History pgce lesson Plan Martin Mckinnon



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History PGCE Lesson Plan Martin Mckinnon



Study Unit: Twentieth Century World
Topic: World War 2
Title: Britain in a time of Total War – Summary Lesson.


Introduction


In the previous unit students examined the second war in detail focusing on the causes, initial skirmishes and major turning points finally culminating in Allied victory in 1945. The students have then focused extensively on the British domestic situation during this period looking at the process of evacuation, rationing, conscription (including role of women), air raid preparations, Government propaganda/censorship and the impact of the ‘Blitz’. The video ‘Put That Light Out’ has been used in most lessons to stimulate interest and as a visual reinforcement of key points. Students are now at the end of the scheme of work. This lesson will attempt to encourage group discussion and analysis in preparation to write an essay - Discuss the statement – ‘The effectiveness of the British war effort was based on sound domestic planning’.

Aims


This lesson aims to summarise the GCSE ‘Home front’ scheme of work in an effective and interactive manner, which will facilitate the consolidation student’s knowledge and understanding in preparation for writing an essay. Consequently students will be asked to produce, direct and act out a cinema ‘Movietone’ production using the footage they have seen in the video ‘Put That Light Out’ as a guide. Their production will be required to incorporate the knowledge and understanding of Britain’s preparations for war, how civilians coped during war especially with the Battle of Britain and the Blitz whilst acknowledging the role of Government censorship and propaganda, which impacted on how information could be presented to the public.

Rationale/Intended Learning Outcomes

History – Knowledge and understanding of the measures taken by Britain during wartime. Analysis of how information was distributed by the government and impact of the measures taken.




Literacy – use of historical vocabulary in script aimed at conveying a specific message.

Key Question [s]


What measures did British Government undertake to prepare the country for total war?

How were these measures implemented?

How effective were these measures?


Year: 4th Year

Teaching Time: 1 hour

Resources


Video – ‘Put That Light Out’.

Classnotes.


Teaching Activity

Episode 1- Review


Brief discussion/summary of the various aspects of the measures taken by the British government to ensure the safety of civilians and smooth functioning of the domestic war effort – Evacuation, Rationing, Conscription (including role of women), ARP, Propaganda/Censorship.
Brief evaluation discussion in the context of the Blitz.


Episode 2 – Video

Students are now asked to watch the final 10 minutes of the ‘Put That Light Out’ video.
Episode 3 – Genre

Class discussion of contemporary ‘Movietone’/cinematic footage in context of the Government’s wartime control of information:

  • What is its aim?

  • How effective is this cinematic approach?

  • What are the underlying messages?

  • Explain the use of location and language?

Episode 4 – Task Explanation

Role play: In groups of 4 the students will be asked to produce their own brief ‘Movietone’ footage focusing on one of the key aspects covered during the unit of study these could include Evacuation, Conscription, ARP, Impact of the Blitz, Rationing etc.



  • Teacher delegates each group of 4 ensuring it contains 2 girls and two boys.

  • Each production must be given a title.

  • Students have 15 minutes to get production ready.

  • Students will then perform their role-play.

  • The class will grade each group on the effectiveness and clarity of its production/message.

  • Winners to be presented with honorary academy award!!


Episode 5 – Task Supervision

Move around classroom ensuring that each group is working quickly and reasonably quietly to finish their production. Emphasis on constant monitoring. Look out especially for students who aren’t participating – this will often be boys!




Episode 6 – Performance and Award Ceremony

Reassemble the class. Ask each group to give the title for their production and then perform it. Each of the other three groups grade the performance out of 10. These marks are recorded on the board. Present honorary Academy award to the winning group.
Episode 7 – Setting of Essay Question/Dismissal

Set essay question – Discuss the statement ‘The effectiveness of the British war effort was based on sound domestic planning‘.


Thank class for efforts and dismiss.


Assessment


The essay will be assessed for clarity of ideas, planning and historical analysis.

