100 Ideas for Secondary School Teachers – Outstanding History Lessons by Emily Thomas – a review 

The latest book in the 100 Ideas series from Bloomsbury Publishing is on Outstanding History Lessons by Emily Thomas. In effect, this is a rewrite of the Julia Murphy title published by Continuum Press in 2004. However, this is a substantial improvement on the previous titile as this is a more thorough and detailed coverage of relevant history teaching techniques and gives many links (including from this blog) to further thinking and resources.

The book is logically structured, covering such areas as the role of evidence, teaching big concepts, revision, learning key information and setting creative tasks. Such a structure makes locating information and ideas simply and with ease. The material draws heavily on the work of cutting edge teachers, such as those found on Twitter, as well as Emily’s colleagues and people who she works closely with. Consequently, there are many great teachers referenced here which provides the reader an excellent list of people to research and draw further ideas from. Tweachers, further reading and blogs used to write the book are all listed and provides a superb reference point for further research.

The book is a mix of tried and tested Ideas which would be particularly useful to NQTs and trainee teachers, ideas which are developed and given a different twist as well as original ideas which can be applied to not only history topics but many other subjects as well. Particularly shining highlights include Idea 5 – Causal Equations, Idea 23 – The Selfie Portrait and Idea 9 – The Significance Tournament. All these ideas, I will adapt and try out in my lessons in the next few weeks.

This is a bumper time for History teachers in terms for subject specific teaching and learning books with Russel Tarr’s excellent A History Teacher’s Toolkit: Practical Classroom Strategies. Emily Thomas has produced an excellent title that compliments Tarr’s book and can add new ideas as well as revitalise more established ones to any history teacher’s armoury. Highly recommended!

Induction and icebreaker task cards

Next year will see me take on a new Year 7 form and finding engaging ways to get to know your form is essential in making an effective and efficient start. During the induction process which begins in the Summer Term, I set my new form a task for them to complete over the summer. The primary aim of the task is for student to display and promote something good about themselves. However, setting such a task also helps all students get used to the concept of homework straight away.

This year, I have created five attractive induction task cards for students to choose from and take away to complete over the summer. Most of these activities produce an outcome which can be used for a display, which is something I usually do for my form. Having such a display in the form room creates an immediate sense of belonging for students. When setting the induction task, tell the students of your intention of producing such a display of the best work from the form as this should encourage many to take more care and pride over their work. Good luck!

Creating independent learners poster

The teaching and learning focus for this term at school is developing independent learning in lessons. Having been asked to take a leading role in this CPD for all staff, I began by summarising some tips and pointers for teachers in this Keynote presentation. Keynote is a great app and was highlighted recently by @ICTEvangelist and @87History on Twitter as an excellent presentation tool. This poster is to be presented in all classrooms at school as the first stage of developing awareness of developing independent learning. I hope it is of use to others.

Directory of Kahoot quizzes for the Britain, 1890-1930 GCSE topic

These Kahoot! quizzes are all related to the GCSE topic – Britain – 1890-1930. Great for revision in the classroom or for students independently test knowledge as part of a revision programme.

Liberal Reforms


Votes for Women


The Western Front


British Home Front During the First World War


The Battle of the Somme


The General Strike