Active History

Magic Hands and Rope Connectives – Y9 Study the Vietnam War

‘Magic’ PEEL Hand

I really enjoyed planning and teaching this lesson with one of my Y9 classes this week. The group recently completed a written assignment about the role that military leaders played in the casualty rates on the Western Front between 1915-18 and their answers showed they were struggling (again) with structuring their work and linking ideas.
The ‘magic PEEL hands’ are something I made earlier in the year and are about 60cm long. They are made of cushion foam from the local market and can be worn like gloves so that you look a bit like a cross between Kenny Everett and a Smurf.
The idea is to provide a 3D reminder of a simple essay structure. It’s amazing that although we really stress this from very early on pupils still find it tricky when it comes to writing up work. Quite often this is down to the fact that many of them try to write their answers without planning or drafting them out first so any physical reminder is useful. Pupils like the ‘hands’ which normally stand prominently on a shelf at the side of my classroom. They, together with various ‘flash cards’ dotted around the room, act as crucial reminders for many pupils. I refer to them frequently when teaching groups from Y7 through to Y13 and  I’ve even seen pupils writing the template on their own hands!