Resources

The Old Lady in the Post Office – how to teach writing a strong line of argument to any key stage

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If you’re finding it difficult to teach students in any Key Stage what an argued piece of writing that offers a substantiated judgement looks like, you need to meet someone. She’s called the Old Lady in the Post Office and nothing I’ve tried has been more effective in helping students understand what a line of argument looks like when it runs throughout an essay. Here is the monologue as a PPT: The Old Lady in the Post Office . It has a screen and handout version.

Inspired by the work of Daisy Christodoulou, and her argument that we can teach and formatively assess specific elements within longer pieces of writing, the Old Lady is an attempt to characterise the line of argument, helping students self- and peer-assess this particular element of writing judgement essays in History.

The task is simple – the student with the best ‘Old Lady’ voice reads out the argument and the other students have to identify the core problem she has with the Post Office. They can then identify how she acknowledges subsidiary factors and how she brings them into her argument and builds her opinion from start to finish.

Once they have done this ten-minute task, they are able to identify the line of argument in their own and other essays by answering questions like ‘Can you ‘hear’ the Old Lady coming through?’ and ‘Has she got a clear answer to this question?’ Consequently students are far quicker at identifying their own and other lines of argument.

Bonus Tip 1: To exemplify a ‘real historian’ doing this, look no further than The Old Man in the Army Uniform. He can be found presenting an argued case about the causes of the American Civil War on YouTube for Prager University. (YouTube clip)

Bonus Tip 2: This characterisation of a line of argument as the ‘Old Lady in the Post Office’ is showing promising signs in the task of analysing written interpretations and looking for the overarching interpretation. It seems particularly useful for distinguishing between the interpretation and the evidence offered in support of it.

Hugh Richards

for YorkClio in Feb 2018

Madeleine Blaess’ diary: York woman in Nazi occupied Paris

This is a developing project. Madeleine Blaess was born in France, but grew up in Acomb and went to the Bar Convent School (now All Saints). She was trapped in Paris during the Nazi occupation and wrote a diary recording everyday life under occupation. She managed not to be interned, by pretending to be French. Two of her friends were murdered in Auschwitz. After the war she was an academic in Medieval French Literature at the University of Sheffield. The diary was revealed among her papers, which she left to the university when she died in 2013.  This was left to the University of Sheffield at her death.

The University of Sheffield are working on these papers and the diary is shortly to be publisned open access at White Rose University Press (which itself is something YorkClio folk should know about!) There is also a 35 minute film on its way.

This promises to be a fantastic way for York History and French teachers to connect a local story to a much bigger story that is commonly taught. We hope to develop the connection with this project further.

When did William conquer England?

Now there’s a big question for a Friday afternoon! Attached here are a couple of resources that you can use to help students decide. Hugh, who developed these, recommends a dramatic intro for each scenario:

  • Was it when he was out of breath on the top of Senlac Hill?
  • Was it as he sat smugly in the charred remains of York Minster?
  • Or was it…?

Students create a situation report for each scenario. When did William Conquer England

And, in case you need it, a crib sheet to get you started: MASTER – When did William Conquer England

YHEP is launched!

This week we have launched YHEP: the Yorkshire History Education Partnership 

It is intended to be a site for drawing together, celebrating and promoting history subject-specific ITT and CPD. YorkClio is, of course, a fantastic example of Yorkshire based partnership in action. You can follow on Twitter @YHEPnews and a Facebook group is arriving next week. Meanwhile, we hope Yorkies are enjoying Residents’ First Weekend despite the drizzle.

Diversity resources for busy teachers

Whose Histories?: Helping busy History teachers keep their curriculum diverse

This short guide has been created by the University of York’s PGCE history trainees in a morning session where they thought about diversity and explored what resources are available. It contains some general principles and ideas for making lessons more diverse, with links to resources. It is not intended to be exhaustive, but to be a contribution to help busy teachers.

whose-histories-diversity-in-history-lessons

AQA GCSE revision materials

Picture1-750x430A HUGE thanks to Henry Walton and the Manor CE Academy team for sharing their revision notes and knowledge tests for their AQA modules. Henry has more detailed notes he can share locally if you get in touch with him.

Conflict and tension MQTs combined

WW1 Revision sheets combined

USA MQTs combined

USA Revision sheets combined

Ed I revision sheets combined

Medieval England MQTs combined

PatP MQTs combined

PatP revision sheets combined

 

Black abolitionists in York!

How much do you know about black abolitionists campaigning in the UK against slavery? No, neither did we until we came across this great mapping project on @twitter! Mapping black abolitionists’ speaking tours in the UK There are several people who came to speak in York. Some are hard to place, but three were in what is now the Fulford School catchment area!

