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Teaching Local History

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#16 Dan Moorhouse

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 07:26 PM

The West Yorkshire archive service has begun to provide some interesting online materials. They are developing a website on the history of Women in the area that promises to be extremely useful. The website History to Her story currently has two online learning packs online: Life in an asylum and Women and War. It is incredibly easy to build both of these into exisiting schemes of work and they can easily be supplemented with additional sources: in Bradford we are fortunate enough to have a very good local newspaper that has good archives and a range of stories from each year of the twentieth century online.

An article in the local paper promised that most sections of this site will be fully active fairly shortly and will incorporate the text of all of the Bronte sisters correspondence. That ought to prove an interesting resource.

#17 Dave Wallbanks

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 11:40 PM

Some more ideas that've just crossed my mind and some really useful other links you might want to look at

I've just bought some local maps of the village I work in and these can be used as comparisons BUT there's the most amazing geography based project that will allow pupils to have access online to every stored map of the area from the last 150 years (It's being trialled now) and pupils can literally zoom into 100 metres or less to look at these. however it gets better because each area has been photographed from the air and your pupils can access these too so the possibilities for local history in the north east will be immense.

I should also add a few other worth mentioning

looks at local history topics across the regions. i love it!

Also try finding materials on the history channel's
http://www.thefamily...ryproject.co.uk which be interesting

Also another north east source of mining information is
http://www.durham-mi...Miner Home Page
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#18 Karl Cain

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Posted 04 March 2004 - 09:39 AM

It is good to see so many people enthused with the notion of local history throughout KS3 and whenever possible KS4. It seems to me that one great advantage is the engagement with the past that all pupils of a range of abilities and motivations can attain. I just wonder how local it needs to be. Having taught in Washington New Town which has little visible evidence of even the recent past then looking at old maps and sources seemed to be accessing a 'foreign country'. Thus the history of Sunderland or Newcastle would still have many of the virtues of local history together with some other advantages. There is value in looking at old buildings and sites that do make obvious connections with the past and enable pupils to work out things for themselves.There is decreased emphasis on the written word which at times is vital. Obvious examples include Newcastle Keep and Warworth Castle.
I would also draw people's attention to a pack made a little while ago called 'Westall's War'. It was put together (brilliantly) by Tyne and Wear Archives and was meant to be an English/History cross curricular collaboration based upon the 'Machine Gunners' novel. If you do not know of it have a look at the associated website. The BBC are putting together a site called Englandonfilm which continues their look at local history from last year using the Northern Film Archive.
A good idea seems to me to be for a group of 'local' teachers to put together a joint pack of material focusing upon a particular area or event. The drawback to local history is the time it takes to sift, select and organise so many hands.....
Surely schools would want to use/buy it!?

#19 Dan Moorhouse

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Posted 04 March 2004 - 10:08 AM

I've found a range of good archives and resources for Local history in the last couple of days. Most of the sites have teachers' notes on them, so I'll not replicate the teaching ideas here. Links as follows:

Making local history come alive - a powerpoint presentation created by the History Advisor for Lancashire County Council. This covers a range of ideas about how to incorporate local history into the curriculum. A reasonably large download.

Online investigations into Hertfordshire at the time of the Victorians. This site has a number of interesting activities on it. It includes a searchable database that would allow students to research a number of areas and has pretty good guidance about how to teach using these resources. A very impressive resource that is very useable.

Powys Heritage online has a range of resources suitable for KS2/3. It's primarily aimed at a KS2 study of the Victorians, though could be adapted for use when looking at society in the Industrial Revolution.

Surrey History service has a number of resources of use.

This has already been noted by Kain, the online version of Westall's War has an online site aimed at studying the war as experienced in North Shields.

A century of political and social campaigning in Wales has some good source material online that can be used in a variety of contexts.

It's worth remembering that The Learning curve snapshots sometimes relate to localities rather than national issues.

HOLNET is excellent for the study of London's history.