An Account of the Teaching



Review

Pupils settled down quickly and demonstrated excellent recall of key points. It was especially encouraging to hear the articulate input from Nick Cooper who had struggled in the previous unit of study. The girls were generally more enthusiastic led by Camilla and Fiona. Most importantly students were able respond with historical argument rather than parroting random facts.
Video

The students have responded well/enthusiastically to the ‘Put That Light Out’ video in previous lessons. This continued in this particular lesson with students quick to settle and watch attentively. As usual I monitor the behaviour of Euan Hankey whose attention can drift – he is fine.
Genre

The students responded well to this discussion. There were contributions across the entire class. They picked up the purpose and underlying messages of the wartime cinema – morale, instruction etc. They also made interesting observations (Jess, Camille and Matthew) about the use of language, civilian accounts and demonstrations. The lesson is going remarkably well at this stage!
Task Explanation

This was the crucial part of the lesson – I went through each step of the task I want them to do relating it back to the video footage we had been viewing. There was plenty of eye- rolling and looks of dismay especially from the boys namely Mark and Euan. The girls were far more positive. When I asked for questions Chloe asked if they could choose their own groups. I quickly reinforce the point that I would choose the groups and proceeds to list these. I emphasised that they only had a short amount of time (15 minutes) to complete their production. Some students were unsure of where to start. So I had an impromptu discussion of ideas focusing on location and message.
Task Supervision

Students actually really got into the idea and the volume of noise was initially quite loud – this merely reflected enthusiasm so I only called for a minor lowering of the noise level. The girls were more proactive but by grouping boys with girls the girls this brought the initially reluctant lads into the task creating a ‘good classroom dynamic’. There was plenty of discussion and exchange of ideas amongst the groups – this was the key point.
Productions

Students regrouped well although a little talkative and over excited. I had to raise my voice to regain complete control. The students took the task of grading the rival efforts seriously and made thoughtful and insightful comments which demonstrated good understanding.

  1. Dig For Victory’ (Kingsley, Michelle, David, Matt) 22/30 – well executed with a strong prominent message.

  2. The Plane Spotters’ (Camille, Pippa, Matt, Alex) 18/30 – too much laughter crucified by the critics! Probably the best idea.

  3. The Bomb Squad’ (Jess, Chloe, Mark, Euan) – 20/30 – solid effort with good dialogue, comedy.

  4. Bye, Bye Baby’ (Fiona, Camilla, Nick and Jon) – 23/30 – the best effort with creative Anderson Shelter location and clear humorously delivered message.


This episode went extremely well and the student participation was exceptional.
Setting Essay Question.

This process elicited a few grumbles! I stated that this lesson should help them to write their essays – they are given a week to write the essay. Students are dismissed. A successful lesson completed.





Action Research - Academic Rationale

Educational Setting

Whilst teaching ideas such as card sorts and graphs are effective summary tools this piece of research provided the opportunity to explore the possibilities offered by drama. This action research focused on the effectiveness of role-play as a consolidation/revision exercise prior to writing an essay for a GCSE scheme of work. In this case the scheme of work was ‘Britain in an Age of Total War’ which was coursework at Taunton School for the GCSE Modern World Syllabus under the Edexcel specification.


The idea behind the use of role play / drama was to get students to think critically about the knowledge and understanding they had developed and to use this to create their own effective ‘Movietone’/ government propaganda production working from the template provided by the video ‘Put That Light Out’, which contained extensive wartime cinema footage. This particular lesson structure also involved class discussion about the productions done by the other groups in the class to deepen and enhance their learning.
In this Action Research lesson students were asked decide on a title, location, write a brief script and then act out their brief piece of wartime cinema. In terms of learning theory this builds on the ideas of Jerome Bruner who concluded that there are three types of learning experience:

  • Enactive – learning through action.

  • Iconic – visual learning.

  • Symbolic – linguistic learning.

By switching between these contrasting modes of learning students understanding/knowledge can be extended and enhanced.


