Caxton and Bell

Caxton stamp

Spreading the Word: Caxton and Bell. How two men changed the way we communicate

The famous people element of the KS1 history curriculum now requires pupils to compare achievements of individuals within a linked theme-in this case communication. In this instance we have chosen Caxton and Bell, rather than Berners-Lee as mentioned in the NC advice. There is also the option of adding Braille, too. But we have chosen Caxton and Bell as their impact is easy for pupils to understand and their lives are full of vivid episodes that young children can really understand. These two famous people are linked together as part of a theme called Spreading the Word. Instead of each person having the usual 6 key questions, they have each been reduced to just three or four  to make it more manageable as a single topic .

The idea is that the topic addresses similar questions and approaches for the two men so that pupils can genuinely make comparisons both across time and with the present. Looking at change over time is a key concept for Y2 pupils.

The planner for this topic is now ready as are the key activities for each of the key questions:

What did Caxton do that was so important to us today? Emphasis here is on pupils exploring clues and linking to their own prior knowledge and experience

How did Caxton help to change the way books were made? Brilliant role play activity

How and why should Caxton be remembered?

How did Bell manage to make a telephone work so long ago?And why did he want to?

Why was Bell’s invention so important? then and now?

How has the telephone improved since the days of Bell?

A number of subscribing schools have already asked me for  sight of the planner and any material in draft form that might be ready. I am more than happy to pre-release on the strict understanding that you treat it as draft. The planner is complete as are most killer activities, the assessment task and markscheme. Please email me for copies. The final versions will appear on the site by the end of January 2021.


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Caxton and Bell – KQ1 – Caxton

Following a mysterious PowerPoint slow reveal in which pupils look for clues to Caxton’s fame, pupils are given a brief illustrated summary of the key moments in his life which are consolidated with a sequencing...
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Teaching Caxton and Bell at Key Stage 1

These two famous people are linked by the theme of communication; spreading the word. Tim Berners-Lee founder of the world wide web could also be mentioned to bring the topic up-to-date, but his life will...
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