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Showing posts from 2007

Why I love this job

"O you are very brave"



"Why?"



Two common reactions when I tell people that I'm a teacher.



Teaching - a mugs game? I don't think so for a moment.


I've been reflecting on an extraordinary 2007. Why do I love this job? For me the answer came during a carol service at a church in Portsmouth. The S.O.N. team were due to present during the service so I tagged along. It's often been said that the best part of teaching is actually getting through to children. Maybe to change their point of view or challenge them to think.


After the teams' presentation they surprised me by giving me with a framed copy of the photo above. Listening to them recounting their experiences and reflecting on what they had learnt was a magical moment for me. But is it only the 5? Luckily no. As I prepare to leave Portchester I have been overwhelmed by the kind words from pupils and parents. It seems that I have made some impact after all! What a great feeling!




This next photo sums up …

True Tube filming

Yesterday after school a couple of True Tube film makers visited the school. Their mission was to record an interview with the S.O.N. team. The team discussed their experiences of Goa. The resulting film will b part of the sites poverty issue. I have used a number of the videos from the site is a number of lessons and the site also allows you to upload student videos. There is also a basic on-line editor now available.

Coming up to handover...

With only 2 and a half days until my last day at Portchester the time has come to reflect upon my time here and look forward to the challenges that my new post will create. I have to say that I am sure that the 'handover' period could be handled far better in schools. Many of my friends in the commercial and industrial sectors have a short period where they 'train up' their successors. I have to say that I like this model when it is possible, especially with such a long notice period. This would allow the handover of classes and for the new teacher to start building relationships with others. Of course, this would mean a departure from the 'you must start at the start of term' approach. Is it a case of 'we've always done it this way'? Has anyone questioned the policy?I have also notice a range of different reactions to my departure. It seems that many can't understand my ambition to progress. Many of my students now know that I will be leaving a…

Geography on tour

I have put together the blog that will follow the Geography on Tour project. I have decided to use Wordpress so there are still one or two wrinkles to iron out as I get used to the different interface and options. Please feel free to subscribe to the blog in order to keep up to date with how the project is progressing and also to get involved! The blog can be found here.

2007 Bronze Fire Course comes to an end

Another successful Fire Safety course will come to an end on Monday with the pupils giving a presentation to a senior officer. The course is run by volunteers who are all Firefighters at Portchester retained fire station. I like the image above and the video below demonstrates that you don't put water on a chip pan fire!



A Slice of Services

A post on the SLN forum by Alan and an article in Teaching Geography about learning outside the classroom reminded me of a lesson idea. This Year 11 lesson involved popping out to the local shopping precinct and talking about urban structures. This was followed up by a homework. The task was for the pupils to take photographs of the services within a 5 minute walk from their home. Sounds risky? I got the students to carry out their own risk assessments for this - an activity that they scarily enjoyed!

I did the same activity and the results would be used to compare our access to services. At the time I was living in inner city Portsmouth while the school is located in a suburban area. The results were shown and the following discussion revolved around whether the students or myself had a better quality of life. I argued that I had access to fashionable shops, a great hairdresser and of course entertainment establishments...

A movie of the 'Slice of Services' can be found here. …

Geography on Tour

It started as a mad cap scheme to tour the country investigating local issues and producing teaching resources from the results. Now I'm pleased to say that the project will be supported by the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) with an Innovative Geography Teaching Award. This is great news and I'm very keen to get on with the project.

The abstract from the aplication reads:

"The outcome will be a series of podcasts, videos, Google Earth tours, lessons and unit ideas to inspire and support secondary geography colleagues across the country. This project will tour the country examining local issues that geographers can understand and contribute to. The aim is to link to the key concepts of geography as outlined in the 2008 National Curriculum and demonstrate how pupils can ‘participate in informed responsible action’ while exploring ‘real and relevant contemporary contexts.’ After speaking to colleagues I believe that this is one area of t…

Our World Film Festival

Thanks to Dan for bringing this opportunity to my attention. The film festival looks like a great way to raise the profile of the subject. I will be looking to set an entry up as part of a Geography Club when I move to Priory in January. I may even have a go at the 'Extreme Geography' category myself!
More details can be found here

Why bother?

The title of my International assemblies this week is 'Why bother?' I have used some images from my recent trip to Goa and finished with a short movie created with Photostory. The simple programme creates an effective effect using Queen's Breakthru.

My main point to the pupils is that even if you can put a smile on someones face for 15 minutes then it is worth donating money, time and/or effort. It is said so often that UK pupils are not as engaged as those in developing nations it has almost become cliched, however, in my experience it is the truth!

