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Showing posts from March, 2007

Off to Vermont

Well, the school ski trip heads off tomorrow with me on it so I won;t be able to post for a while. We're heading to Jay Peak in Vermont - a part of the world that I have never ventured to so I'm very much looking forward to it!

Hopefully there will be lots of geography related issues and I am keen to compare the impact of the ski industry in the area and how this will contrast to the European resorts (by the way did Scotland have a ski season this year? I usually venture up for a bit of winter mountaineering but couldn't this year!)

I hope that everyone on their Easter break is having a great time!

Blogging

I've been doing this for a little while now and have been reflecting on the impact. I do find that the thought that I have to put in to a post before it is published is very useful - having a wider audience certainly means that I have to think through things very carefully. Indeed - having my words quoted to me during a recent interview (in a positive way) demonstrated the scope of this audience. This leads me to recent news coverage that employers are reading blogs and basing decisions on what they see - it seems the culture of the recruitment process is changing. I welcome this development as potential employers have the opportunity to form a more accurate picture of a candidates strengths and weaknesses.

TES 30th March 2007

Well I've finally seen my name in print! The 'banned words' idea I first flagged up on the SLN forum. I hope that after this success others will do the same and highlight the excellent ideas and practice out there in the geography community. I also mentioned the blog and hope that people who were not aware of the many excellent blogs out there (many far greater than this one!).There seems to be a bit of debate at the moment whether people should be making money out of sharing ideas so I'd just like to point out that my motives for sending this idea in was the lack of geography in the TES magazine.

Compression - 2 terms in

It's been a while since I posted about the compressed curriculum experience. The school is now 2 terms into compression, with Year 7 being the only cohort. This should mean that these pupils sit their external SAT examinations in Year 8: next year! As I've mentioned before, this has serious implications for the recruitment of KS4 geographers. On Monday we were given the day (well most of it anyway...) to focus on what to do at Key Stage 4. This went some way to reassure me as I felt this was being ignored. As a department we have decided to investigate the following as possible 'pathways' within the geography department. Pathway 1: Year 9 and 10 : GCSE Geography, Year 11 Short course (if they exist?) in environmental science/management or geology. Pathway 2: Year 9 Foundation year focusing on geographical skills and containing a significant fieldwork element. Year 10 and 11 GCSE Geography. Pathway 3: Year 9 and 10 VGCSE Leisure and Tourism, Year 11 some other short course…

Year 7 Fieldtrip to Sparsholt

This happened a couple of weeks ago now but I'm only just getting around to writing about it. March usually means it's time for the Year 7 trip to Sparsholt Agricultural College. The School's Centre there has been providing a day of activity for Year 7 for some years now to our students. We are still the only department that manages to get the whole of a year group out - although over 5 days!

The focus of the visit changed this year. Instead of focusing on farming systems participants tried to see how the centre is sustainable. This will allow the students to plan their own enquiry into how sustainable our own school is.

The day was a great success (I only went along on one trip this year) and the sun shined for once! One interesting point that came out of the day was that the solar panel on the schools' centre is connected to the National Grid: providing a small amount of power! I hope that the Year 7 environment unit will expand to allow them to make real changes to th…

Selling the Award

Just about to launch the Duke of Edinburgh's Award with Year 9 after Easter. Have to say that interest in the scheme has really taken off this year, with around 50 particpants involved. I'm using the scheme as the foundation of a wider Outdoor Learning provision. I intend to use Year 10 students who have completed their Bronze Award as Outdoor Leaders next year. This will extend the leadership opportunities available to pupils.

The video above is a short promotional movie for promoting the Award and in particular the Expedition Section. I've used it for parents information evenings. I did plan to upload it into 4Shared, but the file size is too big!

So far this year particpants of the Award have taken part in a Fire Safety course run by Fire Fighters at Portchester Fire Station and taken part in the Linvoy Primus Enterprise Challenge.

Penguins!

