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Showing posts from April, 2012

Controlled Assessment fieldwork

This is the season where Priory Geography heads to Hengistbury Head for the purpose of GCSE Controlled Assessment Data Collection.  I very much enjoy fieldwork and this post describes how we go about investigating the coast.  We follow the OCR B GCSE Specification.  My colleague Sam Atkins put together the field book below.  Information on pre-visits can be found here . Geomorphology fieldbook View more presentations from David Rogers Access to high quality images are important both before and after the visit, especially for reminding students where they were, what they saw and what they did. Here is a selection from Priory Geography’s Flickr account that are made available to students: Preparation for the fieldwork starts in October with a visit to the nearby Barton on Sea, Hurst Castle Spit and Highcliffe.  This allows students to understand the general context of the area, the effect of different management decisions and how engineering solutions affect the env

Day in the life of….

Whilst at the Geographical Association’s annual conference last week I was asked why I had chosen teaching.  Firstly, I didn’t come off the school>university>work conveyor belt but took some time doing this and that.  I was attracted to teaching because it gave me the chance to continue to travel and take part in expeditions.  Anyway, sometime over the past eight years I started to take the job seriously and put a bit of time in to it. Another question that came out of the event last week was that sometime people are left with the impression that everything we do is at the top end of life.  That isn’t the case.  So, I thought I’d share my week so far, even if it’s purely for the reason to look back at upon retirement sometime near the next millennia. Monday Headed in to work as normal on the train. Takes around an hour door to door.  remember liking my new headphones.  Using Kindle to read.  Get into work, say hello to the team and head over to briefing. Enough said about

Inspirational learning starts with a blank page…

I am very fortunate to be able to work with trainee teachers and be involved with staff development from time to time.  One of the main points of our Microsoft Tools presentation at the recent Geographical Association Conference is that truly inspirational, creative, effective learning stems from starting with a blank page.  In my opinion, nothing great ever came from starting with a blank PowerPoint, Google presentation, Keynote or Prezi.  The image to the right shows some of my thinking behind Priory Geography’s first meeting in the start of this Academic year. The main reason for this is that great learning experiences start with sound, contextualised learning objectives rather than resources.  Resource the learning rather than match learning objectives to resources. This page, some of the planning behind the award winning volcano study pack . In fact they are the field study notes written while in Iceland. I like using Moleskin notebooks and honestly prefer to think us

Eyjafjallajokull Session at #gaconf12

Eyjafjallajökull Eruption View more presentations from David Rogers A resource I co-authored with Simon Ross was recognised by the GA with a Silver Award this year.  This session explored the study aid itself.  Ustream recording is below.  The sessions starts about 9:27.  The visuals seem a bit sketchy, but the audio is clear. The Study Aid can be found here . Video streaming by Ustream

Eyjafjallajokull Study Pack wins GA Silver Award

Delighted that a Study Pack that I co-authored for Discover the World picked up a top prize at the Geographical Association’s Annual Conference. I’ll be talking about the resources at a workshop this afternoon in E1 (Saturday 14th April) where there will be some free wine and bits. Check out the free resource based around the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajokull here .  Suitable for all Key Stages.

Free Microsoft Tools #gaconf

  Free Microsoft Tools View more presentations from David Rogers . times for the Geographical Association’s Annual Conference in Manchester.  This session about Free Microsoft Tools was streamed live and can is embedded below. Video streaming by Ustream

Use what we have but better.

Just putting together (in advance!!) Priory Geography’s session on free Microsoft Tools.  There have been some high profile faffs centred around tools recently and it seems that we should always be using something else, newer, different or supposedly better.  In reality, many of these newer tools do the same sort of thing as we had before. The slide above is one of the main messages of the workshop and shows our young people repurposing some familiar textbook series during the Dysarticulate project. In the school contexts that we inhabit, the main operating system is Windows.  I’m not saying that everything Microsoft is the answer to everything, nor to educational revolution, creativity or innovation.  But, I’d rather my team spend energy, time and money on exploring how we can use what we have better. Maybe it’s a personal thing, but I stick to the same-ish IT tools.  Am I uncreative? A bad teacher? Uninnovative? I’ll let you decide Hope to see some of you at the #gaconf12

FSC Hack Day–your input needed!

The FSC are holding a Hack Day in May and I’ve been asked to provide.  The Hack Day is: “is a 48-hour-all-night event that brings together an array of people, from scientists to developers (and anyone with good ideas) in the same physical space for a brief but intense period of collaboration, hacking, and building 'cool stuff'. A hack is a quick solution to a problem - maybe not the most elegant solution, but often the cleverest.” As part of the set up, I've been asked to give a ‘lightning talk’ outlining what is needed from a school perspective.  This is where you come in. If you talk part in out of classroom learning (and in my opinion, we all should be), then what would you need to make learning better? Either leave a comment in reply, or tweet me at @daviderogers using the #FSCHack hashtag (or should that be hacktag ) Thank you in advance.

