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How much do you talk?

I've been reflecting for a week now on the outcomes of a residential course I was on last week.  There are a number of points that will impact on my practice.
1. My core purpose is learning.  
I've often struggled over my subject or the education of the whole child.  I now certainly think that the whole education of young people is more important than the survival of my subject. 
My core purpose is not teaching. I was stunned to learn that the on average 95% of all questions in a classroom are asked by teachers. Is this the way it should be? Is this encouraging independent, reflective learners? I also found that most activities within a classroom are teacher led. Are pupils just learning what we want them too or should we allow them to direct their own learning?
2. Staff in school are a mixed ability cohort
I differentiate for my young learners and will use these approaches for adult learners.
3. Knowledge and Skills will change
'Shift Happens' has been around for a while and…

Textbooks survey

A big thank you to all those who have taken part in the survey.

I would ideally like the opinion of some non-specialist teachers of geography. If you have some in your department, faculty or school I would be grateful if you directed them to the survey here.

On site fieldwork Part 1

Year 7 are starting the new unit: Portsmouth: our amazing place. This year all KS 3 schemes of work will not end with an assessment. This is to encourage pupils to make links between units. I think that if a unit ends with an assessment pupils are more likely to compartmentalize the information. For example, in Year 8, Rainforest's is followed by Tourism in the Rainforest with sustainability being the key concept that runs through both units.

Year 7 start off with Amazing Places and the Place, Space and Scale concepts will run through into the next unit. The Year 7 unit is available here. s part of the new unit I hope to report on the different fieldwork techniques used with Year 7. To me, fieldwork should be small scale and embedded into the curriculum - within an hour lesson it's really easy to get out of the classroom.

This unit will employ lots of on-site and local area fieldwork as well as integrating the use of maps, both electronic and paper, and GIS. In a trial this year…

Why reinvent it?

Using comics

I've been meaning to use comicbrush ever since spotting it on Ollie's blog a while ago. Used it today with Year 7. Also put together some Leveling criteria for them. Today's class really enjoyed pulling my effort apart! Still - teaches me to prepare sooner and not on the train into work!! Great AfL though.

The mark scheme and task PPT can be found below

Stonehenge Comic Mark Scheme And TaskView SlideShare presentation or Upload your own.

Have used a wide range of resources again - I love using travel guides and literature as I think the sense of place is brilliant.

Google Earth, Neogeography and Travel Books

A good return to work today. Hit Year7 with the new Stonehenge lesson based on Noel's work on the RGS site. Thought I;d combine a number if ideas including talking about neogeography (Noel) and a few tips picked up during Ollie's SAGT session.

Stonehenge – Seventh Wonder Or National DisgraceView SlideShare presentation or Upload your own.

The PPT above accompanies the lesson and is also available on the department blog. The lesson sequence went something like:

Pupils used an OS map extract of Stonehenge to write down 3 features about the location. Map skills have been done away with by my department - and it was interesting to see that most of the class were able to interpret the map, without a key. I'm very glad that we have decided not to teach a 'Map Skills' unit this year!!The learning objectives were shared using the Smoke Signal API.Pupils then used the Photos and Wikipedia layers in Google Maps. As GE isn't up and running on the network yet this was a grea…

Focussing on positive behaviour

It's not a well known fact but I am a Fast Track teacher. I don't sell myself as one as I prefer for my actions to speak louder than my status. One of the bonuses of the (soon to be defunct) scheme is that I get to be involved with whole school projects.

This year I am leading a major change. I am planning to implement a behaviour system that rewards positive behaviour. The work is going well and I have learnt a number of lessons about manging whole school change:

Change needs ownership - a project is likely to fail if there isn't a 'project leader' responsible for implementation and monitoring.Project management is weak in many schools - major changes need a systematic approach. Change can not be rushed through -it's better to hold off and get the detail rightConsultation with support staff is vital for change to be effective. My first HoD told me that you can upset anyone in the school apart from the support staff. They are the people who will make the change a…

SAGT 2008

Lovely flying visit to Edinburgh for the 2008 SAGT.

