Television: pick of the week

Robin Buss

GCSE Bitesize Revision: History BBC2 Sunday, June 16, 3-5am; Monday, June 17, 2-4am

Two bites at history this week, the first covering modern European and world history, the second dealing with the two most popular areas of the Schools History Project: Medicine Through Time and the American Midwest. "Bitesize Revision" provides help with study skills (evaluation of sources and materials, plus practical hints on what to do on the day of the exam), in addition to the usual series of concise notes and tests on the main fields: Britain and the First World War, Germany 1919-1945, the Soviet Union, India and international relations during the 20th century.

The tests tend to be more complicated than those for most other subjects: they involve not only simple multi-choice questions, but also tasks that mean sorting events and associating facts as a first step to writing essays on a given topic. Together with the material provided on the BBC website (, this should ensure that all your students'

worries about GCSE History are a thing of the past.

Handmade C4 Videos Programmes 1-10 and 11-20, pound;19.99 each; Programmes 21-26, pound;9.99 Available through the 4Learning online shop at www.channel4.comlearningshop

This altogether delightful series, which ended last month, is now available on three videos, supported by programme notes online which give short biographies of the craft workers who took part and information about the history of their craft and its techniques. There are also suggestions for educational activities connected with the five-minute films which have applications to a wide range of ages and curriculum areas. Each one shows a person making or doing something by hand: in the last half dozen, we saw sculptors in glass and wood make a glass swan and a tiny wooden sculpture of the Queen Mother, a calligrapher and a jeweller at work, a harpist playing and a woman making and flying a kite. The camera shares the concentration of the subjects as they demonstrate their skills, inviting us to watch and wonder. Ideal as a starting-point for activities in art, music and English, or just for end-of-term lessons. C4 Video pound;19.99, book pound;6.99, teachers' guide pound;3.95

Seven programmes, presented by Shilpa Mehta, designed to introduce nine to 13-year-olds to concepts of sustainable development, using environmental case studies from around the world. The aim is to show how everyone can make the world more environmentally friendly and a fairer place for all its people. The series is now backed with a range of different support materials, including a video of the seven 20-minute programmes, a teachers'

guide, a book about Agenda 21 in schools, and a website. The motto is:

"Think global, act local", so the website, designed to provide a link between individuals, schools and environmental activists, invites suggestions and reports on environmental projects from all around the country. It also gives advice on campaigning on environmental issues, links to other sites and information on activities. Have fun and save the planet!

Full educational programme schedules are now online at:

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Robin Buss

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