KS2: History – ‘Codes with Anne Lister’

The differentiated objectives for this lesson were devised by using the 2011 National Curriculum attainment targets for History at Key Stage 2.

Pupils learn about Anne Lister, a lesbian who lived in Victorian times who wrote her personal diary in code. A brief biography of who she was is shown to the children before asking the children to think about the social norms of the Victorian age and how that might have led Anne to write about her personal life in code. The lesson touches about gender identity by drawing attention to the clothes Anne chose to wear as well as her nickname of ‘Gentleman Jack’. The first part of the lesson concentrates on the contrast of how women were treated in two different periods (Victorian, and Modern Age) . The lesson then asks learners to decipher a code and to create their own codes working in pairs (you could link this lesson to Maths).

Teachers may find it useful to learn more about Anne Lister by going to this site. Trailers from the TV series about Anne’s life are extremely useful for teachers but may contain some erotic images. Please check before showing to class.

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