History Resource Cupboard – lessons and resources for schools

History Resource Cupboard - lessons and resources for schools


Using knowledge to make meaning

Night of the Long Knives

The debate whimpers on. Knowledge and direct instruction against progress teaching ideas. This debate has been going on since the arguments over the birth of GCSE and before. Historical knowledge is crucially important – lets not forget it.  But so is the ability to use this knowledge well. We have[…]

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Please don’t ask year 7 to answer GCSE exam questions

Recently I arranged for Michael Riley to come and work with my initial teacher trainees and their mentors at Sussex University. What a privilege. After all, it was Michael alongside Jamie Byrom who  inspired me to teach history the way that I have been for the last 18 years. A[…]

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The problem with exam questions and teaching to the test

Exam desks

Over the last year I have been working hard creating resources for the new GCSEs. This has led me to look really carefully at many things: different topics, the details of the content, and the assessment approaches of the new GCSEs on offer. These exam questions can be predictable. Fact.[…]

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Strategies to improve grades in GCSE source evaluation

Labour isn't Working

After marking our mock exams a few years ago something struck me. Our students were often failing to get high marks on questions about source evaluation (this was the source paper for OCR Modern World). After closer analysis of examiners reports, mark-schemes and student responses, I realised that we needed some[…]

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Creating curiosity: Ten stimulating starts to enquiries

If we are to create outstanding learning and learners, we need to engage our pupils to become curious in the classroom.  One way to help engage learners and create curiosity is ensure that all enquiries that start in an intriguing and stimulating way. This isn’t a new and revelationary idea. Good teachers[…]

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Five top activities with pictures in the history classroom


We love to use images in our lessons – always have done. Ever since we could photocopy them from books, print them onto sheets of paper and put them in front of kids we have used them. There are hundreds of possibilities for using pictures. Here are our five top picture activities[…]

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20 Engaging End Products for the History Classroom

Are you bored of setting work that ends up in an extended piece of writing? An essay? An ‘important assessment’? An exam answer? When you tell your class this do they groan and look deflated? Those kids who can’t be bothered don’t bother. You’re marking load increases as your motivation to[…]

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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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The peasant farming game

It is probably out of fashion at the moment to suggest such crazy ideas as kids having fun in your lessons. Playing the peasant farming game? Don’t be so ridiculous  – where is the evidence of  exceptional progress by all in the first 10 minutes your SLT may well cry![…]

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Games the history classroom: The wall of misconception

Games in the history classroom: The wall of misconception. This is a great idea to use as a mini plenary to check learning in a fun and active way. The class needs to be armed with knowledge for this activity to work.  You may have taught them does Richard the[…]

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Double continuums to sharpen student’s historical thinking

We would recommend that you sometimes use double continuums to sharpen your student’s historical thinking. This neat idea is really simple. We all want to make our students think more. And I have found over the years that many don’t actually like to think. So this neat idea has helped[…]

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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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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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Using real historians in lessons

We firmly believe that children from the earliest age possible should be taught that history is a construct.  We love using the works of real historians at different points in lessons. Our pupils should see that history is created by historians and others who piece together the past from the evidence[…]

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Improving literacy by recording written work

Isn’t it great when you get your kids to a point in their learning when they have done some really great history? But then, time and again,  when you ask them to write something meaningful at the end of this process what you get just isn’t as good as you expect.[…]

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