Students are presented with, or choose for themselves, a range of images relating to the current study topic or period. In addition, they are also agree upon a list of key words relating to the topic. They are then challenged to produce a short story (within a strict word limit, and including all the key words), about a fictional character who lived through and was somehow involved in all the events and situations depicted. By so doing, they draw together the essential aspects of the topic in a creative manner.

For inspiration, direct students to the superb novels “Any Human Heart” by William Boyd, and “The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared” by Jonas Jonasson are based around the conceit of a protagonist who, by a mixture of accident and design, end up meeting some of the greatest individuals and getting involved in some of the most momentous events of the twentieth century.

Case Study

I created an imaginary persona (in my case, my illustrious ancestor Terrence “Tulip” Tarr, OBE) who has become my history classroom’s mascot of sorts. I gathered a series of iconic images relating to key events in the twentieth century. Then, I deliberately doctored each image in PhotoShop to include my own face to represent the imaginary mascot (I am no expert in Photoshop, but taught myself how to do this very simply and can now create an image in about 10 minutes).

During revision time, I will challenge students to produce a plausible short story – packed with historically accurate key terms, dates, people and events – based on the adventures of “Tulip” Tarr and award a prize to the overall winner.

The Images

The eventful life and career of Terrence “Tulip” Tarr (OBE) in a handful of moments. Can you spot the great man? How did he come to be involved in each of these moments?