Weimar and Nazi Germany event cards

These event cards give a broad overview of the Weimar and Nazi Germany topic. This resource can be used in a number of ways, I am going to use em in my first lesson introducing the topic by giving copies of each card to the students and they have to find out when each event happens and write a sentence summary.

Other ways which the event cards could be used are – 

  • Revision game when the cards are dealt out equally. Students then have to successfully describe the event on their card in a limited time and/or a given word limit. 
  • Another revision game is where students have to guess which event is on each other’s card by asking a limited set of questions which can only be answered yes or no.
  • The event cards could be used to construct a visual timeline.
  • The event cards can be used as dominoes where cards can be played like dominoes but where each card touches a link has to be explained and agreed by the players.
  • The event cards could bed as part of a diamond nine exercise.

Leading icebreaker and teambuilding activities for induction sessions

As Head of Student Leadership at school, one of my favourite activities is training Year 7 students in icebreaker and teambuilding activities for a session which they lead during the Year 6 Induction Day for those students joining our school who have particular needs, such as they are the only student from their primary school to come to us. The session which Year 7 students lead is based on a series of excellent icebreaker and teambuilding games provided by the wonderful University of the First Age – an institution whose resources I cannot recommend highly enough.

The activity is planned in the following way –

There is an initial session which the chosen Year 7 students [selected by the Head of Year usually by personal attributes rather than academic ability] are trained in leading a icebreaker and teambuilding session. This training is identical to how the University of the First Age trains adult facilitators in their Student Leadership programme with a clear focus that facilitators actually go through and experience the activities themselves.

Before the Induction Day itself Year 7 students are paired together and allocated no more than 4 Year 6 students to lead the icebreaker and teambuilding activities. Also, Year 7 students have been given a booklet with step by step guidance on the activities with this the Year 7 students plan which activities they are going to use and how they are going to do them. An electronic copy of the booklet is provided at the end of this blog post.

One the day, the icebreaker and teambuilding session is usually the first to take place and it is great to observe Year 7 student taking responsibility for the learning of others. The top three most popular icebreaker activities from this session are –


The task should be completed in small groups of 4 or 5.

The group stands in a line with their hands on the shoulders of the person in front. Each person is numbered 1 to 5. The line represents an engine and carriages –person 1 is the engine and the rest are the carriages. The person’s number will change according to their position in the line.

The group leader calls out one of three instructions during the activity –

CHANGE – this means person number 1 in the line moves to the back of the train.

SWITCH – this means people in positions 2 and 3 switch places.

ROTATE – this means the whole line turns round so that number 4 becomes number 1.

Once the group has practiced these moves at a slowish pace, the group leader speeds up the instructions and may link two instructions together eg. Rotate and Switch.

Once the group is happy in combining instructions the group leader can add the instruction TUNNEL, this means that the group must carry out the instructions with their eyes closed.

Pass the can

The group is sat in a circle on chairs. The aim of the task is for the group to work as a team to pass the can around the circle from one to another until it returns to its starting point. Each time the can is dropped the tin has to return to its starting position.

Instructions are given by the group leader about the rules for passing the can – such as feet only, no hands, using only elbows. Several cans can be passed at the same time.

To introduce a competitive element to the task, groups can be divided into two and complete the task against each other in a race to pass the can.

Group juggle

Work with 2 or 3 groups of between 10 and 15 students.

Step one – One ball is thrown across the circle from person to person until everyone has received it once and thrown it once. As the ball is thrown, the individual says the name of the person they are throwing it to. One the first round only, arms should be folded after throwing and receiving the ball, to ensure everyone has had a turn. Everyone is then asked to identify whom he or she has thrown the ball to and received it from.

Step two – Step one is repeated to establish a pattern/sequence that can be repeated as many times as necessary.

Step two – Once the sequence is established, more balls can be introduced into the sequence at intervals to quicken thinking and to establish a juggling effect.

Leadership faciltiators Year 7 – this booklet contains more activities which I use in this session. 

Teacher Toolkit – Helping you Survive Your First Five Years by Ross Morrison McGill – a review

Ross Morrison McGill, otherwise known as @TeacherToolkit on Twitter and author of a rightly popular blog, has followed his excellent 100 Ideas for Secondary Teachers: Outstanding Lessons with another equally successful tome – Teacher Toolkit – Helping You Survive Your First Five Years. The book is structured around five principles of Da Vinci’s ‘Vitruvian Man’ of Resilience, Intelligence, Innovative, Collaborative and Aspiration. Through this structure, the book covers practically every area of teaching and the challenges all teachers face both on a day to day basis, such as marking and duties, to the exceptional, such as planning your own teachmeet.

A genuine strength of the book is that it is rooted in realism and from someone who has ‘been there, done that’. This highly personal approach does not just highlight the successes but also presents the mistakes and low points that so many of us have experienced in teaching. In reading this book, there were so many connections I could make with what was been said – both good and bad – that made this an intriguing read. Springing from this was the wise advice brimming in each chapter which we should all do and aspire to. The advice given in each section is a mix of common sense and pragmatism which clearly helps professional development and all achievable by tweaking one’s work rather than radical overhaul. This clearly taps into the marginal gains theory of improvement which, I feel, is the most convincing argument for continual improvement.

Alongside this treasure trove of advice is, like Ross’ previous book, it is written for the Twitter generation of teachers with continual references to Twitter with what is akin to a Twitter Hall of Fame, of who to follow and why. You cannot argue with such a list as each account should be on every teacher’s Twitter follow list. Also, hashtags are offered should any reader want to tweet what they have found in the book which invites genuine interaction with the author and others.

The book is beautifully designed by Polly Norton and produced by Bloomsbury Publishing making this book accessible and easy to read. The only criticism of the book is that although the book is targeted to those in their first five years of teaching, any teacher regardless of experience can read it and get something out of it. Being someone who is rapidly approaching ‘old lag’ status in my department, the book provided a reminder of what I should be, and am, doing every day and why. As the book states in its first section – ‘There is no silver bullet in this book that will cure any personal weakness in your own teaching. Education is a lifelong journey and this book serves merely as another chapter in your own professional learning journey’ . This book achieves this in spades and should be on every teacher training and NQT book list. Essential reading.

Great Depression, New Deal and Pearl Harbor event cards

Made with the excellent Typorama app, these event cards are on the topic of America from the Great Depression to the New Deal. My students requested these for revision and can be used in a variety of ways –
Used for a visual timeline which students can annotate each card with details from their own knowledge.

Used as a revision card game, such as Guess Who, where students take it in turns to guess which event card the other is holding by asking a fixed number of questions that can only be answered with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’.

Used as a domino set where students play dominoes with the event cards and when playing a card they have to explain where each card touches how the events link together.

Can be used as flash cards which students can add details of the events on the back of each relevant event card.