Archive for the ‘history’ tag
Happy New Year!
After two days of complete and utter shell shock I think I found my teaching feet today.
So I thought I’d put a quick blog post together highlighting a couple of things from the week in the vague hope that it might become a habit
1. In ICT we’ve introduced a checklist system before students hand in their ESW work. They have to check their work against a list of criteria and then get one of their friends to do the same before they upload their work. The hope is that it will cut down on the amount of work we have to return because it’s riddled with silly mistakes. We’ve also told everyone that when they act as a peer marker if we then reject a piece of work for not being up to standard, not only will we be noting it for the creator of the piece, but also for the person that signed off on it being ok. Hopefully this should make the standard of peer assessment a little better as well
2. I’ve started a new group project with my yr 10 History class involving two of my new favourite techniques
Bidding for a topic
I put up a list of all the available topics and gave the class a couple of minutes to disucss strategy. Then each group had to say which topic they’d like. If, once everyone had given their choice they were the only ones that wanted it then it was theres. But if another group also wanted that topic then we went into battle mode!
Each group had to put up the case for why I should give the topic to them and I would decide a winner based on the quality of the argument, making sure I explained not just who won but why. The losing teams then had the pick of any unclaimed topic
Collaborative and Limited Presentations.
My digital tool of choice for class presentations is now Google Docs. It’s completely cloud based, so I haven’t got to worry about pupils not having the software, and because they’re all editing the same document I can keep an eye on progress and track who’s doing all the work.
To this, I’ve now added a list of limits that I picked up from the feedback from a Literacy course that some of my colleagues have been on.
Each group has to produce a slideshow with:
No more than 5 words per slide,
with 4 slides in total (no more, no less)
containing 3 key facts for the class to learn,
a minimum of 2 pictures (but you’re welcome to many more)
and 1 mark out of ten for significance.
Building on evaluations of previous group presentations I’ve kept one topic back for myself and I’m going to kick off next lesson with mine, so they can borrow and adapt some of the strategies I use (or not as the case may be!)
As part of the school’s enrichment program we put together a History Walk for a group of yr 11 students. We walked them from school into town before they took a trip up the river for an organised tour and a visit to the two museums.
I’ve included the notes that I put together for the teacher that led the trip below, in case they’re of any use or interest to anyone else. You can also find them in the resources section of the site.
Download word doc
I mentioned in the last post about building in a longer and deeper immersion phase at the start of my Yr 12 History course. As part of that, last week, my classes came to a History Party
The activity is modelled on this Ian Dawson one, which he suggests can be used at the end of a series of lessons to consolidate learning and extend understanding of the big picture.
At the end of the provious lesson each student was given the name of one of the key characters from the AS Level course. There were 14 names in total, so some of the more significant characters were given twice. This meant they would be present even if one of the students wasn’t and we could compare and contrast what information had been found. Students were sent away to research their character and learn some of the key information.
When the lesson arrived, each student was given a sticker for the name of their character and invited to mingle. I found some period music (courtesy of You Tube) and students (who had already been taught about the concepts of Tory, Whig and Radical) were asked to find people they might have something in common with, and people who they would definitely not want to end up sat next to.
Then we played a couple of rounds of the gate game which we play in year 7 to help students to get to know each other – people have to get through the gate, but they can only do so in a pair with someone who the have something in common with in a particular category. With yr 7 it’s thing like pets an favourite food. Our historical characters had to find people who shared the same political view and then the same social class as them!
Then we sat around and each character introduced themselves, telling me who they would like to be sat with at dinner.
At the end of the lesson they were sent away to post a brief summary of themselves to Edmodo. I then collected these and turned them into an activity in Word where students needed to add the correct name to each description.
They also had to create a fakebook wall for their character, many of which are brilliant and suggest good things for the year ahead!
Easily adapted, high impact. Why don’t you have a history party tomorrow?
I watched with interest the twitter stream coming from @titanicrealtime- especially their use of hashtags to try and get a sense of the various perspectives of different people involved in the sailing and the accident.
