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Showing posts from September, 2013

Describing places lesson, adapted from an original lesson shared by @noeljenkins

Although I have moved over to the ‘dark side’ or SLT, I still teach.  This is an idea I first read over on Noel Jenkins’ blog almost a year ago.  Head there to see the original post. It’s taken me this long to build the excellent process of describing places described by Noel into a lesson.  Like Noel, I too find my students struggle when describing places.  What follows is a description of the lesson.The slide above is displayed (without the senses named). The class talk in pairs to remind themselves of our senses.  The class have already brought in an image from home in a previous lesson and produced a written description of it.  After some brief feedback on the senses, I introduce some my curiosity kit. A battered suitcase full of objects.  The challenge is for the class to write a description of the place I was when I needed the items. The items include:Water proof trousers.An Ice Axe.B2 winter walking boots.Crampons.A map of the Swiss AlpsStudents may talk in pairs and I pass the…

Is your curriculum full of JONK?

If you know the answer to the question, are you learning?  Or is it just testing what you already know?  If you already know that young people know the answer, why are you asking the questions?  Is there a common language for what learning actually is in your classroom / / department / school / whatever? Thoughts have struck me recently as I’ve moved from a relatively sedate life in a role I knew and was comfortable in to hurtling along on the roof of a bullet train.  Kind of like flying a glider and then waking up at the controls of a space shuttle.  In some ways, I feel like a novice again, and it feels great.  I know that we have an exam system and that we need to ‘recognise that sometimes learning is dull and repetitive’ (Hattie, Visible Learning p240).  Indeed, learning should be a beautiful struggle.  But do we actually know what learning is?  When I ask students, they often tell me that learning is about getting good grades, but that’s one of the outcomes of learning, not the p…

#tmpompey– the world according to ‘ish’

So, yesterday saw almost 100 teachers cram into the gun deck of HMS Victory for wine before heading to the adjacent National Naval Museum for an evening of learning from teachers.  Considering that TeachMeet Portsmouth began a couple of years ago in a classroom, with around 8 teachers (3 of whom were from my geography department and my deputy head), is amazing so thank you for the support out there.  The resources will be posted over at Jo’s blog.  The fantastic Tim Rylands closed the evening with a lightening keynote that had people gasping, laughing out loud and wondering how to get into social knitworking.  Tim kindly provided all of the links he talked about here and provided am ‘almost’ blow-by-blow account of the evening here.We finished off with the now traditional Laser Quest and food at the nearby Gunwharf.  I’m really pleased that we are starting to draw a top collection of regulars, and have always attracted new speakers and those that have never been to a TeachMeet before.…

Free Resource exploring the geography of coffee.

I am a big fan of coffee.  The product also provides many ways in which to explore geographical concepts and links such as interdependence, trade and climate.  Alan Parkinson has produced some resources for Costa that are free and include a rather useful interactive map that could be used to support some independent enquiry.  The resource is mapped to and links well with the current National Curriculum, but can easily be adapted and linked to the new curriculum in 2015.The site has a wealth of information and case-study material and is well worth a look.  I particularly like the title of lesson three: ‘Can coffee make the world a better place?’ which is a challenging enquiry question to consider in detail.Well worth checking out, especially as it’s free.

Worthing Teachup–update #worthingteachup

The first week of the new academic year is behind us, so it’s time to update on the Worthing Teachup plans.  Thank you to those who used the form.  The most common preference was to meet up for a beer or pub grub and the date that most people could make is the 3rd October.So, I’m proposing:Meet up at The Mulberry, Goring Road, Goring by Sea, BN12 4NX. There is reasonably priced food, a decent sized car park (Pay and Display, but refunded in the pub) and plenty of space.  There are around a dozen of us at the moment, so I’ll have a chat to ensure there’s space.  That way, those wanting food can grab some, and those who want to grab a quick drink and chat are also catered for.  Meeting time of 7pm ishThere’ll be no agenda, just an opportunity to network with other teachers in the area.Happy to change any of these details if there are any major objections, I wanted to keep the first meet up a simple-to-organise affair.   If you can come along, I’d be grateful if you could fill out the si…

Introducing The Geography Collective Camp 2014: #GCCamp–register your interest now

Over at the Geography Collective, we’ve been making some changes and plotting some quality events.  We are really pleased and excited to announce some of our plans for our residential camp in early 2014.  This will focus on helping geography departments make sense of and subvert the current changes to the National Curriculum and examination system. 
As well as the central theme, there will also be lots of informal activities, laughter, great food and fun.  You’ll leave ready to deliver quality geography.  We are shaping up the programme at the moment, but it will include stuff like:
Fitting existing Schemes of Work and resources to the new National Curriculum; Using young people to hack your existing curriculum; What to do about assessment; Using Key Stage 3 to improve GCSE performance. The final programme will be very much shaped by those who attend.

The style will be (un)conferency, with plenty of opportunity for informal chatting and sharing.  As a school leader who held the CPD …

Looking forward to #SLTCamp

As a Guerrilla Geographer and general ‘troublemaker at large’ in my last post, I enjoy (un)conferences.  Especially those run on a weekend and promoted through social media. They tend to be full of like minded enthusiasts. It is true that there is often an element of preaching to the converted at such events, but the same can be said of many professional learning conferences and workshops.  When was the last time you genuinely came away from something with new views?  Having said that, there’s nothing wrong at all with gathering together a bunch of professionals that share the same page, especially as there’s no real plan and the sessions will be created by the people there.  The energy and enthusiasm of similar events (such as TLAB13) keeps my enthusiasm and love of teaching alive. The difficulty comes when it’s time to return to the ranch.
I’ve been involved in organising TeachMeet Pompey for a while now and have been lucky (although I’ve never really figured out how or why I get a…