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Showing posts from November, 2012

Evaluating sources of information and Creating a graphic novel about Stonehenge. Updated.

Where is Stonehenge and what is it like slide share selectedfrom David Rogers Another post inspired by an excellent resource produced by Noel Jenkins.  We’ve used Stonehenge as a Year 7 assessment for the past four years as the issues continue to be relevant.  The issue also provides an opportunity for our classes to apply the skills learned throughout the ‘Amazing Places’ unit.  We get students to create a graphic novel of a journey from Portsmouth to Stonehenge.A graphic novel requires carefully developed literacy skills and the ability to select information from a story. As this YouTube clip found by Jo demonstrates: I’ve put these resources here as the first lesson allows students to evaluate photographs (through a Flickr slideshow), OS maps, website information and other forms of digital mapping including Google Earth.  We consider this lesson to be one of the most important in the first term of Year 7 as it focuses on the crucial geographical skill of interpreting maps.  Do your s…

Using ‘thunks’ to kick start a lesson.

Thanks to Noel Jenkins’ recent excellent post over at Digital Geography for the inspiration here.At the moment, our school is having a real push for quick starts of lessons.  It’s not a new thing, just something to focus on and an important part of setting the right climate for learning.  If you’re not familiar with Ian Gilbert’s ‘thunks’ visit here.Noel’s post describes a problem that we also encounter: describing places really well is difficult. Not only that, it’s really difficult to trust sources of online information: how do students know what to trust?Stonehenge 'thunk'from David Rogers The thinking behind this series of slides is to get students to revisit the ideas and skills of critical evaluation of sources learned during the ‘Iceland doesn’t exist’ lesson.  The inspiration came from this post over at the Google Earth Blog that links to this BBC article.

Using PowerPoint better: LiveWeb add-in plus text input to support thinking about UK flooding

Geography is all about events that happen outside in the real world.  As mentioned last week, Year 10 are currently exploring flooding and its effects.  That means a slight juggle in the order of teaching in order to utilise the resources as they happen.  I’m sure our young people can live without oxbow lakes for a few lessons .What enables Priory Geography to develop these ideas is the following (although Jo and Sam may disagree)A solid curriculum, supported by lesson level Schemes of Work.  We are always aware of the bigger picture and the requirements of the examination.  This allows us to link current events easily to the specification, ensuring that we are developing geographers rather than exam passers.A sharing culture within the department and the wider geography world – this enables us to collaborate on ideas and develop them.  The learning activity described below was inspired by Sam’s input earlier today: he emailed out some resources and weblinks.I’ve created a short scree…

Berkhamstead School Teaching, Learning and Assessment Conference

Very happy to have been invited along by Nick Dennis to this event.  There is a great line up of keynote speakers and workshop presenters, and the price is excellent too! There are plans for a Teachmeet on the Friday before the event too.Check it out here.

Floating topicality @priorygeography - UK Flooding

This is a quick post, crafted after 5-10 minutes of thinking. Year 10 have just finished the hydrological cycle, and with the current wet weather and increasing flood risk, there is a chance to explore this as it's happening.



So: these two worksheets as students enter with the current BBC News forecast playing.  The questions extend and tap into the previous knowledge and I see little point in waiting to start flooding proper when there's a great example of ground saturation, concentrated precipitation etc.

Next, play this analysis video and explore using the Environment Agency's Flood risk maps.  Topped off by a homework of keeping a diary of the events now.

The great thing about the Priory Geography team is that we will all be teaching this in around 30minutes to our Year 10 classes.  A great example of teamwork and a testament to the high quality of Jo Debens' and Sam Atkins' work.

LiveWeb add-in for PowerPoint

Stuart Ball visited a couple of weeks ago and showed me something in PowerPoint 2010.  Live webpages embedded into the slides.  This allows the presenter to access live web pages without exiting the slideshow.  I’ve put together a couple of crude screencasts (using Community Clips) to demonstrate.  The add-in can be found here and has worked for me well.

My BYOD BETT mission

BETT always leaves me feeling melancholy.  It’s kind of very cool, but also a bit naff.  However, the best part about the show is meeting other teachers (and the occasional company who ‘get it’ too).  During the last show I took part in the wonderfully mind bending DELL thinking jobby.This year I’ll be banging on about Bring Your Own Device.  Well, to be more exact I plan to tell the story of what we’ve been up to at my school – an on-going mission to develop a better pedagogy that uses, where appropriate, the devices that young people bring with them to school every day.  I’m not going to give any spoilers, mainly because I’m planning to be bang up-to-date and there continues to be developments each week – especially around the moral implications  of relying up parent’s providing 3G…..So, it’s with great pleasure, a little excitement and a shed load of nerves that I can tell you that, during Bett 2013, I’ll; be mainly:Taking part in a debate in the BETT Arena;Talking twice a day on t…

‘Floating Topicality’–Barrack to the future

Earlier in my career, I was honoured to work regularly with Jeff Stanfield, the inspector and advisor of Geography for Hampshire.  He always used to talk about building in time for Floating Topicality within the curriculum.  This has become one of the Priory Geography policies.  So, with a number of events happening in the United States over half term, I decided that a little diversion was needed for all year groups.  All classes are being taught this lesson.  For Year 9 it serves as a GCSE taster lesson.For Year 10 the lesson beings home the importance of general geographical ‘place’ (caps and bays) knowledge and serves as a useful case study for hazards.  We will return to this at the appropriate time in the curriculum.For Year 11, in the build up the their SDME paper, it’s an opportunity to develop the vital skill of critical evaluation of data, as well as serving as a case study of a climatic hazard.Fear Years 7 and 8, we explore a geographical issue within the vehicle of a geogra…

The art of (unplanning)

The art of (un)planningfrom David Rogers An idea lifted from Daniel, but one that I’ve tried to develop at the school.  I shared a few ideas on (un)planning yesterday with teachers.  I define (un)planning as techniques that require very few resources to drive the lesson.  Indeed, often there are only a handful of input.  Most have been written about on this blog before, so this is more of a collection of past ideas.1. Never off duty – this refers to the way in which there are always lesson resources and ideas in everyday life.  It takes no time at all to create small resources like this recent one below:2. Ban pens and pencils and paper.  Just every now and again.3. Use John Davitt’s Learning Event Generator.4. Lead with enquiry and challenge students to think and come up with answers that you weren’t expecting. Iceland does not exist.

@DropboxTeams Dropbox for Teams, in school

I’ve been a user of Dropbox for quite some time now and have found it very useful in the classroom to support AfL and share resources between members of Priory Geography.  Compared to other cloud based facilities, the ability to create a folder structure and for the contents to be automatically shared and uploaded is very useful. In addition, it’s very easy to generate links to share resources through Facebook and other outlets.The limitation has always been having to rely upon the rather limited 2GBs included in the free version, or having to pay for extra space.  This has been solved by the relatively recent introduction of Dropbox for Teams. I have to admit that the slick sign up was problematic at our place, but once through we have five accounts and 1TB of space.  This means that all resources can be shared, and the department budget is taking the strain.  Accounts are blended into existing user accounts, and for a small team of our size it works well, allowing all members of the…