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Showing posts from June, 2013

#tmpompey An enjoyable evening of learning, lasers and wardrooms.

The fourth TeachMeet Pompey took place last night and I left buzzing with new ideas.  I like the non-commercial nature of the event and that new presenters felt comfortable with sharing their ideas.  Of course, the now traditional LaserQuest took place afterwards with thirteen attendees taking place (including Priory's own DiGITAL LEADERS) before food over at Gunwharf.

Personally, I took something away from each and every presentation and it was lovely to have such a blend between primary and secondary.

Thank you so much to all of those involved, I've included the presentations below, with a couple of others to follow.

If you'd like your work removed, do email or tweet me.  I hope to have some of the other presentations embedded soon.

A huge thank you to the staff at Action Stations and for all those that turned up :-)

Sam Atkins: World tour of maps and Tagxedo


Sam Atkins @SamGeoAtkins from David Rogers

Rachel Jones: Play to Win


Tm pompey rachel jones from David Rogers

Jo Deb…

Help improve #tmpompey

The fourth TeachMeet Pompey took place last night.  A post about the evening will follow.  However, moving forward, we'd be really interested in your views on the future of the event.  If you could take some time to complete the form below we would be most grateful:

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Pedagogy Wheels

Found this post by James Clay over the weekend which referenced the work here of Allan Carrington.   I like the idea of these pedagogy wheels and am posting here for quick reference and to refer you to the original posts.  Reminds me of the curriculum wheels developed by the Geographical Association during the last review of Key Stage 3. A very useful planning tool.The Padagogy Wheel by Allan Carrington is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.  Based on a work at http://tinyurl.com/bloomsblog.

Leadership: How clear is your vision? A simple task.

I’ve been reflecting a lot about leadership recently.  One simple question that I would ask any leader is how clear your vision is.  A vision can be summed up in a logo and quite often a statement or motto.  The question is: does everyone know what the organisation stands for?Over the past week, I’ve put a badge in the middle of some paper, together with motto, and asked staff and students to annotate the image with what it means to them.  They do this without collaboration.  I’m not going to share the actual badge and logo that I did this with, but here are some interesting observations:Young people gave a more coherent response than adults.  Students views were similar to each other, but I wonder if this is still the ‘give the answer they want’ coming through;Adult responses shared very coherence when the vision wasn’t clear;There was little match between young people and adults.This makes me reflect on the purpose of school badges and mottos.  They need to speak to the whole commun…

Subject Leadership: Developing a brand within the school–putting vision into practice

As I come close to the end of my time leading Priory Geography, I’m taking the time to document and reflect upon various aspects of the department.  Anyone who has had a conversation with me will know that I like things ‘corporate.’  That’s not to say that we all shout at each other, but that the department (and school) should look and feel like a coherent unit.  I’m a great believer that young people should have a similar experience regardless of the teacher who teachers them.  It’s worth revisiting these two posts and they feed into this approach – the desk set up and the classroom front.  To me, small details such as display, aims, carpet colour and the outward look of the department are all ways in which to put a vision into reality.Above is one of the displays outside the Priory Geography classrooms.  We inhabit three dedicated classrooms next to each other so are lucky to have wall space.  Now, before I move on I know that displays are not a teacher’s work.  My attitude is to ig…

Student Curriculum Hackers–day two and the plan.

You may have read last week’s exploits of Priory Geography’s Student Curriculum Hackers last week.  This post is a quick update after the second session.The young people were let loose on the department’s schemes of work, which are kept in Google Docs.  Over the two hour session, they evaluated:Welcome to the Jungle (originally co-constructed with students a couple of years ago with Alan Parkinson);A GCSE Rivers and Coasts Unit;Moving Stories – migration andRestless Earth.The quality of the discussion was excellent, and I include the screenshot above to demonstrate that students a) want to be encouraged to achieve higher and b) want to be given choice as part of the Standard Operating Procedures during Schemes of Work.The next steps are important, so an outline is below.  I’ll write up with reflections and conclusions when we’re done:The students share their experiences at TeachMeet Pompey this Thursday (27th June);The Priory Geography teachers will consider the changes during the dep…

(Un)planning: #DHSTM presentation slides

(Un)planning from David Rogers
It's a little ironic that I've already planning the (un)planning presentation that I plan to give at tonight's TeachMeet at Durrington High School.  The slides are embedded above so that those at the event, and others, can access the links to read in more detail if they wish.

It's a collection of ideas mainly.

What's important is that (un)planning is not my idea, and means not planning the outcomes that students come up with.  Thank you to other geographers for the inspiration behind this, in particular Noel Jenkins.

Giving students real voice: Student Curriculum Hackers

Lots of schools and teachers bang on about giving students a voice, but very few actually allow them to have one.  At Priory Geography, we have developed a strong culture of allowing young people to get involved in making decisions about school life, for example:The Space Explorers, Space Creators Building Schools of the Future Project supported by a 21st Century Learning Alliance Fellowship;Choosing our GCSE Specification during the last round of GCSE ‘reform’, andCreating the Mobile Learning Policy for Priory School.Throughout, we have always tried to engage other members of the local community, such as artists, mainly through the excellent and sadly missed Creative Partnerships project.  We’ve also always tried to ensure that the adults are the guides whilst the students drive and create.Today saw the first session designed to build upon some of the lesson learned during the recent ground-breaking Kids Meet Pompey, put together by Jo Debens and work done by Alan Parkinson a year or…

