At SEJ we believe that through studying about our past, we gain a better understanding about life today and in the future. We are able to build empathy and understanding for the differences that our ancestors experienced, and by making connections to the past, we can appreciate how our lives are now greatly improved today, helping us to become better citizens of the future who appreciate the wealth of diversity around us.
Please click here to view our history long term overview.
Using the National Curriculum objectives and suggestions from Cornerstones, our curriculum is designed to immerse the children in a variety of historical eras. Through an interactive WOW day, each year group gets to step back in time, through drama, handling artefacts and having a fully immersive day, which hooks the children, capturing their interests from the outset such as Stone Age Day and Egyptian Day.
Each history-driven project begins with a ‘BIG Question’ to spark an interest and engage the children in the learning that is to follow. The proceeding series of lessons are tailored to enable the children to answer the ‘BIG Question’, which forms part of their assessment opportunity at the end of the project. History lessons are varied to incorporate the skills of chronology, enquiry, analysis and interpretation whilst building an enquiring mind amongst children. This enables them to reach conclusions, make comparisons and identify differences about the world around them. By the end of the project, the children will have a vast knowledge and understanding of the subject to be able to answer the ‘BIG Question’ through written explanations, diagrams or presentations.
Long Term Overviews are created to include vocabulary that complements the objectives for each project ensuring that there is progression from Year 3 to Year 6. Throughout the series of lessons, key vocabulary is embedded through class discussions and planned activities. It is an integral part of lessons ensuring that the history curriculum is vocabulary-rich; the children are encouraged to use subject specific vocabulary in their discussions and written work.
Every classroom has a project board, which highlights the project that is studied. This may include key vocabulary and facts, visual aids and examples of children’s work. Each project is organised in the same manner within the children’s books. It begins with a title page; an A4 Knowledge Organiser providing key words and visual prompts; a Bubble Page; a series of lessons; and culminates in the children answering the ‘BIG Question’.
The Bubble Page is a double-page spread where the children are able to recall and reflect on their previous learning. Here, they may write definitions, draw diagrams or complete short tasks to assist in consolidating their understanding. Further recall and retrieval practice of these skills are completed during early morning challenges.
Each history project concludes with the children answering the ‘BIG Question.’ This open-ended question requires the children to apply the knowledge that they have learned throughout the project. They may draw upon the information on their Bubble Page, as well as referring back to their lessons to enable them to form an educated response to the question. Children are able to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding through written pieces that describe, compare and analyse the civilisations studied. These written responses, combined with evidence from weekly lessons, help to inform the summative judgements made by the teacher at the end of each term.
In addition to the historical project studied, at SEJ we hold a History Festival. During a two-week period, the children learn about a further period in history. Application of writing skills, developing reading skills when researching and reading historical texts, handling artefacts and expressing understanding through artwork, all help to further embed the children’s understanding of the historical period studied. During our History Festival Showcase, displays are created to celebrate the work that the children have completed. We have pupil ‘experts’ who are able to confidently discuss the historical period, answer questions and share their knowledge and understanding with children from the other year groups.
In order to provide children with opportunities to retain the knowledge that they have learned and consolidated, SEJ provides an ‘Innovation Friday.’ This is an opportunity for children across the whole school to reflect, revisit prior learning and celebrate their understanding through activities designed and planned for the children to display their skills. During an afternoon, the children might construct, perform or present what they have learned from the previous history project.