Saturday, December 13, 2008

rest in peace ivor wilcox

i love it when i find obituaries of people that were not famous but did something memorable and cool. so it is with ivor wilcox, aka bjarni eriksson, who shared his love for and knowledge of the viking period with thousands of children through living history events and visits to schools. the guardian said:

"A typical day would see Ivor in a primary school hall wearing full Viking costume and surrounded by 90 or so pupils. He would often have a cart, laden with goods - jewellery, weapons, household items - to demonstrate Viking life. Teachers would be present but they would have little to do. Bjarni was in charge. As Elaine Saunders wrote in the Times Educational Supplement in 2001: "Bjarni is mesmerizing. One moment a dominant and raucous martinet, another a cuddly comic, he can lead hordes of youngsters in ear-splitting battle chants ... But the next moment he can achieve instant hush, with a single 'Quiet!'""

anything creative that opens people up to different cultures and experiences gets my attention - i like to think that it will teach me about the subject, and about how to better teach my students. i know from experience that when i appear in the classroom as an historical character, the kids rarely forget our interview; and when they play the characters themselves they have great ownership of the material. bravo mr. wilcox! it is such a shame you died so young (well, 47 seems young to me ... and it is the age of our president-elect).

the rest of the obit is here.

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