Before devising home learning for the summer term for your Key Stage 2 pupils it’s good to consider the following approaches.
1. Reinforce prior learning by focusing on topics your pupils have already covered?
2. Focus on new knowledge and understanding linked to the topics you would have planned to teach in the summer term? Making links to previous learning where relevant.
3. Focus on the pupils becoming better historians through a range of topics with some links to the National Curriculum?
4. Provide enrichment activities for pupils using new or previous knowledge with an emphasis on making learning engaging?
Download a letter template for use when sending activities to parents
In this blog I’ll introduce a range of ways inspired by the Rising Stars History units to support you when planning for home learning following each of these approaches. I make some links to specific Key Stage 2 topics but you will find that most ideas will work for any area of learning within the subject.
Activities suggested will vary in length and you can either send one or more to parents each week or set an activity that spans a number of weeks to enable pupils to develop depth. You could decide to follow approaches 1 or 2 from the list above and then select further activities from 3 and 4 for variety.
In these difficult times there is no right or wrong approach to learning, rather the key is to choose whatever works for you and your parents. Where I’ve used italics below, I’ve written instructions you could directly cut, paste and edit to use with parents. Some weblinks are suggested but you could also add further links to sites where you have a subscription.
To provide direction and increase motivation it’s important to have a clear end product for each activity and information on how this will be shared now or when they return to school. There are a number of competitions currently being offered by museums and organisations. These could be utilised within using the prospect of a prize as a great motivation for reluctant learners..
1. Reinforce prior learning by focusing on topics your pupils have already covered.
This approach could be a challenge for some pupils if they don’t have access to their work completed in school or to the internet for research. Creating and sending home a simple knowledge organiser with a summary of key points from previous lessons could overcome some issues and help them with recall.
You could then ask them to communicate their knowledge and understanding in a variety of formats. It could be through an extended piece of writing answering the enquiry question covered in the topic or to add greater challenge you could set a new question that utilises their knowledge but focuses on a different concept. You may prefer to give your pupils the option of communicating their response to the question in alternative ways - possibly a poster or table format.
Ideas for parents:
Set your child the challenge of writing a quiz based on their knowledge of the last history topic they studied. Make sure they write the answers as well as the questions!
Children could even write a quiz with multiple-choice answers, which certainly is a challenge. Get your child to share the quiz with you and other members of your household and I am sure they’ll love being the experts
Use the information provided to recap your child’s knowledge on the history topic they have just completed.
Set them the challenge to find out what was happening around the world at the same time. Before starting out they could make a list of the sorts of things they want to know – e.g. what homes looked like, the type of food eaten, methods of transport etc. Doing this will help to avoid them copying chunks of text from websites. Suggest they record the information in a variety of ways - perhaps adding information onto a world map or making a series of timelines with information for the various societies added so they can easily be compared (Teacher: Could you provide an example?) Or via a simple table (Teacher: Could you provide a template?)
This activity can lead to all sorts of conversations about similarities and differences between different societies and also who was the most advanced and why? Your child could also think through how much one society knew about others at that time and you could set them the difficult challenge to find this out.
Extra Challenge: Ask them to find out what was happening in your local area in the same time period.
Find out about your child’s favorite learning in their previous topic and set them the challenge of finding out more about it and becoming an expert.
Maybe it was a person or an event that inspired them or they wanted to look at a certain aspect in more detail like the gods they worshipped or the homes they lived in? They can choose how they want to present their knowledge, possibly in a poster format with plenty of annotated drawings. To support development of your child’s IT skills they could present their knowledge through making a powerpoint, a podast or an imovie.
Top Tip: It may help if you thought of an intended audience to benefit from their expert knowledge, possibly their teacher when they returned to school or other members of the family (Teacher: you may decide to amend and add the intended audience).
2. Focus on new knowledge linked to the topics you would have planned to teach in the summer term?
This is certainly the most difficult approach unless you have full access to an online learning platform where you can introduce knowledge and activities, engage pupils in discussion and check learning before moving on. Your pupils will also need to be able to access adequate suitable websites or printed material to support their learning. With this approach the demands on parents to engage in the learning process and use online materials will certainly be increased.
One possible way forward is to set pupils the challenge of comparing a period they have studied earlier in the year with the one you intended to teach this term.