A curriculum isn’t innovative nor creative. Teachers are.

Curriculum : the subjects comprising a course of study in a school or college:course components of the school curriculum After an engaging and circular conversation view Twitter the other day, this post aims to provide some context the the title statement.  It’s not here as the definitive answer, but some thoughts and reflections.  You may find that this is more of a semantic argument than one of real substance and it not presented as the definitive view, just the working one on which Priory Geography’s Schemes of Work are based. My thoughts on this are defined by working within a National Curriculum and GCSE examination specification system.  To me, the curriculum tells me what we should be teaching.  Here, specification and curriculum are the same and are set by an outside body.  I have no real issue with being told what to teach within a national framework, it’s being told how to teach.  In our context, the National Curriculum for England and OCR’s Spec B Geography GCSE Specif

What’s on my phone?

This post runs in the vein of using mobile devices in the classroom.  Not all school are forward thinking enough to allow pupils’ own devices in to school, but what’s stopping teachers?  Many teachers at our institution now have access to a smart phone and through meeting many other geography teachers, it’s clear that many of them have them also! I’m a great believer in taking (ir)responsible action before asking permission so this post aims to highlight my iPhone set up and the Apps that are used quite often in class.  It is by no means a complete list of what I use and it’s in no way organised. I haven’t included prices etc.. It’s a sort or update of this 2010 post . The home screen has access to a few Apps that I find essential for teaching: Evernote – take notes of anything, save them in the cloud, access them on any computer with internet access, include pictures, audio, video…. Used mainly for, erm, taking and making notes. For example, our Curriculum Briefings that t

Mobile @ Priory update

Regular readers will know about the co-constructed BYOD mobile policy in place at my school.  This has been operating for two terms now.  At the same time, I have been developing the use of mobile devices (mainly pupils’ own and the Geography department’s iPads) in partnership with Lee and Ian at Borbonesa .  The partnership has been supported by a Creative Partnerships legacy grant. What is unique (in my view) of our approach this year is that creative practitioner time has been spent co-creating lessons instead of the delivery of off-timetable days.  This approach ensures that embedded and sustainable resources are produced.  Each three hour session contains: At least one teacher (so far from Geography, Graphics / Product Design, Spanish, Music and our English as an Additional Language coordinator). Two creative practitioners – Ian and Lee. I really would urge you to check out their work . They are also working on the creation of a ‘Cookbook’ to help other schools to exp

The term that tried to break me (and why it failed)

‘ Kites fly highest against the wind, not with it.’ Winston Churchill This post has been ‘in the making’ for a while and has needed considerable reflection about what to write.  I’d like to draw you attention to the disclaimer in the right I still think these are thoughts in progress.  They are put here as a real audience forces me to reflect deeply.  This is on of the best features of blogging. Some may have notice the fall off in visible activity for a while.  As I explained back in December , this has partly been about allowing time to focus on the important, unsexy stuff. It also is because the school I work in failed Ofsted in January. There’s nothing quite like that to take the wind out of your sails especially as we have been riding high as a department for the past few years and continuing our upward trend of GCSE results. Together with other internal changes, the future of Priory Geography as it exists now has been on thin ice, a difficult situation to contempla

On outdoor learning and not heading home at 2:30pm

Regular readers will know that I think outdoor learning should be central to a school’s approach to education.  On Friday, as a stressful and emotion term ended (more on why later) myself and a band of teachers headed to the New Forest with 18 young people.  The aim of the adventure was Duke of Edinburgh Award training.  This post aims to highlight some of the reasons why providing such opportunities is important.  You can view the training over at Priory Geography’s Facebook page. 1. Improving staff and student relationships. Whatever anyone else says, education is not about what happens inside a classroom.  As a geographer, I am lucky to be able to use other contexts to deliver the subject.  The photo above shows me being camouflaged, silly little things can build relationships with young people, making intervention and support within lessons more fruitful. 2. Learning by doing. This is some vegetarian sausage mix in the making.  As interesting and novel menu idea that

Geographical Association’s Annual Conference (#gaconf12)–Preview

On the 12th of April, the Priory Geography team ( Jo Debens , Sam Atkins , Alec Weaver and myself ) will be heading to the GA’s Annual Conference in Manchester.  The first thought is road trip!   Last year the department had a great time so I was pleased to be able to fund the adventure again.  I am particularly looking forward to this year’s event as I’ll be free of any Committee obligations, including the rather painful and frustrating Association at Work meeting on the Thursday. This post is a preview of the events that myself and the team will be involved in.  We’ll also be blogging and tweeting from the event using the #gaconf12 hashtag. #gabeermeet12 The brainchild of Richard Allaway , this unofficial fringe event for geographers on the Friday evening.  We’ll be expecting up to 80 geographers for informal chat, good ale and other refreshments.  Last year, I made several excellent contacts that have provided the basis for collaboration.  This year I have been promoted to