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Showing posts from May, 2013

'Posts' blogging app for iPad - initial thoughts [@pico_apps]

I'm writing this, like the past six or seven posts, using Posts for iPad. Personally, nothing beats Microsoft's Livewriter  for writing blog posts and that won't change (remember that I'm not really that tech savvy and like things to just work.) However, to avoid carting around a laptop I've been on the look out for a blogging app for iPad for some time. Here are some brief thoughts. Pleae bear in mind that I like things to be intuitive; that I don't ever go looking long for answers and that I have no patience....

The start up screen is a nice layout and, contrary to some reviews, Posts connected to and import by blogger setup without a problem. I can view and edit all existing posts, although there's some differences in the layout of posts on line.  In particular, I would like to be able to crop and perform basic editing of photos within the app and like hem to stay centred when published as they do in the editor.  However, these are minor bugs when posting…

@SamGeoAtkins blogs. Again. 

I've been privileged to work with Samuel Atkins now for almost three years and I have a huge amount of respect for him. I've also unashamedly been badgering him all of this year to get blogging again.  Despite of this, he's written an excellent post that hints at upcoming changes and whether there is a need or a responsibility to blog. An enjoyable read and I'll promise to not mention any more blogging ;-)

The family Iceland adventure: part three. Reflections on four days in the sticks [@dtw_schools]

This is the third in a series of posts that will tell the story of our family adventure to Iceland. As regular readers will know, I've worked with Discover the World Schools for a while now, producing the award winning volcano and Norway study aids. This is the third adventure here this year but this time it's our own agenda!  When the company asked me to write a series of posts covering our family adventure I agreed as it will also serve as a record of our trip. 

We've been on the road for four days now and clocked up 1,300 kilometres in the car, which is looking a little worse for wear after the gravel road (forever known as 'adventure roads'). It's been fairly lonely out here which is a great thing and we have spent most of the time in the Icelandic rural areas where even the tourist honeypots are quiet. So, it seems a good time to share some of what we have learned as a family along the way.

1. Slow down
Henry will be four years old in July and he has dictated…

Guest post by Samuel Atkins (@SamGeoAtkins) : The Microsoft Post

One of the things I'm really going to miss about working at Priory School is working with the fantastic and inspirational team that is Priory Geography.  You may have read recently about Director of Microsoft UK Education Steve Beswick's visit to the department. I am always keen to ensure that any visitor to Priory a geography finds us as we are.  Step in Sam Atkins:
The purpose of this post is to share the lesson I delivered as part of Microsoft Education’s visit to Priory School on 15th May, and the inspiration behind it. For an overview of the visit itself, please read David Rogers’ post here.On 15th May Priory Geographywere delighted to host Microsoft Education. The inspiration behind their visit came from a lively meeting of minds at BETTin January, where David Rogers had been invited to showcase the work we do here at Priory Geography using some of what Microsoft has to offer classroom educators on the chalk face of 21stcentury teaching and learning. For our own CPD, and …

The Iceland Family Adventure - post 2, The Snaefellsnes Peninsula. [@DTW_Holidays]

This is the second in a series of posts that will tell the story of our family adventure to Iceland. As regular readers will know, I've worked with Discover the World Schools for a while now, producing the award winning volcano and Norway study aids. This is the third adventure here this year but this time it's our own agenda!  When the company asked me to write a series of posts covering our family adventure I agreed as it will also serve as a record of our trip. Henry is four in July so is at that stage where he needs quite a bit of entertainment.  The weather conditions were going to prove challenging. Most the attractions of Iceland, and especially this part of Iceland, are outside.  Having said that, it was time for breakfast first.  Being the only family with a toddler in tow, we are easily identifiable.  The breakfast buffet was excellent as Henry could choose exactly what he wanted and did have some of the independence he enjoys at home. There was also plenty of coffee…

The Family Iceland Adventure - post 1 getting there [@dtw_holidays]

This is the first in a series of posts that will tell the story of our family adventure to Iceland. As regular readers will know, I've worked with Discover the World Schools for a while now, producing the award winning volcano and Norway study aids. This is the third adventure here this year but this time it's our own agenda!  When the company asked me to write a series of posts covering our family adventure I agreed as it will also serve as a record of our trip. This post will focus on getting through the airports and to the first hotel.

I have to say that being a veteran of getting 32 11-16 year olds plus staff through airports, nothing much phases me about them.  That said, Gatwick's North Terminal was stress free and useful windows for spying on the aeroplane action below.  We flew Iceland Air and were greeted by postcards for Henry to colour (with pencils)). These were posted by the crew to the Grandparents - handy!  The online check in also allowed us to sit next to e…

Priory Geography set up–the desk

As my time at Priory Geography draws to a close, I’m trying to capture all of the little things that have been set up.  I have already described the front view of a classroom in our department. This post describes the desk set up which is similar in each of our three classrooms.   Of course, Jo Debens, Sam Atkins and JP will say that it’s never this tidy…..Of course, there is room for individual takes and each desk is not the same.  What is si,ilar is the teacher desk position which is not the dominant feature in the classroom.  My desk is pushed to the back of the room in one corner while the other two are pushed into the front corners.  This creates ‘performance space.’ In my view, you shouldn’t be sat down at a desk when teaching.  Also, there shouldn’t be a barrier between the teacher and young people in the form of a monitor or desk.In some ways, this post linked closely by this one by Ollie Bray that sets out the minimum technology needed in a classroom and I’d agree wholehearte…

