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Showing posts from April, 2013

Supporting fieldwork back in the classroom

This post is aimed at Year 10 geographers at Priory Geography and uses a range of freely available tools that help to (re)visit the study area of Hengistbury Head. Fotobabble I've always encouraged students to use dictaphones and their devices' voice recorder for them to capture information in the field.  I always remind groups that ' eyes were invented before scientific equipment'  and what they see is just as valuable as what they measure if used well.  Fotobable, while occasionally clunky and glitchy, allows students to capture an annotated photograph that can later be transformed into maps / annotated photographs and fieldsketches. Here are two examples taken by myself: Flickr It's worth creating and sharing photosets via Flickr so that students can revisit the area. Priory Geography's photostream can be found here .  You'll notice that the images can be used to refresh memories of field methods as well as landforms.  Any 'poo

An interesting week

As Thursday draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on a fairly interesting week.  On Sunday I completed my first marathon in 4 hours 3 minutes.  That 3 minutes has bugged me, so I’ve entered next year’s Brighton Marathon too to see if I can get under four hours. The second piece of news is that the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) has seen fit to award me with the Ordnance Survey Award for excellence in geography teaching.  This is quite humbling recognition as it comes from peers.  Of course, it’s a team effort and I would like to thank: The Priory Geography Team, past and present for being inspirational and getting me to work in the morning.  You’ve always gone along with what I’ve suggested and provided the right balance of support challenge, grumpiness and laughs.  We aren’t going to take ourselves seriously still though. Thank you Jo, Sam, JP, Lauren, Lisa, Mo, Charlotte.  Thanks also to my Headteacher and Line Managers past and current.  I know it can’t be eas

Introducing the #thoushaltnotmentionthem Challenge

Schools are about young people achieving.  CPD and leadership should be focused on children and learning, not what Ofsted thinks.  Taking inspriation from a number of sources including #TLAB13 and Ollie Bray, I'm challenging myself not to mention Ofsted as I lead Priory Geography this term.  No 'Ofsted are worried about passive learners.'  No 'Ofsted would judge this lesson as...' This may be a rubbish idea, it may prove impossible.  Let's see. Let's make it about young people, teaching and learning.  Who's with me? #thoushaltnotmentionthem

Do I support the GA? [ @the_ga #gaconf13 ]

  I’ve just come back from an epic 4 day study tour to Iceland, organised by Discover the World and supported by the Geographical Association .  The trip was attended by trainee and recently qualified teachers and my role was to give an after dinner chat and provide the geography / learning input throughout the tour.  Oh, and sort the coffee stops.  It’s in this context that I found myself waiting at Keflavik airport and trying to tweet the Association at Work meeting.  This post aims to set out what I think and feel about the organisation. In a word, yes I whole heartedly support the work of the GA.  However, my frustrations are well known.  I used to be the Chair of the Secondary Phase Committee and have been a geography activist for as long as I can remember and a volunteer for the GA since around 2005.  I’ve recently stepped down my commitments for a number of reasons.  Before listing those though: I have total respect for the full-time paid members of the GA, including

Why school leadership?

Back from an amazing trip to Iceland, but more on that later.  This is a brief post in response to something said to be by someone who shall remain nameless.  The Icelandic landscape lends itself to reflection, especially when you have good headphones!  The timing is apt as the Geographical Association meets for its annual conference this week. So what was said: ‘Always stay true to your subject and don’t go into management.’ This sent me bonkers.  To put it bluntly, it made me angry, especially as the participants were PGCE / NQT / RQTs.  Of course, it may have been in jest and I’m overreacting, but I think it’s worth setting out here why I think that attitude, for me, is the wrong way to go.  This is a personal view. In a nutshell, I think it’s morally wrong to accept working within a great Geography department is acceptable when children are being failed by other department’s / teachers / experiences.  Of course, there is nothing wrong with being a subject teacher or rem