Rebels: Joan of Arc
An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive
Suitable for Key Stage 2
To explore what it means to be a rebel.
Preparation and materials
- There are two ways in which to approach and present this assembly.
- You could arrange for a girl to dress up as Joan of Arc in her 'boy's battle costume'. This could be a simple, rough tabard (made of hessian, tweed or some similar material), leggings, a leather belt and so on. At the start of the assembly, she could be kneeling in prayer and then she could move, adopting poses appropriate to the diffrent events in her life as they are mentioned, such as the crowning of Charles as king of France (16 July 1429), standing proudly celebrating a battle victory or encouraging her men on, on trial and so on. Note that all these scenes need to be treated sensitively. It is extremely important that whoever plays Joan is confident and actively wishes to take part. Also, during each scene, other students could be organized to narrate, 'hot seat' or interact with Joan, playing other characters, to explore the story.
- You could set up the trial scene and question Joan about her actions. This requires some simple scripting and maybe a little rehearsal beforehand.
- Once you have decided which of the two options you are going to use, find out a bit about Joan of Arc so that you can prepare what you are going to say about the key events in her life and answer questions and so on (see the website of the Musée Jeanne d'Arc in Rouen, Normandy, in English, at: http://tinyurl.com/m2fumfc).
- Decide on a scene from Joan's life that the students can represent in frozen poses during the 'Time for reflection' part of the assembly.
- Have available a quiet piece of music and the means to play it during the 'Time for reflection' part of the assembly.
- Explore what it means to be a rebel. Discuss whether it's a good thing or a bad thing. Ask the students for examples of people doing what might be considered rebellious things.
- Initiate your chosen approach to telling the story of Joan of Arc and use it to find out about her and why she might have been considered a rebel by various groups of people during her lifetime.
- Consider the following facts about Joan. Which of these might have made her different? Special? A rebel?
- Joan was born in 1412, the youngest of five children.
- She had an intense love of prayer from an early age.
- She had 'visions' and heard 'saintly voices' when she was 13.
- She left home to become a soldier.
- She advised the French king, Charles, about the war against the English and proved to be correct - it was a victory for the French.
- She stood firm when it came to her belief in God, Jesus and the saints.
- She was prepared to die rather than betray her beliefs.
Time for reflection
Think about standing up for what you believe in. This may not involve actions as extreme as the ones Joan took, but people are often called to stand up for what they believe in, every day, in small or larger ways.
How firm would you be in the face of people being unkind, cruel and hurtful regarding something you believe in? Does that sort of thing happen to anyone you know? Have you heard of it happening elsewhere? Could you be a rebel for a good cause?
Quietly think about your answers to these questions.
Have the students get in to their frozen poses for the chosen scene from Joan's life and play the chosen quiet piece of music.
Help us to be strong in our beliefs, stand up for our ideals and help each other to be true to the important things in life . . . love, friendship, trust, security and freedom.
Chosen quiet piece of music
'Fill thou my life, O Lord my God' (Come and Praise, 41)