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Welcome to Thinking History

As I began this site in 2004 it now contains far more material than I ever anticipated – resources and activities for use with students and a wide range of articles and discussions on aspects of history teaching. You can see a flavour of the content and some of my highlights HERE …

Most resources are for the 11-18 age-range but some are for use with 7-11 year olds. The latest additions to the site are listed below.

With occasional exceptions I’m now concentrating on the excitement and challenge of creating a very different set of resources for teaching medieval history at KS3. For full details of this work see the box below.

Ian Dawson

Teaching Medieval History in Schools

I’ve devised this project to explore alternative approaches to teaching medieval history at KS3 and with the aim of helping Y7 students see the Middle Ages and its people in a balanced and positive light, identifying the intelligence and resilience of the people as well as their problems and the very different circumstances in which they lived.

The project began with Exploring and Teaching Medieval History, the publication I planned and edited for the HA, but I’m now building on ETMH through this website with articles on teaching about the Middle Ages and by providing links to blog and articles by historians and to other resources.

My main focus is, however, writing a new range of classroom resources for use with Y7. These consist of Medieval Lives Mattered, a series of textbook-style sections intended for classroom use, and Medieval Readings, factual stories, biographies and other ‘readings’ for use at home and in school. Other styles of material will also appear e.g. scripted dramas and decision-making activities. The first resources were published on-line in May 2019. The remainder will take a couple of years to complete.

Full information about this project, including research into students’ preconceptions of the Middle Ages and about these new resources can be found HERE …

Latest Medieval Classroom Resources

Classroom Resources: An Introduction to the new resources explaining their aims and my approach to content, task and questions etc.

Medieval Lives Mattered
  1. What are your ideas about the Middle Ages?
  2. Were medieval people very different from us?

Medieval Readings
  Did Margery Paston’s story have a happy ending?
  William Caxton’s choices
  Three Myths about the Middle Ages

See this materal, and more, HERE …

Latest Articles on Teaching about the Middle Ages

Different kinds of knowledge: what do we want KS3 students to know about the Middle Ages?

Choosing content to create a more balanced picture of the Middle Ages at KS3

Helping Y7 look beyond the shadow of the Renaissance

Planning at KS3 – the problem of 1066

Building explicit understanding of historical periods into KS3 planning

See these, and other, articles HERE …

Latest Non-Medieval Resources

• An activity created by Martin Strawson which demonstrates that fear of the Gestapo rather than numbers explains their effectiveness HERE …

• Two scripted dramas written for her students by Jen Thornton

The reign of Elizabeth I – written for GCSE classes but transferable to other ages HERE …

1646-9: Who was the blame for the execution of the King? – written for A level students HERE …

A more intimate relationship with the past: Can researching your family history help make you a better history teacher?  Ten things I’ve learned from my family history since 1830 that would have been useful to me in teaching. HERE …

About Thinking History

About Ian Dawson, the genesis of this website and contact details HERE …

The ‘Introduction and Highlights’ section provides a guide to the aims and content of the site HERE …

Teaching Medieval History
in Schools

Full information about this project, including research into students’ preconceptions of the Middle Ages and about new resources on this website can be found HERE …

Exploring & Teaching
Medieval History

Download it (HA website) HERE …

And see the contents pages HERE …