Critical to this role-play lesson was the idea of group work. The composition of which was carefully considered in consultation with my principle tutor Mark Chatterton. It was decided that groups of 4 in a class group of 16 would be appropriate to generate the variety of voices and opinions to achieve the aims of the lesson and facilitate the learning process. It was decided that the make up of the groups would be carefully controlled to ensure that the lesson proceeded smoothly and achieved its aims. Consequently the basic structure was an equal mix of boys and girls. This was done to ensure that the students desire to work in friendship groups or amongst their own sex was broken down.
The positive influence of group work has been highlighted in academic literature. Vygotsky notes that it is only through social interaction fellow children and often crucially, the teacher, that a child can realise their potential. Thus this ‘Movietone’ production takes place in a social group context. Indeed the lesson requires pupils to work together constructively in a process which could be described a ‘cognitive cooperation’. The aim being to create a situation where scaffolding takes place – ideas, knowledge and understanding are discussed and then rationalised to produce a coherent role-play that reflects enhanced knowledge and understanding.

Research Methodology

The research methodology focused on the collection of data during the lesson. This took the form of extensive note taking and observation of the class as the groups worked on their particular productions. For independent verification / perspective on the lesson the class teacher Mr Gareth Doodes observed the teaching and the class dynamic as the lesson progressed.


A particularly crucial aspect of the research methodology was the class analysis of each groups ‘role play’. Thus students were helping to analyse how successful their learning and understanding experience had been during the lesson.
Finally the essays produced were marked and compared to the general standard of work produced by individual students to see if any drop in standard had occurred or indeed any patterns of discernable improvement that could be related to the effectiveness of the summary lesson.

Results and Findings

The level of enthusiasm for the task was high. The input from the boy’s after beginning in mildly reluctant fashion was impressive. The key to this was the group selection and ensuring of a mixture of boys and girls, which created a positive group dynamic. The level of discussion and frank exchange of ideas amongst the group members was observed to be excellent. What was most obvious was the enthusiasm and enjoyment that pupils gained from the exercise.


Critically the students took seriously though with plenty of humour the task of analysing the work of the other groups. Indeed the productions were graded and commented upon in a productive intelligent fashion (see teaching activity account).
Mr Gareth Doodes concluded from his observations that it was a highly effective and enjoyable lesson that enabled pupils to use their imagination whilst enhancing their understanding. Significantly he was able to note areas where the focus of the lesson could have been sharpened. These included the use of explanation handout and a brief discussion of types of ideas that could be used.
Most importantly the essays produced by pupils were generally of a similar standard to previous work they had done. It was noted that at the lower end of the class there was some improvement in the standard of work. Whether this could be attributed solely to the role-play lesson is a matter open for debate given the lack of controls in place.

Evaluation of Teaching

The teaching activity was very effective. A key component of this was the use of the video, ‘Put that Light Out’, throughout the scheme of work. This provided a visual medium which reinforced/clarified understanding whilst providing narrative continuity.


The task explanation dragged on a little due to a barrage of questions that written instructions may have avoided. In the future I would set out the task instructions on a sheet of paper (see revised lesson plan and resources). A key strength of the lesson was the critical evaluation of the cinema genre and exploration of what made the wartime cinema or ‘Movietone’ productions effective government propaganda. This enabled a smooth transition into the central task. With lower ability classes it would perhaps a good idea to have a brief canvassing of ideas to ensure the pupils were able to move swiftly into the task.
The actual productions demonstrate imagination and flair whilst reflecting historical accuracy and understanding. On reflection videotaping the lesson would have contributed significantly to this piece of action research. Most significantly the peer analysis added a valuable extra layer of interaction, which further extended the pupils knowledge and understanding.
The effectiveness of the lesson was underlined by the standard of essay received. The top end of the group demonstrated little variation in their standard of work. The bottom end of the group – Nick, Alex Jess and Euan all exhibited and improvement from their general level of work, some of which could perhaps be attributed to role-play exercise. Importantly there was no fall in the pupil’s standard of work.
Finally it is important to note was that this action research took place within a GCSE group at an independent school – Taunton School, which has very few behaviour issues in comparison with your standard comprehensive. There were no significant SEN problems. And in the case of this lesson no need to focus heavily on differentiation. This situation undoubtedly contributed to the lesson going smoothly. Indeed there could be serious classroom management issues with a less responsive or motivated class.

