History Teaching

Using a school blog to discuss the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

Contributed by Matt Oswin, Shaw Ridge Primary School, Swindon

We have recently started a blog with our Year 6 children. In addition to sharing examples of their work and activities in school, each week on a Monday, a ‘Question of the Week’ is asked. This question can be about any subject, but does not have a ‘right’ answer that can just be Googled. To mark the centenary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on 28 June, the question of the week was: If the Archduke had not been assassinated, would World War I have happened? We recorded the opinions of some of the class and received comments from around the world; these can be heard and read here.

Imperial War Museums – First World War Remembrance

Contributed by Charlie Keitch, Digital Learning Officer, IWM

IWM (Art.IWM ART 2884)

IWM (Art.IWM ART 2884)

First World War Remembrance is a new online learning resource for teachers from IWM. The resource looks at how the act of Remembrance developed during the First World War and features highlights from across IWMs collections. These include objects, photographs, maps and artworks for teachers to download and use in the classroom. The resource also includes a video featuring Mark Beautement, a historian working with the Ministry of Defence featuring footage of Remembrance during the First World War.

IWM is developing a range of resources for teachers which will be released throughout the centenary of the First World War. These will be available from the Learning Resources section of IWM’s website as they are released.

British Library World War One Portal

In early 2014, the British Library launched this new portal, which is linked to the Europeana 1914-1918 project and offers a staggering wealth of digitised source materials, succinct articles by leading experts and researchers, and a large array of lesson plans and teaching resources for pupils aged 11 to 18 that cover a wide range of new and exciting topics, such as the colonial experience of war, recruitment and conscientious objection, tactile experiences of warfare, etc. The resources are adjustable for different age groups and suitable for a range of subjects.

Kendal at war: The development of a year 9 project

Contributed by Stephen Roberts, Queen Katherine School, Kendal

In our department, we take the Great War very seriously indeed. It has been a strong personal interest of mine since 1990 when I first taught it to secondary school students. We paid a visit to the National Army Museum in Chelsea. Andrew Robertshaw was the education officer. He answered a question I asked about Robert Graves. That was when I realised that most of our understandings about the Great War were based on myths. I became determined thereafter to teach the subject in a critical way, enabling students to question traditional interpretations. + Read the full post…

Mini research project on local impact of war

Contributed by Priya Atwal, Heritage Project Co-ordinator, John Hampden Grammar School

At JHGS, I have recently been working with Year 7s to do a research project on war memorials, similar in some ways to what has been done at Gresham (see post by Simon Kinder). Our school was lucky enough to receive a Young Roots grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund last year, which we are currently using to build a new archive, and to research and write a publication about the school’s past. + Read the full post…

Teaching the Great War Through Peace

Contributed by Troy Paddock, Southern Connecticut State University

In November 2011,Troy Paddock and Catherine Shortell, academic staff at Southern Connecticut State University published an article exploring ways to teach a particular episode of the First World War to American High School students. Paddock acknowledges that the Great War is much more ‘present’ in Britain compared to American society and culture. However, the article may be of interest to UK teachers. + Read the full post…

Researching a local war memorial in 5 lessons (KS3)

Contributed by Ruth Cavender, Learning Officer, War Memorials Trust

Local war memorials offer a fantastic focal point for thinking about the impact of the war on individual communities and the different ways in which the First World War was (and is) remembered. They also allow for a teaching of the war that is tailored to local needs. The War Memorial Trust has put together plans for 5 individual lessons, accompanied by helpsheets for teachers, for use with Key Stage 3 pupils. The lessons and materials can be used as they are or adapted to individual needs as required, and have been created with the current KS3 curriculum in mind. You can access the lesson plans and additional information on the Trust’s website.

Using The National Archives educational resources

Contributed by Andrew Payne, Head of Education & Outreach, The National Archives

The National Archives provide a number of excellent free educational resources related to the First World War that allow pupils of different ages to critically engage with source materials and consider some fundamental questions about the war. Suggested projects and exercises cover controversies as to the interpretation of the war, reasons for Britain to declare war, the trench experience, changing opinions on officers and generals, an exploration of the peace treaty of Versailles, and the changing face of remembrance.