I was lucky to take a tour around the Cape when in Cape Town and came across this colony of African Penguins near Simons Town. The video is unedited at the moment, so still includes some useful commentary by an American tourist. Africa and Penguins? Mad!

Enterprise Education

I've been keeping this fairly quiet, but I have been supporting a group of young people during the Linvoy Primus Enterprise Challenge. I have been so impressed with these 5 young men! See what they have been up to by looking at their blog. The first prize is a trip to Goa and the results will be out after Easter!

An adventure in Snowdonia

Last weekend as it seemed that most of the country basked in sunshine I was in Snowdonia in some of the worst weather I have exerienced for a while! The idea was to take a few friends and their partners up a couple of fun hills. The wind was gusting over 50mph on the summit ridge, and the glorious Snowdonia views where nowhere to be seen!

The hill chosen was Moel Siabod. The summit can be accessed viua a nice little scramble. A couple of things went round in my mind (apart from keeping track of where we were - maybe I should have given this my full attention!). The first was how busy the route was. As you can see from the photo above there where millions (OK so not quite millions, but when you're trying to get away from it all...) of people. It always suprises me that no matter what the weather does people always venture out.

Secondly I was struck by the beauty and intrigued by the history of the quarry workings in the area. I also relefcted on the fact that many of the old industri…

Blogging and South Africa

Throughout the South African experience the best days were spent teaching! On he Tuesday we had to address the whole school - 900 Afrikaans speaking students and staff!

I am about to use blogs to allow learners in two countries to communicate. The plan is to get a small group of students in my school and our partner school to pose questions for the others to answer. At first we are going to use Year 7 and 8 pupils in order to increase the sustainability of the project - allowing the selected students to 'grow up' with the project. Small groups have been selected so that there are no issues of capacity. The partner school does not have the access to technology that we are lucky to enjoy - 5 computers compared to being able to get whole classes on the machines!

The first questions will focus on the physical geography immediately around the two schools - which are very different! It is then hoped that this will widen to include many other issues.

Other students in my school will be…

Year 7 Carbon Project

As one of the methods to get students interacting with blogs the Carbon Project is finally up and running. The aim is for students to calculate their carbon footprint then investigate how they can reduce it. The outcome will be a poster, but I am hoping that pupils will report on the KS3 blog.

I then expect students to report back on how easy they have found reducing their footprint. The lesson series fits into an Environment Unit, that will include investigating how sustainable our own school is!

South Africa Day 1

Looking back at Cape Town's CBD

The South African adventure has been built up since early October. The aim was for 4 teachers to visit the Western Cape in order to set up curriculum based projects. After half a day's teaching we took an overnight flight to Cape Town. My expectations and fears we as follows:

After reading the Lonely Planet there was certainly apprehension about driving in the country!Although a seasoned traveller, the usual fears of lost bags etc prevailed.ExpectationsTo experience Township lifeTo gather and create teaching resourcesTo identify and lay the foundations of a sustainable curriculum link between schoolsExperience life in a Coloured South African school and teach childrenLearn more about the history of this nation.After landing and picking up the hire car - we noticed the informal settlements around the airport straight away. What we should have been doing though is navigating as we promptly took the wrong turning. This oversight ended up in an impr…

Madness at the office

Well a lot has happened since my last proper post. Please excuse the last one - a result of showing a colleague how easy it was to post something on a blog - should have demonstrated how to easy it is to post something really useful on a blog!

Well, I'm in front of this computer now and it's time to catch up, hopefully tonight I'll give an update of what's been going on over the past couple of weeks and get Day 1 of South Africa published.

Anyhow, the fine looking chap above is St David the patron saint of Wales. Being Welsh and sharing his birthday, last Thursday was an interesting day. Not least because my 5 year old niece now thinks I actually am St David!

Before that it was to La Rossiere for a skiing trip. The snow and weather where both great, although Year 11 say that the resulting tan looks like it comes from a bottle! Oh well, I suppose I'm worth it.

Anyhow - better get back to the task in hand - apologies for few up0dates at the moment this is really due to …

It's St Davids Day.