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Unit 1 Conference. “Miss are we doing anything fun today?” Strategies for the Delivery of VCE Unit 1 20 th Century History 2 March 2012, HTAV. Watch this carefully. How many numbers on clock face? 2. How many men in the row marching forward in the opening scene?

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unit 1 conference

Unit 1 Conference

“Miss are we doing anything fun today?”

Strategies for the Delivery of VCE Unit 1 20th Century History

2 March 2012, HTAV

How many numbers on clock face?

2. How many men in the row marching forward in the opening scene?

3. What was the number of the elevator?

4. Are the men of the ‘above ground’ Metropolis weaning shirts when they are running?

now that we are awake
Now that we are awake

British writer Vera Brittain once stated that ‘…at no previous period has mankind been faced by a half-century which so paradoxically united violence and progress.’

now that we are awake1
Now that we are awake
  • Course Decisions and the SD
  • Key Outcomes
  • Learning Routines
  • Vocabulary
  • SACs and Preparations
  • The Exam
  • Some reality checks I have gotten along the way… and am still learning by going back to basics…
the study design
The study design
  • Unlike other Units, 20th Century History is far from straightforward.
  • Students should be familiar with the study design… the language should be part of all assessment criteria.
reality check 1
Reality check #1

Can most teens understand what this means?

vce history
Vce history
  • Tension between delivering a great deal of context (factual) and at the same time developing students critical literacy skills.
  • Available texts may not be sufficient level of detail.
  • Tension between depth and breadth.
making decisions
Making decisions

Hot Dotting is a decision making routine created by Quality Education.

making decisions1
Making decisions

Making Decisions Explicit and Accessible

making decisions2
Making decisions

Making Decisions Explicit and Accessible


On completion of this Unit the student should be able to…

Outcome 2: analyse and discuss patterns of social life and the factors which influenced changes to social life in the first half of the 20th Century.

Outcome 3: analyse the relationship between historical context and cultural expression of the period 1900 to 1945.

Outcome 1: analyse and explain the development of a political crisis and conflict in the period 1900 to 1945.

course structure
Course structure
  • 3 Areas of Study, 3 SACs, 1 Exam
  • Give student Area of Study Plans not the ‘whole year.’ Make the language student friendly.
  • Due to the ‘for example(s)’ in the study design it is very open ended…
  • BUT (though its obvious) stick to the study design!
  • HOWEVER… because the course is open-ended make decisions that are based on Year 12 as well!
aos 1
  • Provide a historical context (breadth)
  • Break down each dot point of key knowledge (page 1)
  • Don’t try to do everything or you will still be teaching World War One in Term 2 – make decisions and be ruthless sticking to them.
  • If you are studying Germany, do not rush past Weimar period and don’t forget unification of German state in 19th Century
  • If you are looking at Russia, do not get bogged down in Tsarist Russia and be sure to make a direct link to WW1 world
  • Warning! If you select Russia you need to deal with World War 2 later on…
aos 2
  • Usually a choice between Stalinism and Nazism
  • Make clear decisions about which groups you will select – and stick to them – also stick to locations (can do comparative)… choose ‘obvious’ examples…
  • No regime just has a negative effect
  • Ways in which groups organised?
  • Change and Continuity (page 26)
aos 21
  • Be sure that these link up with Cultural Expression AOS 3
  • Look generally at how societies are organised, break down the study design (synonyms) not all students know what political affiliation means
  • Consider what will work best for your class – GeneralGouvernment
  • Think about a comparative element like Fascist Italy (this is a good way to introduce Fascism)
  • Whatever you choose, focus on a) continuity and change, b) different groups and c) different time periods
aos 3
  • Consider integrating to strike ‘while the iron is hot.’
  • Look carefully at the skills.
  • Be on the look out for opportunities (Mad Square etc).
key skills summary
Key SKILLS summary
  • Explain the historical issues covered in the key knowledge;
  • Apply historical concepts related to the period
  • Analyse and evaluate written and visual historical evidence
  • Synthesise material and evidence to draw conclusions;
  • Analyse the way that the experience of the period has been interpreted and understood over time by historians and other commentators
  • Express knowledge and ideas in writing, presenting material using historical conventions such as quotations, acknowledgement of sources, and a bibliography.
learning activities
Learning activities
  • Learning Activities are students safety net…
  • Much of your time will be ‘traditional’
  • But still need to mix it up to get students excited and to provide opportunities for students to access the content in many different ways
  • Repetition is key to LTM
learning activities1
Learning activities

Instructional Approaches

perceive know care about
Perceive, know, care about

Project Zero Harvard, Visible Thinking Strategies

see think wonder1
Change and Continuity in German SocietySee, think, wonder

Wolfgang Sievers, Total Poverty in Berlin Germany 1933.

perceive know care about1
“If we are to learn anything useful from the great human resource of past experience [it is that] the past, like the present, is simply too complicated and too multiple to be told in a single story.”

Inga Clendinnen, Quarterly Essay, “The History Question, who owns the past?” (Back Inc, Melbourne, 2006), 66.

Perceive, know, care about

Project Zero


Project Zero

true for who
True For who?

