Model Essay: Analyse the causes of the Spanish Civil War

Model Essay: Analyse the causes of the Spanish Civil War A sample essay by RJ Tarr of www.activehistory.co.uk. 40+ Model History Essays by RJ Tarr of www.activehistory.co.uk As well as writing a number of articles for History Review magazine, I make it a habit to write essays in timed conditions whenever I set such assignments…

Model Essay – How successful were Mussolini’s Domestic Policies?

Model Essay – How successful were Mussolini’s Domestic Policies? (note: teacher password required). An essay completed in timed conditions by RJ Tarr of www.activehistory.co.uk. 40+ Model History Essays by RJ Tarr of www.activehistory.co.uk As well as writing a number of articles for History Review magazine, I make it a habit to write essays in timed…

Model Essays on Mao’s China

Model Essays by RJ Tarr (note: teacher password required). Analyse the methods and conditions which led to to the rise of Mao as ruler of China. Compare and Contrast the Rise of Mao and Stalin (originally published in History Review) Compare and Contrast the Rise of Pinochet and Franco Compare and Contrast the Rise of Mao and…

Analyse the causes and consequences of the Korean War

Model Essay: Analyse the causes and consequences of the Korean War (teacher password required). A sample essay written by RJ Tarr of www.activehistory.co.uk. A sample essay written by RJ Tarr of www.activehistory.co.uk. 40+ Model History Essays by RJ Tarr of www.activehistory.co.uk As well as writing a number of articles for History Review magazine, I make…

Analyse the causes of the Italian Wars 1494-1516

Analyse the causes of the Italian Wars 1494-1516 (model essay by RJ Tarr – teacher password required). 40+ Model History Essays by RJ Tarr of www.activehistory.co.uk As well as writing a number of articles for History Review magazine, I make it a habit to write essays in timed conditions whenever I set such assignments with my…

40+ Model History Essays by Russel Tarr

As well as writing a number of articles for History Review magazine, I make it a habit to write essays in timed conditions whenever I set such assignments with my classes. These serve as very useful teaching aids which help students to develop their own essay-writing skills. Provided here are more than 40 essays and…

Who is your historical hero?

I have updated this popular project with some several more illustrative examples and a link to the Amazon store where you can purchase cardboard cubes to allow your students to make more professional “History Cubes”! (117 views)

Crime Board: Who was Jack the Ripper?

Crime Board: Who was Jack the Ripper? As an alternative to producinga straightforward ‘Wanted’ poster for the killer following the computer simulation, students could instead consider producing a ‘Crime Board’ connecting the various pieces of evidence to different suspects to produce an overall theory. (504 views)

Turbo-Timeline Generator!

I have developed a brand-new timeline generator over at ActiveHistory’s sister site, ClassTools.net. All you have to do is COPY and PASTE a timeline from a website or word document, click a button and you get an animated timeline you can navigate through. Here is an example on the Life and Career of Cromwell, and…

How did Cromwell rule England 1649-1658?

How did Cromwell rule England 1649-1658? Students fill the gaps in a detailed account with the words listed at the bottom of it, then use this information to answer the questions which follow. (96 views)

England without a King: How should the country be governed?

After the execution of Charles I in 1649 England became a republic – a country without a King – and was called the ‘Commonwealth’ after the phrase ‘Common Weal’ or ordinary people. No-one had any experience of how to run the country, but there were several groups who had their own ideas… (149 views)

Oliver Cromwell’s Life and Career

Oliver Cromwell’s Life and Career Oliver Cromwell is a controversial character. There are often calls for his statue outside Parliament to be taken down. In this lesson we will investigate his life and career in more detail to decide whether he deserves to be remembered as a famous hero or an infamous villain. (129 views)

What sort of a man was Oliver Cromwell?

What sort of a man was Oliver Cromwell? A series of sources are provided and students consider such questions as “What is the difference between ‘famous’ and ‘infamous’?” / “How far do these sources agree about Cromwell?” / “Why do you think they might disagree about some things (hint: think about who wrote them, when…

Rule of Pinochet / 1973 Chilean Coup: Dialogue Poem Starter Activity

Starter Activity: Dialogue Poem After a study of the 1973 Chilean Coup, and before/during a study of Pinochet’s rule of Chile, ask two female students to read out the following dialogue poem to the class as a powerful starter activity. For further ideas about using “Dialogue Poems” in class, follow this link on Tarr’s Toolbox:…

“Backward Essay Planning” – the Rule of Pinochet

“Backward Essay Planning” – the Rule of Pinochet In this activity, students are presented from the outset with a model essay on the subject of the Rise of Pinochet. They then go through this reading it carefully for style and content, highlighting off key features and discussing their thoughts with the class. Next, each student…

New Interactive Timeline Generator!

