Mrs Humanities

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suffragette protest and publicity visual hexagon


Resource – Suffragette Market Place

Currently I’m teaching the suffrage movement, possibly my favourite historical topic.

Thought I’d share my most recent resource on the campaign tactics of the suffragettes.

The lesson focuses around a ‘market place’ activity.

Students start the lesson by being given an information sheet on a campaign tactic of the suffragettes. Start by taking notes in a simplified format on the Market Place Information Collection Sheet.

Next they share their information, filling in the rest of the sheet as they discuss the tactics with others. After class feedback, students complete the Visual Hexagon activity to demonstrate what they have learnt about the campaign tactics used by the suffragettes.

To download the resources simply click the images.

Market Place Information Collection Sheet

market place sheet


Visual Hexagon Task (inspired by Jivespin)




Information Sheetsinfo sheets

Source of images have been hyper-linked and a list of websites used to compile the information can be found at the end of the information sheet.

Hope they can be of use.


Mrs Humanities


Takeaway Homework Side 1

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#TakeAwayHmk – Mrs Humanities Trial and Errors

After much deliberation within my own mind about trying Take Away Homework, I decided to give it a go last term.

I’d read up about Ross Morrison McGill’s aka @TeacherToolkit idea of Take Away Homework over the summer and investigated a variety of examples but decided I would get to know my year 7 pupils first before introducing it.

Last term I decided it was the time to try out take away homework with KS3. The concept is great, it just requires a bit of work for the teacher before hand but it makes setting homework easy for the rest of the term. A winner in my book.

I decided to go with the 3 choices each week option; each choice had a different chilli rating to determine the amount of challenge/work involved. The year 7 menu looked something like this…

Takeaway Homework Side 1Takeaway Homework Side 2

Below I’ve included some of the successes and failures of my efforts with Takeaway Homework to help you.


1 // The pupils produced a wide variety of pieces of homework, some clearly spent more than the 30-40 minutes recommended for KS3.

2 // A number of pupils enjoyed the choice of homework tasks and options for creativity.

3 // Others enjoyed knowing what the next piece of homework would be and making a start on it early.

4 // For me homework was set for the term, I just had to collect, mark and praise. Win!

5 // I was able to create this great display with the fantastic homework produced by year 8 (note: the spinners and cotton wool clouds are classwork, the rest however is homework)

Failures  Areas To Improve

1 // The date set confused them. I thought this would work since the planners only give the date for Monday of each wee. However this was a difficult concept for many to grasp particularly year 7 since their lessons are on a Thursday and Friday, so their homework wasn’t set until the end of each week. This method totally failed. If I use this style of menu again I will identify the week set (i.e. Week 1, Week 2), perhaps I might even go as far as to work out the actual date the work will be set.

2 // Some pupils hated the choice. A number of pupils struggled with the choice of tasks, when I gave the pupils an opportunity to give feedback at the end of the term a small number said they just wanted the teacher to tell them what to do or to give them a specific task to complete. Whilst I prefer to give pupils choice, for some I think I would tell/discuss with them which task to complete by highlighting it with them, taking the anxiety out of choosing.

3 // Lack of effort. Despite a good number of pupils going to great lengths to produce high quality homework many were clearly rushed just to have something to hand in. This had even occurred when the pupil had chosen to complete the Flaming Hot task. This was disappointing and a nuisance to follow up. Setting out clear expectations is essential, eventually the quality of the work improved but it took a few weeks.

4 // Time consuming. Some tasks I realised were quite time consuming for the pupils such as the video making choices, research projects or key word and definition match up games. Clearly some pupils spent several hours completing their tasks. I think in future I would either set challenging but less time consuming activities or make it that all Flaming Hot tasks are over two weeks. If I did the latter choice I would ensure I set out my expectations of the level of effort required, else they’ll be doing it again *insert maniacal laugh*.

Lets Reflect

On reflection Takeaway Homework was successful with year 7 and 8, when I started at the school after Easter homework was an issue. I would spend as much time chasing it up as some students spent doing it (obviously this refers to the ones that made an effort). Now I’ve the majority of pupils handing in their homework each week, with a few exceptions of course. Choice works for many but not for some. Creativity is key to engagement.