This follows the innovative use of Twitter by the National Archives using the cabinet papers to tweet as the UK cabinet during WW2 - @ukwarcabinet
It got me thinking
1. Does anyone know of any others?
2. I quite like the idea of setting this up as a project for yr 9. I’ve sent them away to think about what events they could ‘live tweet’, but what else would you like to see given this treatment?
I’m conscious that I’ve been talking in the abstract in many of my ‘rebooting’ posts, so I wanted to try and be a little clearer about what I mean and how some of the things I teach have changed this year. This is the second of several posts that will hopefully outline how I’ve changed what and how I teach this year.
Unit: Yr 8 – Tudor Life
How I used to do it -
A series of stand alone lessons that covered things like the structure of Tudor society, Tudor schools, Crime and Punishment etc etc. At the end of the half term, students would produce answers to two questions of their own choosing which they researched and presented on a page of A4 per questions.
How I switched it
Driving Question: What should go in a museum exhibition on life in Tudor Wales?
Structure: Research project moved to the start of the unit, with a greater opportunity for AfL and improvement between two research questions. Followed by a team based, body smart challenge to create an exhibit suitable for a museum.
Go for five – Medieval Life (what do they remember from last year?)
Textbook Challenge – What was different about life under the Tudors – students build on the things they remembered from last year and use a range of textbooks to find out what stayed the same and what changed into the 16th century
Homework: At somepoint over the next two weeks try and visit a museum and post some examples of how they get the information / ideas over onto a class wallwisher or linoit board.
What questions could we ask about life in Tudor Wales?
Brainstormed possible questions. Discussed the difference between Open and Closed questions, and looked at why we may not be able to answer some questions.
Students wrote down 5 possible personal inquiry questions, and selected one to research first.
Homework: Complete first research task
Group peer assessment on the first research target.
Share good examples from around the room
Individual targets set for each student to put into practice for their second question
Homework: Second research question
How were things different in Wales
Nb – This lesson didn’t work as planned. Next year I’m likely to do something more teacher led looking at the Act of Union and the translation of the Bible into Welsh
Lesson 5 – Nb – Tables moved from islands to one large square and pupils sat around the outline looking inwards.
Hand in second research question
Review linoit board of museum ideas.
Over the course of the lesson students had to put themselves into groups and identify a question they wanted to address in the museum. Groups who wanted similar topics had to agree a different focus to avoid duplication.
Students produced rough plans of how what they would need to research and bring in to build their exhibits. These were signed off by me by the end of the lesson
Students had the hour, in their groups, to produce their exhibits. At the end of the hour we spread them around the room and people walked round and reviewed and commented on each others. The rest of the history dept, form tutors and Head of Year were all invited to drop by to see the work.
Work was photographed and put on the class blog and the items that could go on perminant display were put up.
Homework: Print off a copy of the photo of your work to stick in your book.
Evaluation of their work, each others work, and the project as a whole.
Feedback was very positive, although many students would have liked more time to construct their exhibits.
One of the ideas I scribbled down at the start of the year for a project was infographics.
Information graphics or infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge. These graphics present complex information quickly and clearly, such as in signs, maps, journalism, technical writing, and education. With an information graphic, computer scientists, mathematicians, and statisticians develop and communicate concepts using a single symbol to process information.
They’re everywhere these days, and I like the way they give an opportunity to potentially give quite a wide scope for coverage. They also play to the way many students like to collect ‘facts’ from history, and also bring an opportunity to bring in some numeracy – not something I find that easy to do. There’s loads out there, but you could start with coolinfographics.com if you want to get your head around the kind of thing I’m talking about. Have a look at this example of this history of the American Presidency.
So now I’m looking for some help putting some flesh on the bones.
I’m thinking I might try and run the project either at the same time for all three KS3 year groups, or one after the other to provide some motivation
I’m probably going to set up a Google Spreadsheet shared between the class in order to gather the data we need.
