Guess the Punishment

A homemade take on the classic family game, Guess Who, Guess What is storming classrooms across the country.

Again an idea I have spotted on my favourite CPD platform Twitter, Guess What is brilliantly adaptable to any topic in any subject for any year group. Students can use the board as a means of revising topics learned previously or as a way to get in the know about a new topic with the help of accompanying fact sheets.

As I get ready to go back to the ever-smiling faces of my eager year 10s, I have been looking for new ways to help them revise Crime and Punishment. So, I was impressed when I found an easily adaptable template for Guess What online.

Here’s a sneak peak at one I made earlier:


The only downside to these boards are how massively annoying they are to make, and I don’t think the year 10s would thank me for taking up 30 minutes of class time for asking them to make their own.

Perhaps, then, these are best left to a lower year group, best left to a different time of the year… best left alone?


Annotating Sources

Yet again another idea that I spotted on Twitter.

I have just printed off several images related to the separate and silent system and put them inside plastic wallets ready to be annotated by my Year 10s tomorrow. I love these because when used with dry erase markers the students can quickly add and erase ideas, work individually or in teams, and go back and add to or change ideas later in the lesson.


Speeding Violations in History

One of my pet hates when I am marking a student’s work is if they have written an incredibly brief answer to the question/task set. Whilst I love using WWW and EBI along with student response to marking to make sure that they are getting the most out of my feedback, sometimes there isn’t the room in their books for them to fully respond.

An idea I spotted on Twitter not so long ago was to bring speeding violations into my marking. These are ideal for the able student who has clearly completed a task in a rush. If a student’s work lacks desired detail, focus on the question or even if they have made spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes, I can attach one of these little worksheets into the desired space:


This worksheet allows the student chance to readdress the section of work that they have made a mistake on, whilst not crowding the existing piece of work. This is supposed to be in addition to WWW, EBI, literacy marking and smaller sections of student response.

Even though these sheets act as a great tool for student response they take very little time to be added into marking making them a very valuable tool indeed.

In addition to these basic improvement sheets, I have created a ‘stretch and challenge’ version for MAT students that complete the work quickly. These can be used in a similar way to the above improvement sheets:


Hopefully, I will get to use these sheets starting from this week. Any feedback is very welcome!

You can get in touch with me via Twitter @histapprentice

Using graphs to ‘see’ time

I had a two minute one-on-one conversation with every one of my year 10s today to see how they were finding the jump between KS3 and GCSE History.

“What are you finding the most difficult?” “Is there anything that frightens you?” “How do you want me to help?”

Inevitably when you ask those questions, you end up getting the same answers again and again. The usual fear of exams and writing in timed conditions, alongside the vast quantity of content that they are suddenly expected to remember are amongst those. However, one that I did not expect to see so frequently was the issue of chronology.

Crime and Punishment is one of those long 500 year modules and my students are finding it particularly difficult to ‘see’ time and to come to grips with the notion of change and continuity. Last week, I spotted what I thought would be a really useful revision tool.


@MissNHistory posted these graphs completed by students that I really liked. They show the rate of change over time in a way that is really easy for the students to see and comprehend. I thought I’d have a go at creating some of these for the topics that require students to understand reform and then again for an overview at the end of the unit.

I have made a blank sheet for the students to fill in about the Bloody/Criminal Code and how radical the steps taken to reform it were, but I have also made a couple of completed ones too for them to be inspired by.


The first one I created was a bar chart style graph which demonstrates the severity of the reforms both by the height of the bars and by colour coding. I liked this one because it’s visually stimulating and quite neat and easy to read. However, I didn’t think the severity of the reforms of the 30s and early 40s quite hit home enough in this chart. Again inspired by one of the charts I had seen above, I moved on to a line graph.

Line graph.png

This is my favourite of the two. Though it is a little harder to track the dates and reforms in tandem, I think this graph will really demonstrate to the students the suddenness with which these reforms took flight.

Hopefully, they appreciate my effort tomorrow afternoon!

Historical CVs

Here are three CVs I made ages ago but have just been reminded of by @87history on Twitter.

A CV each for Harold Godwinson, William Duke of Normandy and Harald Hardrada to be used when teaching the Battle of Hastings

I have only used these so far as part of a booklet with read-and-respond questions but love the idea of using this as a hook at the beginning of the topic. I have visions of giving the pupils a brief for the job of King of England and asking them to choose the best candidate without any prior knowledge. They could then keep their prediction in the back of their books to refer to when we find out who eventually became King.

