Helping students understand more about studying history

 A Level, GCSE, Issues, KS3  Comments Off on Helping students understand more about studying history
Nov 082017
 

This diary entry introduces two brief discussions:

  1. Helping students identify different types of history books (for A level, possibly earlier)

This discussion is built around an A level textbook spread that never saw the light of day! In it I was trying to explain to students how an A level book I had written linked to other types of historical writings – ‘popular’ histories, university textbooks, monographs, articles and thence to sources. The questions it raises seem important – how can we help students, especially at A level, understand that there are different types of history books and writings and how can we help them navigate their way through the different types of books that they may encounter?

You can find this discussion here …

  1. What do we want students to understand about the process of ‘doing history’?

A development of ideas I’ve been playing with for a while, asking whether too much time is spent on the minutiae of the process of studying history and too little time on placing that detailed work in a bigger picture of the process that is clear to students. This discussion also looks at how classroom history differs from that undertaken by historians – a difference that may not be clear to students – and whether it’s important that students understand the differences.

You can find this discussion here …

Ian

 Posted by at 12:53 pm

Using Domesday Book to Explore the Norman Conquest

 Activities, GCSE, KS3  Comments Off on Using Domesday Book to Explore the Norman Conquest
May 292017
 

A pair of activities, suitable for both KS3 and GCSE, created by Ruth Lingard and Helen Snelson who teach in York, together with Professor Stephen Baxter of St. Peter’s College, Oxford whose research on Domesday Book underpins the material and activities.

The two activities are:

  • ‘Efficient and ingenious.’ Why is that an accurate description of the Domesday Survey and Norman government?
  • ‘What does Domesday Book reveal about the impact of 20 years of Norman rule?’

Introducing these activities Helen and Ruth comment:

“We find that students don’t easily connect Domesday Book with the Conquest itself beyond a superficial level. We also find that some textbooks cover the Domesday survey in very little depth. Extracts from Domesday Book itself are also hard to access for students. Using them seems like a good idea to enliven the topic, but they do need some adaption to be useful. These activities use adapted extracts from Domesday to give students a sense of what it includes and the opportunity to use Domesday Book as evidence for the impact of the Conquest.”

For the whole of the first activity and its resources click here

And for the second click here.

Ian

 Posted by at 1:54 pm

Understanding Feudalism

 Activities, KS3  Comments Off on Understanding Feudalism
Apr 222017
 

An introductory activity for KS3 from Andrew Morel who teaches in Cardiff.

Andrew’s activity takes that textbook feudal diagram off the page and recreates it in the classroom using his students as king, barons, knights and villeins.

This approach has the potential to strengthen understanding of the mutual relationships within feudalism – what each person owes and receives back from others.

Also importantly, if it is successful in strengthening understanding it will also be a memorable activity, one that can be referred back to when learning about related topics such as Magna Carta and the 1381 Revolt. Used at Key Stage 3 it may also build understandings for those who go on to study the Norman Conquest at GCSE and will need to return to feudalism in more depth.

See the activity HERE …

Ian

 Posted by at 9:19 am

Helping students think about the provenance of sources

 A Level, Activities, GCSE, KS3  Comments Off on Helping students think about the provenance of sources
Feb 012017
 

Students often struggle with ‘provenance’ i.e. how to use what they know about the creator of a source to reflect on the utility or reliability of that source. This article suggests ways of helping students focus more effectively on provenance by studying the creator of source before they look at what it says or shows.

I have used examples related to the Norman Conquest as it’s a topic almost everyone knows to some degree.

You can read more HERE …

Ian

 Posted by at 4:17 pm

Understanding the English Succession: 1051-66

 Activities, GCSE, KS3, Normans  Comments Off on Understanding the English Succession: 1051-66
Nov 262016
 

This activity for KS3 or GCSE has four brief stages with each stage representing a different date – 1051, 1059, 1065, January 1066. For each date students position individuals in relation to the crown to create a visual representation of who seemed most likely to be Edward’s successor at each date. I’ve tried to keep things as clear as possible, which isn’t easy given the complexity of the debates over the succession to the English crown in 1066. I’ve added notes on what historians are saying about the succession and why the idea of ‘rules’ about who had the best claim are misleading and hence unhelpful for students at any level.

