History is an important one for us because my daughter already knows she wants to do a History GCSE and potentially even study it at University level. Plus this year we are going to do History AND we are going to start Ancient History (she is also keen to do Ancient History as a GCSE subject). So we are taking what has worked really well for us over the past 2 years and we are going to expand on it a bit more this year with a few extras thrown in.
Our main resource is going to be the third book in the Aaron Wilkes KS3 History series – Technology, War and Independence.
We have worked through the first two in her previous years and I am beyond impressed with this series. The events are laid out in a clear, logical manner. They include lots of source and interpretations throughout the books which I think is vital because the kids get used to dealing with, understanding and interpreting these pieces of information. They also use photographs and colourful images whenever possible which makes the pages engaging and interesting. My daughter really LOVES these books (she actually asked me to buy this one as an early Christmas present last year so she could read it in her own time).
Then for me what I really and I do mean REALLY appreciate about this series are the longer questions at the end of each chapter (there are shorter questions on each double page as well). They call these questions -Literacy Focus and History Skills Assessments.
Now I have looked at other History books and they don’t include these type of questions and it is one of the reasons that I am such a huge fan of this series. The kids need practice on how to deal with longer, written, discussion type questions, they need to be able to give an opinion and then back it up. And these questions at the end of each chapter give them step by step guidance on how to structure these type of discussion questions. I think they are vital and we always work through them. I will also say that after using the first 2 books in this series and working through the longer written questions my daughter’s confidence in tackling this style of questions has soared. And I have seen how her answers have improved.
This year we are also going to use the Teacher’s Guide (which I know is expensive and the price is the reason why I have not used it in the last 2 years). So why this year? Well, it has all the answers in it and my daughter is becoming a more independent learner, who likes to mark her own work and see how she could possibly have improved it (the questions at the end of each page). She also wants me mark her longer written questions and for that I feel like I need a mark scheme (which are in the Teacher’s guide).
Oh and I also like the further reading sections that they include.
Okay so that is our main resource.
Then we like to extend our History topic into our English. We have found it workes well to read English literature that links into our History. And since we are covering both the First and the Second World War this year we are planning on reading a lot of war literature (and probably also going to listen to some audio books on car trips). I already have a few ideas on books – Soldier Dog, Private Peaceful, An Elephant in the Garden and When the Guns fall Silent are four that are already on my list but I am sure we will add more as the year progresses.
And we are going to use the Hodder Education English Anthology War book (I only found this series recently and I have been really impressed with it).
And of course since we live in such a rich Historical country we will make sure to visit some of the sites and museums that deal with this time period.
We do tend to submerge ourselves in our History.
I mentioned Ancient History at the top of this post. We are dealing with that as a separate subject and this year the plan is to do some background learning on Ancient Greece and then potentially Ancient Rome. We will not start the actual Ancient History course work just yet but rather learn more about that time period. I am going to be putting this together as we go along because really there is not a book that I can use as a guide so I am sure I will write updates about our Ancient History throughout the year.
So that is our starting plan for History.
For those of you interested here are some Amazon links for the books mentioned
KS3 History 4th Edition: Technology, War and Independence 1901-Present Day Student Book
KS3 History 4th Edition: Technology, War and Independence 1901-Present Day Curriculum and Assessment Planning Guide
Key Stage 3 English Anthology: War
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