Keynote Professor Iain Stewart

Interesting perspective on the science of hazard management. Prof Stewart argued that physical processes can not be viewed separately from social settings and management. The main trust focused on the fact that people still suffer from natural hazards even though the events themselves are well known to us. For example, we know where, when, why certain natural hazards occur - so why do some groups of people continue to live in these zones?

On reflection it seems that the keynote was calling for physical and human geographers to unite and to stop working in isolation. However, it was a little disappointing that he stopped short of highlighting how important geographers are to reaching full understanding of such events.

In terms of impacting on my department we will certainly be using some of the case studies. There is a great geographical mystery to unravel regarding Hurricane Katrina and pay day.

Seminar Da…

SAGT

Have spent an excellent day in Edinburgh at the SAGT conference. Great to catch up with colleagues from around the country. Also enjoyed the conversations that questioned the what and how of what should be taught.

Two excellent key notes plus two excellent workshops by Dan and Ollie.

I'll have a reflect on the flight back home and post in more detail later. Lots of ideas to digest and develop......

Hampshire Heads of Geography Conference

Here is the PPT used in todays short presentations. Remember that it is a case study of what is going on at Priory and not necessarily the only, or right, way of approaching the GCSE changes.

Please feel free to leave a comment if you have anything to say about the session. Also, if you are interested in joining n with a GIS network that I am setting up in Portsmouth please get in touch either by leaving a comment or emailing me at Priory.

GCSE ChangeView SlideShare presentation or Upload your own.

My main piece of advice is to really read the specifications and to search out extra information. Controlled Assessment doesn't need to be a monster if we are pro-active and join with colleagues in other departments.

Cotswold Outdoor

I've used Cotswold Outdoor for many years for outdoor equipment mainly due to their great customer service and great discounts.

They have recently started a blog that documents staff adventures. However, there is also the occasional teaching gem like this post. Touches on impacts of tourism, employment etc.

Fiction in Geography

The HIAS geography inspector put me onto using fiction in lessons. Authors of novels can describe and explain geographical concepts, processes and places better than I ever could hope to. The new Terry Pratchett book Nation is linked to a geographical issue. Can you spot what it is from the blurb?

'And then the wave comes - a huge wave, dragging black night behind it....'

'The village gone. The Nation as it was has gone...'

Taken from 'Nation' by Terry Pratchett 2008 ISBN 978-0-385-61370-5

Places that don't exist

This post reminded me of a documentary series a while back. Combined with Dan's work , Noel's ideas and a 'travel guide' I'm thinking of putting together a mini unit based on places that don't exist. I'm hoping that the main outcome will be the creation of more places that don't exist.

For example: how many of the places and spaces that young people inhabit and interact with don't exist for us?

How many spaces don't exist for pupils? The staff room? The Head's Office? The dining table?

This unit could really explore personal geographies. Based on some neogeography could we make maps of places that don't exist in our local city? If we layered different people's maps where would be the overlaps? What would happen if we expanded the map to include a county, region, country.....

Could we compare the maps of different nationalities, ethnic background, age, social class......

This could well be a can'o'worms.....

Controlled Assessment

While at Juniper Hall, the FSC's centre in Surrey, I've been pondering the issue of controlled assessment. In particular how to prepare pupils for cpntrolled assessment.

I've always favoured local fieldwork for coursework activities. The main reason for this is that the wider context is understood by the majority of pupils as the place is known to them. Students are also able to meet the independent work aspect of most specifications as the study area is local. Also, if pupils miss the data collection it isn't too difficult to revisit the site in their own time. I don't see this changing with controlled assessments, especially when all of the GCSE cohort have to be able to access the fieldwork from a financial point of view.

However, for controlled assessment to be successful pupils have to be familiar with the process. This is just good formative assessment practice. The question is where to fit in a full 'dry run' of a controlled assessment? Of course, KS3 …

Eco Challenge

A little while ago I posted about the FSC's Eco-Challenge, a fully funded weekend residential. Well, day 1 is out of the way and I'm hoping that the quiet as I write this post will continue for the rest of the night!

Today the group focused on developing team work. They also began to explore what the term 'eco' means.

