Welcome to ‘slot-ins’ – an initiative from the YorkClio team for busy teachers building a coherent and connected curriculum!
A slot-in is a two-page narrative that can be used with students as part of a topic, as extension, as homework… wherever you can broaden and deepen students’ knowledge with a good story. Each slot-in is concept rich and requires students to read and think and consider going deeper into the topic. Every one also comes with some brief teacher notes to provide some ideas about how they can be adapted and used in lessons.
We have called these resources ‘slot-ins’ because they are focused on topics that have too often been ‘bolted-on’ – if they have been taught at all. For example, we were utterly fed up of the idea of a lesson on ‘Medieval Women’, as we felt it usually led to women being forgotten for the rest of the topics on the middle ages. “Fifty per cent of the population should be everywhere and we need to slot-in their stories to what we do, not bolt them on as an afterthought!” — we thought! However, we recognise that in a jam-packed curriculum, we need to provide stories that intersect, for example the story of a woman with fighting as a soldier in World War One.
Slot-ins are two-page narratives for students that are about a less told story, or a little-known person or group. However, each of the topics is concept rich and adds something important to the wider knowledge of students, often also improving sense of period and sense of place. Many of the stories are designed to bring histories together, for example using a story of disability connected to the abolition of the British slave trade, and a story of disability linked to the Tudor monarchs . Hopefully they are all intriguing and add complexity to the past. Some of the slot-ins are connected to local history, so they can be slotted in at points in the wider (often national) story to focus students on history on a different scale.
These have all been developed by YorkClio teachers and University of York PGCE trainees. Please feel free to take these and improve them, to suggest other good topics for ‘slot-ins’ and to contribute your own. We hope the collection will grow!
Here are the links to the slot-ins, with a brief description. A suggested link to a common school history topic is given in bold at the end of each description.
Lady Eleanor Davies– a woman of the 1600s who did not conform. She offers a ‘window’ onto a changing world. People in her time could not agree if she should be free, in an asylum, or in prison. Her story is revealing because of this. Who she was and the times she lived in raise interesting questions about the 17th century and changing attitudes to women. An important context to a study of women in the 18th and 19th century and how ideas of mental illness change over time. (England in the 17th century)
mary anning– an early 19th century woman who is now recognised as a pioneer of geological science and who was underrated in her own time, and overlooked for many years afterwards, because of being a woman with no formal education. Her story connects to the study of women in Britain since 1800 and also into the story of the industrial and scientific revolution. (The industrial revolution)
Anne Lister– a land-owning, highly independent, lesbian woman who lived in West Yorkshire and travelled widely in the early 19th century. She challenges the stereotype of early 19th century womanhood and the idea that only one way of being a woman was acceptable in society. (The industrial revolution)
Frances Anne Kemble– a British actor who married a wealthy Georgian slave owner. Her experience of plantations led her to divorce and a role as an abolitionist. She wrote a famous journal which was used as evidence against slavery at the time of the US Civil War. This slot-in contrasts Frances’ stance to the many other white women who were slave owners and considers how being a slave and female often made a terrible life worse. (Black slavery)
Josephine Butler– the story of Josephine Butler is a window into the attitudes of Victorian society towards women and an example of a middle-class campaigner for women’s rights. Hers story is part of the story of 19th century Britain and of the story of crime and punishment. (Women’s suffrage)
Memorial to WW1 women of the British Empire– this slot-in reveals the story of the wide range of women’s work in World War One and tells the story of how their contribution was remembered in a memorial. The money for this was raised by subscription among women, concerned at all the memorials to men and the apparent overlooking of those women who died serving in the war. (World War One)
Flora Sandes– born in a village close to York, Flora Sandes volunteered for Red Cross work in Serbia early in the 1914-18 war. Not content with that, she joined the Serbian army and rose through the ranks. A decorated Serbian war hero, she is still remembered in Serbia and little remembered in the UK. Her story contributes to our knowledge of women at the time. (World War One)
Maria Botchkareva– she founded the ‘Women’s Battalion of Death’ which fought in the Russian frontline against Germany in the First World War. In 1917 she met President Wilson in the White House and met King Geroge V at Buckingham Palace. Returning to Bolshevik Russia, she was executed by firing squad and written out of history for being on the wrong side and for being a woman. (World War One)