World War One in the local area free resources

We are so lucky in York to have active and inspired local history societies. The Clements Hall Local History Group have had a lottery grant for their local World War One project. They have used it so brilliantly! The research they have done has all been published online – though there are also some hard copies of certain booklets. We can share it with you here: Clements Hall LHG World War One resources This site really is worth a look for all history teachers, but especially those around York. You will find films about a zeppelin raid and conscientious objectors. There are first hand accounts from soldiers, sailors and airmen. The role of women is explored. There is detail about how local churches, schools and organisations got through the conflict. There is also a lovely section on the Rowntree memorial Park. You can see the Quaker influence in the memorial text and it would make a lovely intro to the mood with which many greeted the founding of the League of Nations.

This park and the adjoining playing fields were given to the city by Rowntree & Co. Ltd to the memory of those members of the company’s staff who at the cost of life and limb or health and in the face of inconsiderable suffering and hardship served their country in her hour of need. Many were inspired by the faith that this war might be the end of war – that victory would lead to an enduring peace and to greater happiness for the peoples of the world. The creation of the League of Nations will be a fitting crown to the faith and hope of the men who have fought and a true memorial to their endurance, heroism, comradeship and sacrifice.”

Do have a look elsewhere on the site for other nice local history resources that would be useful for a KS3 history club.

Fulford, Fishergate and Heslington Local History group are also tracing all the men on four of their local war memorials. They have also done some work on the military buildings in their area. Here is their link: FFH Local History Group WW1

We are really grateful for all the time, effort, enthusiasm and skill that has gone into putting these resources together.

History Pedagogy as 5 features

One of our YorkClio team, Hugh Richards, was asked by SLT to define the subject specific pedagogy of History in 5 features. Definitely a ‘phone a friend(s)’ moment! This has really started us thinking – hard! We have pasted below our working thoughts after 36 hours batting it about. We’d love to get a wider discussion going on about this. There is comment function on this blog page. Or tweet with #historyhydra. Please chip in!

History Pedagogy as Five Features – first stab at the Hydra. 

Note this was a collaborative effort with some other Heads of History across the city – Helen Snelson at the Mount/University of York and Ruth Lingard at Millthorpe. 

Preface: The nature of school history is that there is considerable overlap with academic history. They are not the same, but it is fair to say that there is more overlap than is the case with many/most other school subjects.  

1)Making learning enquiry based: usually the teacher will define the enquiry. It should be framed as a question over which there is genuine historical debate. To be successful it will require students to fully engage with the relevant narratives and with the relevant disciplinary and substantive concepts. It is sometimes possible and desirable at KS3 for students to define the enquiry themselves (more in the manner of university level of history.) (In Denmark this is what they do at their equivalent of history A-level!) Crucially, enquiries will end with clear, conditional conclusions or judgements about the past (see point 4). 

2) Presenting narratives of the past: this is about what is generally accepted to be known about ‘what happened’ and we underestimate the need for contextual knowledge at our peril. It is the teacher role to make clear champion, and to model, the status of a narrative. That is, to use language of certainty / uncertainty, as defined by the fragmentary/contested nature of the evidence on which it is based.  

3) Conceptual learning: to teach students so that they can define disciplinary and substantive concepts as tools to unpick and explain the historical narrative. To teach them how to engage with these concepts in the manner of a historian, for example to test hypotheses, organise thoughts and weigh up evidence – all in relation to the historical narrative.  

4) Conditional conclusions: to teach in a way that makes it clear that all conclusions made by historians are open to evidence-based debate. The debate is ongoing. This links back to 1) that the enquiries in school should be areas of genuine historical debate. It also requires history teachers to continue to be engaged in this debate by constantly updating their subject knowledge. At the higher levels of the school curriculum this involves engagement with the ‘multi-voicedness’ of the past and the nature of historical truth.  

5) Historical communication: to teach the accepted vocabulary, register, structures and modes used by historians to communicate. This should enable students to feel confident in expressing their own evidence-based views in relation to historical debate.  

Endnote: This assumes entitlement and equity – the aspiration that all should be given the opportunity to be able to go as far as they wish with academic learning about the past. Additionally, there is a huge contribution of history as a subject to citizens who are happy and fulfilled in a thriving multi-perspective democracy.  

 

 

The Process of History display

A lovely resource that is being shared by our friends at Huntington School. Inspired by hearing Ian Dawson at the Northern History Forum, it makes a great corridor display: Process of History Display.  Why not book for the Northern History Forum coming up on Weds 22nd Nov at Leeds Trinity? Book here! The sessions don’t start til 5pm, after social time, so there is time to get over from York after school.