Skip to main content

Developing literacy, Fotobabble and the weather.

photo (134)

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 the information being displayed.  This is a simple yet underused teaching technique, in effect getting young people to write the script. We also spoke about the differences between a forecast and observed weather.


After the initial watch, we recorded what the class thought were the key aspects of the forecast.

On the second run through, students spoke in partners to create a forecast before random students were asked to speak over the video.  Finally, we listened to the forecast with the sound on to assess how well we’d done.

The key point raised was the effective use of geographical terminology and the concise nature of the report. In order to develop this further, the class were let loose with mobile devices running the Fotobabble iPhone app. The brief was simple: get organised into teams; go out around the site; capture a photograph and describe the weather conditions.  As the Fotobabble app only permits 30 seconds of audio, this really developed the literacy skills of the group.  I was also pleased to see the group self-organise which means routines are starting to pay off. 

Example creations are below, and where shared with the class at the end of the lesson for some peer assessment.






Popular posts from this blog

#GAConf22: A paradigm shift for anti-racist, decolonised teaching and inclusion

 " You can't start a fire,  You can't start a fire without a spark" Bruce Springsteen.  Well, it's been a fair while since I felt the motivation or the need to blog. Whilst not a story for now, over the past five years I've danced along the knife edge and, often, the call of the abyss has been both tempting and compelling. Certainly, my failing in both my personal and professional life have been numerous. But. This is not about me, but the people that have (re)ignited the spark to the fire in my soul. I realise that this is from the perspective of a privileged, white, middle class male view. I even have a beard. I am scared of getting it wrong on this topic. Teach me if I am wrong, it is from the position of a learner. I was looking forward to the GA Conference this year, the first face to face since 2019. I have to say that Alan , as president, and the Geographical Association's team did a fantastic job at being inclusive. The hybrid format allowed peopl

What makes a learning experience profound? Personal reflections and possible implications for classroom practice.

I have recently begun a Leadership Pathways journey.  As part of the first core day, we were asked to reflect on a profound learning experience. This got me thinking about how many profound learning experiences I have both been involved in, and how many I have been able to give to others.  Our group came up with a huge long list, but these are my five. Emotional Connected Demanding Reflective Collaborative As always, these are personal thoughts and quite mixed up.  I put them here so that I can look back on them (plus they’d get lost inside my world-cup-free brain) 1. Emotional I can’t think of a time where deep learning hasn’t engaged my emotions.  From being awe inspired to that tingle feeling when a student gets a light bulb moment.  From this-is-the-happiest-day-ever, to I-think-I’m-about-to die.  How often do we engage the emotions of those we teach?  Here, I would argue that having a safe learning environment is not always conducive to profound

Trust and support our school leaders, the role of the governing body in the Covid times

One of the roles that I love is being the Chair of a Governing Body.  The aim of this post is to share what we are doing, as a Board, during these difficult time.  I will refrain from commenting on the role of the Government, DfE and local authority as I intend for this to be both a positive and useful post. What is clear is that governing bodies have a crucial part to play. I am grateful both to the brilliant Clerk and the National Governance Association whose Covid advice pages are fantastic. Firstly; from the outset, the brilliant leadership team that I work with have my unwavering and public support. Regardless. As this is a fast evolving crisis, often with pages of advice, guideline and directives to decipher and digest on a daily basis. As such, the role of governing bodies is twofold: 1.  to prioritise the providing of support to the Headteacher and all colleagues in the school, and 2. to allow them to get on with operational matters and decision making. The role of