Making sense of the past: history curriculum and the education inspection framework

Thanks to Heather Fearn, Inspector Curriculum and Professional Development Lead, Ofsted for this blogpost… What images come into your head when I say the word ‘Egyptians’? Probably multiple thoughts and ideas of pyramids, pharaohs and hieroglyphics. Or perhaps the word triggers more modern connotations? When I spoke at the Historical Association Annual Conference recently, as you might expect, I felt very assured of the audience’s … Continue reading Making sense of the past: history curriculum and the education inspection framework

Lessons learned: how are we changing our teaching in light of the first cohort of GCSE results?

In this blogpost a very experienced history teacher shares with us how her department are reshaping KS3 in the light of the first 1-9 GCSE results.  Once we had completed the mammoth two-year task of planning and teaching for the new History GCSE we awaited the results with nervous apprehension. Had we understood the spec? Had we used teaching techniques that had helped our students … Continue reading Lessons learned: how are we changing our teaching in light of the first cohort of GCSE results?

Making it stick is hard – try ‘Starter for ten’!

With the return to two year linear exams at GCSE and A Level, history teachers face even more of a challenge to help students to learn and retain knowledge and understanding so that they can perform well in the exam hall. This requires us to keep on finding engaging and memorable ways to teach content. Here is an idea developed for A Level, that could … Continue reading Making it stick is hard – try ‘Starter for ten’!

Getting the kids to make their own revision guide!

My Problem: My A-Level class are about to begin revising for the brand new A-Level. They need a decent set of revision notes but I do not have time to make fancy pants knowledge organisers. My Solution: Get the students to make a fully stocked revision website. Here’s how I did it at no cost (well except a bit of my time). Step 1: Create … Continue reading Getting the kids to make their own revision guide!

Building schema: Maps and Mnemonics

Practical advice from a colleague wrestling with how to ensure students learn and retain sense of place… I’ve been working hard with my Year 11s to make their knowledge secure. This is so that they can feel confident forming their arguments, both in discussion in class and ultimately for their written answers in the exam. The new Making of America unit on the OCR SHP … Continue reading Building schema: Maps and Mnemonics

Misconception, misconception, misconception!

It was my TA that did it. Whilst working on a series of revision sessions for a small intervention group that I did not personally teach, and juggling a number of absences, I got into the habit of sending her what I had planned a day in advance. She would look things over and generally agree that what I had planned would be suitable, and … Continue reading Misconception, misconception, misconception!

Signposting change in Edward the Confessor’s Life

Here’s a good idea for helping your students by adapting a great idea for change and continuity to really engage with the course of a key character’s life. Teaching the Normans at GCSE has given me more time to spend on the rather interesting character of Edward the Confessor. I wanted students to know something of his life story but I didn’t want to get … Continue reading Signposting change in Edward the Confessor’s Life

Knowledge to use sources as evidence

Recently we’ve been trying to shake up how we use sources in our History lessons. We decided that our Key Stage 3 students might be getting the impression that sources are just something History teachers use to get them curious about an enquiry question. There’s nothing at all wrong with using a fascinating picture, artefact or intriguing text to get students’ engaged. However, historians don’t … Continue reading Knowledge to use sources as evidence

Retaining knowledge: I don’t do dates!

‘I don’t do dates’ is a frequent excuse used by my GCSE students and it shows in their written answers, which often lack specific subject knowledge. For the last two years’ our department has experimented with frequent, low stakes, testing of chronological knowledge. As suggested by Michael Fordham in his blogs on: Assessment Beyond Levels A list of key dates and facts can be set as … Continue reading Retaining knowledge: I don’t do dates!