History Resource Cupboard – lessons and resources for schools


Effective marking


Effective marking by Pam Canning Every half term I say I won’t do it, and every half term I do. And I can’t be the only one. I left all of my marking until the last minute, and spend the last 3 days trying to give meaningful feedback to 50[…]

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Teaching Historical Interpretations

Teaching historical Interpretations. If you want success at GCSE and beyond you need to think about how you teach what you teach and why you teach what you teach! Fact. This means developing a great Key Stage 3 curriculum and building on this into Key Stage 4. Recently Ofsted have[…]

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The Board Race Game to enliven GCSE judgement questions

The best professional development I have ever had is to work alongside a creative colleague. Just by sitting down for 20 minutes and discussing your lessons for the next day can inspire ideas, or it can reveal fab teaching strategies that you never thought of. In my career I have[…]

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New Year’s Resolutions for the history teacher

New Term here we come. Its been a great summer, much of which I have spent working on resources for 2016 GCSEs (more of which in another blog) I go back this week to a new role – Head of Humanities.  Its been a long time since I have had[…]

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Cooking up decent differentiation

You know one of the things that really annoys me? It is watching a lesson where so called less able students are given low level work to do (a gap fill maybe), while those the teacher perceives as bright are given more challenging and harder work. Often the so called[…]

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Future 2016 GCSE History exam specifications : what is on offer? Video Blog

Future 2016 GCSE History exam specifications : what is on offer? For more information about the proposed changes to the 2016 history GCSE examination specifications read our blog pages on AQA and OCR/ A, or Edexcel and OCR/B. If you want to know how the content proposed in the exam specifications varies from board to[…]

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Review of AQA and OCR/A proposed new History GCSE specifications for 2016

Having spent time last week looking at the proposed GCSE specifications and assessment materials for OCR/SHP and Edexcel, here I repeat the exercise for the AQA and OCR /A courses. Whilst reading the materials and quaffing tea,  I was attempting to  look at the proposals through a number of lenses: how[…]

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Memorable history lessons: dress up, role play and personal stories

It’s period 4 on a Thursday and Year 11 are filing through my classroom door with a collective look of bemusement on their faces. Some are just outright laughing at me; others are reaching for their camera phones. I’d like to point out that these are not the normal responses[…]

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Why I love teaching the French Revolution

Storming of the Bastille

I first became fascinated by the French Revolution when I was in the lower 6th in the late 1980s. Back in the day being in the lower 6th generally meant sitting in the 6th form common room, talking pretentious nonsense  and doing very little work – well it did for[…]

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What makes a great (history) teacher?

What makes a great (history) teacher? I have been pondering this question lately.  By lately I mean for the last 19 years  or so… and probably will continue to ponder for the next 20 to 30 years, God willing! Lots of people seem to be experts on this subject, clever[…]

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A mirror onto today: Why I grew to love teaching 1920s USA

Great Depression - queue

I have a confession.  During the last sixteen years, I have deliberately avoided teaching the USA 1919 -1945.  From my own selfish point of view, Germany and Russia always seemed more interesting. How wrong I was. This September, I started a new job at a new school, with a Year[…]

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Assessment without levels – a few thoughts

Before I discuss assessment without  levels and give you a few  thoughts, let me let you into a little secret. One that I have kept close for long time. I haven’t given an individual piece of work a national curriculum level for about 15 years! In that time I have[…]

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Interactive wall displays

I have always been really bad at turning the wall displays in my classroom into something useful for my students to interact with. But on my visits to other schools, I have seen some great practice. I went to Kent a while ago to work with history teachers from across[…]

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Teaching Nazi Germany at KS4 and saving you time

I don’t know if it is just me, but I seem to have less and less time during the waking hours, to really think through and plan lessons. This week I went to a meeting about data Monday evening after school, spent Tuesday after school chasing kids and phoning parents and[…]

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New enquiries for teaching The Great War through personal stories

Neil Bates and myself were lucky enough to work with Worthing library developing four case studies of soldiers who fought and died in the First World War.  This was part of an amazing project about The Great War in West Sussex. The website has only recently gone live. We are very[…]

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Music in the History Classroom

According to the Marxist scholar A. L. Lloyd, rebels in the 1381 peasants’ revolt sang the song, The Cutty Wren, in protest at feudal oppression – sadly he offered no proof to back up his claim. Nonetheless, folk music and protest songs provide a rich vein of source material which[…]

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Making history meaningful by exploiting the topical

One of the big challenges for all teachers how to best engage our students and make them want to learn. There are many ways that we can do this. One technique that is worthy of our attention is exploiting the topical. This is easy for our colouring in colleagues (geographers)[…]

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New National Curriculum, new series of books

Happy New Year to you all! Things have been quieter on the historyresourcecupboard in the Autumn term. This is because we have been working hard on a new series of books for the 2014 National Curriculum. The we being, me – Richard McFahn, Neil Bates and Alec Fisher. We have[…]

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The Proposed History National Curriculum – where are we now?

You have got to love Simon Schama.  Not only does he spin a great historical yarn, he is also clearly on the side of history teachers. “Insulting and offensive”, “pedantic and utopian” and a “ridiculous shopping list” of topics, are just a few of the terms he used at the Hay[…]

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The irony of it

About a week ago I was lucky enough to spend four days in Tbilisi Georgia, as a part of an amazing Euroclio project: Innovating History Teaching in the Black Sea region. It was an incredible experience and a brilliant project, aimed at getting history educators from across the region to[…]

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Distorted coverage of the debate over the proposed history curriculum on ‘The Moral Maze’

Last night, radio 4’s The Moral Maze discussed the proposals for the new national curriculum.  Katherine Edwards, a history teacher campaigning against the awful proposals wrote the following response – see below. Katherine is behind the website historynotpropaganda and instigated the e-petition Keep the History Curriculum Politically Neutral. Please sign this petition[…]

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What kind of history do you want?

I have just been lucky enough to have a look at a copy of Diana Laffin’s latest A level History book British Society 1945.  Its part of the Enquiring History series for A level.Quickly thumbing through it I am struck by the clever teaching techniques and the interesting content. It[…]

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Oh dear oh dear oh dear! It really did end in lists!?

Oh dear oh dear oh dear!! The drafts of the new National Curriculum for history were published on Thursday…what can I say that hasn’t already been said? I have been speechless since reading them. If you haven’t had a chance to look, you can the proposals here. Read it and weep![…]

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