HMI are in tomorrow and Year 9 are (fingers crossed) handing in an assignment. Since it’s now forbidden for teachers to speak during lessons I have devised the following format for the start of the lesson:
Digimap for Schools is a subscription service for OS maps. The service represents exceptional value for money and works seamlessly in all current browsers as well as iPad. With a range of very user friendly annotation and measuring tools and simple printing options, Digimap is far more than just a map viewer. It also comes with some excellent free teaching ideas by Alan Parkinson.
Here’s a short guide for students on how to make the most of Digimap in coursework projects.
Year 8 have begun a unit of work on economic geography. We began with the topic of coal mining and followed a SOLO approach to the development of the learning. Starting with simple audio visual resources we created a Wordle of adjectives to describe conditions for coal miners. We then used excellent resources from UK coal to understand exactly how a modern mine works, recreating the longwall mining process with tables and chairs. A subsequent lesson looked at the rise and fall of the industry with a living graph forming the outcome. In the final lesson I briefly outlined some of the social and environmental issues surrounding the industry and then invited students to do some extended abstract thinking on a related topic of their choosing. They came up with some really good ideas – from looking at how old mines are made safe, debating the merits of coal vs nuclear electricity and the economics of whether it is possible to re-open old mines. My favourite piece of work was from Sam, whose poem touches on the politics of the 8o’s in a thoughtful and considered way.
Was Margaret Thatcher right to close down the coal mines?
But was she right, or was just right at the time?
Britain needed coal for electricity,
Nowadays we use other sources to power our cities,
People use coal less and less now,
How did this slide happen, how?
MAGGIE CLOSED THE MINES.
We managed to use other ways to get our power,
So in a way, did the industry turn sour?
It cost too much much, Britain needed the money,
Or did Maggie find the miners strikes just a bit funny?
Closing down the mines made some of the public unemployed,
So in reality people got annoyed.
Closing the mines may have been clever,
But today, perhaps it was a stupid thing, however
Many may argue, many a different way
But all we know for certain is that coal is still important today.
Want a sneak preview of what my all time geography hero and the Gapminder team have been up to recently? Follow this link and have a look at some exemplar teaching materials being developed to help students understand global development. The resources will be free of charge.
The team stress that this is a work in progress and that they really appreciate feedback. Please help them out!
I’ve become a very enthusiastic exponent of “expert groups” recently, thanks to David Didau. Following some interest on Twitter, I’ve extended an idea for encouraging critical thinking on how the development gap between rich and poor countries can be reduced.
The downloadable presentation below, starts with my class organized into home groups. They move into expert groups to think about the factors they have been allocated, (following the colour code) The method allows for some subtle differentiation as some ideas are easier than others, and the groups have been carefully created to reflect this.
Returning to home groups, students are given a blank version of the graph to complete (on the final slide) before sharing their ideas with the whole class and hopefully reaching a consensus.
Reflection on what I’m learning from John Hattie’s Visible Learning for Teachers suggests I need to make some of the learning in my class more difficult. I think this is quite a challenging activity?
There’s been some brilliant outcomes from the somewhat vague homework instruction to sum up recent learning about coastal landforms and processes as a plate of food.
Kai went down the traditional cake route, we ate Matt’s tasty rotational slumping Victoria Sponge in the lesson and Laura demonstrated many variations of Coast Toast.
Here’s Emma’s brilliant idea… from her new blog.
Georgia was a little more forthright with her plate of baked potato and sausage…
I think it would be right and proper to credit Tony Cassidy who’s pioneering work with Angel Cake laid the mashed potato foundation for sausage stacks. Anarchic home educator friend, Mark Tanner took things even further with electrically conductive, edible circuit boards (part of his masterplan to teach 4 year olds to eat the rich?)
I’d lost a video I made several years ago to introduce my Safer City GIS activity. I’ve just rewritten this but probably won’t be sharing the new version to prevent more of this kind of thing… (though at last a credit has been added.) Anyway it’s good to see the video back again in all it’s embarrassing, Kenny Loggins enhanced glory, as I’ve had a lot of requests over the past few years.
Comic Relief have also been in touch over the Rich and Famous in the Slums video that I edited and uploaded to YouTube two years ago. Several people have asked me what happened to the video, and the charity have been kind enough to explain the reasons why it can’t be posted online (which were far from obvious in the initial, rather terse takedown notice they sent me.) Here’s the official statement from Aleks at Comic Relief…
COMIC RELIEF’S EXPLANATION
The Famous, Rich and in the Slums programme was created in collaboration with an external production company in order to communicate serious messages and raise as much money as possible. The contributors to the documentary allowed their lives to be filmed in order to help us do this on the condition that it should only be used by Comic Relief in the UK. We therefore cannot allow the programme to be uploaded onto websites like YouTube.
If you would like a copy of Famous, Rich and in the Slums to use educationally within your classroom then we can post you a copy to use on the understanding that it is only used for educational purposes and will not be uploaded onto the internet. As we are a charity we kindly ask that you consider donating £10-£15 for a copy which will go towards helping projects such as the ones seen in the programme. You can do so at www.comicrelief.com/donate
School & Youth manager