Create an interactive classroom newsfeed using this simple interface! Simply provide a list of points you wish to share with your students. ClassTools will then turn it into an ‘race against the clock’ newsfeed for your students to take notes from as efficiently as possible! Here’s a sample, but you can easily create your own!…

Escape the Room: Mission Rivonia!

A new one-hour introductory lesson to Apartheid South Africa. “It is 1966. You are anti-apartheid fighters who have been captured after being in hiding since the Rivonia Trial of 1964. Following the assassination of Prime Minister Verwoerd, you have been discovered and placed under house arrest following a dawn raid by the police. You have…

The Victorians through Paintings: Video Clips List

Was life good or bad in Victorian Britain? – A study through paintings The following stand-alone study unit is delivered over 7-8 hours. Inspired by the excellent Jeremy Paxman series on “The Victorians”, it is designed to develop skills of visual literacy as well as essay writing. Students draw deductions from a range of Victorian…

The February Revolution of 1917

The February Revolution of 1917 Students take a detailed timeline of events and place each event into one of three columns: political damage, military damage, socio-economic damage. From this they decide when exactly the Tsar lost control of the politicians, the armed forced and the ordinary people. They then put each of these crises in…

From Yalta to Potsdam – the wartime alliance starts breaking down

From Yalta to Potsdam Through a focus on primary source analysis, students investigate how far Truman’s bellicosity towards the Soviet Union was apparent from the outset, or was merely a position he adopted once he was in possession of the atomic bomb. Part of the comprehensive unit on Cold War Origins to 1949. (185 views)

Introduction to Racism: An introduction to Rights and Protest

Racism – A (provocative!) introduction to “Rights and Protest” Before starting study for the IB Sourcework Paper “Rights and Protest” I like to get students thinking about the concept of racism and its expression in the 21st century. By doing this, I hope to challenge them out of the complacent view that modern Western society…

Video worksheet: “Brunel” by Jeremy Clarkson | Factual Test 

Video worksheet: “Brunel” by Jeremy Clarkson | Factual Test  A worksheet to accompany the excellent documentary on Brunel by Jeremy Clarkson. I get students to play the Horatio Ramsbottom Game, then we watch this and complete the worksheet, then students choose whether to base their imaginary interview on Brunel or Ramsbottom. Based on their choice, they then…

Escape the Room – Mission: Rome!

“You are a team of famous archaeologists preparing an exhibition about the Roman Empire which is due to open in just 45 minutes. The prize exhibit has been locked away safely by your team leader, but he has now been kidnapped by a group of art thieves who are asking for a ransom. Your task…

Create a Xmas (his)Tree for your classroom!

Here is a festive list of Christmas-themed History lessons for all secondary school year groups! You can also download this new set of 25 ‘baubles’ of historical events that took place over the Christmas season to make your very own Xmas (his)Tree! (138 views)

IB Extended Essay: Marksheet and Guidance

Marksheet and Guidance A student-friendly version of the IB mark scheme, combining the generic guidance from the IB as well as its subject-specific criteria for History. (251 views)

How similar were the Manchurian and Abyssinian Crises?

Conclusions: How similar were the Manchurian and Abyssinian Crises? | Teacher Model Answers Students are provided with a writing frame which helps them compare and contrast the causes, course and consequences of the two crises.   (549 views)

The Abyssinian Crisis

The Abyssinian Crisis Students are presented with a detailed breakdown of the crisis and watch several video clips to help them form judgements. A cartoon analysis exercise then follows. (441 views)

Roleplay: The Manchurian Crisis | Rolecards

Roleplay: The Manchurian Crisis | Rolecards This roleplay exercise is a great way to get students thinking about the possible courses of action open to the League. Students are given an essential briefing about the Manchurian Dispute, and are then organised into five groups representing different countries. Each country is given a role card outlining…

*NEW* Simulation: Can you survive life in the trenches in World War One?

A brand new simulation! “In this simulation you will be a British soldier who joins the army in 1914 to fight the Germans. You will learn about the conditions which soldiers lived and fought in, and the dangers they faced. There is a worksheet to go with this activity which you should complete as you proceed.  You…

Civil Rights Movement – Student research tasks / presentation instructions

Student research tasks / presentation instructions Each member of the class chooses one research task from a list of 10 options provided. Suggested sources and approaches are given in the worksheet. The students should then share their findings with the class. Links to useful sources are provided, such as this short video about the Black…

IB History Internal Assessments – sample studies

Here are a selection of IB History Internal Assessment studies from the International School of Toulouse that were graded highly in May 2017 (marks shown are those awarded after moderation by the IBO).   (268 views)

Student-friendly Sourcework Rubric

Student-friendly Sourcework Rubric This rubric provides a student-friendly mark scheme and tips for structuring each of the answers for the IB Sourcework Paper. For example: [Sourcework Rubric] (243 views)

The life of Martin Luther – Design a film trailer!

