Big Picture History

Seeing the big picture involves placing topics of study within a broader understanding of the past. This involves relating topics to the local, national, and world perspective together with their place in a broader understanding of the past. In this section you will find articles and resources to support a wider historical understanding.

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  • Pandemics in history: similarity and difference

    Article

    I was inspired to put pen to paper to include an article putting Coronavirus in some sort of historical perspective after reading Peter Frankopan’s article in The Times newspaper on 28 March. The article entitled ‘Pandemics are terrifying but they can make the world better’ is written by Peter Frankopan...

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  • Siege coins of the English Civil War

    Article

    Looking at the bigger picture and focusing on the local impact can excite primary school children and help them make a connection to a significant event. Combining it with a cross-curricular approach can be a great challenge. One such period is that of the English Civil War which started in...

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  • Pull-out Posters: Primary History 77

    Article

    1. Fun across time; 2. Write your own historical fiction

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  • Scheme of Work: Waterloo and the Age of Revolutions

    Article

    This scheme of work explores the 'Age of Revolutions' period across the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It was written for the Historical Association by Karin Doull to supplement the Age of Revolutions Teacher Fellowship Programme, which is funded by Waterloo 200. The Napoleonic wars shaped their age: children...

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  • Making the most of the post-1066 unit

    Article

    Making the most of the post-1066 unit: looking at continuity and change over 10,000 years The ‘aspect or theme of British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066’ unit is designed to extend the period of study beyond 1066 to help pupils develop a coherent picture of British  history....

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  • Scheme of Work: The Georgians

    Article

    This unit focuses on the Georgian period across the mid to late 18th century. It is during this period that Britain (rather than England) begins to consolidate the gains made by Tudor and Stuart explorers and traders. The seeds of the British Empire of the Victorian period are planted at this...

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  • Scheme of Work: Thematic study - Education

    Article

    Children can be introduced to the idea that educating children has a long history with many changes over time, sometimes with turning points and significant developments. This unit examines some ideas about change, e.g. the pace and nature of change, the impact of change and continuity. It draws upon content...

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  • How do pupils understand historical time?

    Article

    One of the key aims of the English history National Curriculum is to ensure that pupils ‘know and understand the history of these islands as a coherent, chronological narrative’. Teaching chronology is also important in the Netherlands. In this article we cover some aspects of teaching and recent research from...

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  • The importance of history vocabulary

    Article

    Teachers and schools should surely be forgiven for quickly turning to the pages containing the ‘subject content' - within the new history curriculum - and finding out ‘what' they should be teaching. This is especially true for Key Stage 2 where children must now learn British history from the Stone...

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  • What do we mean by Big Picture History?

    Article

    Perhaps the best way to start thinking about Big Picture history is to say what it is not - it is not about rote learning dates or remembering ‘famous people and events' - Alfred the Great, The Battle of Hastings, Henry VIII, Florence Nightingale ....and so on! This factual knowledge...

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  • Implementing the new curriculum in Year 2

    Article

    A first attempt at implementing the new curriculum in Year 2 The chance to pilot the new National Curriculum presented me with the opportunity I was looking for to revamp a tired Year 2 curriculum. I began teaching in Year 2 two years ago, having previously spent five years working...

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  • Ideas for Assemblies: Lest we forget

    Article

    Over the next three editions of Primary History our assemblies pages will be linked to the theme of commemorating the First World War. We have found that while many teachers wish to remember these events in school, they are unsure how to approach the subject with primary aged children. It...

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  • Britain from the Iron Age to Robin Hood

    Article

    ‘...if children are to ever fully appreciate history the development of historical time has to be central to our teaching methodologies' This lesson aims to provide an overview of this period, developing pupils' sense of chronology and their understanding of cause and consequence. The context for these ideas comes from...

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  • Pull-out Posters: Primary History 67

    Article

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  • The Berlin Olympics 1936

    Article

    Nazi Germany was the backdrop of the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The Nazi party used the games for propaganda whilst hiding its racist and militaristic campaign. The following activities seek to encourage historical inquiry and interpretation, through exploring the Games using De Bono's ‘Thinking Hats' (1985). To start the session, children...

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