Project Zero, Exploring historians views or groups etc

reality check 2
Reality check #2
  • Just because the loudest kids in the class seem to get it doesn’t mean that you haven't lost 60% of the class who are now busily wondering where you got your hot shoes from…
  • You are competing for the students attention… if you can find an easy way in then you can build more complex knoweldge
reality check 21
Reality check #2
  • Dr. Richard Elmore (Harvard Uni) 80% student learning factual and procedural… and students have no idea what it means (2006).
  • ICT Gen – lots of info, quick, shallow understanding…
low literacy esl and texts
Low literacy/esl and texts
  • The reality is students will need to read a lot… much of it independently…
  • Students will need to synthesise sources which are often written in language difficult to grasp (Wilfred Owen Effect).
  • NSW HSC Online
  • GCSE Bitesize by BBC
  • Smartboard activities from Smart Exchange
  • Get these students to focus on the lesson “Key Question” and build from there
  • Synonym Lists and VisuWords
reality check 3
Reality Check #3
  • This is not university
  • Do something fun – create DADA inspired collages depicting society in the 21st Century, ask the dance teacher to come in and look for opportunities to get kids involved in the action and immerse them in the topic!!! You will be surprised (FB).
  • If students do, students will learn
learning activities2
Learning activities
  • Dossier of Sources (page 1)
  • Postcards from Weimar Tom Ryan (page 18)
  • Role Plays/one simulation (page 12)
  • Empire Photo Albums or similar
  • Debates
  • Secret spying missions (pages 9-10) and


  • The key is to make it accessible…
  • Look for opportunities for short energisers which are vocabulary based…
  • Combine with images
reality check 4
Reality Check #4
  • Just because a kid can give you a verbatim definition does not mean that they understand the term nor that they can use it in context or a new situation.
  • Repetition is key.

Robert J. Marzano, Leading the Implementation of a School Wide Vocabulary Program.

  • 88,500 terms in grades 3-9 textbooks (Nagy and Anderson, 1984).
  • Frontloading key vocabulary BEFORE the unit commences…
  • Problem with Cue Cards
  • Draw words from the topic as well as the STUDY DESIGN…

Engagement and reworking until the students really get it!

reality check 5
Reality check #5
  • Students often want to know why Hitler sent Nazi Germany into World War One.
  • Lesson: assume kids know nothing!!! Explaining for two seconds will save you in the long run (depth/breadth).
use year 12 models
Use Year 12 models

VCAA Assessment Handbook

Page 54

sac strategies
Sac strategies
  • Know what the Year 12 Teacher is doing and model…
sac strategies1
Sac strategies
  • Regular written responses and document studies not just SACs.
  • Present not just in a written way.

Activity Time!

Was Germany responsible for World War One?

Which verdict does your witness support?

sac strategies2
Sac strategies
  • If it makes sense, do it (for example, Research Project for AOS 3 fits skills)
  • Use Descriptors which look like Year 12 Descriptors (page 55) just change the language.
  • TEES (8+ on exam) (page 34)
  • Top 5 Report after each SAC (or even SA Questions) (page 53-54)
  • If you can, write up examiners reports (page 51)
wordle for sacs
Wordle for sacS

Overused words

Concepts/terminology not included

Gaps in evidence/argument

synthesis research
  • Evidence Sheets (page 41). Wean the kids off bringing these into the SAC after SAC 1.
  • Can also be used for note-taking in class.
  • Use red for own knowledge, blue for direct quotes and green for indirect quotes.
preparing students for exams
Preparing students for exams
  • This should be the main focus of the SACs.
  • Fortnightly short answer questions – very these up – modelling how to break down questions and how to include time periods and groups.
  • Mix this up with Document Studies and give students a model on which to analyse documents (CAB MAPS or APPARTS) (page 52, 43)
  • Regular timed writing tasks = familiarity, modelling, ability ‘to do’
  • Explicit teaching of Danger Words and Sentence Starters.
  • Explicit Teaching of Command Terms.
  • Use the power of synergy – Forums and Circle of Doom.


mnemonic devices
Mnemonic devices

Failure of League of Nations in 1930

French and British Self Interest

Absent Powers

Ineffective Sanctions

Lack of Armed Forces

Unfair Treaty

REaching decisions too slowly

From, Ben Walsh, GCSE Modern World History.

mnemonic devices1
Mnemonic devices

What are the MAIN long-term causes of WW1?






Revolutions 2010 VCAA Assessors Report Indicated that:

  • Students misused historical quotes (relevance).
  • Students need to have a handle of time-frames of questions.
  • Examiners are looking for precise and accurate information – again why doing lots of short-answers is a good idea.
  • To what extent questions require students to look at both views…
  • Students need to read questions carefully and answers need to be focused (cut out the fluff).
  • Students struggle in understanding the ‘development’ of events in a chronology.
  • High level responses used correct and specific historical terms and ideas and included dates, places and names.

Revolutions 2010 VCAA Assessors Report- What is a high level response?

World War 1 was a major reason for the fall of both Tsarism and the Provisional Government. Firstly, although the war was initially well received by the public and was intended to unite the population in patriotism, it quickly became a source of discontent as defeats proved humiliating and economic crisis worsened. The major reason why the war contributed to a revolutionary situation in early 1917 was that the Tsar had taken control of the army from the experienced and respected Grand duke Nikolaevich in August 1915, and the subsequent military, economic and psychological devastation had come to be associated with him. This was exacerbated by the fact that in his absence, Tsarina Alexandra was left in charge and she proved to be incompetent, unpopular (as her German heritage aroused suspicion) and heavily influenced by Rasputin. Thus the impressionable lower class – workers and peasantry – associated failure with the Tsar and felt abandoned as he had left them to fight at the front, therefore increasing revolutionary sentiment against him.

other exam reports
Other exam reports

Although our courses are different there is no reason why you cannot look at:

  • HSC – Marking Guidelines (Modern History Course – which will help with Russia, Germany and later in Unit 2 Cold War and also personality studies)
  • Tasmanian Department of Education and GCSE can also be Googled.
and finally
And finally…

Enjoy the journey of learning along with the students!

  • Join Facebook site of HTAV
  • Join a local network
  • iTunes U
  • Keep up to date with Year 12 Exam Assessor Reports (VCAA)
my contact details
My Contact Details

Agata Kula – Secondary Teacher, Humanities Leader

(The Grange P-12 College)

[email protected]