Well if you are considering this approach, I hope this has given you some additional insight and helped your decision.
I’d definitely recommend it and although I won’t be using it this term as I’m trialling project based learning, it will most certainly see a return in term 4.

Mrs Humanities

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Humanities in the News Classroom Display


Some pupils and I have created our Humanities in the News display. We’ve started with a profile on the recent Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, the cyclone in India and the discovery of a Viking horde in Scotland.  Great array of reading. I’ve a pupil working on an Ebola piece this weekend and hopefully after the half term a few more articles will role in. I’m hoping this will encourage my learners to take an interest in the news and expand their global knowledge.  I thought it would be a great way to stretch the more able and engage all learners. 

The idea is that the display will be regularly updated as pupils discover and report new stories. All ‘previous’ reports that have done their time will be kept in a file which pupils will have access to for reading and research.

I look forward to many more updates on the board and pupil participation in the project. 

Do you do anything similar?  Would you try it? Tell me your views in the comments.

Mrs Humanities


Creating Displays

With open evening on the horizon this week my aim is to create displays for my classroom.

1// Interactive Progress Displays

Not only do I want the pupils to know how to progress through learning ladders, I want them to be able to see their progress. Now there maybe some debate over whether or not we should share pupils progress with the rest of the class, so I will take a vote with each class on whether they want to be included. I imagine most pupils will enjoy a bit of competition, particularly the boys.  

The original idea for Progress Pegs is from

Now  I first saw  this idea of Progress Pegs from Agility – The Teaching Toolkit who shared this from PeFoulger. I liked the simple presentation of this display which allows for several classes.

Climbing the level ladder from @Mrs_Hampshire

Whilst I also like this idea of a Learning Ladder to climb I don’t feel it would be possible to clearly see each pupil from the 6 KS3 classes I teach, I will probably keep this kind of display to just the 4 GCSE classes I teach using GCSE grades instead.


2// Learning Ladders

Now previously my learning ladders were much smaller, it was simply  6 sheets with the basic  criteria for each level. However my current school requires more detail on what pupils need to be able to do to reach each level. In Humanities I have found this difficult, as sometimes it’s not what they know but how they apply it, describe it, explain it, evaluate it… For example I’d still expect a level 3 to explain something, but the explanation will not be as coherent as a level 4 answer or as in depth as a level 6.

Levels display

Since my school have decided not to change from levels just yet I am sticking with typical level ladders. This is what I have created so far. Since I teach Humanities trying to cover aspects of both Geography and History Assessment Objectives was troublesome but I managed to break it down into 3 Geography based and 3 History based with an additional 2 in relation to Skills and Enquiry and Organisation and Communication.

I plan to get the pupils to refer to this on a regular basis to set their own targets for improvement.

3// Humanities in the News

My final and favourite display will be my Humanities in the News display. I have handed this over to a number of keen pupils to take the reigns and decide what they determine as Humanities in the News. The only part of this I will be deciding is the lovely cloud scene backing paper. The rest is up to them. They were set a mission to find news stories and articles last week to start the display off and they will be left to up-date it on a regular basis. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up. Once it’s up and running I will take a snapshot of it.


Do you have any other ideas to help me on my displays quest?

I look forward to your suggestions

Mrs Humanities


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Humanities in the News – Edition 2

geography resourcesThe last 2 weeks have been interesting both in school and in the news. Pupils have brought up topics such as the Scottish Referendum independently and we have spent a good 15 minutes or so discussing it. It may not be part of the lesson plan but if it develops their interest in the news I’m all for it. Ofsted may not agree.

1// Scotland voted NO!

Following from Edition 1 the Scottish Referendum had an interesting turn out, 55% of the Scottish population that voted decided they wanted to stay in Great Britain. I honestly thought the Yes vote was going to win.

This however I feel sets a precedent for change and many questions for pupils to consider.

How will this outcome affect future elections? With Alex Salmond stepping down from the SNP, who will take his place? Will the SNP remain as Scotland’s largest party?
Will there be greater devolution of power to enable Scotland to implement what Scotland feels in best for them?
Why did 45% of the population that voted want independence so much?
Will the people of Scotland get along in peace or will there be clashes for years to come?
What does this mean for Wales?