I spotted the poster below at the centre which reminded me about the Geography Collevctive missions. I think it would make a great statement not to buy anything for a day. With direct debits would that be even possible ;-)

The numbers game

Things are looking up this week for the use of blogs at school. Geography @ Priory is doing well over at Wordpress. The wordpress system allows me to track the number of visitors per post. This is allowing me to justify its use. If the trial continues to gather pace I plan to conduct a pupil voice survey and then promote to parents using moo cards.

In addition the Web 2.0 report this week has also supported the case. Don't get me wrong, the report can be used t support the case for VLE's too, and I'm not against them at all. What is frustrating is the lack of vision and fore planning in some aspects of education about the educational use of such platforms.

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GA Consultant register

Received confirmation that I have been added to the GA Teacher Consultant Register from this month. Excellent!

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What is geography?

Last night was an excellent open evening. Many parents were engaged in discussion in the geography rooms exploring what geography is and what it means for them and their children. The Headteacher also popped in and was stunned by the transformation of the department. We've come a long way in just 9 months, but there is still lots to do!

Happy days! Just goes to show that a bit a praise from the top is very motivating.

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Particpatory Geography

How can we get pupils to design their own curriculum? Not for others but for themselves to follow. One simple technique is to get pupils to write questions, ideas and activities linked to a topic. Here, Year 9 students have said what they would like to know at the end of a unit called 'volcanoes'.

Low tech, but it is surprising how many topics would appear in the SoW. Also allows children to point out some of the activities that the enjoy, e.g. maps from memory, games etc...

Teachers survival pack....

I attended the Portsmouth LA NQT welcome meeting during the week. One of the best presentations was given by two secondary school teachers who had just passed induction. In it they gave a survival pack fr the NQT year. Since the talk I've been trying to put together my essential list.

In no particular order, here is the list of stuff I couldn't do without:
R+R - the mountains, outdoors, mountain bike, beer or just leaving at 5 and not working at home. Sometimes I really need to switch off! And of course good quality single malt.
iPhone - only had this device for 2 weeks but it has revolutionised my organisation. I have a photo of my timetable, using the calendar feature and just listening to music when I need to calm down!My own laptop with mobile broadband - no need to worry about blocked sites at work. I can take my lessons anywhere.A reality check - from family, girlfriend and colleagues. Always keep my feet on the ground and give me perspective.Memory stickGood quality speake…

Aims and concepts

Open evening is approaching. I also want to avoid work. Have put this together - will be forming posters in the department as well becoming the screensavers on the open night. May be useful to others. The aims of geography are targeted toward KS3 and 4 students.

Have made extensive use of Creative Commons images from Flickr. Images that aren't credited are my own (well if the head of department can't put his own face up in school who can ;-) )

AimsView SlideShare presentation or Upload your own.

Geographical imaginations

1.1 PlaceUnderstanding the physical and human characteristics of real places.Developing ‘geographical imaginations’ of places.Taken from here.

Just got back from a short ride on the MTB and avoiding packing away the tents for next weekend. The clip above will form a lesson idea designed to explore Year 7's geographical imaginations.

Place as the National Curriculum sees it looks like this:





From this it is clear that pupils should explore different places and interpret their imaginations of place as well as other peoples. Essentially, exploring places. But how can we communicate geographical imaginations?

The youtube video is one of my favorite parts of Cool Runnings. I like this as it links to the Olympics and one of the main characters says something that I very strongly believe in: 'I didn't come all this way to forget who I am and where I come from'. How would we like to remember Portsmouth if we moved away? What images will we remember in 10 years time?

Below is a lesso…

ICT developments

Frustration. An exciting meeting and dialogue (well, heated debate!) between some pionier users of ICT and SLT occurred yesterday. We made some great progress:
Agreement to get at least one teacher desktop in every classroom asapOnline registration - this will reduce the cost of photocopying currently used to track internal truancyThe possible move of the school email system to gmailOther topics were talked about also. To me the way to get teachers using ICT is to ensure that they have access to a computer and have to turn it on each and every day. Insisting on online registration will do this. Then, once the computer is logged on and on the desk a teacher may use the internet to search for resources, use a PPT to make life a bit easier....

