Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2013

Engaging young people with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

At the moment we are revamping the GCSE Economic Geography Unit.  As Priory is striving to be a Rights Respecting School, and the fact that I believe that children should engage with controversial issues using the language of rights and responsibility, here is a brief description of how we’ve worked the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into a case study about the environmental impact of an economic activity.  To me, this is a no brainer as using the framework, students not only engage more deeply with the topic, but also gain an insight into a controversial issue. Oil and the environment from David Rogers This is an extract from our Scheme of Work, so please forgive the shorthand: What is the environmental price of our love affair with oil? Do Now - Bing start page - what jobs etc. Show this image and play beat the teacher: what event does this image represent. Follow up by playing this poetry.   Flickr Search of images - BP Oil Spill in the Gulf

Reflections on #TLAB13 6 of 6: Final keynote from Bill Rankin [@rankinw ]

This is the final post of six reflecting upon the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Conference held at Berkhamsted School.   This post will provide an overview the closing keynote session by Bill Rankin . The session definately came away with the prize for most entertaining, and in the graveyard slot this was needed.  Especially for people like me who have trouble concentrating at the best of times!  I’m going to focus on some of the main themes that I took away from the session, and my thoughts about them.  I’m not certain about the scientific basis for some of this as I’m still following them up, however the points have created some interesting discussion.   The first thing that got me thinking was this slide.  In a nutshell, young people’s brains are inactive during class.  I tried to link this to my own experience.  Of course, the immediate reaction is to dash the notion on the rocks of sillyness.  However, think beyond my own class room and department and to some of the

Reflections on #TLAB13: 5 of 6: Bill Lucas Keynote.

This is the fourth of six posts reflecting upon the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Conference held at Berkhamsted School.   This post will talk about Bill Lucas’ keynote session. I didn’t make too many notes from the second keynote session.  I have to admit to being more than a little sceptical when I’,m greeted by an ‘invite’ to sign up to a network for £500, but I kept an open mind.  The session was delivered in a contrasting style to the first and focused on ‘ Expansive Education’ .  I’m not going to talk about the network, but about the three things that I took away from the session. 1. The BayHouse educational journal I am currently Professional Tutor and have the CPD brief.  Coming across Bay House’s journal was a revelation.  This is something that I am following up, not least because the school is only a short stretch of water away from my own.  This could be an excellent way in which to engage and stretch teachers who are secure classroom practitioners (notice

Reflections on #TLAB13 4 of 6: The TeachMeet

  This is the fourth of six posts reflecting upon the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Conference held at Berkhamsted School.   This brief post will focus on the ‘pre-event’. In my experience, there are two types of TeachMeet: those that have a local feel and those before big events that have a strange ‘out-of-body’ feel.  Happily, the TeachMeet held the evening before #TLAB13 was of the former variety.  The event had a few elements common to  #TMPompey that meant I came away with actual ideas that could be used in the classroom the following day.  These elements were: Hardly any tech only talks.  Both featured simple ideas linked to assessment and feedback and marking.  Many speakers didn’t even use the computers (only three at the pre #TLAB13 event).  This was really refreshing as the talks were focused on pedagogy rather than larger ideas that were product reliant.  The ideas could be (and have been) implemented without any technology or training or by doing anything r

Reflections on #TLAB13 3 of 6: Epic stuff that I can use on Monday–what I thought of the experience.

This is the third of six posts reflecting upon the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Conference held at Berkhamsted School.   In this post, I give my overall thoughts about the event. At 5pm on Saturday 16th March, I found myself in the theatre at Berkhamstead School watching Wales (my team) smash England on a screen the size of a house.  Why is this important?  It’s the way in which the genius behind #TLAB13, Nick Dennis, paid attention to detail that made the day.  The most important fixture of the Six Nations rugby tournament is an annual right of passage.  The excellent company and way in which I experienced this year’s will stay with me for a long time. I’ll come right out with it.  I thought that #TLAB13 was epic.  Considering it’s version 1, it’s the best whole day of conference I’ve been to.  I remember saying yes to Nick when he asked me if I’d be interested in speaking as I was intrigued and impressed with the proposed model and vision of what the day was going to be lik

Reflections on #TLAB13 2 of 6: ‘What gets you up in the morning?’ Alistair Smith’s opening keynote [ @alatalite ]

