Causes of World War 1





The causes of World War One.





Click to view image detailsYou are in 1910 and a diplomat for a country….you want to make alliances to gain power. You will get telegrams which let you know what you need to do for your country. Start reading below to find out what action you need to take…..






Urgent telegram 1: Starting your mission



I can’t say much as I don’t want anyone else to see this. Its 1910 and I am writing to you to let you know what you must do for your country to be the best. As you now know you are diplomats of a main power in 1910. You now need to think about what your country needs. You, as diplomats of the country, you need power now more than ever. As such I have listed below information for you to think about. 

I am giving you a mission in which this is your aim: To negotiate agreements with other countries so you are in the best position to gain power. You must think about who you are, what situation you are in. You must use your ideas to gain even more information from other countries and then try to make alliances to gain power, to do this you will use secret emails! 

Good luck and be careful – you don’t want to be caught by anyone else! The information you need will be in a top secret folder below!




Click to view image detailsYou now need to find out about your country, and only your country! You should only click on the flag of your country and save the document…any cheating will be seen as treason and you will loose the honour of your country! 


Click HERE for a map of the European powers in 1914


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Great Britain



Click to view image detailsFrance


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Click to view image detailsRussia

Click to view image detailsAustro-Hungary

Click to view image detailsItaly

Click to view image detailsAmerica





Urgent telegram 2: Getting to know your countries!


Dear diplomats,

I am writing again to check you completed your mission. By now you should have read the information I sent you about your country.

Now you have completed the first mission I am giving you another mission in which this is your aim: You need to secretly find out about other countries. But what do you need to find out I bet your thinking. Well you need to find out who you would want to make alliances with. Find out anything that will help you decide this by thinking about your own country’s information. Come up with questions and using your school email, email these to countries you want to know more about!

Once again keep this secret its only for you and the country your emailing to know- you wouldn’t want everyone to see who your talking to as it could be dangerous! 



 Urgent telegram 3: Making your alliances!


By now you will have asked for more information on other countries to help you decide on you alliances.

Now you have completed the second mission, this is your new aim: You may have got some interesting answers…but you now need to make an actual alliance. However in this alliance you want to get some things you need as a country. Decide what these things are and negotiate a list of requests by email with another country of what you want from the alliance.

Don’t forget – secrecy is key!!




 Urgent telegram 4: Alliances signed!


By now you will have decided on who you would make an alliance with.

Now you have completed almost all your missions, this is your final aim: You may have several secret alliances but who did you decide to make an alliance with and why, write this down on your countries sheet.  



Click to view image detailsYou will have made alliances with different countries, you will now have a class discussion who you made alliances with and why….exposing any secrets!










Students to use ICT, in particular email to complete a lesson on the causes of the First World War.



·        Use email to send diplomatic messages

·        Learn about the different backgrounds of the world powers before WW1

·        Decide what countries are more likely to make alliances with each other


Yesterday in Week two

Well, i am writing this today and not yesterday – as my internet is still broken, after being fixed for a grand total of 12 hours i am now thinking perhaps ICT depends on a lot of things – and this happens to include an expensive help line.  

So aside form the general problem of things not switching on, we have made good progress and stumbled across points along the way. Our major issue was that we were loosing our focus and that the ICT was being used for ICT sake. Which was our main concern in the beginning. This also threw up anouther issue – that of differentiation, it is far to easy to produce a blanket lesson using the ICT and the activties really needed to add areas where the less and more able were supported and streched. Therefore we have started to include more of this with higher thinking skills, and links that can be used for help. This need to really think about what we are doing and why we are doing it is a constant  issue when using ICT as it is easy to slip ito the ‘whizzy’ trap where it is all for show or just the fact that you could do a lesson on computers for a change – when it could be just as easily done on a piece of paper. This was shown in our latest thinking on a 20th century lesson on ww1 when we had to think why we would get pupils to use email applications in the lesson – what were they gaining historically from its use.

Overall the project is proving not only useful in terms of the ICT but also in really thinking about thinking. The processes of pupils and the activties used. Me and alan will also shortley be trying to film a presentation of our time here – so fingers crossed it all goes well! 

I started to drift from the path

I have to be honest, I started to forget the golden rules we decided on at the start of this project. I am in the process of constructing an ICT lesson on trench warfare, the likes of which the world has never seen! Dramatics aside the lesson I started to plan lacked the one thing that we promised ourselves it would not lack, and that was a strong learning outcome. I started to ramble on about parts of the trench, put in links to other sites and gave them activities to do. However, I did not stop and think why are they doing this? what is the point of the all this knowledge they were getting? what did i really want them to learn? 

Truth be told, I did not embrace this revelation with great enthusiam. The fact I had spent the morning planning pointless work was met by certain words which are not allowed in the English dictionary! However, despite this it has forced me to reconstuct the lesson with a solid learning outcome, which I should be thankful for. I changed the approach of the lesson, so that the students will be questioning the sources, by following clear objectives. They should see the point of the lesson, and what they are working towards. It took the advice of another teacher for me to reach this revelation that put me pack in the right form of thinking. 