One of the most frustrating parts of the discussion centered around the VLE / blog debate. We all have to use VLE's, the government expects it. However, it seems to me that the learning conversation isn't going on. I was told that my blogs, t…

Increasing productivilty

It's a busy month October. On top of current commitments, I also need to meet with an enthusiastic geography governor who is also head of Lifelong Learning for the local council. The problem was were we could fit each other in. He introduced me to Meet-O-Matic a free tool designed to find the best time to meet. Very quick and easy and now there is another meeting stored in the calendar!

New blogs

Have been playing around with Wordpress and considering migrating over...

I have set up a couple of blogs for my new school. The aim is to tackle the Head's big bugbear: homework. In fact the main issue is one of communication between teachers, pupils and parents. The current system of providing rigid Schemes of Work with set homeworks is not flexible enough to respond to individual classes and teachers.

The KS3 blog is an attempt to be more flexible. Parents can be directed there in order to support their children while pupils can use the site for support and as a virtual study diary.

There are some issues: if every department were t take this step then the identity of the school is diluted. Also - how is the quality to be assured? I would prefer to use the school's VLE which is in the process of being set up - however will that be as flexible as a blog where I can update and provide support in the lesson?

The KS4 blog will soon have an email update - this has been requested by p…

Neogeography

A thought provoking post by Noel has made me think. Is one way to close the gap between secondary and tertiary education to use the terminology of higher institutions? A simple change could have a large impact....

Pints of tea!

I really enjoy heading to Pete's Eats at the end of a long day on the hills, or hiding from the Welsh weather! One of the highlights is always the pint mug of tea! I purchased a couple a few years back and usually hit the tea after getting home. I'm please to say that these are now available to buy from the website!

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Technology

To " improve the use of ICT to enhance teaching and students’ learning, including students’ use of geographical information systems especially in Key Stage 3". One of the targets given by Ofsted after the subject inspection in February.

The situation then? Rolling blackboards and ICT meant video, tv, Brazil 2000 and an OHP.

Today the final installations of ICT equipment has been installed in the department. This now makes geography the best equipped department ICT wise (after ICT). One suite of 20 machines, every teaching room now has access to a projector and at least one networked PC an speaker system (Year 11 found that these are very loud when I tested the equipment with the 'Where the Hell is Matt' video!) . No interactive whiteboards though but one step at a time.

The next step is to ensure that the equipment is used effectively. This means training staff that have little experience of using ICT in the classroom and making sure that the Schemes of Work …

Amazing Places

As mentioned in a previous post, the Year 7 baseline assessment has been a sucess. I've also uploaded some of the resources for our first unit - Amazing Places here. The unit's inspiration comes form the RGS scheme and ideas used from Tony, Alan and Noel.

The idea is that Year 7 get a 'taster' of geography - lightly skimming the surface of issues before revisited them later on in KS3. One issue that has been a challenge is differentiating for the lower ability classes at Priory. Although these classes love discussion, some of the more open ended tasks (the Iceland film crew briefing document for example) need a lot of scaffold. However, early work is very pleasing and Year 7 seem engaged!

I have also tried to stick to a number of key principles across the department. One is that pupils can choose how they present homework and projects. Pupils are sticking to their strong points early on and this allows them to focus on the geography rather than using a presentation techn…

Defining participatory geography

As part of my RGS(IBG) Innovative Teaching Grant I have attempted to define participatory geography.

a.Pupils involved in creating and evaluating the curriculumi.At Priory this aspect proved to be very innovative and controversial! To meet this criteria, pupil voice has been gathered using on-line questionnaires. In addition, a small group of pupils has been formed whose role is to feed back to staff on the quality of the curriculum. During the project it became clear that although pupils are often involved in evaluating what has happened to them, they are rarely involved in creating their own curriculum. Geography on Tour aimed to create resources that will be used with pupils who chose the issues.b.Pupils making informed personal choicesi.What do they buy? Changing behaviour such a turning off lights and using less water. c.Pupils informing and influencing their peers and familyi.Creation of resources that can be used to inform others. For example, posters that are displayed around a…

Milestone...

Without me really noticing it seems that over 10,000 'reads' have happened!

Still not sure how useful this blog is to other people, although I have received some favorable comments(both virtual and face-to-face) and emails from people.

