Heather was born on her family’s farm near St.Ives, a seaside town on the South-Western tip of Cornwall. Heather has lots of memories about growing up on a farm, and returned home to work on the farm after going to college. Heather has seen lots of changes over her lifetime and has some great stories to share. Heather still lives and works on the farm, which is now mainly a beef farm.
What to look for…
- See if you can remember any stories that Heather tells.
- See if you can remember any of the changes that Heather talks about.
Alternatively, watch this digital story on YouTube here.
Ideas for discussion…
- What stories did Heather tell?
- What changes has Heather seen?
- Do you think Heather enjoyed growing up on the farm? Do you think you would?
- What do you think will happen to farming in the future?
Ask a local farmer…
- Did you grow up on a farm? If so what memories do you have of this? Did you have any jobs to do on the farm as a child?
- What changes have you seen to farming over your lifetime?
- Did your family farm before you? If yes, what was farming like when they farmed compared to now?
- Can you recall any funny stories about things that have happened on your farm?
- Were there any bigger jobs or events that happened on the farm each year? Can you tell us about these?
This activity is for both Heather & Steve’s Stories.
Before this activity
Storytelling is at the center of this activity, so the more stories you can collect the better.
If possible ask local farmers, or parents/grandparents/guardians who have worked on the land, to come in for an hour of storytelling with your class. One way of encouraging storytelling is to watch the digital stories as a group and then ask visitors if these made them think of any of their own stories. Get them to share these with the class sat in a story circle. Also use the ‘Ask a local farmer’ questions as above.
An alternative to this is to ask children the day/week before you deliver this activity to ask people they know at home for stories relating to farming. A slip of paper with a simple prompt on to send home with children is useful. For example: “On (date) children will be thinking about local farming. If you have any stories about farming, particularly about the past, then please do share this with your child before this day. These could be for example about a certain event, a funny story or about how things have changed.’
Share stories as a class
Begin by recalling the stories from the films. Expand on this by getting children to share their own stories as well as those of people they know. If you have invited people in, encourage them to share stories (as above) and urge children to ask questions to gather more details for each story.
Get each child to create a storyboard
Ask each child to pick a story they have heard (this could be one from one of the films, or one that has been shared in the classroom). Get pupils to break the story down into a sequence of 4 to 6 images; using both words and pictures. Encourage them to use their imagination to bring the story to life. Get children to include and consider:
Details: Who? Where? When? Why? How?
Order: First, then, next, finally
What can we learn from stories?
Get children to think about where and when they hear stories. Do they hear them from each other? From parents or guardians? From Grandparents? Conclude that we all tell stories, from when we are very young to when we are old. They are a common language that helps us make sense of the world and share our experiences.
Become story detectives
Revisiting the stories they have written/drawn, encourage children to pick apart the story and see what they have learnt; for example that farm animals used to be transported via trains before cattle lorries were used, as in Steve’s Story. This can be shared verbally or written down.
Delving further into the story
Using the knowledge that children pull from their stories, get them to carry out further research online. If they are unsure what certain things look like, for example, a threshing machine, then get children to look these up and make additional notes and sketches.
Get hands on…
Mount calico fabric onto A1 boards (for example mdf or foam core). Alternatively buy pre-made canvases. (You will need 1 board for every 4/5 children).
Cut additional calico into a range of sizes. You will need approx. ½ metre of wide calico per group.
- Scrap paper
- Canvases (as above)
- Spare calico pieces (as above)
- Stuffing or scrunched up newspaper
- Washable acrylic paints (variety of colours)
- Kitchen Roll or paper towels
- Oil pastels
- Black marker pens
- Hot glue gun and glue (to be managed by an adult)
- Masking tape (optional)
- Coloured felt (optional)
Explain the challenge; A story in 1 image
Explain that the challenge is to communicate a story in 1 image. Show them the example below and get the children to point out the different elements of the scene; this is inspired by the story of Heather and her neighbour from the film.
In groups, get children to choose a story to bring to life
Sort children into mixed ability groups, with 4 or 5 pupils in each group. Ask each group to work together to choose which of their stories they would like to create. Children may choose to combine 2 stories if these are compatible.
Get groups to sketch the story- maximum 5 minutes
Give each group some scrap paper and pencils to sketch out their chosen story. Ask groups to firstly think about the setting for their story. Encourage them to think about what time of year it is and what the weather would be like. Also consider when the story was set, if it is in the past how might they show this? Get children to consider if they would like a border. Finally ask groups to sketch the central characters, thinking about where they will be in the scene. Remember it all has to go in one picture!
Split the groups up
Divide each group into 2 smaller groups; the more able children to create the key characters in the story and the less able children to work on the background.
Create the background- 2 or 3 children
Firstly get pupils to sketch out the background on their canvas using pencil, refering to their initial sketch. Using masking tape, mask out any areas if required (for example a border). Once the group is happy with the scene get them to paint the entire background using washable acrylic paints. Encourage children to mix colours and use a variety of tones in each section. After the scene is painted, get the children to dab it dry using kitchen roll or paper towels. Then get children to add texture and depth by drawing over the paint using oil pastels. (Note: you do not need to wait for this to dry if you use kitchen roll).
If children have decided to create a border, peel off the masked areas and get children to add paint/words in this area to help tell their story.
Produce the central characters (people/animals) in the story- 2 or 3 children
Get children to decide which character each will draw, then using the spare calico pieces get children to sketch the characters using pencil. Encourage children to consider the scale of each character in relation to other characters and the size of the background board. After this drawing is complete, get children to go over their pencil lines with a black marker pen and then fill in the gaps using washable acrylic paint (you may need to water this down slightly if too thick).
Once the characters are dry, cut around them leaving a 1-2cm gap all the way around. An adult will then need to place a spare piece of calico on the back of this and, using a hot glue gun, glue all the way around the edge of the character, leaving a small gap for stuffing. Children can then stuff their characters to make them 3D. Once stuffed the gap can be glued together with the hot glue gun. NB. The back piece will need to be slightly bigger than the front image, so glue first then cut around it.
Create other features (flowers, trees, animals etc) using coloured felt
Children who have finished from either group may also choose to create additional features by drawing onto coloured felt with black marker pens and cutting these shapes out.
Piece the scene together
Once everything is dry, get each group to arrange their characters and felt pieces onto the background. Once they are happy that the scene tells their story an adult will need to use the hot glue gun to glue the scene together.
To conclude the activity get children to share the stories they have created with the rest of the class.