Leadership musings: transforming a vision into action

Gaping Void makes me thing, but as I come to the end of my time at Priory Geography, I have been reflecting upon the department’s achievements.  In particular, I’ve been unpicking how we got there.  I’ve always had a strong vision of how I wanted Priory Geography to be (a branding post is coming up soon). The thing is, that if the team’s individual goals didn’t meet the organisational (department) aims, then there ain’t much point in having a well worded, flowery vision statement.  The key has been to attempt to create a team where its members are self-motivated to meet the vision.  This links closely to providing enough reward, which doesn’t mean more work, and opportunities.  It’s probably best to ask Jo and Sam… I suppose, it’s about the right thing still happening when I’m not in the department.Anyway, one of the ways in which I’ve tried to create common goals and vision is to ask people to bring objects that represent where the department should be.  This simple exercise usually …

Don’t panic! Reflections on Assessment

So, the Secretary of State for Education announced that Levels are going.  They won’t be replaced as they aren’t being used as designed and parents don’t get it.  In other ground breaking news, the capital of Wales is Cardiff.  Do bear in mine that these are personal reflections from time in classrooms and successfully getting young people to achieve and feel successful.  In my view, there are two purposes to assessment:To help children get better (formative assessment);To report on how much someone has learned (summative assessment). There’s no need to panic here.  Firstly, teachers are already professionals used to using a wide range of assessment techniques every day in every lesson.  As mentioned in recent research, the most effective (and cheapest way) of raising achievement is through effective teacher feedback.  I pop in and out of lessons every day and see all manner of assessment techniques that aim to allow students to get better.  The problem I suppose, is what do we do for…

The devil is in the detail: musings on GCSE Geography reform

The announcement today may result in a fresh wave of Gove bashing. But, before going any further, it’s worth doing something radical and reading the detail.  The background that relates to the general proposals can be found here; the Geography specific content here and an interesting Ofqual report here.  Before going much further, I’d like to say well done and thank you to the activists of the GA and RGS(IBG) and would urge as many as possible to take part in the consultation. My views on Key Stage 3 curriculum change can be found here. In a nutshell, I’m waiting to see what the examination boards actually do with the guidance before making too quick a judgment.  This is just an initial reaction based on geography.  I’ll be taking more time to digest the implications from an SLT point of view and keeping track.  The thing is, I’m waiting to see the detail.  Just like the image above, in which you can spot my son and I walking around in a jumble of rocks.  The rocks when viewed from a …

I’m not an Outstanding teacher, and this is why I don’t care. Personal reflections on leadership.

I can’t remember when I stopped chasing the ‘Outstanding’ tag, but it certainly isn’t my priority.  I say this as someone who has been judged to be an outstanding teacher and am in receipt of accolades that suggest I may know a thing or two about teaching and learning.  The thing is though, there is a massive gap between the ‘thin’ Ofsted Outstanding and actually being outstanding.  These are not fully formed thoughts and I invite contributions and ideas.  They are personal reflections.Many labour under the misconception that young people are the most important people in the school.  I believe that’s false.  Bear with me here.  To me, excellent teaching and learning is the most important thing in schools.  Teachers deliver this and recent research suggests that the quality of teachers is influential in raising achievement.  In other words, look after your teachers and the young people will have an excellent experience.  Of course, I also believe that that intrinsic motivation is key t…

The Family Adventure to Iceland: part four. Reflections [@dtw_holidays]

This is the fourth and final part in a series of posts that tells 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. 


People often say that the best time to reflect on a holiday is when you get back and this is true.  Three days after getting back from Iceland, a few thoughts have run through my mind about Iceland, the UK and geography.  Some of my thoughts have been underpinned by this great video within which Dan Raeven-Ellison poses an excellent question: what is local?


So, after a few days back two things have hit me.  The first is that it's nice to see darkness. After leaving our hotel at 4 in the morning to bette…

Not an average day.

Those that know me well would say that I’m not usually backwards in coming forwards, although I do maintain that I’m a reluctant extrovert.  However, I do believe that one role of leadership is to celebrate the successes and recognise the achievements of my team.  Intrinsic motivation is needed if one is to achieve sustained, high quality teaching and learning, however, external motivation is the form of recognition does go a long way.  Anyway, this post isn’t for me to harp on about the Ordnance Survey Award for Excellence in Geography Teaching, but to say how surreal and humbling the whole day was.The highlight for me was hearing the acceptance speeches of the main medal winners, amongst them Michael Palin.  He even laughed at my joke….  The geography geek in me also loved looking at some of the Royal Geographical Society’s Collection, including Captain Scott’s tea mug and the first set of physical geography textbooks. The image above is of a coffee pot, something very close to me h…

Reflections about Twitter: it's just a tool

This is a post that has been fermenting for some time and is linked to some conversations on Twitter after securing a job as an Assistant Head Teacher. Some thought at the time that Twitter is some form of amazing job getting mega thing. Others still insist on calling it the best CPD in the known universe. I may embellish a little of course...
But. This is the thing. Twitter is pants. It's the people who engage with others through twitter and the careful selection of who you interact with that makes twitter an amazing tool for connecting like minded professionals. 
As the search above demonstrates, twitter is full of rubbish.  Also, this place is full of resource grabbing life sucking people who have always existed on Internet forums and the like. It's also full of muppets who are happy to badger and harass those who give up their own time for the greater good, Jo Debens and the set up of a Geography Dropbox being a prime and recent example.  
There are also those who don't l…