That was a half term and a half

What a half term! This is just a quick post, mainly to test out the Posts blogging app for the iPad before heading off to Iceland for a family holiday.  
I've been following Chris Hadfield's twitter feed for a while but the image above captures the point of teaching for me. The undiscovered adventure. To instill in young people and teachers a love of learning. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaOC9danxNo&sns=tw is an amazing video that I've used with classes for no other reason than to stimulate debate and create a sense of wonder. 
It's almost time to reflect over the past five and a half years at Priory Geography and future adventures. Lots of conversations at the moment about exciting projects and adventures. My highlights ver the past few weeks have been:
- Jo Debens being made the new leader of Priory Geography. I know she'll take it to new levels of amazing ness. - landing a job as an Assistant Headteacher at Patcham High School in Brighton. I really can't…

I’m David Rogers and this is how I work

I’ve been a follower and fan of Dai Barnes for a while now so I was delighted to be asked to contribute to his ‘This is how I work’ project.  The blog is starting to build up an interesting collection of people and there are some real gems in there about managing workloads and marking.  Well worth heading over.

The Director of Microsoft Education visits @priorygeography [ @microsofteduk ]

So, there we were thinking that we had a quiet few moments at Priory Geography when Steve Beswick, the Director of Microsoft Education, popped in together with some of the Partners in Learning Team.  This post is also over at Priory School’s blog.  It was an exciting day, and we were keen for it not to be a run-of-the-mill school visit. I have been involved with Microsoft and Partners in Learning since 2009 and love their approach to learning first and product second.On Wednesday, Steve Beswick, the person responsible for every PC in every school in the UK, visited Priory Geography.  This high profile visit was in recognition of the creative use of technology that the department has been developing over the past five years.During the visit he watched geography lessons; met with DiGITAL LEADERS; spoke to students from Years 9-11 about careers in technology and spoke to senior leaders.  Mandeep from Microsoft’s Partners in Learning also visited the school and worked with Newly Qualified…

Teachmeet Pompey Returns! #TMPompey

Oh yes. Teachmeet. Lasers. Food.Building on the success of the past TeachMeet Pompey, you are invited to join in the fun on the 27th June 2013.  Sign up on the Wiki now!

Subject Leadership: A Priory Geography Classroom

Priory geography classroom from David Rogers

Over the past week, I have been reflecting upon some of the changes introduced at Priory Geography.  One of these was to introduce a consistent approach to the information displayed at the front of classrooms.   This information should be the stuff referred to on a daily basis.  Specific key terms can be displayed either through word mats or changing displays around the room.

The slideshare above is best viewed full screen.  What follows is a brief overview of each element, including a description of its use. Clockwise from top left corner:

Image of the week:

Taken mainly from the Guardian  but can be images from fieldwork or a major news story. Designed to provoke discussion or tie in to a current topic.  In practice, it's easy to forget to update this.  A way around this can be to assign one of your tutor group the task of sourcing and pinning up the work.

Core geographical terms:

These are the terms that students need most or struggle …

The interview adventure: Reflections

Closing time
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.
This is the second in a short series of posts around my successful appointment as an Assistant Headteacher at Patcham High School.  The job starts in September.  This post is a reflection on the process as a whole.  Saying that, I’m not going to delve into the application process before shortlisting.  I’m sharing these things here mainly for me to reflect upon and revisit at a later date, but also as others may benefit from the experience.Firstly, as well as being very excited and eager to get started, there’s also more than a little melancholy.  Today, I wrote the handover list for Priory Geography, and it is the end of one adventure.  Tomorrow, I’ll don the Priory Geography branded kit for the final fieldtrip, and a small part of me will break.  It’s not that I’m leaving geography behind.  I’m not. I was a geographer long before a teacher.  Also, I’ve always considered myself a teacher of children.  I’ve …

The interview adventure: Lesson idea

Closing time
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.
This is the first in a short series of posts around my successful appointment as an Assistant Headteacher at Patcham High School.  The job starts in September.  This post shares a lesson idea that would be worth a polish and revisit for any context.  I’m sharing these things here mainly for me to reflect upon and revisit at a later date, but also as others may benefit from the experience.The brief was to create a 25 minute lesson around the word ‘INSPIRE’ which forms the school’s mission statement.  The interpretation was open and I wanted to avoid being explicitly geography  linked.  Now, it’s impossible to develop a fully formed lesson in that time with a class that I haven’t met. It’s also not possible to teach an Outstanding lesson to such a group of young people, not least because I hadn’t marked their books.  With this in mind, I wanted to take a risk and show the type of creative stuff I like to do …

Developing literacy, Fotobabble and the weather.

We’re developing the idea of Year 7 students creating weather forecasts.  This isn’t an original idea by any means, however it does present an opportunity to develop the style of geographical writing required at GCSE and beyond.  Weather forecasts are a challenging activity as young people have to collect, choose, interpret and explain information in a concise way.  Therefore, every word counts.  When we zoom through to GCSE Controlled Assessments and examinations, this concise natures and use of geographical words is a core skills needed to do well.  A strong focus on literacy and examination skills from Year 7 has helped Priory Geography to maintain our sustained improvement.This is  brief description of the lesson.Firstly, I asked the class to talk about the weather outside.  They had brought in an extreme weather report with them and used this for key words. We then watched the BBC Weather’s UK Forecast Video with the sound switched off.  Students had to be silent and think about …