The life of Martin Luther – Design a film trailer! It’s a great story – and in this activity, students use a timeline to produce a Hollywood Film Poster (complete with suggested merchandise, reviews and screenshots) advertising a new blockbuster about the life of the Reformation giant. Focusing on the cast list, the film title…

“Advisor to the Kaiser!” – A new online simulation!

I have completely rewritten and relaunched the Origins of World War One online simulation (available on this page), which now has a detailed work pack, multimedia video clips, a leaderboard, a ‘save game’ feature so that students can return to it as a homework exercise if they don’t complete it in class, and much else besides….

The Rise of Hitler – Images

The Rise of Hitler – Images This double-sided sheet of selected images relating to the rise of Hitler can be used to develop the hexagons display piece still further, or as the basis for a visual essay writing exercise. (158 views)

President Johnson – An Introduction to “LBJ”

LBJ: An Introduction In this engaging task, students are given an overview of LBJ and his famous ‘treatment’, along with video clip links and an extract from an acclaimed biography of the President. From this they are encouraged to identify five key aspects of the “Johnson Treatment” and substantiate each with an extract from the…

The Mystery of Pompeii: stand-alone lesson

The Mystery of Pompeii | information slips | online slideshow presentation “Before giving you this worksheet, your teacher will have shown you this image on the screen and asked you to formulate four questions. After class discussion, record these in the table below and note down possible answers (some of you may even KNOW some…

Historiography: Historians on the Rise of Hitler

Historiography: Historians on the Rise of Hitler A series of quotes and extracts designed to be cut out and added into the hexagons diagrams outlined on the main topic page.   (1027 views)

Factual test – Kennedy’s Foreign Policy

Factual test – Kennedy’s Foreign Policy In the ‘how certain are you?’ format, this test determines not just what students know, but also how confident they are in their knowledge. (125 views)

Escape the Room! – Mission Havana, 1959

Escape the Room! – Mission Havana, 1959 “You are American business people from the United Fruit Company, placed under house arrest by the new Castro regime due to your close ties to Batista. You have managed to ply the guard with rum and he has passed out. But you have only one hour to find…

Escape Room: “Mission: Galileo 1610”

1. Escape Room: “Mission: Galileo 1610” “It is 1610. the Renaissance (‘Rebirth’) of arts and sciences has transformed Europe. You are students of the great scientist galileo in Padua, Italy. You have all been put in jail by the church for insisting that the earth goes round the sun! You will all taken away to…

Printable Calendar of Historical Anniversaries 2017-2018

Printable Calendar of Historical Anniversaries 2017-2018! I’ve now finished work on my classroom calendar of notable anniversaries for the forthcoming school year, which you can download by following the link. I’ve also added a facility so you can search for your own alternative events too. (5718 views)

Recommended Films for the History Classroom

Recommended History VIDEO | (see also podcasts and books) I have updated this searchable directory of useful films for the history classroom with 50 new entries based on some of the most recent feature films released in the past couple of years. (214 views)

Spotify Jukebox – Songs for the History Classroom

Spotify Jukebox for the History Classroom I have updated this resources with several new playlists and lots of new songs. If you already have Spotify, open it up before trying to play tracks. If you don’t have Spotify you will be prompted to install it on your system. See also: Blogpost – 50+ Essential Songs for the…

Cold War – Random Essay Question Generator!

Cold War – Random Essay Question Generator! This tool is desiged to help teachers and students prepare for the IB Paper 2 exam by generating possible questions to practice and discuss. It is based on the command terms and syllabus bullet points provided in the IB syllabus. Use this tool to generate a random question…

One sentence summaries: conclusions on the Presidents

These resources are a great way to tie together a study of History of Americas. They specifically cover the period 1945-1980 but the approaches used are easily adaptable for other time periods and regions. One sentence summaries: conclusions on the Presidents At the end of the debate outline above, each member of the class at…

Post-War American Presidents to 1980: Detailed summary sheet for revision

These resources are a great way to tie together a study of History of Americas. They specifically cover the period 1945-1980 but the approaches used are easily adaptable for other time periods and regions. Detailed summary sheet for revision This comprehensive printout provides a thorough breakdown of the domestic and Latin American policy achievements and…

Comprehensive Summary Sheet for Revision: The Civil Rights Movement to 1965

Comprehensive Summary Sheet for Revision: The Civil Rights Movement to 1965 A thorough and essential revision aid over several pages. Suggested tasks: People: Decide upon the most important individuals in the civil rights movement (highlighted in yellow). Divide these between the class to research further, then conduct a classroom balloon debate to determine the overall…