Some of the stories are both funny and sad. There is a photo of the bathroom and toilet shared by three families. You can imagine the smell and I compare the area with our local tip.The lady standing proudly in her dwelling brings home how small the homes are. Our tutor groups sit in a square 5x5 chairs big so I have been using this to try to communicate the small nature of the abode.

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The photograph of th…

What a day!

Have just been given this video by the S.O.N. team. This will be shown by the team at the launch of the 2007/08 challenge this afternoon. Also have been interviewed by the Portsmouth News and have had to contact the BBC South Today. Fame comes to some so young!
I've also got to post later about the Coke programme last night. The programme had developed a few more thoughts about what I call 'evangelical geography.' This is what I consider to be the practice by which teachers give their classes the view they should have. I think that it's vital that we give a balanced account of issues and allow pupils to make their own minds up. Who's to say that my view is the right one to have? I know that some colleagues have the view that it is our job to guide students into making the 'correct' choice - but who says what this should be?

If geography is to meet the new NC (where we need to be identifying bias in sources) and be seen as an objective and rigorous subject I t…

NQT Conference update

Thanks for all of the feedback via Surveymonkey so far - I really do value your feedback!

This is the altered presentation that was actually given. The main changes are the 'Pause for thought' sections between each lesson.

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Hampshire Secondary Geography NQT Conference

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Hope that you were able to gain something from the presentation today. I have uploaded the PowerPoint for download and editing here. The motion clips won't work as they are seperate files, but they can be found either at Geography at the Movies or please email me and I'll arrange to add them.


I would really appreciate any feedback you have about the presentation. There is a very quick and simple survey here.

Lastly remember to share ideas and stay in touch - noone should be re-inventing the wheel especially with the major changes to KS3 and 4 coming soon. Also, it can sometimes be good to recieve support from outside of your schools and departments.

100th post

I can't believe it's the 100th post!

I'm back at work with a bang this week, but the memories of last week will stay. I've chosen two images that I think sum up the visit. We only saw the 'best of the bad' in Goa, however it was heartbreaking enough. Having taught about LEDCs and poverty for 4 and a but years I thought I was prepared, but I was very wrong. I'm very proud of the 5 boys that I took to India, and I know that what they have experienced will change the way in which they think. To quote one of them 'It's going to feel really weird when I go to Tesco's next.'
The final few days were spent visiting various outreach projects. I have huge admiration for the missionaries there. Very inspiring. the images I have chosen all include people. Although the landscapes were incredible it is the human story that I found so compelling. My life was certainly put into perspective!

Teaching Shallom House style - making Christmas Cards during an aftern…

Day 6

First stop today was the Mapusa market to but provisions and presents for the visits. The boys were expected to used their own money and had to haggle for good prices. The provisions market was bonkers!

Fresh spices available...
Buying the rice after a hard haggle.

25kg of rice for £3.

The river outside the market...

Old peoples home.

One of the students coming out of a slum dwelling



Setting up some shots of the children at the village.
Our visit brought alot of joy to the children. Also it was amaing how proud people were of their homes, often wanting their photograph taken of them inside their homes.




Giving out sweets and rice to the villagers


Haggling at Anjuna market - big flea market on the beach



Showing off purchases.




Some sellers are very persistant! This drum seller followed us for 15 mins...... Did he get a sale?

Day 5

Day five….. Some incredible sights today. We got to see that not everyone in Goa lives in poverty and also visited a Spice Plantation. Is a banana a Tree, Shrub or Grass? What is the second most expensive spice?

Then off to Palolem beach for some bartering, and the sunset. Tomorrow we are going to a number of villages to carry out some outreach work. The team are getting to grips with being here now. I’ve selected some photos that sum up today.


Some of the shops near the beach.


Getting to grips with haggling










Indian driving.....









Day 4...

We headed to the orphanages today. The money that the team raised will go to help the work at some of these. I’ve just chosen a few images that I think sum up the day.



It will be some time before I have had time to really get to grips with the feelings that the day has unleashed.



One of the missionaries with the youngest orphan.


The children at the first orphanage. This room serves as the classroom, sleeping area, dining area and prayer room


Some of the children during the first visit


Kitchen inside a slum dwelling. 8 People in two rooms that would all fit inside my classroom. I noticed how clean the inside of the dwelling was despite the surroundings and materials used in construction.


Street scene from a Muslim slum on the outskirts of the Goan capital


The bathroom for two dwellings in the above slum area. Serves 12 people


In all the areas that we visited huge models were being made in preparation for the Diwali festival


Our visit caused quite a stir in some areas.


The main entrance to Shallo…