Teaching history at Key stage 1

keystage 1
Welcome to the Key Stage 1 section of Keystage history where you will find masses of advice on how to make KS1 history lessons fun and how to help pupils to take their first steps into the fascinating world that is the past. You will be helped to design and plan an exciting primary history curriculum in line with the requirements of the 2014 National Curriculum taking into account the difficult areas of assessment and progression in history.You also will be helped to make the most of history’s contribution to the whole curriculum by being shown cutting edge practice in the areas of cross-curricular planning, literacy, thinking skills and creativity.
If it is imaginative ideas for KS1 history lessons you are looking for, then you will definitely want to spend time in the teaching section with its hundred great primary history teaching strategies and in the learning section with its wide range of imaginative approaches and brilliant ideas for products that children will love.

As a subject leader, you will find easily accessible advice that is ‘right on the money’. Years of helping hundreds of infant teachers with their history planning, resourcing, and monitoring in history, has enabled me to know exactly what is needed, and which support strategies really work.

Are you teaching your KS1 the truth about Guy Fawkes?

In many schools I hear teachers tell the same story about Guido Fawkes. Guy Fawkes was angry at the King and the government for the way it treated Catholics. He then brought together a team of plotters intent on killing the king and his cronies...
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The Wright Brothers first flight. KS1 Prove it! task KQ4

How can we possibly know about the Wright Brothers first flight when there’s nobody alive now who saw it? This is a question about evidence, one which makes pupils consider how we know for sure about the past.  Their thinking needs to be developed beyond ‘it...
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Why do you think Amy Johnson was famous? Smart Task KQ1

In this session on Amy Johnson (KQ1 on the planner) children learn to: predict from small clues link together disparate pieces of evidence and draw conclusions based on the clues they are given. With the help of the slow reveal of the clues in carefully arranged order, pupils build...
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Amy Johnson story-telling relay KS1

How did Amy the secretary end up being the first woman to fly to Australia? Smart Task KQ2

This short, fun activity using mime and props, tells the story of Amy Johnson's first flight to Australia in a way that children will never forget.  Each of...
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KS1 History Mystery. Whatever happened to Amy?

How can we solve the mystery of what happened to Amy Johnson? Smart Task KQ6

This enduring mystery has puzzled historians for over 75 years. New evidence has just come to light which makes this an ideal opportunity for pupils to explore reasons for themselves. Clearly...
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KS1 Star Lesson on The Great Fire

Why did the Great Fire of 1666 burn down so many more houses than other fires in London at that time?

In this exceptional lesson, pupils adopt the role of providers of a new plaque for a monument explaining why the Great Fire of 1666 burnt...
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Spying on the Wright Brothers. KS1 Drawing task

This reconstruction relay - part of KQ3, Why did the Wright Brothers succeed where others had failed - is fantastic fun as well as helping pupils to look carefully at the features of The Flyer, the Wright Brothers 1903 plane. Basically pupils are cast in the...
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Wright brothers: prove to me that it really happened.KQ4

This lesson was taught by Sarah Duck, Leading Teacher for History, Hampshire LA.  She kindly describes for us how the lesson went.  "Work had already begun on the Wright Brothers' topic and the children were familiar with the sequence of events leading up to, including...
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Commemorating the Moon Landing. KS1 task KQ6

How do you think we should remember the first man on the moon on July 21st 1969? What symbol could we use?

Coming at the end of the topic this smart task encourages pupils to show their understanding of why this was such a significant event....
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KS1 MEDIUM TERM PLANNER Man’s First Moon Landing Y2

The 2014 history curriculum at KS1 asks schools to provide a little more coherence in their choice of famous people to study, suggesting that they might be linked by theme. Here we have a possible theme of flight which links earlier work on the Wright...
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Why did the astronauts risk their lives going to the moon? KQ2

This session for KS1 children comprises three distinct activities. Activity 1 This activity is a simple story telling one using Mark Haddon’s book, The Sea of Tranquillity. The story is great; the author narrates his recollection (as a kid) of Apollo 11. The picture on the cover...
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How should the Wright brothers be remembered? Smart task KQ6

Commemorating the Wright brother's achievements with words young children can understand

Pupils have to create a plaque to commemorate the Wright brothers’ achievements to replace the incomprehensible one on the monument at Kitty Hawk. But they can use only 50 words so they need to be...
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Just how good is your KS1 history curriculum?

