Full of potential
By Pat Hoodless
Scholastic pound;22 each
This series has a book for each year group in key stage 1 and 2 and covers most of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority topics. As with a lot of resources that like to be used as schemes, these books are very wordy.
Teachers can follow the suggested ideas and teaching points to the letter, but not many would have the time to read the extensive text.
Most would agree that it is far more successful and enjoyable to dip in and out of different resources and attempt to answer historical questions with a variety of sources and evidence. So I would not buy one of these books and expect all of my planning to be done and photocopiable.
However, a CD-Rom accompanies each text and these are filled with useful sources of evidence; photos, which can be printed or viewed on screen, and radio, sound and video clips which, as valuable as they are, would need to be accessed in lessons on in-class computers.
The authors have suggested historical links to curriculum subjects, especially literacy, with appropriate texts to extend reading and writing meaningfully. The texts seem to apply to the specific age groups, but differentiation would have to be organised by the teacher. Vocabulary lists are also provided, as are some simple writing frames.
Generally, these books are a useful addition to a bank of teacher resources. I would advocate any KS1 teacher purchasing their particular text, as they fit extremely well with their topics. KS2 topics are not always taught as suggested because of the mixed chronological order and the content, so the resources would need to be manipulated to suit the year group's needs. I would buy these books just for the CD-Roms.
How Do We Know About the Indus Valley Civilisation?
Pictorial Charts Educational Trust pound;23.49
This may be the only company to produce a resource pack for the Indus Valley QCA unit, although not a lot of schools study this era due to the severe lack of published titles or resources. Learning about the Indus Valley is an alternative for those of you who are slightly bored with teaching about the Ancient Egyptians every year.
The pack includes a large A1-sized colour chart and 16 A4-sized laminated photographic sources of artefacts and archaeological sites. The teacher's book provides background information, descriptions of the photographs, a timeline and photocopiable resources, including maps and writing frames.
If you do not teach this particular topic, Pictorial Charts Educational Trust also publishes identical packs for many other, more fashionable QCA titles at an extremely reasonable price. This is the next best thing to being unable to bring real artefacts into your classroom. A very worthwhile and inspiring resource.
Karen Keddie teaches at Deer's Wood Primary School, Gloucestershire