I do still find that, with my brain being quite unorganized, that writing a blog post does concentrate and order my thoughts even when I don't publish it.

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Spelling and assessment

An interesting feature on Breakfast this morning, followed up online in this article. Reminds me of the range of different mehods that I use to assess pupils. The baseline assessment has been used by all 250 Year 7's and a quick evaluation has been made.

As usual, some pupils aren't that great at writing. I found myself talking to pupils and asking questions and listening to their ideas. I then recorded the level of their oral answer at the top of their question sheet.

So how do we assess our pupils? And is it important at KS3? When I talk to pupils assessment is very important to them. They value the chance to know how well they are doing. The main 'customer' of education: parents, also like assessment. They like to know how well their children are doing.

I also value assessment - I can see the progression of pupils in a measurable way. I am a quantitative geographer by nature, and I like being able to measure pupil performance (although not in the SLT sense of the word)…

iPhone

My new toy has arrived. Straight away it has enabled me to get more organised! Being able to easily check my Google calendar means that I can now avoid getting double booked. A feature that also sold the idea to my other half!

I have also downloaded Spore as an app after reading a couple of blogs (Ollie and Alan) about the game. I have to admit that I done know very much at all about the game so am looking forward to exploring! Ever since playing Colonization on my PC many years ago I thought that gaming could also be used for learning as I found out a huge amount about the development of the USA. Others are far further down the gaming/education track than myself. Having said this there may be an opportunity at my establishment to explore some of the potential, especially for transition work. Maybe based on Ollie's work.

Another good feature is the (albeit power hungry) GPS and geotagging feature. I'm not sure whether this will replace my hand help GPS and camera as the camera q…
Mmmm, on the train again. I enjoyed recent post by Doug Belshaw about increasing productivity and I have today that using mobile broadband and the train has increased my production!

And it needs to! One of the issues of taking over a department with an inadequate curriculum is that everything (well almost everything) has to change at once. This means that the department is around 1-2 weeks ahead of the pupils. We are also evaluating the curriculum as we go - making changes and consulting pupils. We have also set up pupil groups, their job is to advise us on how the curriculum can meet their needs more effectively. Participatory Geography in action!

I have created some 4shared folders containing the Schemes of Work and some resources that are being used in the department.

FSC Eco Challenge

Just on the train home from a parents meeting facilitated by the FSC. Our department is taking part in the Eco-Schools Challenge. For anyone not familiar with this project I would strongly reconmend reading up!

In October 30 Year 8 students will travel to the FSC's center Juniper Hall for a 4 day residential. The focus will be on environmenal issues and adventure activities. The project also provides 3 follow up sessions at local areas. For some of our urban dwelling pupils the adventure will be a real eyeopener. Planned activities include shelter building, mountain biking, a river study and team challenges.

The best part: it's all free. NO cost to either the school or parents.

Locating places

It seems that pupils are not great at locating places so this year each exercise book will have a world map glued to the inside cover. Every place studied will be located on this map. Hopefully that will allow pupils to know where places are.

I have also put an OS map of the local area on my classroom wall. It will be used to create a display centered around students' favorite places creating a living map. The plan is to build on students' personal geographies as I hope to locate case studies that link into the units.

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Back to it!

Greater effort means better rewards. The more effort put into getting somewhere, the better the view. The greater the risk taken the greater the reward?

Heading into work today in order to get various bits organised. The projectors promised over the summer are not yet in place - disappointing. However, I'm hoping that patience and persistence will be rewarded. Does mean that in the sort termthough I need to reconfigure the start of term for the department - out goes the all singing all dancing ICT and in comes the singing and dancing teacher!

Also this year I will be kicking off our INSET day on Wednesday with an outline of a new rewards system. We'll see how that goes!

Organic decline

An interesting topic. Article in today's Guardian reports on the decline in organic sales.

Patagonia

Have been a fan of Patagonia for a while now (otherwise known as Patagucci). Have been following their blog and ethical ideas and have found many resources useful for the classroom.

The latest development is the 'Tin Shed'. Lots of interesting stuff!

Image from Flickr user jetalone

Blood, sweat and t-shirts

Interesting visit to the BBC yesterday. Highlighted some resources linked to the Blood, Sweat and T-shirts pro gramme screened earlier this year.