Conclusion

Consequently this particular teaching idea does have limitations and requires (especially where there are behaviour issues) careful planning and attention to the detail of group composition. However in the right circumstances the data together with observations and feedback indicated that this method /teaching activity can work effectively as a summary exercise sharpening/enhancing focus and understanding.



Revised Lesson Plan

Martin Mckinnon





Study Unit: Twentieth Century World

Topic: World War 2


Title: ‘Britain in a Time of Total War’ – Role Play Revision.

Introduction


In the previous unit students examined the second war in detail focusing on the causes, initial skirmishes and major turning points finally culminating in Allied victory in 1945. The students have then focused extensively on the British domestic situation during this period looking at the process of evacuation, rationing, conscription (including role of women), air raid preparations, Government propaganda/censorship and the impact of the ‘Blitz’. The video ‘Put That Light Out’ has been used in most lessons to stimulate interest and as a visual reinforcement of key points. Students are now at the end of the scheme of work. This lesson will attempt to encourage group discussion and analysis in preparation to write an essay - Discuss the statement – ‘The effectiveness of the British war effort was based on sound domestic planning’.

Aims


This lesson aims to summarise the GCSE ‘Home front’ scheme of work in an effective and interactive manner, which will facilitate the consolidation student’s knowledge and understanding in preparation for writing an essay. Consequently students will be asked to produce, direct and act out a cinema ‘Movietone’ production using the footage they have seen in the video ‘Put That Light Out’ as a guide. Their production will be required to incorporate the knowledge and understanding of Britain’s preparations for war, how civilians coped during war especially with the Battle of Britain and the Blitz whilst acknowledging the role of Government censorship and propaganda, which impacted on how information could be presented to the public.

Rationale/Intended Learning Outcomes

History – knowledge and understanding of the measures taken by Britain during wartime. Analysis of how information was distributed by the government and impact of the measures taken.




Literacy – use of historical vocabulary in script aimed at conveying a specific message.

Key Question [s]

What measures did British Government take to prepare the country for war?


How were these measures implemented?
How effective were these measures?


Year: 4th Year

Teaching Time: 1 hour

Resources


Video – ‘Put That Light Out’.

Class notes.


Revised Teaching Activity

Episode 1- Review


Brief discussion of measures taken by the British government to ensure the safety of civilians and smooth functioning of the domestic war effort – Evacuation, Rationing, Conscription (including role of women), ARP, Propaganda/Censorship.
Brief evaluation of impact of these measures.


Episode 2 – Video

Students are now asked to watch the final 10 minutes of the ‘Put That Light Out’ video.
Episode 3 – Genre

Class discussion of contemporary ‘Movietone’/cinematic footage in context of the Government’s wartime control of information:

  • What is its aim?

  • How effective is this cinematic approach?

  • What are the underlying messages?

  • Explain the use of location and language?

Episode 4 – Task Explanation - run through instruction sheet


Episode 5 – Task Supervision

Move around classroom ensuring that each group is working quickly and reasonably quietly to finish their production. Emphasis on constant monitoring.




Episode 6 – Performance and Award Ceremony

Reassemble the class and run through performances.
Episode 7 – Setting of Essay Question/Dismissal

Set essay question – Discuss the statement ‘The effectiveness of the British war effort was based on sound domestic planning‘.


Thank class for efforts and dismiss.


Assessment


The essay will be assessed for clarity of ideas, planning and historical analysis.


Role - Play Activity
Task: The class will be divided into groups of four designated by the class teacher. Each group has to produce their own brief piece of ‘Movietone’ cinema magic focusing on one of the key aspects covered during the unit of study these could include Evacuation, Conscription, ARP, Impact of the Blitz, Rationing etc.
** Remember use the ‘Put that Light Out Video’ as a guide!

  1. Your group must decide on a location, write a script and decided on a suitable title for your production.




  1. Students have 15 minutes to get production ready.




  1. Students will then perform their role-play.




  1. Each group will grade the performing group on the effectiveness, clarity of its production/message and historical accuracy and record a mark out of ten.




  1. Winners to be presented with honorary academy award!!


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