Next week we’ll be running our annual Crash Course In History for history teaching newbies (whether they’re fresh out of uni, or experienced teachers teaching history for the first time). Because we’ll be discussing a three step lesson plan which replicates what happens in an effective text response unit, we thought we’d share this simple lesson planning procedure on today’s blog. In the table below, you can see the three essential steps of a lesson in which we want students to develop and articulate insights about a text. If you think of history as essentially an extended exercise in students using texts (primary and secondary) to explore the past, then we can pretty much use the identical process in the humanities classroom.
Whether we’re teaching texts in English or history, a good lesson begins we a review of the evidence – rather than asking students to develop ideas based on a fudgey recall of examples (or, shock horror – a complete blank because they haven’t read the text!). Reviewing evidence can take on different form and we should mix things up so students don’t tire of the same procedure. One of the ones we use most often, whether it’s English or history – is guided annotation:
- we point out to students the things they should look for
- give them an example of what this looks like in a text and how to annotate for it
- get them to have a go doing this in a small amount of text (like a paragraph) and check if they understand the process
- get them to do it across a larger amount of text (a few pages)
Once students have reviewed evidence they can develop their ideas about it by discussing it in pairs, in small groups and then as a class. We often use a process in both English and history where students brainstorm ideas individually on slips of paper, share them with a group and then organise everyone’s ideas into categories.
Once we feel students have thought sufficiently about the evidence, then we can get then to write about. We use the identical procedures for this in both English and history:
- Despite Atticus’ belief that…
- According to Hitler…
Or word grids where students need to combine the three words in each row in any order (plus as many other words as they want) to generate sentences:
Three step lesson plan
|Consider and discuss evidence||
|Write about evidence||