History Resource Cupboard – lessons and resources for schools

History Resource Cupboard - lessons and resources for schools

How to get the most out of the Edexcel Whitechapel environmental unit

WhitechapelLots of thinking has gone into planning and resourcing the Edexcel Whitechapel, c1870–c1900: crime, policing and the inner city.

The rationale behind this comes straight from successful classroom practice.

The entire course has been structured around 10 core principles designed to support learning.

The  Whitechapel SOW with fully resourced lesson enquiries has been created to increase engagement and motivation. Download the SOW at the bottom of this page. It is recommended that you teach the scheme of work in order listed in this document.

It has been structured to make long, medium and short term planning easier.

Each enquiry provides access and challenge to all students across the ability range. The lessons encourage source analyis, and encourage your students to think historically by building on best practice in the teaching of a number of the second order concepts. The SOW also makes assessment workable and useful too.

Engagement and Motivation

When curiosity and fascination is caught, learning accelerates.

All students need to be engaged if they are to sustain the effort needed to embrace complex concepts and recall important detailed knowledge.

All of the enquiries here are built around the principles for success in the history classroom. The intention is to make history meaningful by focusing enquiries around personal stories, particular places or puzzles and problems to be solved.

The use of the personal story is a powerful tool which brings history to life and makes students care about the past. In the Whitechapel unit you meet real people.

You will look at the tragic life of Polly Nicholls to introduce the topic.

You will hear from New York Police Chief Thomas Brynes, who described the Met as ‘stupid’. Was he correct?

You will evaluate two Met Police Commanders careers: Charles Warren and Sir Edmund Henderson and decide who did the best job at the top.

Using a particular place is also motivating to students as it makes history real. This is what the Whitechapel unit should be all about.

Your students will visit the East End of London via engaging source material to establish how living conditions in the 1880s may have helped the Ripper to have committed murder.

Making Planning easier

This Whitechapel course has been planned to ensure that  all of the content from the specification is covered. The key focus of this  unit is that of source analysis.

Lots of thinking has gone into each of the enquiry questions that have been used to plan the course. They are vital to shape the learning journey go in the direction it goes in.

Once the engaging start has hooked students in, the carefully planned sequence of steps are used to gather the evidence needed to answer the big question.

Nearly every enquiry concludes with a worthwhile and significant outcome. This end product pulls the learning together and allows students to join up their thinking.

This scheme models the types of exam questions that are assessed in the Environmental unit.  They are scattered carefully throughout this course.

Teaching exam questions exhaustively is reductive. Teaching exam questions using exam criteria in year 7 is criminal.

The end products  in this scheme have been designed to be purposely varied. They have been created to make history meaningful.

Access and Challenge

It is clear that the  9-1 GCSE courses are more challenging than ever. More content needs to be recalled and the exam questions appear to be harder than before.

What with E:BACC and the Progress 8 measures, more students than ever are being asked to study history. This has to be a good thing. However, if a GCSE course is too difficult this could have a negative impact on motivation and behaviour for some individuals.

The new GCSE enquiry led environmental unit has been planned with this in mind.   A variety of tasks have been used to ensure that the work is accessible and challenging to all.

Modelling is key to success. The intention is to ensure that the students know the secrets of success and can see what this looks like.

Having carefully thought out end tasks that use the information from the previous steps is key to ensure that learning is fun yet rigorous.

 Making assessment workable and useful

Schools are obsessed with generating data to track progress. Fact. Whether it makes any difference to pupil progress is arguable.

Teachers are asked to predict grades and comment on progress.  In reality this is difficult because in a terminal exam students are required to answer lots of different style questions. The final grade they are given takes into account how they have performed across the entire course and across lots of different types of questions.

Teachers need to be able to drill down and see how students perform on individual exam questions. This SOW allows you to do this. We build to answering examination questions and model how students should approach them. This is good practice.

Sometimes you should allow your students to answer a question cold – give them no support but just see how they can do. This will generate some important data for you.

The stepped approach to our enquiries will allow you to check learning. Learning checks are built in for this reason.

It is also recommended that you should only really mark the end products in detail providing targets for improvement and high lighting where the student did well. Do not spend hours marking the work in the build up to the final task.  Short, sharpe knowledge tests are also important in cementing in the substantive knowledge.

It is important for departments to agree which of the end products used across the course they will mark diagnostically. Subject leaders need to generate the reliable data which can be used to track progress across the department. If time allows it is recommended student work is moderated and discussed in a departmental meeting.

It is suggested that the detailed marking of one to two end products happens every six weeks.

Build in opportunities for peer and self-marking for some of the other written outcomes. Students need to be trained to mark their own work.  This will help keep workload manageable.

The end products / assessment opportunities allow your students to show you how well they are doing. How well have they grasped the key concepts? How accurate is their deployment of the substantive knowledge they use to support their arguments?

This kind of information informs the teacher and enriches discussions around which students may need more support with explanatory writing? Which topics may need to covered again? Whether or not the sequence of lessons leading up to the end product motivated the students and armed them with the skills and knowledge needed to tackle the final task.

Download Scheme of Work

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