I had to publish these thoughts as a reminder to stay on the path to high quality thinking lessons, with clear learning outcomes, rather than giving out knowledge without a purpose. May this be a lesson to me!

Beginning of Week Two!

Well this is the start of another week, i would have blogged sooner but ironically my internet is having problems and won’t work – just goes to show you can never rely on ICT!  

However the end of last week proved very interesting. Me and Alan ended up doing a film not for an actual lesson but to try out techniques and to try and edit part of it to create a film using windows movie maker. This was fun once we passed the giggles and  from it found Alan had a good voice for Radio he he.

Well the filming provided a good incite into the way film can be used and create a great resource, but that it is extremely time consuming. However as Ed pointed out you can learn to cut corners by knowing which shots are needed and how long in real time it takes to download (we took 35 minutes of film..hence a 35 minute wait while it downloaded!) Therefore i guess if you have the time and ideas it really can work.

Apart from learning about film which took me back to my days as an A Level film student, we decided to continue with our Native American lesson which is now available in the reading fdp resources book. Although this felt like a great idea it took alot of time. However it does use powerpoint and archaeology in a great way! In discussion me and Alan have realised perhaps why ICT is never implemented to its fullest potential. We think this is because it is so time consuming that for a teacher to fit the planning of ICT lessons in schemes of work on top of everything else seems almost impossible (at least it seems impossible to us, as pgce students). Therefore perhaps as Ed says its quality not quantity, which i am beginning to agree with (especially since we are taking so long on the lessons!)

Overall the ICT is going well and we are learning alot about how each other work, and how ICT works in History and how the applications can be adapted, so for now all is good, but it is only monday….

New Skills and Update

I thought I would take the time to update One Damn Thing fans about the ICT progress me, and my partner in crime have gained. We had the opportunity to play around with some video recorders on friday, it was really cool (damn, im such a nerd!). The point being we learnt how to put that recording onto the computer and then edit it the film, this allowed us to cut out all the bits that we screwed up in (there were quiet a few!). The program we used was Movie maker. Other wonderful ICT gadgets we used last week included the art of podcasting, which involved some rather entertaining accents. We have finished three lessons so far for our ICT project, which are free to view in books under Reading University FDP resources. I have to say it is hard, time consuming work producing these ICT resources. However, the benefits of these resources should become apparent when they are used in history lessons.

Why was religion such a problem for the Tudors?!

Why was religion such a problem for the


You have been learning about the Tudors in your lessons so far. One important part of looking at the tudors is seeing how Religion affected them! In today’s lesson you are going to learn how to answer and argue like a Historian to answer a question on the problems of Religion for the Tudors.

 Your aim: 

To understand what makes a good historical essay

To apply your knowledge of why religion caused problems for the Tudors



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So Historians, I bet you’re thinking……….. How do i write an essay to the question ‘Why was religion such a problem for the Tudors?’ Well that’s what we are going to find out! To find out how to answer the question you need your Activity Sheet.

Click here and open it up so you are ready to write on your answer sheet.

Now save your answer sheet to your computer.

When you see this sign    always save your work to your computer.




Activity One

You might know a lot about Religion and the Tudors from your previous lessons. You now need to use that knowledge to help you make an essay that answers the question ‘Why was religion such a problem for the Tudors?’

TO DO: First of all you need to mind map any ideas you have on ‘Why was religion such a problem for the Tudors?’ You need to write your ideas in text boxes on your answer sheet. 


 Now save your work to your computer



Activity Two

 Hopefully you have done a great mind map! Now that you have some ideas, you need to see what three factors there are. Factors are the key reasons that will answer your question- in this case it will be the main reasons why religion was a problem.  

 TO DO: On your answer sheet try and Bullet point three main headings. These should show the reasons why religion was a problem.



Do you need help? If you are finding it hard to think of some factors, then below are links to help you. When you click on the link there will be images that appear. Each link represents a factor. You need to guess what the images are, this will give you an idea of what the factor could be. 

First Factor

Second Factor

Third Factor



Once again save your work to your computer




 Activity Three

You should now have some ideas about which factors to use in your essay. You are now going to discuss your ideas.

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TO DO: You will now have a class discussion with your teacher about the different factors you have some up with. From this you will make a list of factors that you need to use.





 Click to view image detailsActivity Four

 Now you have learnt about using factors, this will help you to write your answer. Your answer will be in the form of an essay and the factors will help you to structure your answer. 

TO DO: On your activity sheet there is a task. This task is to read through a mock up essay. You must also highlight on the essay anything that you think shows a good way to write a historical essay. You should then discuss this with your partner and bullet point your ideas as a criteria for a good essay.


That’s right save your work again to your computer!




Activity Five

You should now have read through a mock essay and have a list of ideas that make a good Historical essay. You will now use these to make an overall list.


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TO DO: You will now have another class discussion to make your final criteria of what makes a good essay!




 After writing your final criteria as a class save your work to your computer



WellClick to view image detailsDone

Now that you have done all the tasks above, you will know how to write a great essay. You can now use the factors you chose and the criteria that you made to write an answer to the question ‘Why was religion such a problem for the Tudors?’ Your teacher will give you a writing frame to help you write your essay as well…GOOD LUCK!