This appears to be far from complete but it's worth returning to at a later date to see whats available on The Domesday book online.

Edited by Dan Moorhouse, 04 March 2004 - 10:10 AM.

#20 Simon Ross

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 03:57 PM

Year 8 at our school have all been conducting Local History Projects this half term. Lessons have been scheduled in the library and computer rooms. Boxes of newspapers and leaflets have been collected and available for classroom use. Pages of links were made available. A booklet of advice has been put together as well.

The results have been somewhat mixed. Many students have been really engaged - particularly some difficult boys who have been studying Reading Football Club. It has also got Year 8 into the library and using it as a valuable resource. However, students have had difficulty transferring the skills that they use in 'normal' History lessons to the less structured Local History Project lessons. Probably the biggest trap has been for students to copy and paste huge chunks of information without actually making sense of it. Even when they have tried to 'put it in their own words' or make timelines of it, their work is very difficult to assess. They may be working independently to find information about the topic, but they show little understanding, and often fail to explain why events happened and the consequences of them.

In an attempt to counteract this I have been encouraging them to use some of the things we do in lesson. In particular I have tried to encourage them to use living graphs to try to make sense of the events, furthermore I have stressed the usefulness of using PEE burger paragraphs to help structure their answers. There is still a long way to go but I think it is a step in the right direction.

I have put together a possible computer worksheet for them to do: (word document 160kb) http://www.ilovehist...EEstructure.doc
It tries to combine - assessment for learning (aims, success criteria, peer assessment), PEE burgers, living graphs and the constructive use of cut and paste.
Any thoughts, comments, suggestions gratefully received.


Edited by Simon Ross, 19 May 2007 - 03:59 PM.

#21 Dave Wallbanks

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 07:44 PM

If you're doing Reading Football Club's history you'll find my grandad's brother was coach and manager for a short while! 7 degrees of separation? Jimmy Wallbanks!
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#22 D Letouzey

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 12:53 PM

Holnet is no longer working, showing only adverts.

For westwall, the address has changed to http://www.westallswar.org.uk


#23 Nichola Boughey

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 10:52 PM

As I have mentioned previously I have been undertaking a Local History project involving 13 Yr. 9s and visits to a local Merchant Navy Retirement home.

The students involved filmed the memories of WWII of 7 residents and have turned it into a DVD documentary. I was so impressed with these students that I have taken Yr. 9 off NC for the last few weeks of the term (it's ok since 20/27 are taking GCSE History in this group) and the half of the class who are undertaking this project are peer teaching the other half of the class.

It is amazing... we have had two lessons and the impact of learning about people actually LIVING in their community is having a massive impact.

We do an end of Yr. 9 survey and in the comments section this class all seemed to write 'you need to do more of this local history stuff'.

I am being delivered daily PPTs, worksheets, collages, radio shows and collages. None of this is homework.

The girls have written speeches and poems that made residents at the home cry...

One girl made my day today because she uttered the amazing words...

"Miss I heard on the news that Tony Blair might give David Beckham a knighthood. It's not fair. Those people we met over the holidays... they're the real heroes and they don't get knighted. Beckham just kicks a ball around. There's something wrong there."

I plan to keep this project going indefinitely as more residents are coming forward and asking to record their memories.

Next on the list is an assembly and then a ceremony with the Merchant Navy (I have to speak and so do 3 students) and then a presentation in front of parents (including my own).

I really encourage History departments to try a project like this. With the right students it will change the way they look at the older generation.

#24 Andrew Sweet

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 08:41 PM


I glad to hear other departments are taking on Local History. We are fortunate to work closely with English Heritage and National Trust and they are crying out for secondary schools to make use of their properties. I've always wanted to do a week long Castles trip to North Wales then down through the Midlands to Cornwall. The YHAs are more than prepared to take school parties with enough notice and it would be great for Year 10s.

I would recommend both charities and YHA SECONDARY brochere for active learning days with a history spin.


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