Clearly this approach would work much better with some topics than others – e.g if they’ve studied the Stone Age to Iron Age earlier in the year they could successfully look at aspects of the Egyptian civilization or Roman Britain. Try providing them with a template offering guidance on which areas they should focus on - e.g religion, homes, government, trade, transport etc. This could be in the form of a factfile or the child creating a knowledge organiser.
Limitations on content will require them to make choices and consider carefully which information to include and why. Support them in accessing quality resources by providing them with a list of specific websites to use for their research e.g BBC Bitesize or Teach.
Top Tip: Some topics such as local history will certainly be more challenging than others to introduce in this way and in consultation with the history subject leader you may decide to bring forward a topic from the autumn to take its place. Together you could decide to introduce something not included within your planning cycle if you feel it will be more readily accessible to your pupils and parents. A possible option here would be to teach a post 1066 topic on fun and leisure over time. This is one where parents and other members of the family could actively support the research with oral contributions.
3. Focus on the pupils developing as historians through a range of topics and activities with links to the National Curriculum
Ideas for parents:
Is your child fascinated by unusual and tricky words? If so challenge them to create a history glossary (a collection of words just related to history) writing the definitions in their own words. They can use some of the words from topics they have studied and also ones from topics they want to find out more about.
To add interest they can include illustrations. If possible creating the glossary in a small notebook as it will be very useful in lessons when they return to school.
Use the challenge sheet (Teacher: you will need to create a simple one) to support your child in becoming a history expert.
They will need to complete one per week and information they need includes (Teacher: you can amend this list): What have they read about history, watched on TV about history, dates they have learned, anything they have seen while out on their walks about local history, virtual history sites (e.g. castles, museums, archaeological sites etc.) visited and what they found out, amazing facts of the week and questions they want to answer in the forthcoming week.
There is also space for them to add something that interests them not included in the other boxes.
In their history lessons your child will have found out about a number of significant people. Set them the challenge of researching someone who interests them in greater depth.
It could be someone they have already studied or someone completely new. Guide them in their research by getting them to consider the question: ‘Why should we remember ….?’
Top Tip: As 12th May marks 200 years since her birth, a popular choice would be Florence Nightingale.
They may be able to present both positive and negative views about why a person should or should not still be remembered.
4. Enrichment activities for pupils using new or previous knowledge with an emphasis on making learning fun.
This is a great time to let your pupils become creative and have fun making links between their history learning and a whole range of subjects. Think back to some of the topics they have studied this year and the enrichment opportunities they may offer.
E.g. if they studied the Ancient Egyptians could they channel their learning into an art activity like designing cartouches or drawing or painting their family in the same style as in Egyptian art? If they studied the Stone Age could they have a go at recreating Stonehenge using materials from around the home? There is even a version using biscuits available via English Heritage. https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/siteassets/home/learn/teaching-resources/teachers-kits/stonehenge_teachers_kit_ks1-4.pdf
There is a whole wealth of ideas you could provide them with and if you need help to get creative take a look at museum sites like https://kidsinmuseums.org.uk
Two more creative approaches to engage parents
Below I have listed two more creative approaches for parents to engage pupils in, enriching experiences, ultilising and developing their historical knowledge.
Devise a history game – using the knowledge gained from new or previous learning
Children can play this with other members of the family or if possible with other relatives or friends via skype or zoom. Here are a few ideas:
Top Trumps Style Game
Call My Bluff Style Game
Odd One Out Style Game
Is your child fascinated by museums and other places linked with history e.g. castles?
While these are all closed it is still possible to visit many of them virtually (Teacher: you may want to add weblinks here to one in your locality or to one that features a topic you would like them to study). Together take a tour of one of these focusing on an area your child has studied in school or that they want to know more about.
Then ask them to plan their own room in a museum. It could be for the same theme or they could plan a room in a museum to represent life now. They could make a floor plan and drawings of what the exhibits would look like, plan interactives (where the public can engage with the objects for example games) and make a list of what will be included.
If you child like this idea there is a fabulous competition organised by Liverpool Museums they may like to enter:
My Home is my Museum
As well as various other competitions that may keep children engaged and entertained during this time:
Schools History Project writing competition
Historical Association- write your own historical fiction competition
Womens Network- Young Researchers- poster competition
Thanks in writing this blog goes to Ailsa Fidler Senior Lecturer at Liverpool Hope University & Judy Clarke Headteacher at Hackforth & Hornby C of E Primary School.
Bev Forrest is the author of the Rising Stars History schemes of work. She is Chair of the Historical Association Primary Committee and a HA Quality Mark assessor.
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