Another Highland Clearances activity for teachers – this time it’s a game!
The eviction writ was considered legally binding if villagers had been touched by the document.
In Fir for Luck, the villagers go to great lengths not to touch it – and manage to force the sheriff officer to burn the writ instead. ‘Mind, that writ was never served’ snaps one of the villagers as the servant of the law is sent on his way.
Split the class into two teams. It’s best played in a sports hall or outside, but a cleared area in the classroom may well be fine. Pupils should sit on chairs or benches opposite each other in two lines.
Place a bucket with a rolled up piece of paper in the middle of the two rows, with at least a couple of metres in between.
Number each team, but start the count at opposite sides so that, say, the number 10s on both sides are diagonally across from each other, with the bucket (containing the writ) between them.
Now call out a number. The two pupils with that number will run to the middle, grab the writ and attempt to touch their opponent with it before he/she reaches their seat again. Discourage violence!!!
If successful, they gain a point for their team. If their opponent gets to the writ first and manages to touch them with it, the other team gets a point. Deduct points for not getting up at all.
Mix numbers up, and try to catch pupils out – that way it’s the most fun. Keep it fast-moving, taking care to always place the ‘writ’ back in the middle. I tend to play until the first team reaches 20 points or similar. Kids seem to really like this game.
It also works sitting on the floor, but ensure proper boundaries – in my experience there is a fair bit of bum-shuffling towards the writ! Not something the 18th century villagers would have done, I’m sure!