DISPLAYING ITEMS BY TAG: HISTORY

It’s 10.30am and fifteen Year 2 boys are huddled inside an old army parachute dappled in green and brown light, the noises of gunfire rattling in the distance, while outside they are confronted with life-size images of young soldiers in battle. Each child whispers to their partner as they write down their experiences. Which of these children are unengaged? Looking at the wonder and anticipation in all of the children’s faces as they scribble words and drawings on their paper, it’s hard to tell. And while we know each child will have different levels of engagement across different learning approaches, it reminds us that everybody has the capacity to be engaged.

In 2014 the new Primary curriculum brought lots of interesting changes. One of the biggest changes was adding evolution and inheritance into the Key Stage 2 programme of study. While this new topic has raised some concerns from teachers, there are lots of fun and engaging ways to introduce children to evolution and inheritance.

At the time of writing, the annual BBC Proms season is now underway, an eight week celebration of music concerts, talks, workshops, family events and more. This year to mark the opening pupils from four primary schools have been invited to take part in two Proms concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, celebrating the first year of BBC Ten Pieces.

“Stop throwing snowballs at those pupils or I else I’m going to have to freeze you!”

When you enter the world of MinecraftEdu, be prepared to say some pretty surreal things to pupils during your lessons. I used the exact words above a few days ago during a lesson using Minecraft when a pupil went ’virtually’ off-task, had figured out how to procure snowballs, then promptly began a one man crusade against his classmates! Happily no major incident ensued and the situation was easily remedied. After a few clicks on the teacher control panel, said pupil was frozen out of the world for a few minutes, reprimanded and the class continued. There are risks in trying something new in teaching and MinecraftEdu is not any different in that regard.

When James [Cain, Editor] contacted me and asked me to write a blog post about how I use Star Wars in the classroom, my first reaction went from, “this is awesome” to “uh… what am I going to write about?”. You see, I am an Advanced Placement (AP) World History teacher in Rocklin, CA, and although my classroom is littered with posters, toys and miscellaneous Star Wars gifts from students throughout the years, I questioned if I was qualified to write a post about Star Wars and my teaching.

The most superficial study of the causes of World War One illustrates that rampant nationalism played an important role in the tragedy that unfolded one hundred years ago in the summer of 1914. Schools have a particular responsibility to ensure that any study of the Great War highlights how national pride is one short step away from national prejudice, which in turn precludes empathy and predisposes countries towards military conflict. This is particularly important for my own students at the International School of Toulouse. The national mix of my current IGCSE and IB history students is British, German, Austrian, French, Indian, Canadian, Spanish, Australian, American and Russian. With this in mind I make a particular effort to ensure that my five-day school trip to the Somme and Ypres, Belgium promotes internationalism rather than a narrow sense of nationalistic pride in the involvement of one country.

Last month I received an email asking me to write an article entitled ‘Great Ways to Teach Bonfire Night’. Having been a teacher of RS and history for four years, and still not yet lost any of my enthusiasm for the job, I was really keen and immediately agreed to do it.

With the advances in technology hitting our classrooms on such a regular basis, we sometimes forget that the old ways are sometimes the best ways. You can have all the technology in the world, but sometimes being creative with what you've got can be a lot more powerful. 

I stumbled across a fantastically creative, but amazingly simple, website a few months ago called Dear Photograph. Although the website is not intended to be an educational tool, with a bit of creative thinking, you'll find that the idea can be used to promote learning across a range of subjects.

One of the remarkable things about laughter is that it occurs unconsciously. You don’t decide to do it. While we can consciously inhibit it, we don’t consciously produce laughter. That’s why it’s very hard to laugh on command or to fake laughter.

Local history is a bit like this in that students acquire local historical knowledge unconsciously, but we find that use of this knowledge is inhibited by its unconscious acquisition; it is not ‘learned’, thus, it seems, students regard it to be of much lesser value than knowledge acquired more formally. On the other hand, I have found many students to be insular, most would find it difficult to place people and events in their correct historical context, as they did not have sufficient knowledge of the world beyond their local area. With a keen interest myself in local history, I found this enabled me to build strong relationships with students, as I was taking an interest in them and the places they were familiar with.

This article aims, therefore, to overcome students' usual inhibitions, and help them to use their local knowledge to drive forward their historical understanding, to expand their knowledge and horizons.

Politicians often remind us that we live in a modern world. A modern world, they say, requires a modern approach.

The first statement - that we live in a modern world - is so obvious that one is tempted to accept the second as equally self-evident, when in fact it is not.

The fact that a thing or idea is new or recent (which is all "modern" means) does not necessarily make it better than something older.

Of course, those in power want us to think that it does, because they want to bring in their own new ideas, or have recently done so. For them, admitting the superiority of an older way of doing things would mean conceding that there is no need for their new ideas (and no need for us to pay for them) or that the ideas they recently introduced have failed.

So they don't admit it. Instead they try to trick us into thinking that newer is always better: they use words such as modern and progressive as if they were synonymous with good; they scorn opponents for wanting to "turn back the clock", as if doing so would be unquestionably bad.

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