Thread - some useful videos and resources that explore the issue of ethical clothing. Goes beyond labor issues.

Blast - also some focus on ethical clothing but also useful for enterprise education.

Also some useful clips on youTube.

Snowdon cafe

Spent a very short time at the summit of Snowdon on the weekend, but was amazed at the landscaping that has occurred. Now you get to the summit via granite steps (not so easy on the legs after 2 weeks of hills!) The summit blog http://www.bloglines.com/myblogs also has some nice aerial views of the installation.

Also, visited Cairngorm mountain where there is major controversy about the damage the the environment and eco systems.

Both cases illustrate how National Parks have been opened up for visitors.

Update...

What a month! a whole 4 and a bit weeks away from a computer, out of mobile reception most of the time and usually without basic facilities.

I spent the first two weeks touring parts of Europe and some of the photos can be found on my Flickr photostream. This included visits to the mental fountain in Geneva and a journey into a glacier.

Then, for some reason, I spent some time wild camping in Scotland. I plan to use some of the images to illustrate how most of our small island is used by people - even when it's taken 2 days to walk to where you are. A project to document the whole journey was foiled by the appalling weather.

The final weekend was spent taking part in the 3peaks challenge. For anyone not familiar with this challenge details can be found here. e were a small independent team that took all possible steps to reduce our impact. Turning up at Wasdale Head at midnight was challenging as we had to keep the noise to a minimum. I'm pleased that I managed to get the views o…

Cairngorms expedition

These photos were taken the last time I had the pleasure of walking in the Cairngorms. I'm hoping that the weather will be a little different this time around! The objective is to summit all 18 Munro's in the range over a 4ish (flexibility being the key). Can't wait for a little bit of wilderness!

The expedition will be a warm up before heading to Skye and then taking on the 3 Peaks Challenge. There will also be a couple of teaching outcomes. I have (for the first time) planned my route using Anquet mapping software. Our actual track will be recorded using a GPS during the trip. The resulting comparison will be used to teach some map skills. I intend to explore the decision making process along the expedition route.

The other projects are very much in progress.
Using GPS information to make a GE file showing signs of human use in on of the most remote areas of Scotland. We should not come across a settlement for the length of the expedition.We'll be taking along a camcord…

Three Peaks Challenge

As part of the Geography on Tour project exploring participatory geography (supported by an RGS(IBG) Innovative Geography Teaching Award) I'm taking on the three peaks challenge.

At the same time I'll be raising money for the East Anglian Air Ambulance, and thanks to Alex and the team for agreeing for me to come along!

You can sponsor me here.

Looking down at Y Lliwedd on a rather wet Snowdon decent

I last took part in the challenge a few ( ;-) ) years ago at the tender age of 18. The plan is to also gather local views about the impact of charity challenges and find out about the impact on the landscape. We are going to be a small team with one driver and intend on contributing to the local econmoy of each place (even if it is just a sneaky pint or two...)

The summit of Ben Nevis last time I was there.

This will link to participatory geography as I plan to produce a GE based resource where pupils can take the decision whether or not to allow the challenge to continue.....

Getting the start right

Have been working on the first unit of Year 7 quite a bit lately. Part of our school set up requires a baseline level after the first week. This means that in geography we have to get a level for each pupil by the end of the first lesson. So the challenge was to create an engaging lesson that also provides an opportunity for a baseline assessment. One of the problems in the department is setting expectations too low using a simple 'marks-out-of-ten' test. This model just tests pupils' knowledge rather than their geographical ability. From working with KS2 through induction lessons and primary projects, it had become clear to me that most primary pupils (at least in our catchment) are very capable geographers. Indeed, many primary schools seem to end Year 6 with a big geography project after the SAT examinations.

