Active Learning on www.thinkinghistory.co.uk

Welcome to Thinking History

This site was set up in 2004 to support trainee history teachers. Rather to my surprise, history teachers in general began to use the site and since then I’ve added resources on a wide range of topics and articles on many aspects of history teaching.

Most recently (2018-2020) I’ve concentrated on creating resources for teaching medieval history at KS3 – see below for an introduction to the aims and content of these resources.

New resources added to the site will also be about the Middle Ages but such new additions will be very occasional.

Ian Dawson

Teaching Medieval History in Schools

I’ve devised this project to explore alternative approaches to teaching medieval history at KS3. The aim is to help 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 the HA publication Exploring and Teaching Medieval History but my main focus is now on writing classroom resources for Y7.

These consist of Medieval Lives Mattered, a series of textbook-style chapters with linked classroom activities and Medieval Readings, factual stories, biographies and other ‘readings’ for use at home and in school.

Full information about this project, including research into students’ preconceptions of the Middle Ages, articles about aspects of teaching about the Middle Ages and details of 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?
   3. What kinds of things mattered to people in the Middle Ages?

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 …

And also new resources:

Richard III and the problem of how to secure the south:
   An activity for A Level HERE …

Journey to the Middle Ages: A Scripted Drama HERE …

What mattered to people in the Middle Ages?
   A role card activity HERE …

Latest Articles on Teaching about the Middle Ages

Why it’s worth teaching medieval history at KS3: Five possible reasons for its importance at KS3

The Paston Letters: An Introduction for Teachers

The Luttrell Psalter: An Introduction for Teachers

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

• What do history students learn about people and the
experience of living? HERE …

• What can we find out about the people of the Glastonbury Lake Village? (for KS2) HERE …

• Helping students identify different types of history books. Are they all the same Miss? (Updated 2019) HERE …

• 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 …

Latest Material

What do history students learn about people and the experience of living? HERE …

Why it’s worth teaching medieval history at KS3 HERE …

Richard III and the problem of how to secure the south HERE …

What can we find out about the people of the Glastonbury Lake Village? (for KS2) HERE …

What kinds of things mattered to people in the Middle Ages?

   • Text Book Section HERE …

   • Role Card Activity HERE …

Journey to the Middle Ages: A Scripted Drama HERE …

The Paston Letters HERE …

The Luttrell Psalter HERE …

Different Kinds of Knowledge HERE …

Different Types of History Book HERE…

And more HERE …

Exploring & Teaching
Medieval History

Download it (HA website) HERE …

And see the contents pages HERE …

2019 Ian Coulson Annual Bursary for Local History/Archaeology

The latest (2019) teaching materials from the Ian Coulson Bursary have been published, commemorating a great history teacher, colleague and friend.

These new resources provide a synoptic unit for the end of KS3 but can be adapted for other pupils.

They consist of 9 ‘snapshots’ of episodes from the history of Kent, enabling pupils to produce a piece of extended writing arguing which event had the greatest impact on the people of Kent.

For more information and a link to these free materials see HERE …