Revision Summary Sheet: anti-apartheid resistance groups

Revision Summary Sheet: anti-apartheid resistance groups An illustrated summary sheet of the aims and objectives of various resistance groups – an ideal revision aid. The IB Paper 1 (sourcework) option “Rights and Protest” requires students to cover two case studies: Case study 1: Civil rights movement in the United States (1954-1965) Case study 2: Apartheid…

Using drinking straws to study competition, co-operation and the arms race

Overview This short, simple but effective exercise (requiring nothing more than some drinking straws) helps students understand about the limits of co-operation, the dangers of unbridled rivalry and the importance of co-operation. In this sense it can be used in a variety of contexts but I personally use it to provoke a discussion about the…

Design “Tubular Timeline Towers” for chronological understanding

Overview As a ‘choose your own homework‘ option, suggest to students that they consolidate their chronological understanding by constructing a “Tubular Timeline Tower”. Case Study In the February holidays, I give an open homework task to students who will be taking public exams in May. I ask them to choose any topic that they are…

“History in your pocket”: Coins as sources

Overview This great idea was developed from an idea shared by @histHartford. This photo comes from Mr. Atkinson (@AtkoHistory) and was shared to the #historyteacher hashtag on Twitter by @EllenWicks: Taking it further Students should be encouraged to bring in coins and banknotes from their foreign travels at the start of the Autumn term. This…

Student bookmark: Key vocabulary for essay writing

Overview I have designed the following bookmark in order to help students use a richer range of vocabulary to express their ideas more clearly in essays: Sets of these bookmarks can be printed off, laminated, cut out, and then shared with students to keep in their planners or textbooks. Download Student bookmark: vocabulary for essay writing…

Use “EyeSay!” to give visual feedback on student essays

“EyeSay!” is a new tool I have coded at www.classtools.net to help students and teachers get a useful visualisation of essay style and structure. Students simply copy and paste their essay from a word processor, and then the web application colour-codes its central stylistic features. For students, it helps them develop their writing – They…

The Treaty of Sevres [1]: The Middle East

The Treaty of Sevres [1]: The Middle East | teacher answer sheet Students learn about the conflicting promises made by the British in the Middle East during World War One, and then tackle this: “It is now 1919. You are Prime Minister David Lloyd George, about to head off for the Paris Peace Conference. Complete this official…

IGCSE History Revision 2017

Completely updated and relaunched, this section of the website provides comprehensive revision materials for Cambridge IGCSE Modern World History. (551 views)

Rights and Protest Sourcework Sample: The Rivonia Trial

The following materials are designed to provide teachers and students with practice sourework exercises for the “Rights and Protest” topic in the IB History examination. The Rivonia Trial: Did Mandela’s decision to abandon nonviolence do more harm than good? Complete sourcework exercise in the style of IB, with model answers provided. (317 views)

Nixon’s Domestic Policy: Student research task

“Higher level students will write a timed essay on the key question outlined above. You will self-study this topic in your own time. When it comes to revision time we will compare and contrast Nixon and Johnson’s achievements. Your task will be to use a variety of sources to decide for yourself what the main…

Model Essay: “Assess the successes and failures of Nixon’s foreign policy”

Model Essay: “Assess the successes and failures of Nixon’s foreign policy” [teacher password required] Students should close this unit by tackling one of the essay questions outlined above in timed conditions. The essay provided here was written by me in timed conditions whilst my own students tacked a similar question. Part of the new scheme of…

Nixon’s foreign policy: the second administration

Nixon’s second administration (1972-1974) “Nixon’s second administration was mired in the Watergate Scandal, but no less controversial is is handling of foreign affairs in this period. In this part of the investigation you will reach your own judgement on whether Vietnam, Chile, Israel and the Middle East, or South Africa deserves to be regarded as…

Nixon’s foreign policy: The 1972 Presidential Election

The 1972 Presidential Election | Teacher notes “Imagine it’s 1972 election year, with inauguration day due to take place in January 1973. You are deciding how to vote, and Gallup (the public opinion pollsters) have asked for your approval rating of Nixon in the realm of foreign affairs. Using your existing knowledge, discuss with a partner what…

Nixon’s foreign policy: the first administration (1969-72)

Nixon’s first administration (1969-1972) | Teacher notes Students complete a gap-fill exercise providing them with an essential overview of Nixon’s foreign policy. They then conduct extra research and reading to answer such questions as: What were the essential features of the Nixon Doctrine? Use quotes from Nixon himself as appropriate. / Complete the following table to provide an…