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Showing posts from October, 2008

Focussing on positive behaviour

It's not a well known fact but I am a Fast Track teacher. I don't sell myself as one as I prefer for my actions to speak louder than my status. One of the bonuses of the (soon to be defunct) scheme is that I get to be involved with whole school projects. This year I am leading a major change. I am planning to implement a behaviour system that rewards positive behaviour. The work is going well and I have learnt a number of lessons about manging whole school change: Change needs ownership - a project is likely to fail if there isn't a 'project leader' responsible for implementation and monitoring. Project management is weak in many schools - major changes need a systematic approach. Change can not be rushed through -it's better to hold off and get the detail right Consultation with support staff is vital for change to be effective. My first HoD told me that you can upset anyone in the school apart from the support staff. They are the people who will make the

SAGT 2008

Lovely flying visit to Edinburgh for the 2008 SAGT. Keynote Professor Iain Stewart Interesting perspective on the science of hazard management. Prof Stewart argued that physical processes can not be viewed separately from social settings and management. The main trust focused on the fact that people still suffer from natural hazards even though the events themselves are well known to us. For example, we know where, when, why certain natural hazards occur - so why do some groups of people continue to live in these zones? On reflection it seems that the keynote was calling for physical and human geographers to unite and to stop working in isolation. However, it was a little disappointing that he stopped short of highlighting how important geographers are to reaching full understanding of such events. In terms of impacting on my department we will certainly be using some of the case studies. There is a great geographical mystery to unravel regarding Hurricane Katrina and pay day.


Have spent an excellent day in Edinburgh at the SAGT conference. Great to catch up with colleagues from around the country. Also enjoyed the conversations that questioned the what and how of what should be taught. Two excellent key notes plus two excellent workshops by Dan and Ollie . I'll have a reflect on the flight back home and post in more detail later. Lots of ideas to digest and develop......

Hampshire Heads of Geography Conference

Here is the PPT used in todays short presentations. Remember that it is a case study of what is going on at Priory and not necessarily the only, or right, way of approaching the GCSE changes. Please feel free to leave a comment if you have anything to say about the session. Also, if you are interested in joining n with a GIS network that I am setting up in Portsmouth please get in touch either by leaving a comment or emailing me at Priory. GCSE Change View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. My main piece of advice is to really read the specifications and to search out extra information. Controlled Assessment doesn't need to be a monster if we are pro-active and join with colleagues in other departments.

Cotswold Outdoor

I've used Cotswold Outdoor for many years for outdoor equipment mainly due to their great customer service and great discounts. They have recently started a blog that documents staff adventures. However, there is also the occasional teaching gem like this post. Touches on impacts of tourism, employment etc.

Fiction in Geography

The HIAS geography inspector put me onto using fiction in lessons. Authors of novels can describe and explain geographical concepts, processes and places better than I ever could hope to. The new Terry Pratchett book Nation is linked to a geographical issue. Can you spot what it is from the blurb? 'And then the wave comes - a huge wave, dragging black night behind it....' 'The village gone. The Nation as it was has gone...' Taken from 'Nation' by Terry Pratchett 2008 ISBN 978-0-385-61370-5

Places that don't exist

This post reminded me of a documentary series a while back. Combined with Dan's work , Noel's ideas and a ' travel guide ' I'm thinking of putting together a mini unit based on places that don't exist. I'm hoping that the main outcome will be the creation of more places that don't exist. For example: how many of the places and spaces that young people inhabit and interact with don't exist for us? How many spaces don't exist for pupils? The staff room? The Head's Office? The dining table? This unit could really explore personal geographies. Based on some neogeography could we make maps of places that don't exist in our local city? If we layered different people's maps where would be the overlaps? What would happen if we expanded the map to include a county, region, country..... Could we compare the maps of different nationalities, ethnic background, age, social class...... This could well be a can'o'worms.....

Controlled Assessment

While at Juniper Hall , the FSC's centre in Surrey, I've been pondering the issue of controlled assessment. In particular how to prepare pupils for cpntrolled assessment. I've always favoured local fieldwork for coursework activities. The main reason for this is that the wider context is understood by the majority of pupils as the place is known to them. Students are also able to meet the independent work aspect of most specifications as the study area is local. Also, if pupils miss the data collection it isn't too difficult to revisit the site in their own time. I don't see this changing with controlled assessments, especially when all of the GCSE cohort have to be able to access the fieldwork from a financial point of view. However, for controlled assessment to be successful pupils have to be familiar with the process. This is just good formative assessment practice. The question is where to fit in a full 'dry run' of a controlled assessment? Of course,

Eco Challenge

A little while ago I posted about the FSC's Eco-Challenge , a fully funded weekend residential. Well, day 1 is out of the way and I'm hoping that the quiet as I write this post will continue for the rest of the night! Today the group focused on developing team work. They also began to explore what the term 'eco' means. I spotted the poster below at the centre which reminded me about the Geography Collevctive missions. I think it would make a great statement not to buy anything for a day. With direct debits would that be even possible ;-)

The numbers game

Things are looking up this week for the use of blogs at school. Geography @ Priory is doing well over at Wordpress . The wordpress system allows me to track the number of visitors per post. This is allowing me to justify its use. If the trial continues to gather pace I plan to conduct a pupil voice survey and then promote to parents using moo cards. In addition the Web 2.0 report this week has also supported the case. Don't get me wrong, the report can be used t support the case for VLE's too, and I'm not against them at all. What is frustrating is the lack of vision and fore planning in some aspects of education about the educational use of such platforms. Photo credit

GA Consultant register

Received confirmation that I have been added to the GA Teacher Consultant Register from this month. Excellent! Photo credit

What is geography?

Last night was an excellent open evening. Many parents were engaged in discussion in the geography rooms exploring what geography is and what it means for them and their children. The Headteacher also popped in and was stunned by the transformation of the department. We've come a long way in just 9 months, but there is still lots to do! Happy days! Just goes to show that a bit a praise from the top is very motivating. Photo credit