Useful resources

‘How Sound is Your Language?’ – Practical Pedagogies 2018 presentation

At the start of November 2018 I presented a session, ‘How sound is your language?’ at the Practical Pedagogies conference in Cologne. You can download the PowerPoint from the session here.

You may also find this brief list useful for further reading / information.



Random Quiz Generator

Retrieval Roulette – Quiz and Game Generator

Last year Adam Boxer shared a simple but highly effective spreadsheet to randomly generate short quizzes (which include questions from the current topic being studied as well as questions from previous topics) from a list of pre-set questions. The link to his original ‘Retrieval Roulette’ post is here, and is well worth a read.

With his permission I’ve taken his original spreadsheet and added templates that create boards for games of Battleships, Blockbusters and Connect Four.

You can download a copy of the Quiz Creator here. The ‘Questions’ tab is currently filled with questions for the IGCSE course I teach (interwar politics, Cold War and a Germany 1918-1945 depth study) but you can replace them with your own questions in the order in which you cover them through the course.

To create quizzes:

  1. Add questions and answers to the list on the ‘Questions’ tab.
  2. Set up your question range:
    • Enter the question number you have covered up to in cell F1
    • Enter the first question number of your current topic in cell F2
    • Enter the last question number of your current topic in cell F3
  3. Click the tab name (e.g. Battleships 6×6) for the questions to be randomly populated into the template grid
  4. Press F9 on any tab to refresh with a new random set of questions. There are occasional repeats within the same grid – I’m currently trying to work out a way to stop this, but my students actually quite like it.
  5. When you go to print the template you will get two A4 sheets – one with the questions and one with the answers. The printed template will also feature a random Quiz ID so that you can match the questions and answers in case you produce numerous quizzes.


Using a macro to create and print multiple random quizzes

You can use a macro to automatically create and print a certain number of random quizzes. It only takes a couple of minutes to set up and allows you to produce unlimited random quizzes quickly and easily:

  1. Load the spreadsheet and go to the VBA editor (press alt-F11)
  2. Insert a new Module (menu Insert, select Module)
  3. Copy and paste the code below (substitute the text-like variable called number_of_desired_copies with the actual number of copies you want to produce):

Sub print_random()

For i = 1 To number_of_desired_copies



Next i

End Sub

Now just press the ‘play’ button to run the macro and hey presto 🙂

Black voters protesting literacy tests

Could you pass the 1965 Alabama voter literacy test?

PBS in the United States have published a section of the 1965 Alabama Literacy Test, which was used at the discretition of the voting officials. In Section A of the test a person wishing to vote needed to read aloud a section of the Alabama Constitution. Sections B and C they could be asked any of these questions (or none at all). The literacy test was therefore a way to control who would be able to vote and was primarily used to prevent African-Americans from voting by giving them the hardest sections of the Constitution to read, and requiring them to answer the hardest questions on the test.

Click here to view the test and the answers

For more examples, see

Franco-Prussian war monument in Berlin scarred by subsequent conflict. Good starter

Franco-Prussian War monument marked with bullet holes. Good starter.

This image of the Franco-Prussian war monument, marked by bullet holes, was taken by photographer Lewis Bush ( in Berlin during 2012 for The Memory of History.


Detailed and zoomable map of medieval trade routes

This detailed map by Reddit user martinjanmansson shows medieval trade routes in the 11th and 12th centuries and includes land connections as well as those by sea and canal.

Use the embedded version below to zoom and scroll around the map.

Question and answer icon

‘Question and Answer’ booklets for GCSE topics

These ‘question and answer’ booklets have been created to go alongside the revision podcasts on this website, but can be used on their own in a variety of ways:

  • Distribute them to students to act as a very rudimentary ‘knowledge organiser’
  • Students cover the answers for self-testing at home or in class
  • Teachers use them as the basis for low-stakes testing and factual recall quizzes

Booklets will gradually be added for each of the revision podcasts on Click the links below to download the booklets that are currently available.

International Relations 1919-1939

The Big Three at the Paris Peace Conference

The Treaty of Versailles

The League of Nations in the 1920s

The League of Nations in the 1930s

The Road to World War II, 1933-39

International Relations after 1945 revision

The origins of the Cold War

Weimar and Nazi Germany

Weimar Germany 1919-1929

The Rise of Hitler 1919-1929

The Rise of Hitler 1929-1934

Nazi Control of Germany 1933-1945

music quiz 2016

Music Quiz 2016 – Inter-House (or Form) Competition

I put together a short quiz for our House competition, which I’ve shared as it might be useful to others for form time, end of year, or pretty much any other time you want a few quiz questions!

We only had time for three rounds of the quiz. Click the link to download a .zip file of each set of MP3s – the tracks are named with the answers:

  • Chart music intros – name the artist and song title for one point each
  • Mashups – name the two songs that have been stuck together
  • Classics – name the 4 artists and song titles and get 2 bonus marks for spotting the link between them
Confederate troops in 1861

Confederate troops in 1861. Compare to WW1 for cont & change in warfare

This 1861 photograph of Confederate artillery in the American Civil War is a great starter for discussions about continuity and change in warfare. Compare it to images of WW1 field artillery for some interesting student observations. Click to download a full-size version.

Nazi society 'speed dating'

Support for Nazi policies – ‘Speed Dating’ activity

Students always show a keen interest in comparing and contrasting different social experiences within Nazi Germany. With this in mind I’ve created a series of character cards based on the experiences of workers, farmers, the middle class and ‘big business’. These can be used in many ways to gather and record information. ‘Speed dating’ is often a lively and successful activity.

Each student is given a character and then ‘dates’ each of the others, filling in a chart to record how the person has benefited or lost out under Nazi rule. They need to find their closest match, and should also identify the people who are most and least happy.

This leads to a lively plenary discussion about the range of experiences, and can be linked to work on Nazi systems of control.

You can download the Nazi Society character cards as well as a simple chart for recording findings here.

If you go with the speed dating idea, it’s quite fun to set the scene by having some relaxing/romantic music playing in the background.

You might follow this lesson up with some independent consolidation based on the life in Nazi Germany podcast, or show the excellent video clip about Nazi domestic policies 1933-36.

Eight team bracket

‘March Madness’ 8-factor causation priority bracket

The ‘March Madness series of North American College basketball games uses a ‘bracket’ system to eliminate teams. You can use the same bracket system to run a series of debates or individual considerations to identify the most significant / important cause of an historical event.

Begin by identifying 8 key factors, which are written on the 8 legs of the 1st Round. Each pair of factors is debated, with the ‘winner’ (i.e. the most convincing argument) making it through to the 2nd Round. The 2nd Round factors are then debated against each other, resulting in the final two factors making it through the the Championship round.

Download the A4 version of the bracket here.