Exploring our history


We are only 4 days into a new topic on “Invaders”, looking at the Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings, and already it is clear that the children are loving it. They were amazed by the soldiers, columns and mosaics that had mysteriously appeared in the classroom, desperate to read the non-fiction books in our brand new book area, and thought our opening text of “Vesuvius Poovius” by Kes Gray and Chris Mould  was hilarious (thanks to Jo Payne for recommending it!). Thanks to the Key Stage History resources (which I wrote about this time last year), I have a really interesting and exciting plan in place to teach the children the skills to find lots of facts, and activities to help them to use their new found skills.  We have a trip to Gloucester City Museum planned, which is full of information about local history, and it was this trip that led me to a new idea.

This year, I would love the children to carry out their own research project about the Roman and Anglo-Saxon history of Gloucester, spanning a period of a few weeks. I spent today reading and re-reading “Children’s History of Gloucester” by Cindy Jefferies, and I was fascinated.  If I got so hooked from reading one book, then I am sure the children would be just as interested.  However, my problem is this: many of the children in my class are not focussed enough to be able to sit at a computer or a tablet for a few lessons and be able to find and retrieve the information – the lure of other websites would just be too great, as would the opportunity to sit and chat or mess around.  We have lots of non-fiction books in school, but of course, they don’t focus on local history.  I have already contacted the Gloucestershire Local History Association for some advice (and possibly talks from their speakers), but beyond that, I’m floundering a little.  There are lots of sites of interest in the local area, from the remains of the City Walls (which we will visit), to Emperor Nerva’s statue, from the remains of St Oswald’s priory to the splendour of Gloucester Cathedral and all of the Anglo-Saxon residents within it.  Sadly though, I know a whistle stop tour of these sites would be a). impractical to arrange, and b). a real challenge for my children.  I do, however, feel an optional half term homework task coming on here…

If any readers have any advice for me, having carried out similar projects of their own, be it dos and don’ts, organisations or publications to use, then please do contact me. I have every confidence that the children will be able to produce something amazing through this project, and something that they will remember for years to come, if only I can work out how to do it.




2 thoughts on “Exploring our history

  1. The only thing I can think of is using QR codes to lead pupils to the right websites, (and they can be easily differentiated) in terms of keeping them on task, maybe as a tick – list of codes to check out as a history ‘detective’ with perhaps set questions to find answers to. I’m a secondary school history teacher and this works for me for any age so could maybe work with primary with careful selection of sites 🙂


  2. I’m with the person above. The alternative is to create some easy websites yourself which contain the information or reading comprehensions. This is the first time they are coming across this material so you want to get them to absorb it rather than fiddle around trying to find it. What about giving them facts from different periods and getting them to sort them – get key words and use these to write their own paragraphs or mini-books? Or you could give them scripts full of information to perform and then children watch each others performances and take down notes!! Personally I have no problem giving them the knowledge but getting them to use it. Create pelmanism cards is another one.


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