The 12 most crucial questions to ask yourself about your KS1 history curriculum, and some expert answers if you get stuck! What you should be doing, and what to do if you’re not! Let’s start with the statutory then move on to the questions and then the...
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6 top history ideas to cover in your Great Fire topic

Many of you will be starting your Great Fire topic this term. Naturally you will want this to be exciting as well as challenging and you will want to focus on the main historical concepts: in this case, cause and consequence and change. But you might...
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Teaching Grace Darling to Key Stage 1

Long before Grace Darling appeared in one of the additional QCA schemes of work, Grace Darling was being taught as a famous person. She was particularly popular with teachers of Year 1 in term 2. Not only was the story of her life focused on...
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Toys old and new: Sorting and setting

This lesson draws on some excellent resources you may not have come across, produced by museums in Bedfordshire and Warwickshire.  Not only do they look at old and new and then and now they also offer Venn diagrams which provide that extra challenge.  You will...
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Outstanding Lessons: Key Stage 1

If you have ever searched the internet for inspiration for your history sessions you will know how frustrating it can be.  Luckily the answer is at hand.  Built up from twenty years' experience of working with infant schools, the site brings into one place some...
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Raising attainment in history at Key Stage 1

Experience of working with highly effective subject leaders over eighteen years has enabled me to distil SEVEN key factors that collectively contribute most to raising attainment. Factor 1: The school focuses its attention on the central concerns of each history-led topic in terms of skills and...
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Self-evaluation for history at Key Stage 1 and 2

For Primary history subject leaders it is very important to get a clear sense of perspective on self-evaluation. I f you are not careful you will spend your very restricted non-contact time measuring and not growing the subject.  Naturally you need to take stock of...
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Policy and vision for history at Key Stage 1

There is much debate about the value of a history policy, not least how long it should be!!   A couple of examples are provided here to give you a feel for contrasting ways of doing it.  An OFSTED inspector would be happy with either.  What...
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The Ups and Downs of Mary Anning’s life

This lesson focuses on helping pupils to move beyond simple story telling and sequencing to thinking about the effect that each event in her life had on Mary. By encouraging pupils to think in terms of happy and sad events, you will help them build...
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Leadership in history

When looking at leadership in history a careful balance has to be created between offering generic advice (which you could get elsewhere) and very subject-specific advice, which in its attempt to be unique to history leaves out key generic issues. On the whole I have...
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Assessment for learning in Primary history

Assessment for Learning is much vaunted and many faceted. If we break down what it means in its constituent parts, many of you will feel that you do most of that already, and you probably do. What the Primary Strategy is pushing is a more...
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Target setting in history at Key Stage 1

With the emphasis that the Primary Strategy places on Assessment for Learning and the sharing of objectives, it would seem that target setting might be the natural next step. Whilst this might be true of the core subjects, I think that with Foundation subjects there...
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Judging pupils’ work in history at KS 1

NEW RESOURCE: Assessing Year 1 children’s understanding of how different going for a swim in the sea was 100 years ago. Downloadable PowerPoint with task, mark scheme and examples. This section of the site offers a few words of advice about assessing individual pieces of work...
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Common assessment tasks in history at KS1

It is often difficult knowing how to assess pupils’ historical thinking at KS1. Are we simply testing literacy and /or recall? But what about historical understanding? Faced with this problem, I have been working with two large London primary schools. We have developed a number...
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Principles of good assessment in history at Key Stage 1

Assessment in Foundation subjects is not well-developed, and is nearly always found wanting in successive OFSTED reports. When assessment in the Core dominates is it really that surprising that teachers don't have the time or expertise to assess in history? This section of the site...
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Progression in history at Key Stage 1

The problem Trying to secure progression within your Key Stage 1 history curriculum is not always as easy as it might seem. Sometimes it feels like trying to pick up mercury with a fork. The level descriptors seem too vague to be used as precise learning...
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Medium-term planning for history at Key Stage 1

This part of the site contains a dozen detailed fully-developed enquiry-led, key question-driven medium term plans for all the major KS1 history -led topics. They have all been judged to be outstanding by an experienced OFSTED history inspector. All the recent ones have the added...
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Short-term planning in history at Key Stage 1

This site does not favour the publication of short-term planning, preferring instead to focus on very detailed medium-term planning and allowing teachers the space to create their own short term lesson plans. You'll find all the advice you need about medium-term planning in that section,...
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