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EDSS 470 History C&T - Assignment 3 Unit of Work

Unit of Work, Year 8


The Year 8 curriculum depth study of the Western and Islamic world,
with a particular focus on Renaissance Italy, covers a span of medieval
and early modern history. Particular emphasis lies with how these
collective pasts have shaped our modern world, through the
advancements of technology and a wider sense of social contact outside
of Europe. Within the content strand of Renaissance Italy (1400-1600),
students studying this unit through various lessons will be exercising and
developing their historical skills and thinking and understanding (VCAA,
2014). All activities planned are relevant to the age group and content
that must be delivered, as well as allowing for inquiry based learning on
the students behalf. Both formative and summative assessment will be
used in this unit. It is important to note that some of the content
descriptors can overlap into a few lessons, however, for the purpose of
this assignment; a strand has been focused to each lesson for
Renaissance Italy. Ultimately a unit of work such as this would continue
for about four to five weeks.
Lesson one will be an introductory outline of Renaissance Italy,
drawing from strand one in the depth study area of the Western and
Islamic World. As strand one focuses particularly on the way of life,
especially in cultural, social, political and economic matters and the roles
and relationships of Renaissance people within their social hierarchical
parameters. In order for students to gain knowledge, and for some to
consolidate what they may already know, a Jigsaw Activity will be the

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EDSS 470 History C&T - Assignment 3 Unit of Work

main focus of the lesson. Through collaborative group work and delegation
to tasks, students will be learning important background content in their
expert groups, and will also be exercising their interpersonal skills.
Students will also come to have a sense of accountability which Frey,
Fisher and Everlove (2009) argue as being a necessary and positive
element in a students learning as the success of the group is very closely
linked to the responsibility of each member to the other. The
accountability of students in this activity is to engage with and understand
their groups study area in order to share it with someone from another
group. In this way students are not only working on their interpersonal
skills but are also becoming facilitators of their own learning which will be
explored further, at a later stage of the unit.
The second lesson incorporates historical thinking and learning
strategies with the aid of ICT, as well as a formative online quiz
assessment for students to undertake in the last fifteen minutes of an
hour long lesson. This class also lends its primary focus to the second half
of strand one, where students look in depth at the governmental and city
structures of two Renaissance cities (VCAA, 2014). Students will look into
areas of interest with leading questions for the activity set by the teacher.
They will need to use iPads or other tablet devices to carry out this task.
Students will here exercise their abilities to research relevant information
and practice critical literacy and historical thinking when interpreting the
information they source. This information should focus specifically on the
differences between the city of Naples with its monarchical structure and
of Florence as a republic, at the time of the Renaissance. The activity will

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EDSS 470 History C&T - Assignment 3 Unit of Work

therefore draw on the contexts presented in the group work activity of the
previous lesson. Students will have to exercise and build on their historical
judgement regarding their findings of primary and secondary historical
documents in order to draw out a comparison on the significance of the
two cities, and how these interrelate to the contextual knowledge gained
in the previous lesson (van Boxtel and van Drie, 2004). Main primary
documents that students will be directed to by the teacher would include
artworks and city maps among other documents. The use of technology is
also important for the lessons activity. This enables students to use
technologies that are becoming far more prominent in schools as well as
allow them to take notes, hand in their work and complete applications
tasks using the same device (Marsh, 2010). Using technology is also an
effective tool for some forms of assessment, one of which will be used in
this lesson. This will be achieved with the aid of technology. Using the
Beta Socrative app on the devices, students will complete a quiz created
by the teacher that will incorporate the content of the past two lessons.
This is beneficial for students as they do not need to swap from pen to
tablet device multiple times during the lesson, as well as provide
information to the teacher on the level of knowledge gained in the
lessons, for the teacher. The class will be able to go through areas that
need reflection together, as Beta Socrative offers a feedback aspect of the
app, where answers can be monitored. This will give the teacher an idea
for the content that will need to be targeted in the following lesson, if
students are falling behind, therefore ensuring that effective teaching is
taking place in the classroom (Black and William, 1998).

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EDSS 470 History C&T - Assignment 3 Unit of Work

The third lesson will encompass one content strand but would be
beneficial to students if this was conducted as a double lesson due to an
art analysis in the second half of the lesson which may take up some time.
Concept based learning will be of prime significance in this lesson as the
content stand highlights the changing frames of mind of people in the
Renaissance, looking to new meaning in their lives as well as discovery
and the emergence of art and sciences (VCAA, 2014). The conceptual
lenses that need to be looked to are utility/creativity and beliefs/values.
With these lenses and appropriate questions to drive the thinking that
students will be drawing on. Creative factors are of the upmost
importance in order for students to understand the progression of
technology and the emergence of new ideas in the Italian Renaissance
(Erikson, 2007). In this way, concept based learning drives the learning of
students as they become far more engaged with the content. This is due
to the material often linking to something, such as a concept or idea that
they can relate to or with. Garnering an emotional response can also come
out through the analysis of art. By pairing an Italian medieval image of a
king or religious figure against a Renaissance painting of a king or
prominent societal or religious person, students gain a further sense of
emotional engagement (Erickson, 2007). By analysing the images,
students also see how far art has come as well as where influences have
been drawn from, especially classical Roman and Greek art, design and
building ingenuity. This activity also allows students who may not think in
a creative manner to begin to do so, as well as allow a student which
prefers this style of thinking to be accommodated in the lesson.