I’m thinking about getting each class to brainstorm the categories they want to investigate within a theme. The yr 9 theme will almost certainly be ‘20th Century’. Yr 7 & 8 themes I’m less sure about. There’s always kings and queens to fall back on, but I’d love some other ideas.
Once we’ve got the data I’m thinking maybe getting different groups to sketch out one part, but I’m not sure how we get in a uniform design. The thought did cross my mind about trying to hand it all over to one of the Graphics classes to see if they want to take it on (what do you think @nicfranc?) Alternatively I could offer a small group who wanted to to come and have a couple of lunchtime sessions to put them together, but that’s going to be a lot of lunches. Alternatively, we just go low fi and do a cut and paste job. Anyway, I’m rambling…
So, dear reader, it’s your turn. Suggestions? Comments? Ideas? I’d love to hear them below.
Nb – This has been crosses posted at the schoolhistory.co.uk teachers forum
If you’re a history teacher and you haven’t yet joined Twitter, I really would urge you do so. Go to Twitter.com and create an account. It’s free and you can use the site online, on a mobile device of via a range of applications. There are loads of posts and presentations out there with reasons to join, go and google them if you’re not willing to take my word for it!
The advantage of using applications (for me at least) is that I’m now following so many people that I either have to stay glued to the service 24-7, or I miss something that might be useful. So I create ‘lists’ of specific people to allow me to tailor the service to my needs an interests even more. You can do this directly on the Twitter site, but an app such as Tweetdeck allows you to view and manage those list more easily. I wouldn’t worry about this straight away, but once you hit a point where you’re struggling to keep up with everything, it’s probably one to come back to.
Here’s a few other ideas to get you started.
Tom Barrett’s ten tips for getting started - the one about having a bio is important. Without it, many people won’t follow you back. That said, I would beware of the many ‘This is how you use Twitter’ lists and posts that floating about. The great thing is that you can use it in a way that suits you – no two Twitter users use the service in the same way for the same thing.
Some history teachers worth following can be found on my list here. It may well need updating, but it’s as good a place as any to start.
Using ‘hashtags’ (the #sign followed by a unique identifier) is a way people use to group linked content together. A spin of from this is livechats which take place over the course of an hour on a specific subject, with everyone using the relevant hash tag to keep the discussion organised.
Three worth looking at are:
Firstly it gave me an excellent new question to ask. It became one of the things that yrs 7, 8 or 9 could add to their name labels (alongside their name they could also add a favourite person, period, or a historic place they’d visited). It also became the first assignment on Edmodo for my KS4 and 5 classes to get them (and me) used to handing in homework on the platform.
Secondly it gave me a great new starter lesson.
I threw the quote up on the board and we brainstormed questions that the quote triggers (what happen? where? why money? what would happen without money? why a ‘rock -hard immune system? if you couldn’t go everywhere, where are the top three places to visit…)
Working in groups of four students had access to a stack of textbooks (both A level and key stage 3) to try and answer as many questions as they could. My plan to let them loose on the netbooks was foiled by the fact that the post-summer reboot took more than the whole of the lesson to finish!
They then added all their information to a giant flipchart paper in the middle of the room, which became the focus of our debrief, which I led and they filled in the blanks for each other.
A great start to the year, and one for next year as well.
- First time I’ve really had to think about what search terms to use and how to structure the search itself. Probably another blog post there… ↩
Trying to introduce the ideas of Communism and Capitalism to students can be tricky, but necessary if you’re going to try and teach the Cold War.
I’d got the idea of getting students to work out how much money they had in their pockets, and how they would be affected by a switch to communism from this thread on the always brilliant schoolhistory.co.uk forum.
In order to make everything go a bit quicker, I’ve put together this spreadsheet. You get each student to call out how much they’ve got and it calculated class total, mean and medium average, and how many people would be better / worse off under communism 1
This can lead on to discussions about what the trade off would be (lack of freedom) and if it was worth it. From there, we can move on and talk about events.
It’s here if it’s of any use to you!
- In theory ↩