This is the second of six posts reflecting upon the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Conference held at Berkhamsted School.   This post will provide an overview the first keynote session. Alistair Smith opened the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Conference on Saturday with a simple question and a call to arms.  He simply asked what got us up in the morning?  Also, what got us all together on a Saturday to learn more? The slides used have been made available here , and contain a number of useful models and ideas for school leadership.  The main points I took from the keynote were (as written, summarised and reflected upon in my analogue notebook): How much do we, as teachers, know the research?  If we are to ignore the ‘Ofsted Whispers’ and take back control of curriculum and pedagogy then we have a responsibility to understand the research that underpins teaching and learning.  This links to another session I recently attended where Neil Mclean highlighted five pieces of re

Reflections on #TLAB13 1 of 6: Inspirational Geography workshop

This is the first of six posts reflecting upon the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Conference held at Berkhamsted School.   This post will provide an overview of my talk focused on Geography: Inspirational Geography. Before I go too far, I must say that the proceeding geography talks by Carmel Greene and John Sayers were the best geography specific workshops that I have attended in a long while.  They were packed with practical ideas that were underpinned with sound theory and research, a key feature to the success of the conference overall.  But more on that later. It was with some apprehension that I followed these two speakers, making the finishing touches to what I wanted to talk about during the conference.  Although this may seem unorganised, in my defence I take this approach as it means it’s possible to weave the themes of the keynote speakers and other workshops I have seen during the day.  Thank you to the kind words both face-to-face and through Twitter, and I’m ple

200 (ish) hours @PrioryGeography

“ I guess we all like to be recognized not for one piece of fireworks, but for the ledger of our daily work.’ Neil Armstrong.   What an adventure the last three weeks have been.  Every now and again, a series of events unfolds that confirms that the direction one has taken is the right one.  That is to say, it’s the right thing for the young people and teachers of Priory Geography.  I thought about writing separate posts, but here it goes. Over the past 200 or so contact hours, from 25th February which seems a lifetime ago, Priory Geography has: Gone through another whole school Oftsed inspection and emerged in good shape.  Those that remember the reports of 10 years ago where every derpartment got a mention, will know how difficult it is to get a mention in a whole school report: ‘Feedback to students through marking is variable, with some very good examples. Students make good use of stamps and self-assessment trackers, such as in geography, which allo

#TMPompey: young people, birthday cake and Laser Quest

Yesterday evening saw the second TeachMeet Pompey (Portsmouth to the uninitiated) take place.  The was a fantastic atmosphere and around fifty people attended in the end which was great.  Some common themes through the presentation included creative ideas and lots of young people, with two presentations by or including young people, and almost all presentations featuring real work by young people.  I may be biased, but that hasn’t happened at many TeachMeets that I’ve been along to recently. Of course, the highlight for me was watching our on DiGITAL LEADERS give a visionary and professional presentation.  They had put this together independently and without any direction from myself. There wasn’t a live stream nor sponsorship as I was aiming to keep teachers talking and learning at the centre of the event and that sort of stuff often detracts from the core purpose.  Of course, the TeachMeet Pompey Laser Quest was again a great success and added a little fun competition to th

Developing the quality of GCSE case study answers. *no technology was harmed during this lesson.

Being able to answer case study questions correctly is vital if students are to succeed at GCSE.   This is a description of a simple idea that worked with a Year 10 group studying an LEDC foreign aid case study, in this case Goat Aid.  The OCR B Geography examination demands that three, well developed points are made about a relevant case study that includes place specific detail.  This lesson required: Some background information on Goat Aid, provided by a text book; iPads and students’ own devices in order to check / expand information; 9 blank A3 pieces of paper per pair; whatever they could find in the room, including textbooks and pens etc; some stickers; an examination question.   The lesson began with a Feedback 5 activity that allowed the class to focus on setting their own targets.  As a group, a particular weakness was the lack of specific detail within answers.  Another area that needed development was the way in which students reached plausi

Microsoft's IT Academy

One of the great things about being involved with Microsoft at BETT this year was the opportunity to network with the people who run their programs.  I've just heard about this event that aims to tell school leaders a little more about the Microsoft IT Academy Program. Details are here: My name is Anthony Nneke, I am one of the School Business Managers at Microsoft.  I wanted to invite you to our Microsoft IT Academy Webinar.   If you are you looking for Microsoft certs and  qualifications for your IT Professionals, Teachers and more importantly students, then Microsoft IT Academy is for you. If you are planning to reduce cost on training then Microsoft IT Academy is for you. If you want to mitigate risks on deployment of services through additional training then Microsoft IT Academy is for you. Planning to further discuss Computer science and embedding to the curriculum This is a great time to review this great service in line for your new academi