1066 And Before That

Longlisted for the North Somerset Teachers' Book Award Poetry Category

Poetry Book Title: 1066 And Before That

Authors: Brian Moses & Roger Stevens

Illustrator: Andrew Wightman

Publishers: Macmillan Children’s Books

ISBN: 9781447283942

From the early Stone Age to ancient Egypt, Greece & Rome, ‘1066 And Before That’ is a brilliant collection of historical themed poems collaboratively written by poets, Brian Moses and Roger Stevens. 

Hairy Mammoths, cave paintings and Stonehenge are the inspiration for poems about the early Stone Age; the Nile, ancient curses and burial tombs the inspiration for ancient Egyptian poems. Greek myths, Diogenes and the Trojan Horse feature in poems about the ancient Greeks and Boudicca, and gladiators in the Colosseum inspire Roman poems.

The past is vividly brought to life through the rhythm and rhyme of poetry. Each one is grounded in a little piece of real history. There are numerous opportunities and inspiration for ‘ learning poems by heart’ and ‘preparing poems… to perform’. This really is a fantastic teaching resource. Take a look at just a few teaching ideas some of the poems have inspired...

‘Cave Painting’ p.6 research ancient cave paintings and try to recreate your own using handprints, simple tools and stencils.

‘History Beneath Your Feet’ p.14 & ’You Can’t Take it With You’ p.23 explore burials across time and cultures. Plan your own Egyptian style burial. Investigate what history might be buried beneath the school playground.

‘Stonehenge’ p.16.  Write a dialogue between the ancient Stonehenge stones; what would they tell you about the history they have seen?

‘The Nile Flood’ p.20 & ‘Ode To A Roman Road’ p.66. Create an ode in praise of an important river, tree or feature in a county or local area. Explore and research the chosen object and then create a poem using these poems as a framework.

‘The Curse of Osiris’ p.22. Write a sensational newspaper report about one of the curses released from opening an Egyptian tomb.

‘The Afterlife’ p.24. Write a fantasy story about facing one of the challenges that must be passed to enter the afterlife.

‘Three Ancient Greeks’ p.31. Use the rhythm and rhyme of these poems to write your own poem about a famous person.

‘If I Was…’ p.33.  Write your own version of this poem.

‘Archimedes’ p. 38. Investigate the inventions of Archimedes and then design your own.

‘A Gift From The Greeks’ p.42. Write your own account of the Trojan horse story.

‘It’s Called Money’ p.43. Explore the value of early coins and create a chart to illustrate this. Try setting up a market place within the classroom and trade amongst yourselves.

‘Time for a Drink of Hot Chocolate’ p.45. Explore the history of chocolate. Write your own recipe as a poem using the style of this poem as inspiration.

‘Roman Curses’ p.64. Write your own Roman curses on clay tiles.

‘Eight Swords’ p.86. Write a poem in the kenning style about a group of historical artefacts.

With so many fantastic poems, written in a variety of styles, this is an invaluable classroom resource. There's a poem for every historical topic on the curriculum! The poetry collection can also be used as a springboard for both reading comprehension and writing, as the ideas above show. I'd personally love to see a whole class history themed poetry day with children dressed as characters from throughout history, making a giant classroom historical timeline, performing their own poems and reciting poems from 1066 and Before That!