prediction, storytelling and enquiry.
The sessions all build on each other, and regular questioning and quizzing ensures children can manage the ambitious and very rewarding task of holding onto the story. Each session draws out key vocabulary - prophecy, oath, pride and wrath - and each session also draws out reflection on key figures in the story. The final session gives children space to go deep into their discussions and reflections, having engaged with a full telling, and we create time for children to re-tell themselves, with a combination of writing and art.
Session One - How The Earth Began
Session Two - Achilles and an Apple
Session Three - Helen and an Oath
Session Four - The Beginning of War
Session Five - Two Proud Men
Session Six - An End to War
I endeavour to get pupils fully involved in the sessions; speaking, listening, thinking and performing.
Schools that take part in this project currently:
Elmhurst Primary School, Forest Gate
Glade Primary School, Ilford
Nelson Primary School, East Ham
Vicarage Primary School, East Ham
Gallions Primary School, Beckton
Eastbrook Primary Academy, Dagenham
Note - I also teach the Iliad Project online on Outschool, and have taught it to children worldwide.
I WAS AMAZED AT HOW, THROUGH JONNY'S STORYTELLING, WHICH WAS BOTH INTRICATE AND ENGAGING, THE CHILDREN WERE ABLE TO INTERNALISE THE COMPLEX NARRATIVE AND USE ALL OF THE NEW VOCABULARY.
RICHARD HODKIN, LKS2 PHASE LEADER AT PARK PRIMARY SCHOOL
"THROUGH THE DRAMA ACTIVITIES AND RE-ENACTMENT OF KEY PARTS OF THE STORY, THE CHILDREN WERE ABLE TO FULLY IMMERSE THEMSELVES IN THE NARRATIVE AND KEY THEMES OF THE ILIAD."
LISA NAYLOR, TEACHER AND P4C TRAINER AT GALLIONS PRIMARY SCHOOL