Three more school visits

It’s been a busy fortnight here at SHARE with Schools! We’ve been out on trips to Cathays High, Woodlands High, and Michaelston Community College. Michaelston and Woodlands are part of the Ely and Caerau Federation, aka Westfed.

Volunteer coordinator Matt Vince on the Cathays visit:

Cathays visit – WW1 workshop

Last week myself, a handful of volunteers, and 40 secondary school pupils went on an adventure back in time. Back to the dreary times of World War 1 Cardiff. I must admit I was nervous. To me World War 1 is depressing – muddy boots, muddy bodies, and muddled tactics that caused both.

But through the workshop, and the stories of real life Cardiffians, World War 1 came to life before our eyes. The volunteers were absolutely incredible in this task, guiding the pupils through the artefacts in order to get at their underlying stories. From the Belgian ‘alien’ to the soldier on the Egyptian front, the pupils got to grips with the heritage of their area. Walking around the room and hearing stories from the pupil’s own families made this both incredibly relevant and exciting – tales of Grandfathers who were conscripted from Cathays where the school was, and Grandmothers who had shown the pupil’s letters from the front.

So a big thank you goes out to the volunteers who achieved this monumental task – bringing the past to life for the benefit of those in the present. It went so well that even the Ofsted inspector was impressed!

Thanks to:

  • Julia Rooke
  • Caitlin Fleming
  • Kieran Murphy
  • Clara Freer
  • Benjamin Dillon
  • Chris Parry

And coordinator Nick McDermot on the Woodlands trip:

On Tuesday SHARE with schools returned to Woodlands, to present 2 workshops. 19th Century Welsh life, thanks to artefacts provided by St Fagan’s natural history museum and Cardiff University conservation department. Also a unique workshop was presented by a group of students from Cardiff University’s Heritage and Communications module on Welsh myths and Legends.

Both workshops went very well and lead to some wonderful discussions of the difference between life in the 19th century and life today as well lots of artefact handling and examination.

A big thanks to the volunteers that made the day possible:

  • Charlotte Porter
  • Chris Parry
  • Daisy Atkins
  • Madeleine Moorcroft
  • Megan Keary
  • Alisha Chauhan

And finally a big thank you to Stephanie Hall and Caitlin Fleming who delivered at Michaelston yesterday with co-ordinators Kate Tinson and Kostas Trimmis and Dr Dave Wyatt. By all accounts it was an inspiring visit to Michaelston Community College in Ely, with 3 workshops delivered (2 x Life in 19th century Wales 1x Cardiff in WW1) to over 70 pupils in 3 hours. One of the school teachers said that “all the lessons seemed to go really well, the best I’ve seen our pupils engaged for a long time”! Here’s some images from the trip:


Mountain Ash visit 25/2/2016

A big thank you to our ineffable volunteers and the awesome pupils and staff today. We went out into the Valleys to Mountain Ash Comprehensive School. There we delivered workshops on Romans in Wales, Medieval Society, Cardiff in World War One to forty-nine pupils in years 7, 8 and 9 respectively.

On the trip were:


  • Kostas Trimmis
  • Jon Langston
  • Olja Mladjenovic

Also joining them were the staff members:

  • Professor Paul Nicholson
  • Dr Steve Mills
  • Graham Getheridge

Steve and Paul were seeing some new integrations of their Heritage Lottery Fund project Images of an Antique Land with the existing WWI workshop. This involved the creation of a new ‘persona’ to investigate based on genuine research, as well as a new postcards from the front activity based on some gorgeous replicas of real-life postcards.

Most importantly of all, the following volunteers gave up their time and effort to deliver some awesome presentations and workshops:

  • Ben Dillon
  • Gemma Bush
  • Jack Tenniswood
  • Kieran Murphy
  • Chris Parry
  • Clara Freer

Thanks all!

Congratulations to our first ever certificate awardees!

We’re very pleased to be able to congratulate our first ever round of SHARE with Schools certificate awardees. All of these brilliant volunteers have undergone our training, put in at least five hours of contact time (and some of them much more than that!), and have completed reflective skills activities, including guest blogging for this website (some of which are scheduled to post soon).

Well done everyone!


