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ActiveHistory provides entertaining, educational award-winning interactive simulations, decision-making games, self-marking quizzes, high-quality worksheets and detailed lesson plans for teachers and students.
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At the International School of Toulouse, Year 8 students (aged 13-14) are taken off-timetable during the summer term for what we call "Renaissance Day". The event is popular with both teachers and students. It promotes cross-curricular awareness, gets students working effectively as teams, develops analytical ability and improves presentational skills.
The students are organised into teams which "carousel" through a series of specialist lessons (e.g. Geography, Science, Art, Design and Technology, ICT, Maths, Music...). In each lesson, the teacher will address these questions:
a. What changed during the Renaissance in this subject?
b. Why did these changes take place?
The following morning, the students have two hours to produce presentations to answer the "Big Question":
c. What was the most important development of the Renaissance?
Finally, the groups deliver their presentations to the school principal, who judges the overall winner.
In addition, each team "peer assesses" itself to determine who contributed most to the success of the team.
If you are interested in organising a similar event in your own school, I've uploaded the following resources:
1. Teacher Instruction Sheet (with detailed timetable of events and guidance on how to structure the sessions)
2. Student Instruction Sheet (with particular guidance on how to structure the presentation)
3. Student Presentation Template (in Powerpoint).
4. Student Peer Assessment form
We also make use of these two videos:
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Events (400 years ago today): 1620 – The Mayflower departs from Southampton, England, carrying would-be settlers, on its first attempt to reach North America; it is forced to dock in Dartmouth when its companion ship, the Speedwell, springs a leak.
Births (100 years ago today): 1920 – George Tooker, American painter and academic (d. 2011)
Births (50 years ago today): 1970 – James Gunn, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter
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