Here are some articles that have been published recently that maybe used for dicussion and debate

1.In Record Turnout Demographics Shape Scotland’s Emphatic No Vote –

2. Politicians ponder Scotland’s future –

3. Salmond to quit after Scots vote No –

4. Cameron pledges devolution revolution after no vote –

5. Police separate rival groups in Glasgow –

6. Queen urges referendum ‘respect’ –

Teaching Resources 

Whilst I haven’t found any resources,  I do like the idea of taking photos from these articles and using them as a discussion point with pupils. Encourage the pupils to consider the story of the image, perhaps get them to match images to headlines.

2// 11 Billion People

A new report estimates that the global population could reach 11 billion by 2100. With rapid population growth, exponential urbanisation, overconsumption and dwindling resources the ability to sustain ourselves presents more and more challenges. I love teaching the topic of population change and the challenges it poses but the exam specifications I feel make it so boring. There’s so much to cram in that its difficult to take the topic off on a (relevant) tangent and really explore the issue. In the past I have enjoyed teaching population to KS3, we’ve had the time to explore the problems of overpopulation and the role of a variety of factors in population change such as industrialisation and ageing populations.

Whilst the following articles do not explore population alone I wanted to include them as they would make interesting talking points in relation to population growth and the issues presented by a growing population.

1.  A World With 11 Billion People? New Population Projections Shatter Earlier Estimates –

2. Humans: the real threat to life on Earth –

3. It’s not overpopulation that causes climate change, it’s overconsumption –

4. We need to develop a new urban agenda – let’s start on World Cities Day –

5. Africa’s Population Will Quadruple by 2100. What Does That Mean for its Cities? –

Teaching Resources

There are so many resources on population and population growth, so many to choose from.

My favourite, the Jelly Baby Population Game. A winner all round. I have adjusted it slightly when I’ve used it but this is the original one I’ve adapted. It works well with all learners from Ks2 to Ks5.

There are a selection of ideas on the National Geographic site – Population 7 Billion. I like the idea of the Pasta Population Map. Might try it at some point.

There are an array of resources on the TES,  I like this lesson on Malthus and Boserup.

3// Explosive Eruption

Last one is short and simple, If you haven’t seen the amazing footage of a sonic boom created by the eruption of Mount Tavurvur in Papua New Guinea, watch this clip. It demonstrates the a sonic boom created by a volcanic eruption. Amazing!

1.  “Holy Smokin’ Toledoes…” Volcano Sonic Boom! –

2. Volcanic Sounds –


Hope it’s useful. Please share with friends and colleagues.


Mrs Humanities




Resources – Chronology and Timelines

Chronology challengeBeing in the position where I have to write all of my own schemes of work for our current cohort of years 7, 8, 10 and 11 I decided that the best place to start for the new years 7’s was to introduce (and recap for a small minority) the skills needed within Humanities.


I firstly carried out a baseline test to establish their skills and abilities. The results were interesting. None of the pupils had a grasp of both Geography and History, most fell to one or the other. I was shocked however at the number of children that do not know the continents or even any of the western European  countries. They will by the time I finish with them…

One of the first skills I’m teaching the years 7’s is Time and Chronology.

I have two lessons on this. We started the lesson off with each pupil being given a card with the time of the day. They had just 3 minutes to organise themselves into order, from the earliest time to the latest.  This got them active and engaged, especially when I told the second set how quickly the first set had managed it…. competition created.

Chronology CardsAfter the success of the first task and some discussion of chronology  they tried to put the reign of several Kings and Queens in order. A little AFL and a smiley face followed. We then looked at the difference and meaning of BC and AD. One question that pops up usually is ‘What if your not religious?’. I hate this one, it’s tricky to explain since time is such an abstract concept, helping the pupils to understand that Science and Geology tell us that the earth is approximately 4.6 billion years old whilst Christian beliefs are that it’s between 4000-8000 years old…. let alone all the other ideas from other creation stories. I quickly brush over this one and tell them to research it and tell me what they find out.  Chronology


To finish the lesson I set them what I think is a nice little chronology challenge. The class were split into groups of 10 and each group nominated a ‘leader’. They were given a challenge pack and they then competed against each other to create a giant timeline. The sense of competition was fierce, each team checking over at the progress of the others. I was amazed at the speed of set 1, both teams completed it in under 3 mins. Success!