What Was Trench Warfare?



 World War One saw the wide spread use of the trench. We are going to make a judgment about how effective trench warfare was in World War One, and what the consequences of it were.

– What were the tactics used in trench warfare?
– How many people were killed in trench warfare?
– What did trench warfare achieve?

NOTE: Download the trench warfare sheet here. Save it to your computer, this will be where you record your answers. Remember to save as you go!

‘Starting Out – Some knowledge first’




Click here to load up the Spartacus web page on the World War One Trench system. Read the first two paragraphs, briefly note down on your sheet how trench warfare started.

In order for us to understand trench warfare we need to know the individual parts that make up a trench. To do this were going to look at a cross section of a trench on the ‘History on the net’ website. Click around the diagrams on the website to find out about the different parts that make up a trench.

‘Time to start thinking’ 
Were going to look at some sources which tell us how trench warfare was fought, we need to decide how effective it was.
Check out the sources on ‘I Love History’, which focus on the Battle of the Somme. This was a very famous battle from the First World War. Fill out the table on your activity sheet, soldier’s views and Haig’s views. Are there any differences?
Click here for soldier’s views, click here for Haig’s views; now fill out the final part of the table – View from Britain.  
What does this page from Spartacus say about how trench warfare was fought, do you think this was a good way to fight? Look at the first two paragraphs and the image, note down your answer on your sheet.
To finish this lesson off we need to reach a judgment about how effective trench warfare was. Write a paragraph on your sheet answering this question:
How effective was trench warfare?
You should include:
– What were the tactics used?
– How many people died?
– What was achieved?

The Origins of the Native American Indians

The Origins of the Native American Indians

This lesson will give you the chance to discover the origins of one of the most fascinating peoples in history!


Objectives of the lesson


·       Look at how the Native American Indians came to America

·       Use the tools of Archaeology to find out what the Native American Indians were all about

·       What does Archaeology tell us about the development of the Native American Indians through time?


So what is Archaeology?

Archaeology is the name given to the activity of digging up the past. Archaeologists dig up historical places to retrieve artefacts, human remains and structures like buildings. Artefacts include objects like coins, swords, pots, flint and jewellery, to name a few. Using this information Archaeologists are able to reconstruct what a place looked like thousands of years ago and what may have happened there. 



The following activity will guide you through the development of the Native American Indians. The activity is built around a Power point and shows something called stratigraphy.


Hang on! Slow down! What is stratigraphy?



The best way to describe stratigraphy is layers of time built on one another.





The oldest stuff is at the bottom and the more recent stuff is at the top, so you have layers of history. Your activity today is going to be based on looking at stratigraphy, like a real Archaeologist!
Click here to load up your answer sheet, which also holds the instructions for each task you have to do. Make sure you save the answer sheet to your computer. Now open the sheet up and keep it open.
Click here to load up the Power point with the activity on and save it to your computer. Now open the powerpoint up to use 
Good luck fellow Archaeologists!


Day Three – a bit late (Sorry!)

We are right on schedule despite various problems concerning my partner in crime, who shall of course remain nameless! We completed the first drafts of two of our lessons, which have since been submitted to be torn apart by our project leader. We also managed to start the third lesson, which uses Powerpoint in an interactive way. I promise the next blog will be better! got to get back to work now!

FDP day three

This is the third day attempting to plan ICT within History and apart from minor disagreements, toothache and a dentist receptionist who was most unhelpful, it has been going well.

So far today me and Alan have adapted the presentation and thinking involved in the first ICT and Local History lessons, in accordance to some suggestons by Ed and a review of the idea of webquests. Trial and error seems partly involved especially in the beginning presentation ideas. We finished this today and the results are on this site in books, under Resources from Reading FDP.

Me and Alan then took a break to learn about podcasting from Ed. This was good as we got to see audacity a programme that had been mentioned before in action and to see further software. Discussion with both Ed and Simon on setting up a website was also helpful and inciteful and may be put into practice one day by me and Alan..however probably not right now. A podcast could be introduced as a homework to one of the lessons possibley…..but not considered this enough yet to have fully formed a plan.

After podcasting fun with bad fake french accents sounding almost like the goons radio show, me and Alan got back to planning more lessons, well one to be precise – tyhe Native Americans arrival for year seven. Taking on board earlier ideas of why we should be using the software and extending the applications we decided to use powerpoint to get across the idea of history and archeaology linking. We decided to explore this link because sources can be objects and perhaps this may make the idea of analyses more acceptable to year seven, as they meet and work out everyday objects from when they were young. In terms of the lesson it will look at stratigraphy, artefacts and analysis. Although not fully completed it is beginning to take shape. Tommorrow we will continue this, in terms of building in the links to the powerpoint to put in more images of objects to analyse, using powerpoint to get across analyses and argument – fingers crossed it works.

Anyway that was today and hopefully tommorrow will be as productive (especially as i now have ibuprofen for my tooth!)