Archive for November, 2009

What does a flag represent?

Posted: November 30, 2009 in Miscellaneous
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Why do countries have flags? Are they a requirement? What do they mean? What do the colours and symbols stand for?

The Year 8 are currently analysing the Union flag or Union Jack as it is more popularly known. It represents four different countries and has had several design changes in its 300 year history. England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales make up the countries which form the United Kingdom and the Union Jack represents this state. They each have different reasons for wanting to form an alliance or become part of a larger state. You can find out yourself via the Year 8 links but this post is about the bigger picture. A modern flag is pictured below. Do you recognise it and what do you think it stands for?

Is it an important flag? Do you recognise those below and how do they compare with others?

Each of the flags above are important but do you know why. The Year 8 students are currently researching their own flags. They will hopefully find out new things about their own country. Their work will be put on display so students can learn off one another.

What is the purpose of a flag? Here are some answers from around the world…

Flags have been used in one form or another for more than 4,000 years. They were used as a means of communication, initially for military purposes and then for identifying signals at sea. They evolved to represent royal houses, then countries and other levels of government, businesses, military ranks and units, sports teams, and political parties.   NEW ZEALAND

The flag is a symbol of the nation. It represents the purpose and resolve of the nation and was first expressed by our Founding Fathers who founded the new nation. The flag represents the history and future of our country. USA

The Australian National Flag identifies a free and democratic people in a nation united in purpose. Our national flag belongs equally to all Australians whatever their origins. Each of the symbols on the flag has a special meaning for Australians. The stars of the Southern Cross represent our geographic position in the Southern Hemisphere; the Commonwealth star stands for our federation of States and Territories; the Crosses represent the principles on which our nation is based, namely, parliamentary democracy, rule of law and freedom of speech. AUSTRALIA

How long have countries had their own flags? The oldest flag we have today is the Danish one above. Throughout history flags have represented people, groups or organisations. Read the following article to gain a better idea of the history.

A brief history of flags

How to draw the Union Jack?


There is still controversy today about Oliver Cromwell. Was he good for the people of England or did his reputation for actions abroad reflect what he was really like? One’s judgment on Cromwell may well depend on where you come from and what your views on warfare are. However you should always try to find more evidence. You will improve your understanding and may even change your opinion. All historical figures are like this. Cromwell is the subject of a Year 8 assessment but you could also include King John for Year 7 and Field Marshall Haig for Year 9. The Youtube clip below is an interesting source to analyse but I am sure the websites below are more useful…

BBC article on Cromwell as a hero or villain

Encyclopedia entry

A website all about Oliver Cromwell

When you are analysing Cromwell you must include the different interpretations of him. Furthermore you must explain why there are such different interpretations. To achieve the highest grades in the assessment, you should also put Cromwell in context. How does he compare to other leaders in the 17th century for example? How has history judged him and has this interpretation changed at all since his death? You could include how the media portrays him and even make geographical arguments. To help you analyse any character in history, it may be advisable to analyse a current important figure. Presidents Obama and Bush are both figures who are argued over in school so why are there so many different opinions of them. Use this thinking to analyse why people in history are viewed differently.

If you are aiming for the top grade, research is required. I can teach the Battle of Drohegda over two lessons for example for you get a clear understanding. The more evidence you have the more developed your judgment will be. We will go study the pupil’s judgments once all the assessments are marked so you understand what could have been done to achieve the highest grades. Good luck!


Posted: November 8, 2009 in Year 7, Year 8, Year 9
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You may have heard of the battle but would you recognise the landscape today. Even the more recent battles show few signs of there ever having been a conflict. The link below shows you what some of the sites look like today. The battles are from around Europe. Which ones do you recognise?

Europe’s Famous Battlefields


Posted: November 7, 2009 in Miscellaneous
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Why do people make speeches? To persuade? To give your side of the argument? To sell something? Whatever your opinion is, what makes a good speech? Recently President Obama has been heralded as a great orator. History is full of people who have been judged as great speakers. Churchill, Hitler, JFK, Martin Luther King, Roosevelt and Gandhi to name a few. You may know the names but what speeches did they make?

The names above are all from the 20th century. There have obviously been great orators before this period so you may want to visit the following websites to find out yourself. I can guarantee though that you will disagree with some of the choices. However, history is always subjective!

35 greatest speeches

The Best Orators of All Time

The Itunes podcast is ‘Greatest Speeches in History’ and is free of charge.

If you want to see or hear for yourself, then there are several ways of doing this. Itunes have podcasts available and most speeches are available on YouTube or Google.

Battle of Hastings

Posted: November 6, 2009 in GCSE, Miscellaneous, Year 9

A video about the battle using the Bayeux Tapestry. Very useful to see how the Normans viewed the battle. Think about interpretations and bias here. To find more information about the battle click on the Year 7 link.