Chronology Challenge

Chronology PP



Here’s a copy of my Chronology Challenge for you to try along with a PowerPoint

Please leave feedback if you download or use them, I love to know how they go and will respond to comments.


Mrs Humanities



Resources – Battle of Hastings Learning Grid

Battle of HastingsThis summer I did the one thing I always struggle to do, read a book (or two).  Well in fact I’m still reading them but still…
You see it’s not that I don’t enjoy reading, I’ve just always found it difficult to just take the time to sit and read. I’m no good at switching off.

I love research and as a result I’m very much a skim reader. I tend not to read fictional books,  if I do it really has to be something that draws me in to keep my attention (suggestions welcomed).

Anyway I decided to purchase two books this summer, the first a fairytale book crossed with a biography of Britain’s forests called Gossip from the Forest by Sara Maitland. A magical read so far. The second a non-fiction very inspiring book entitled Outstanding Teaching: Engaging Learners by Andy Griffith  and Mark Burns. 

The first thing I’ve tried from Outstanding Teaching: Engaging Learners is the idea of a learning grid. I did a search for them on-line but didn’t find anything in relation to History or Geography so I decided to give it ago for my first topic of the year with year 8 – The Battle of Hastings.

The idea behind a learning grid is that the pupils are given (or create) a 6 x 6 grid with information in each square. There are a variety of ways for using them but the easist format seems to be that the pupils roll a dice twice giving them a grid reference, they then roll the dice again to give another grid reference. The pupils then attempt to connect the information in the two squares. Another way could be to roll the dice twice to produce a grid reference and then the pupils categorise the information or pictures in the grid with predefined choices. There are a variety of other possible ways of carrying out the task suggested in the book.

The levelled assessment I’ve created requires my pupils to answer the question ‘Why did William win the Battle?’. We’re going to study the events leading up to the battle, re-enact the battle and investigate the profiles of the two armies in order to answer the question. In the lesson prior to the assessment I’m going to give them the Battle of Hastings Learning Grid that I’ve created. Now obviously having only just discovered this technique I don’t know how well it will work, but I’ll let you know once I’ve tried it. I’m optimistic it will engage them, particularly the more verbal pupils.

I’ve made two versions the first is simply the 6 x 6 grid with information relating to either the Anglo-Saxons or the Normans. This will require the pupils to firstly decide whether the information refers to the Anglo-Saxons or the Normans, this will require the pupils to consider their learning from previous lessons. Following the first step they will then discuss how this information would have related to William winning the battle. Learning Grid

The second version provides a bit more support for the lower ability pupils. I’ve colour coded the boxes into 3 categories – Saxons, Normans or Other. The pupils will be discussing how each piece of information contributes to why William won the battle. I’m also going to provide some images to help the more visual learners but can’t include those for copyright reasons.

Learning Grid Support


These were really easy to make and I believe they will be very beneficial to my learners. I look forward to using them and will let you know how they went in a few weeks times.

If you’d like to give these a try, click on the images to download the documents. If you’d like an editable version feel free to email me.


If you use them let me know how they go. I love feedback and love to hear your comments (good or bad).


Mrs Humanities





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Humanities in the News – Edition 1

Humanities in the NewsEach week/fortnight I will be picking 3 stories in the news that I find interesting. Sometimes I will share my opinion of it and then provide links that maybe useful or interesting to further outline the story or issue.

Personal readers – links are provided for further reading
Teachers – links are provided for further reading and most of which will  be suitable for use with Secondary school pupils to enable them to create their own understanding and opinions of the stories and issues discussed. I will aim to find teaching resources linked to the stories where possible for use in the classroom.


Here are this weeks top 3 Humanities in the News stories and issues.

1//   The disappointing adventures of  the Bárđarbunga  volcano.