See the activity HERE …

Ian

 Posted by at 10:03 am

Nationalities and Family Connections: 1066

 Activities, GCSE, KS3, Normans  Comments Off on Nationalities and Family Connections: 1066
Nov 202016
 

It’s easy for students to assume that Edward the Confessor and Harold were English in every respect because they appear in the story of 1066 as the English leaders in contrast to the Norman Duke William. This short activity is designed to help students understand that the issue of nationality was more complicated than that!

I’ve also included a second very short simple activity about the pattern of English kings before 1066 – English or Danish? – to help students appreciate that kings of England were not necessarily English.

See the activities HERE …

Ian

 Posted by at 11:47 am

Why was William able to invade England in 1066?

 Activities, GCSE, KS3, Normans  Comments Off on Why was William able to invade England in 1066?
Nov 192016
 

This brief activity for GCSE (and possibly for KS3) looks at the longer-term Norman background to 1066, focussing on how William’s invasion was made possible by a combination of his military successes against neighbouring states and good fortune.

By the end of this activity students should know and understand that:

a) William had faced and beaten a number of attacks from surrounding states during the 1050s

b) If Edward the Confessor had died before 1060 William would have had great difficulty invading England because of threats to Normandy

c) William’s successes created a breathing space from local wars enabling him to invade England in 1066

d) His resulting reputation as a successful soldier enabled him to recruit followers for his invasion of England and he was able to recruit soldiers who would not have been keen to leave their lands if local wars were continuing.

See the activity HERE …

Ian

 Posted by at 10:22 am

Did people worry about dirt and disease in the later middle ages?

 Activities, GCSE, KS3  Comments Off on Did people worry about dirt and disease in the later middle ages?
Oct 162016
 

At GCSE this activity can be used to introduce the topic of public health or medieval medicine as a whole as it sets out conflicting evidence about attitudes to health and public health. This makes a good introduction because it is important that students understand that there were major efforts to improve health and the rationality of widely-held ideas about the cause of disease. Having a positive image of medieval people’s attitudes then means students have to think harder to understand why they could not tackle diseases effectively – rather than just assuming that people ‘back then’ just weren’t bright enough to do so.

This activity can also be used at Key Stage 3 if you are not teaching ‘Medicine’ at GCSE. At KS3 it can be used to build students respect for people in the period rather than see them as helpless and hapless victims of plague – an image than can be fostered if work on the Black Death focusses only on the horror and death toll of ‘the pestilence’.

See the activity HERE …

Ian

 Posted by at 5:05 pm

Raising Attainment: Feedback, marking and how they can improve learning

 A Level, GCSE, Issues, KS3  Comments Off on Raising Attainment: Feedback, marking and how they can improve learning
Sep 072016
 

In one of the most practical and valuable items we have published here on ThinkingHistory, Dale Banham describes in detail how he has developed a six-fold cycle of feedback which has the development of students’ ability to learn effectively at its heart. This is not just about the mechanics of marking and feedback but about how to help your students improve their understanding of how to study history and therefore raise their attainment.

As Dale argues:

‘Student progress is determined not by the amount of feedback we provide, much more by how we provide feedback. We have tried to address this by placing ‘marking’ within a 6 stage feedback cycle (see below). Our aims are to:

  • reduce teacher workload
  • increase the extent to which pupils take responsibility for their learning
  • improve outcomes by developing effective study habits in history – routines that make sure students review, redraft, respond to feedback and reflect on progress’

The Feedback Cycle

STAGE 1: When the work is set – establish clear success criteria

STAGE 2: When pupils are working on the task – make the most of oral feedback

STAGE 3: Just before pupils hand in their work to be marked – build in self and peer assessment

STAGE 4: When marking the work – aim to save time and maximise impact

STAGE 5: Returning the work – build in opportunities to respond to feedback

STAGE 6: Reflection – create a dialogue about learning

Read the whole article here

Ian

 Posted by at 7:45 am

New Activity: Impact of the Normans – with character cards

 A Level, Activities, GCSE, KS3, Normans  Comments Off on New Activity: Impact of the Normans – with character cards
Sep 042016
 

This excellent activity comes from Catherine Flaherty who has done both a great deal of research to create the character cards and has suggested a wide range of ideas for using them to develop students’ understanding of the impact of the Conquest.

There are 30 character cards providing biographical details of individuals who lived through the Conquest.

The core tasks involves distributing the cards amongst your students so they each identify with the person on their card. Then set them a task or tasks.

You can find the activity and a variety of possibilities here …

Ian

 Posted by at 2:07 pm