Introducing Virtually Off the Page
We created a new way to bring enrichment to your children’s learning — virtually. Virtual workshops are available despite school closures.
What is it?
Virtually Off the Page is an electronic companion to Off the Page’s full-day workshops (we do still offer in-school workshops, too, when schools are open). It incorporates an individual activities box for each child in a class/group, accompanied by a pre-recorded video. The video provides a narrative for the workshop – led by one of OTP’s qualified teachers – and guides the children through each of the activities.
Eight topics, each with a fresh perspective, are now offered (click on a topic to learn more about each one):
- Ancient Egypt – Experience the preparations for the unexpected burial of the young King Tutankhamun.
- Ancient Greece – Encounter life in the Greek city-state of Sparta and compare its warrior culture to that of Athens.
- Roman Britain – Explore life in Roman Verulamium.
- Vikings – Experience Viking life in York during the rule of King Guthrum.
- Saxons – Explore the Saxon settlement of Winchester under the rule of King Alfred.
- Great Fire of London – Learn about the fire first-hand through those who experienced it, including famed diarist Samuel Pepys.
- Florence Nightingale & Mary Seacole – Meet Florence Nightingale and learn about the contributions she and Mary Seacole made to health care during the Crimean War.
- History of Toys – Explore the materials, construction and forces of toys from ancient times until today.
- Life on the Home Front – Discuss how the Second World War affected the lives of an average British family.
“It was absolutely fantastic … the children said it was their best day so far,
and they loved taking the bits they had made home.” — KS1 Teacher, London
How does it work?
Any sized group – schools, Scouts, homeschoolers, etc. – can order a workshop. We send a large box with individual activity kits for each child, as well as a video link . The video cannot be downloaded, but teachers/group leaders can view the link as many times as they wish for a set period.
The video guides the group through a historical narrative researched and developed by our qualified teachers. Each workshop, which includes up to six activities, has been designed to:
- Be as creative, immersive and fun as our full-day workshops
- Support the National Curriculum
- Take a cross-curricular approach to learning, supporting history, English, design and technology, maths, geography and science, among other subjects
Groups may work through the lessons at their own pace, on their own schedule. The length of the workshop depends on how teachers use it, although trials have shown it can easily fill up to half a day.
The workshop is also “Covid Secure”. Children can work at their own desks or tables without needing to share resources. The contents of their kits are theirs to keep.
“They loved the novelty of delving into the individual bags to discover what lay inside. ‘It’s like a party bag!’ … Clear, straightforward instructions resulting in an impressive collection of artefacts. Very satisfying to make.”
— Mother of two KS1 children, London
Can a virtual workshop be used for remote learning?
Yes. The video that leads the workshop is provided via YouTube. The time-limited link can be shared with your children, embedded in a remote learning environment (such as Google Classroom) or shown over video conferencing software, so you can either guide the children through the workshop together or leave them to work on it at home with their parents/guardians.
The key consideration is whether the school is in a position to distribute the individual activities kits to the participating children. We would still send the activities kits to you — it would be up to you to get them to your children. (Safeguarding and GDPR considerations prevent us from posting to individual children.)
Are there any add-ons?
(Note: Live teaching time is not being offered during the Spring 2021 lockdown. Our apologies for any inconvenience.)
An additional hour with one of the OTP teachers can be purchased as an optional add-on. Our qualified teachers provide the live teaching time through video conferencing software, and the session can take place at any time that suits the group.
The live teaching time provides an opportunity to extend learning even further. For example, children can write questions in advance of a live Q&A session. Our teachers can share historical artefacts, or they could ask the children questions relating to their making session.
The live teaching time can be booked for any date, adding flexibility. The live teaching time cannot be purchased separately.
Will children get as much out of a virtual workshop?
“I loved it, especially making and writing with the pen. It was fun.” — Year 1 child, London
We trialled the virtual workshops in schools to great reviews. The schools report the children engage well with the learning, and the children themselves say they love the new activities.
A Year 2 child who tried our Florence Nightingale/Mary Seacole workshop said, “It was amazing! The lantern was my favourite bit and I’ve been playing games with all the things I made. I liked listening to Florence.”
A Cambridgeshire school that also trialled the Florence Nightingale workshop said they loved the connections made between then and now. One child said, “She made hospitals like they are today, just without the medicines.”
How much does it cost?
We charge £300.00 for the first 30 children, plus £6.00 for each additional child (the costs include 20% VAT, which the school can claim back.) Shipping is free.
The extra teaching time with our knowledgeable teachers can be added for £60.00 per hour (incl. 20% VAT).
How long will the workshops be offered?
We plan to offer our virtual workshops permanently — not just as a response to the coronavirus crisis. They pose several new advantages:
- Virtual workshops offer options for smaller groups such as one-form entry schools, scouting groups and homeschooling groups.
- The virtual workshops allow us to share our teaching with schools outside our travel area.
- They can be used as a companion to our other history workshops since they have different storylines.
We also hope to add more topics to our line up. If there is a history or science topic you would like us to cover, please let us know.
How do we book a virtual workshop?
To book any of our history workshops — either our full-day experiences or our new virtual workshops — please contact us.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Updated 13th January 2021