A Day in the Life of a Plantation Mistress

For a seminar coming up in the next two weeks, we have been tasked with writing through the eyes of somebody involved with slavery. As I imagine the role of the plantation mistress will be largely overlooked by those eager to write as slaves or masters, I took it upon myself to complete the task.

(I also thought this was similar to the crime monologues I had been looking at recently)

I am open to constructive criticism on what I have written, if anybody is interested!

Dear diary, my only friend,

I am endlessly lonesome. I awoke alone in my four-poster bed, with my husband already out on the fields, tending to the Negroes. It must have only been about half past seven, based on the soft autumn light filtering through the silk curtains in our bedroom. He had been leaving earlier and earlier lately, and I am certain that I know the whole truth of why without asking.

It weighs heavy on my mind, ever since that jezebel birthed another pup earlier this month, that Charles spends many unnecessary hours amongst the slave huts.  There are many rumours about the place that the horrid little Negro is too pale to have been fathered by anyone other than my husband, and in their idiocy they do not believe that those rumours reach up here to the house. Nonetheless, I have a sharp enough tongue and a strong enough wrist to whip the little whispers out of the filthy liars that serve in the Big House.

I decided to promote that Sarah into the position of my hand maid. For the first day she sobbed, devastated by being brought so far from her child, so I told her that today she could bring it and have it sit in a basket by the door while she tended to me. The moment I set eyes on the child my heart ripped in twain. I looked into its crib and my Charles looked back. I was shocked and sickened to see the truth.

Though it was impossible to miss the pain that that Negress was in from childbirth and working in the cotton fields under the careful watch of the overseers, I could not help but smack her. I wiped the dozy smile of a new mother from her face with the back of my gloved hand as she looked upon the wretched infant. I knew it was not her fault and I was surely not doing it as punishment, since I could have easily hit her with something else, if that was so. I suppose I did it due to the shock, the sudden realisation that the man I had married and doted upon and adored had thought it acceptable to deflower this woman and have her in our house. I suppose I did it because it was not until that moment of truth that I fully understood how trapped I was and how little he thought of me.

To him, I am nothing now. I am no more than one of Them.

Teaching and Learning Ideas

As I prepare to apply for a PGCE course this October, I am spending a lot of my time watching history teachers bring different periods to life. I have noticed a considerable leaning towards bureaucracy that many teachers have long complained about, but I still find it absolutely fascinating the way in which a class full of bored teenagers can become suddenly enthusiastic about Tudor poverty or social issues in 18th Century England when given the right tasks to do.

One of these ideas that I have absolutely fallen in love with, is the task of writing a monologue. Students are asked to write a page explaining their life as (for example) a vagrant in the Tudor period, how they were treated, what happened to them, etc. I have found that children, especially older children have adored this task and even the ones who often refuse to participate have been really connecting with the emotion of their character.

The fact that this task is so open, means that you could use it really for every period and topic from slavery to witchcraft to the Industrial Revolution.

I intend to come up with a few examples over the next few weeks. I hope you like them!

Here is my first.

The Vagrant

TASK: Produce a monologue. You must choose one of the crimes that we have been studying and produce a monologue explaining your life as a criminal as if you are the criminal (first person). Explain what crime and why you committed it, how you were treated by the public and how you were or will be punished.

Beggar. Tramp. Vagrant. They treat me like scum. I am nothing to them, except a nuisance. They think I’m doing it deliberately. They think I’m just lazy – a good-for-nothing criminal!

My name is Harry. My birth name is Henry like our current King and his new son, but that was my dad’s name too so everyone has always called me Harry. So, I was a soldier back in 1485. It’s 1491 now and a lot has changed since then. I was strong and brave. I fought alongside Henry VII in the Battle of Bosworth, when Richard was brought down with a single arrow – or so the legend goes… They didn’t need as many soldiers when we came back and I was laid off. All that experience and training gone to waste!

It’s been six years since then and I’m honestly surprised I’ve made it this long. The winters are harsh and there’s another one right around the corner. The aging trees have started shedding their amber leaves and the nights are drawing out into endless periods of freezing black nothingness. I am so cold. I’ve been sick a lot of the time, so it’s been hard to find work.

The Church has helped me a lot. I have been given food and shelter sometimes by kindly monks or a few coins buy the richer folks. Most church folk believe that I am simply an idle sinner though and won’t help me. I swear I’m not, but nobody will give me the chance to prove myself. A lot of people are terrified of me. They see me wandering around town and blame me when something goes missing or someone gets hurt. Sometimes I might steal a loaf of bread to get by on, but I’d never hurt anybody!

Whenever I am caught I am beaten and sent home. But WHERE is this place you call HOME? I certainly can’t find it!