Posted by: markhowell101 | February 17, 2010

Roman Roads

I have not learned history myself since I was 14 so have found teaching it at year 7, 8 and 9 level a difficult thing to master initially. The nature of my department requires that students have 1 teacher for all their humanities subjects (a philosophy I do not necessarily subscribe to) and this requires that for the first time in over a decade I needed to consider topics like the World Wars, the Romans and the British Empire. Whilst I have felt this year that my geography lessons have been steadily improving in standard I have felt that the quality of my history lessons lags some way behind leaving me feeling bad for my students when we come to a history topic.

However this week represents an epiphany of sorts in terms of my teaching of history. Until now my standard history lessons have been based on text books (a fact which has not gone unnoticed by the kids) or the better lessons borrowed from one of the many very excellent historians in my department. For some reason my brain is programmed to come up with decent ways of delivering geography in order to engage but a lack of subject knowledge means that I have struggled to come up with similarly engaging history lessons. I often stare at the wall in my study for hours trying to conceive of brilliant ways to teach the slave trade or king Henry knowing that a better historian than I could have gone to bed hours ago. But, for the first time this week I came up with an original history idea to be pleased with.

The idea itself is based on a powerpoint I found on the school system (so credit to its unknown author) about the construction of Roman Roads. My initial thoughts were that the powerpoint, along with its accompanying worksheet was unlikely to engage my middle ability but very lively year 7’s for an entire double period. I decided to adapt the information on the powerpoint into making a model of a roman road. The students follow steps on a powerpoint and make and label their own Roman Road from a template. Whilst the lesson is in no way ground breaking it represents a change in my own mentality about my own ability to develop engaging history resources.

The lesson itself went down very well engaging a very lively group for the best part of a double, they certainly didn’t mind setting about some more mundane questions about their models once completed.

Both the powerpoint and the template are available on my 4shared account which anyone may access. Email or tweet me for the link.

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