The existing baselines available don't seem to be tied too tightly into the levels of attainment (yes I know that they are for assessing the end of the key stag…

On the move

Have decided to start catching the train to work. rather than turning an eco-leaf it's for financial reasons: my other half pointed out that I'd be paying less than half the cost of driving the 80 miles round trip each day. Billy bargain! Now I have nearly 2 hours of sitting on a train - extra reading and planning time. So I've also invested in mobile broadband from Vodaphonewhich is really working out well. I went for the mega speed version. Why don't I move closer to the school? I would if there where any first time buyers able to purchase the current chez Rogers! Image from Flickr user Armel* (back from India) under Creative Commons

Mad, bad and dangerous to know

My current read has been around for a while now but just published in paperback. Am planning to include some famous geographers in as many schemes of work as possible as well as a display around the GGiP blank world map - mug shots of the people who helped to fill in the map. Have just got up to the part of Transglobe where he journeyed around the globe including getting across Antarctica and the Arctic. Now that's an expedition!

geography@work

A couple of scans of the coasts book (with permission from Folens) and click here for an example lesson plan. Apologies for the rather poor quality, but you should get the idea!



The series as a whole has some great feedback from teachers which is good news. I'll also be putting together a workshop for the GA's 2009 conference. The working title is 'Textbooks: everyone's guilty pleasure' and will aim to demonstrate how textbooks can be used in innovative ways in order to support geographical enquiry and investigation instead of comprehension......

Year 6 Induction

It seems that at this time of year I hardly do any teaching. So it's great when there is some to do!

| View | Upload your own


In the lesson I used the key concept of place to explore geography. Started by a little 'Geography or not?' quiz asking pupils for why it would be Geog. Then used the 'Where the hell is Matt' videos to get across the message of asking questions. Also asked pupils to count the number of places visited to encourage tactics for learning (much better sounding then learning to learn!).

For example some pupils used a simple tally to keep track. This led into a maps from memory exercise (idea from a poster on SLN). Lovely!

The gap at the bottom left of the slide is for a great image from Flickr but I'm still waiting for permission to use it. (in case you were wondering - it's the sort of thing I would spot)

KS3 Curriculum - almost there!

Spent an excellent day at New Place with the geography team last week. We managed to hammer out the KS3 curriculum map and plan up until Christmas. Regular readers may be aware of the unique situation at my school: the geography department had no Schemes of Work. At all. Ever. Therefore I have had the rather onerous task of not only creating a curriculum from scratch but having to ensure that it is implemented for September 2008. In Year's 7, 8 and 9.

| View | Upload your own

The show above outlines the new curriculum. The presentation will change a little as I'm still playing around with the format. I've tried to use the 'dartboard' to visualize the curriculum, linking to some of the Key Concepts around the outside. I'd welcome feedback as I don;t think this is 100% successful at the moment. The dartboard also has to show the sequence of units so that staff can easily see progression.

It's my intention for this to sit on the school's (a my own) website s…

Geography@Work

Geography@Work is a new textbook series published by Folens. My contribution is 'How sustainable is our coastline. Will we be ready for a rise in sea level?' The process of writing a text book has been a real eye opener. But why use textbooks? Surely they inhibit creativity?

For a few reasons. The first is to support non specialists in my department. The second is that I believe that textbooks aren't the reason why the curriculum of the geography department I started at in January (the SoW where all based on the Key Geog...). The reason is how the textbooks where used.

Anyhow, I'm fairly pleased with the result and I hope that some departments will find the book useful.....

Mission: Explore

One of my interests is being a member of the Geography Collective. One of our goals is to encourage young (and young-minded) people out into the outdoors in order to explore places. A huge list of possible missions has been created and a starter list can be found here.

You can also find the collective on facebook.

How many can you complete?

Clouds

Have been thinking about wordle and its potential uses in the classroom. Thanks to Noel, Alan and Tony for initially pointing this out and the SLN thread with some examples.

I've been thinking if this can be used as a tool for AfL. Can an A Grade piece of work be distinguished from a D? Below is the word cloud for my geography department. Although inadequate overall if I had shown this cloud in the feedback session there is a positive message as 'Good' and 'Satisfactory' come out more prominent than 'inadequate'.



Got me thinking - without any electronic pupil work to hand I used the Ofsted reports for two random schools. Which one is better?






The first cloud is from a 'Good' school while the second is from a 'satisfactory' (how I hate that term!) school. Could you spot that without reading the whole report?

This application could also be a good way of prioritising action points for departments or in identifying key messages from surveys. Could th…