Cycling to Suffrage– this slot-in looks at the contribution of a 19th century transport innovation – the bike! – and how it helped some women to greater freedom and supported campaigning for the vote. It enables students to connect industrial revolution developments with changes in society and politics. (Women’s suffrage)
Madeleine Blaess – live under occupation in World War Two is hard to connect with. If it is taught, then it is usually as part of the Holocaust in Poland, or as part of the topic of Nazi Germany, or Russia in the 20th century. However, the eastern front experience of occupation was different from the western experience. Madeleine Blaess, a French-British women educated in York, wrote a diary of what it was like to live in Nazi occupied Paris. (World War Two)
Tudor fools – taking a famous portrait of the family of Henry VIII, this picture concentrates on the two other people who feature, the Tudor fools. Both people with learning disabilities, they were valued members of the royal court and are an example of the history of disability right at the heart of a key school history topic. (Tudor monarchs)
Lady Eleanor Davies– a woman of the 1600s who did not conform. She offers a ‘window’ onto a changing world. People in her time could not agree if she should be free, in an asylum, or in prison. Her story is revealing because of this. Who she was and the times she lived in raise interesting questions about the 17th century and changing attitudes to women. An important context to a study of women in the 18th and 19th century and how ideas of mental illness change over time. (17th century England)
Benjamin Lay– a man of the 18th century with dwarfism, born in Britain, moved to Barbados and then the American colonies. He was a vocal and fierce campaigner for the abolition of the slave trade in the very early days before there was any widespread support for the idea. His story is revealing of the early days of the abolition movement and he is a person with disability who is part of a topic often covered in schools. (Abolition of slavery)
George III’s marvellous medicine– King George III is a very famous figure. This slot in focuses on his ‘madness’ and what it reveals about attitudes to mental health and the treatment of it in the 18th century. A topic that reveals something of a little studied century and which also has a place in the medicine and health through time narrative. (Medicine and health through time)
The Retreat Hospital– this York asylum opened in the later 18th century and became hugely influential across Europe and North America due to its new ideas about how best to treat people with mental illness. It is a key part of the story of disability, itself a part of the topic of medicine and health through time. (Medicine and health through time)
WW1 Disability– the scale of the numbers of the previously fit men who were left disabled by World War One transformed attitudes towards disability. How could a war hero be considered inferior? This is part of the story of the consequences of war, the history of disability and also the story development of treatment and care in the 20th century. (World War One)
Capitol Crawl 1990– in the USA this protest is seen as an extenstion of the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s-60s. People with disabilities protested for the same civil right as other US citizens. Their protest has influenced attitudes towards people with disabilities and equality legislation beyond the USA. (Civil Rights)
Anne Lister– a land-owning, highly independent, lesbian woman who lived in West Yorkshire and travelled widely in the early 19th century. She challenges the stereotype of early 19th century womanhood and the idea that only one way of being a woman was acceptable in society. (Industrial Revolution)
Harvey Milk – this is the story of the first openly gay elected official in the USA. Harvey Milk was a campaigner for LGBTQ rights and defended the rights of others. He was assassinated because he was gay in 1978 and is now a symbol of the long struggle for acceptance and equality for the LGGTQ community. (Civil Rights)
Olaudah Equiano – a man born a slave who came to Britain and became a key campaigner for the abolition of the slave trade. His role was largely forgotten, but has been re-remembered in more recent times. His story is important for challenging the narrative of white men as the main part of the story of the abolition of the slave trade. (Slavery and abolition)
HISTORY OF YORK
This is a section for York and area teachers in particular. Intriguing local stories can be slotted into the wider curriculum. They are organised here in chronological order.
English Scandinavians– the north of England was still part of a Scandinavian world at the time of the Norman Conquest. This slot-in enhances the 1066 narrative by focusing on the different language, culture and society of the north of England and how this impacts on the 1066+ story. (Norman Conquest)
Knights’ Templars– it is hard for students to understand that England was part of a wide inter-connected world in the Middle Ages. This story of the Knights’ Templars introduces them to another aspect of religion and power in medieval life, connects England, to the rest of Europe and to the Holy Land in the Crusader period, and enables students to understand how Templar power cut across, and therefore threatened, the power of the monarchs of Europe. (Religion in the Middle Ages)