Tag Archives: resource

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.

Editable ‘fortune teller’ template for plenaries and peer questioning

A while ago I saw a brilliant resource from Stuart Godman at www.aheadofhistory.co.uk who had created a peer assessment version of the playground paper ‘fortune teller’ game. It’s great to reach these out as a plenary activity at the end of an intense lesson of historical analysis and get the students talking to each other about their work.Nazi-Rise-to-Power-'Fortune-Teller'

I’ve since made a series of ‘fortune tellers’ for different units. The most successful seem to be those which require students to explain the contribution of a specific factor to an event. Students enjoy having a little bit of control over the factor they are going to be asked about, while still maintaining the random element. You can download some examples below.

Nazi Rise to Power ‘Fortune Teller’

Causes of WW1 ‘Fortune Teller’

Causes of WW1 ‘Fortune Teller’ v2

Origins of the Cold War ‘Fortune Teller’

Collapse of Soviet Control ‘Fortune Teller’

I thought it also made sense to share this editable PowerPoint of a fortunate teller so that you can create your own. Instructions on how to fold it, in case you can’t remember back to when you were in KS2, are below!

Fortune teller instructions


Great website to find music, sorted by country & decade www.radiooooo.com

The www.radiooooo.com website is definitely worth adding to your ‘Favourites’. A crowd-sourced directory of 20th Century international music, it features a host of tracks categorised by country of origin and decade. With just a couple of clicks you have quick and easy access to a huge range music to play in the background while students work. Great for adding a ‘sense of period’…or just for fun!

Timeline Competition

History-based Inter-House Form Competition: Timelines

This simple resource, based on events from the excellent About Time boardgame, allows you to run a history-based House / Inter-Form Competition with minimal effort.

Each team is given a copy of the timeline (click to download) which contains events from the entire range of KS2-5 History (as well as some references to other subject areas) so that all students can get involved. Each date has two events associated with it. Teams should be given the dates as a single chronological strip, but the event cards need to be cut out individually.

Students simply match the events to the dates, and at the end you allocate points based on accuracy. I give 3 points for an exact match and 1 point for being one date out. The team with the highest number of points wins. It’s a quick and easy event to set up, and quick and easy to score.

In my experience it works well in a 20-30 minute session, and is surprisingly competitive. As the teams begin to add events they also start to consider the relative contexts in order to add those ones they are less certain of.



IGCSE and GCSE History source skills tips revision

Succeeding at Sourcework exam tips

This History revision podcast focuses on how to answer different types of source questions.  Many of the hints are good practice with for any sourcework paper, but if you would like specific advice for the CIE exams then check out my revision podcasts for IGCSE Paper 2 and IGCSE Paper 4.

This specific episode presents tips on a range source question types including:

  • Comprehension
  • Comprehension in Context
  • Reliability/Usefulness/Value
  • Source Comparisons
  • Interpretation


Alliances seating plan

Awkward dinner party: WW1 alliances seating plan

This activity works well as a plenary or as an energising starter to the next lesson. Having studied the Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente, students are faced with the problem of seating the six countries at a dinner table. They need to keep disagreements to a minimum by positioning the biggest rivals away from each other.

Students enjoy the debate involved in this activity, and often need to re-draw their plans as the discussion progresses. Having decided the seating plan, they write the name of each country on the appropriate chair and give a short explanation of their placement in the blank box.

The activity can be easily adapted for other situations – I know of colleagues using seating plans to get students to show the differing internal alliances in the early years of Stalin’s Soviet Union, and a Philosophy & Ethics teacher using it for arguments about the existence of God.

Download a printable A4 PDF here

Syllable Grid

We Didn’t Start the Fire – Syllable Grid

The third stage of the We Didn’t Start the Fire the lesson sequence requires students to write an updated verse for the song.  Some students struggle with the division of syllables and beats, so I devised this simple grid to help them structure their verses to fit the original song pattern. The original lyrics follow a particular song structure and so, by having a visual reference that demonstrates how the lyrics were made to fit the verse, students may find it easier to make their own versions fit with the original.

Download here – We Didn’t Start the Fire – Syllable grid for lyrics (portrait version)

We Didn’t Start the Fire – Backing Track

The third part of the We Didn’t Start the Fire lesson sequence involves students writing their own verse to ‘update’ the song.  As annoying as it is to hear the song over and over again, the students usually like to have the song played on repeat so they can practise their lyrics. The media file below is a karaoke version of the song that you could play.


The History Channel Documentary Random Name Generator

The History Channel (now just called ‘History’) used to be jokingly referred to as ‘The Hitler Channel’ for its often disproportionate focus on the German dictator. However, over the past couple of years it has branched out to include documentaries about things that can barely even be referred to as historical. Drawing on many of the History Channel’s original series, this random name generator will hopefully help you come up with a new idea for a television show…and maybe even made you smile a little bit.

Please note that the names are generated at random, and I take no responsibility for the results.

However, if you get a particularly good name, please add it to the comments below!


Source interpretation questions

I/GCSE History source paper revision – answering ‘how far’ interpretations

A ‘how far’ source interpretation question is usually the last to appear on the exam, and invariably carries the most marks. Therefore you need to plan your time carefully to ensure you leave a good chunk at the end to answer this question in sufficient detail.