Some of the below volunteers will be receiving their’s in person from the Head of the School of History, Archaeology and Religion at a graduation event today. The rest will be receiving them in the post. (more…)

Medieval session

Guest blog from volunteer Jonathan Gilbert

Jonathan Gilbert

As a Third Year Archaeology and Ancient History BA student I felt I needed to get some serious work experience under my belt before I graduated and joined the struggle of the job hunt. I was always told that I work well with children, and I have always had an interest in teaching, so SHARE with Schools sounded like a great opportunity for me. I must admit that, at first, my reasons for joining the project were selfishly orientated to building up my CV, but this soon changed when I went on my first workshop.

The workshops that I volunteered for included ‘Archaeological Skills’ with pupils in Year 7 – 9 at Fitzalan School, and ‘Romans in Wales’ for a variety of student year groups at Woodlands High School. The idea of working with children in a school environment was not an entirely new concept for me; I have previously worked at an after school club and holiday play scheme, at my local school, working with small groups of children. But this was far less formal than a classroom environment. SHARE with Schools on the other hand gives you the opportunity to work in the classroom, in a variety of challenging yet exciting situations. (more…)

Guest blog from volunteer Lizzie Nicholson

Lizzie Nicholson: My SHARE with Schools



One of the hardest parts was keeping the children engaged

I’m Lizzie Nicholson. I’m in my first year studying Archaeology BSc. I thought SHARE with Schools was a great opportunity to meet other students, help develop my skills, introduce me to a career in schools and to do something different outside my degree programme.

I did workshops for students years 7, 8, and 9. The workshops covered archaeological science and museum curation. First we had to present to the children what we were going to be doing and tell them a little bit about archaeological science techniques or museum curation. One of the hardest parts was keeping the children engaged, but I managed this by making sure I knew what I was talking about and engaging the students with questions.

The workshops themselves were really good fun because they were so interactive and it was something different for the children to get involved in. The museum curation workshop was good because it encouraged the children to do a lot of different things including drawing and research. They were really enthusiastic too, as it was very hands on and they had the artefacts in front of them. This raised its own problems though, as the children were easily distracted with having all the artefacts in front of them. It was difficult to keep the children on task, because I was just as interested in them all as the children were! An improvement in the future would be to encourage the children to complete the tasks before experimenting with the objects instead of experimenting with them!

The archaeological science workshop was a little harder because the children didn’t understand the methods so well so I had to explain that to them carefully, but it got them thinking a lot and using a cluedo-style game at the end was really fun.

I felt quite nervous for the first workshop I did because even though I knew what to do I didn’t really know what would happen. I overcame this quickly though because the first group of children were fantastic. Although the other two groups we had that day – for archaeological science – weren’t quite as enthusiastic, I felt all the workshops went well as I was able to engage the children with the help of other staff. This was one of the biggest challenges. The second set of workshops I did I felt much more prepared for as I already knew what was likely to happen. This was the museum collections workshop, so the children were much more engaged throughout this one as it was very practical.


workshops boosted my confidence a lot and helped me with public speaking

Overall, I think all the workshops I took part in went well. I enjoyed it particularly because the workshops I was delivering were on subjects I really enjoy and am passionate about, and communicating this and inspiring other people in the subject areas was a definite highlight! We had a lot of positive feedback, and the teachers who got involved in the archaeological science workshop really enjoyed it. I think the pupils enjoyed the workshops too, because they were engaging and practical and something most of children had never really done before. Plus it was different to a normal school day of maths and English which is always a bonus!

Personally, the workshops boosted my confidence a lot and helped me with public speaking – I nearly always speak too fast. It also helped with team building a lot because, the archaeological science one in particular, I had to work with the other volunteers who would come round and add additional information to help out with identifying the skeleton. Leadership skills were something else I had to develop, because I was working with a group of 4 or 5 children and had to make sure they kept on task and moved forward when they needed to. Leading and working with children was quite different than with people my own age, so it was interesting to make that transition and appreciate the diversity within the group, such as their individual styles of working.

I really enjoyed all the workshops I took part in, and would definitely recommend it to anyone who knows they want to work with children or is thinking about it but isn’t too sure, to anyone who want to build a range of transferable skills, and anyone who is looking for [something] a bit different that’s still a lot of fun.