Primarily I’m a geographer, so the possibility of a major eruption comparable to the Laki Fissure eruption of 1783 was quite exciting. However so far (fortunately)  it all appears to be quite calm with little ice melt and therefore little ash expulsion. Phew. Whilst the possibility is exciting the impact of the Laki fissure eruption had little positives for the people of Iceland and Northern Europe yet life was significantly different then and I wonder what would the impacts of a similar eruption be today. How would societies in northern Europe adapt to a sudden change in climate? * What would the economic impact of a comparable eruption be? I imagine the costs of the Eyjafjallajökull would be small in comparison to the potential impacts of an eruption similar to that of the 1783 Laki Fissure eruption.

*yes I am aware that the impact of Tambora and Laki on climate is debated but my degree research made me pretty confident in their influence.

Here are some interesting articles and links related to the recent  Bárđarbunga eruption and volcanoes in Iceland

1 – Iceland issues new Bardarbunga volcano alert

2 – Icelandic Volcano Eruption Leads to Air Travel Warning

3 – Iceland examines Bardarbunga volcano ‘cauldrons’

4 – Global Volcanism Program Background information on Bárđarbunga

5 – Q&A: Why Iceland’s Volcanoes Have Vexed Humans for Centuries –


2// Scotland’s Future

Being a member of the United Kingdom means a lot to me these days. After having taught about the geography of the British Isles and in particular what it means to be British in modern Britain over the last few  years, it has made me appreciate the country I live in. The diversity of our little island is amazing both environmentally and socially. Our country has been influenced by the invasion and migration of multiple groups over the centuries, first we had the Celts and Picts followed later by the Romans, Saxons, Vikings and Normans. Then later came the migration of African men, women and children as part of the (thankfully now abolished) Slave Trade in the 1700’s followed by Indian and Irish migrants in the 1800’s. The list goes on…

Our wonderful country is massively influenced by the history of other countries, making it a unique place to be apart of. In my opinion I’d be disappointed if Scotland were to be independent of the rest of the UK. Now I believe strongly in greater devolution of centralised government, giving the power of decision making to local governments and councils that know and understand what is best for their area as opposed to a centralised government makes sense to me and I believe it would benefit Scotland (as well as Wales) far greater than independence.

To find out more check out the following links

1 – Scotland Decides –

2 – Scottish Independence

3 – Yes Campaign

4 -Better Together

5 -Devolution of powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

And something different  for you –  Aye Art A collection of posters to encourage the 15% of undecided voters to make a decision

Teaching Resources

Referendum resources

How to teach … the referendum on Scottish independence


3// Thames Estuary Airport

Now the Thames Estuary Airport debate has been going on for sometime. This week a report has been published just days before a final decision was to be made on whether to eliminate the Thames Estuary Airport dubbed ‘Boris Island’ from air travel expansion plans. The report that suggests that a third runway at Heathrow would increase noise pollution and would be a disaster has added fuel to Boris Johnson’s fire for his airport on Boris Island. You can probably tell my opinion on the issue so I won’t bore you with it, however I think it’s an interesting topic when looking at sustainability and conservation.

Last year at the end of a rivers topic my previous pupils looked at the argument for and against the plans for Boris Island, they undertook research and were given the option of creating a piece of work either for or against the creation of Boris Island and the Thames Estuary Airport. Apart from a small handful the class really weren’t interested in nature conservation however following their own independent research they ALL created a piece  against the development of Thames Estuary Airport. Says a lot right?  They were given links to resources to both sides of the argument and they were unanimous in their decision, this really shocked me.

Here are links to help discuss the issue and consider the options

1 – New Thames Estuary airport proposal unveiled

2 – For and Against: Thames Estuary Airport

3 – Thames Estuary Airport

4 – Options for Thames estuary airport expansion

5 -Thames estuary airport plan costly, risky and a potential failure

6 -Thames Estuary airport wildlife move ‘would cost £2bn’

7 – RSPB Thames Estuary

Teaching Resources

The expansion of air travel is a good thing 

 News-based lesson: ‘Boris Island’: time for a new airport?


Please note that the opinions expressed above are solely my opinion and are not written to cause offence, the links I have included are chosen to give readers both sides of any debates. I want to allow you to create your own opinion of the issue. Whilst I am happy for you to disagree with my opinions please do not be rude or offensive if you wish to leave a comment, young people may wish to read this.

That’s all for this week


Mrs Humanities