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Rebooting my teaching: What?

For this next post exploring my plans to reboot my teaching I thought I’d try and put a bit more flesh on the bones of some of things I’m going to try out this year.

The first thing to say is all of this is liable to change based on feedback and experience. These are at best some sketches to base projects around.

The second thing is these are currently all History, Key Stage 3 lessons. I’m going to be trying to incorporate elements of this in my ICT lessons and my KS4 and 5 classes, but probably on a slightly smaller scale. We’ll see how it goes.

Anyway, some examples.

Note the further down this list we go the less happy / sure I am about the projects!

Year 8 History – Half term focus – Life in Tudor Wales
Old Way – Series of one hour lessons, each on a facet of life in Tudor Wales / Eng. Homework project at the end to include an element of student choice.
Problem – Too teacher led. Lack of cohesion. Doesn’t really draw out idea of diversity – “Tudor period” over 100 years and lots changed!
New Way:
Driving Question: What should go in our museum exhibition on Tudor Life in Wales
Overview: Students will work together to research, plan and build in my room an exhibit to show off their findings. They’ll invite people to attend an after school show, and we’ll video / photograph the exhibits for the classblog
L1 – Introduce the topic. Start initial research. Brain storm enquiry questions
L2 – Personal investigation into one question. Peer marked. Second personal investigation for homework
L3 – Planning lesson. What should we include. How will we show it off? How to ‘real’ museums do it? Group and individual action plans
L4 / 5 – (6?) – Research and build. Work on team and individual action plans. Who should we invite.
L7 (?) – Build the exhibit and show it off
L8 – Evaluation.

Year 9 History – Focus: Decades of the 20th C
Old Way – I put students into groups. They research and present posters of their decade. Best one from each of my classes gets displayed.
Problems – Tends to end up being ‘biggest events of that decade’ – would like some deeper historical thinking.
New way:
Driving Question: Which of the decades of the 20th Century would you most like to have been a 14 year old in?
Brainstorm the kinds of questions they will need to consider to answer that question
Divide class into ten groups. Each group get a decade to research. Plus, Minus & Interesting (includes key events)
Pair groups up – present to each other and pass decades on. Further research and create presentation.
Class vote – into individual write up

Year 8 History – Aztecs
Old Way: Great scheme of work by a colleague,
Problem: Not enough pull together
Solution: Students will use the information from the lessons to produce either a piece of historic fiction about a European visitor to Tenochtitlan or create a history text book on the Aztecs

Year 7 History – Battle of Hastings
Old Way: Series of lesson culminating in extended writing on why William won the Battle of Hastings
New ideas:
Create a version of the Bayeux Tapestry that tells the truth about what happened at Hastings?

Some of these are still too teacher led or contrived for my liking, but I’m working on it!

I’m drafting ideas and scribbling note to myself on this Google Doc. Feel free to have a look at let me have any feedback below!

Dave Stacey

3 Comments

  1. Hey Mr. Stacey … Sorry, I’ve become a little fly on your blog, but am loving what I’m reading and what you’re doing to your teaching. I’m a fellow History teacher in England, but am Canadian, and am hearing a lot of congruency between what you’re trying to do here and what was the ‘norm’ back home … Would love to send some resources/thoughts your way if you fancy …

    For your Y8 Aztec unit, have you thought about teaching it through a ‘window’ of worldview? i.e. Get students to create windows for how people at the time view the world – then it’s dead simple to compare between what you’ve already studied, and something new – I’m assuming you’ll have examined the European worldview through the Tudors, but how did the Aztec’s see the world? We did some similar stuff back home with the Aztec’s and Spanish – you can check out the Grade 8 program of studies here: http://education.alberta.ca/media/773697/ss8.pdf

    You’ll have to scroll through a lengthy rational/intro, but it may give you some pointers for your driving questions … Imagine what it would be like if there was a town hall meeting where the Aztec’s met the Europeans for the first time to discuss the future – what would they talk about? How would they really react? Lends itself really well to tying in foreign policy and current politiking. Ok so I’m digressing now, and eating up space on your blog – sorry. Drop me an email if you fancy.

  2. Please don’t apologise! It’s great to know firstly that someone’s reading it, and secondly that there are people out there willing to engage and bounce ideas around with!
    I’ll have a look through the links this week and drop you an email over the weekend. In the meantime, comment away! 🙂

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