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EDSS 470 History C&T - Assignment 3 Unit of Work

Lesson four leads on from concept based thinking where, in this


class, students must look at key figures of the Italian Renaissance and
why they were, and still are, important as stipulated by strand three
(VCAA, 2014). Students will have to build a Facebook profile for each key
figure including significant individuals such as, Galileo, Michelangelo and
Machiavelli. This draws on concepts covered earlier in the unit when
students will need to source information, however, in this case the
information will partially be provided by the teacher. This is so that
students have a springboard for their historiographical thinking and
analysis to take place. A collaborative classroom at this stage would be
beneficial for students to garner small groups of discussion as well as sift
through the information that has been provided to them. This allows
students to also hear, and interpret different perspectives on historical
documentation, therefore building a classroom of learners, who all
effectively learn from one another, including the teacher learning from
students (Mitchell, 2007). Students should not feel any pressure to work
in a group if they do not wish to, however the students the wish to work
collaboratively will have to do so with respect for others in the classroom.
After the teacher provided resources have been exhausted, ICT and other
material, such as books and sources like Horrible Histories clips can be
employed by the students as part of their own research by selecting good
sources that will aid the creation of the profiles by the end of the lesson,
and ultimately providing a good footing for historical research later in their
schooling. This research is being conducted at this point in the unit by
students as they already have an understanding of the Renaissance

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EDSS 470 History C&T - Assignment 3 Unit of Work

context, which is extremely important for thinking independently and in


collaboration in terms of Historicity (VanSledright, 2004).
The fifth lesson would be a trip to the National Gallery of Victoria for
the winter collection. This excursion would be for all year eights and have
a particularly cross curricular focus, including arts, politics and of course,
history. The analysis of art in a gallery setting is beneficial in many ways
for students. Firstly, by analysing images, as done in lesson three,
students undertake critical thinking skills in a way that can engage them
in historiographical thinking without them realising it. For instance, just as
using written sources, students must know the author or painter, what
they are trying to achieve, and how they do this (Hoefferle, 2007).
Students will be able to apply the contexts of the time to the paintings
that they see at the Italian Masters exhibition. By using their tablet
devices, students can also reference facts about the painters, and
understand why a painting may have been commissioned. Felton and
Allen (1990) also suggest that visual materials ensure that students who
are not overly literate are not left behind. This is also beneficial, as
outlined earlier, for students who are visual learners, therefore a change
of teaching pedagogies in various classes and use of resources benefits all
children and their learning styles over a period of time within the unit.
A summative assessment would be the main focus of the final
lesson. In this lesson, the teacher and students will first outline the
expectations for the assignment. Students will then have the lesson to
prepare for the assessment which incorporates the fifth and final content

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EDSS 470 History C&T - Assignment 3 Unit of Work

strand of the impact of the Italian Renaissance to Europe and its legacy
today (VCAA, 2014). This is due to the capacity for evaluation of the whole
unit that this strand encompasses. Through the higher order thinking that
it denotes, along with the rest of the assessment tasks, it is easy for the
teacher to gauge the comprehension of students. Classroom tasks and
formative assessment are the indicators for the summative assessment at
the end of this unit, as all students should have developed a great deal of
knowledge of the Renaissance period (Black et al., 2003). By allowing
students time in class to work on their assessment task, they are able to
discuss with the teacher their direction and goals as well as enabling them
to have a final chance to work in groups to create a springboard of ideas.
Permitting students to present the assessment in a format of their
choosing also allows for diverse learning. This may also enable students to
express various means and mediums that may aid someone else in
gaining knowledge about the Renaissance.

Appendix 1.
Image 1: Medieval Italian Saint Fresco

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EDSS 470 History C&T - Assignment 3 Unit of Work

Image 2: Cosimo de Medici, Bronzino

Bibliography
Black, P. and Wiliam, D. (2001). Inside the Black Box: Raising
Standards Through Classroom Assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 80, vol. 2,
139-148.

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EDSS 470 History C&T - Assignment 3 Unit of Work

Black, P., Harrison, C., Lee, C., Marshall, B. and Wiliam, D. (2003).
Assessment for Learning: Putting it into practice. New York: Open
University Press.
Erickson, H.L. (2007). Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction for
the Thinking Classroom. Heatherton, VIC: Hawker Brownlow Education.
Felton, R. and Allan, R. (1990). Using Visual Materials as Historical
Sources: A Model for Studying State and Local Histories. The Social
Studies, March/April 1990, 84-87. Retrieved on May 14, 2014, from,
http://www.alaskool.org/resources/teaching/socialstudies/using_visual_materials.
htm.

Frey, N., Fisher, D. and Everlove, S. (2009). Productive Group Work:


How to Engage Students, Build Teamwork and Promote Understanding.
Alexandria, VA, USA: ASDC.
Hoefferle, C. (2007). Teaching Historiography to High School and
Undergraduate Students. OAH Magazine of History, 2, vol. 21, 40-44.
Marsh, Collin. (2010). Becoming a Teacher: Knowledge, Skills and
Issues. (5th ed.) Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson.
Mitchell, I. (2007). Teaching for Effective Learning. (3rd ed.) Clayton,
Victoria: PEEL Publishing.
Van Boxtel, C. and Van Drie, J. (2004). Historical Reasoning: A
Comparison of how Experts and Novices Contextualise Historical Sources.
International Journal of Historical Learning, Teaching and Resource, 2, vol.
4, 89-97.

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EDSS 470 History C&T - Assignment 3 Unit of Work

VanSledright, B. (2004). What does it mean to think historically


and how do you teach it? Social Education, 68(3), 230-233.
VCAA. (2014). History Curriculum. Retrieved May 12, 2014 from
http://ausvels.vcaa.vic.edu.au/The-Humanities-History/Curriculum/F-10?
layout=1.
Ian Mitchel