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A weblog designed to share Geography resources with students and colleagues

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Podcasting, finally...

A while ago now, I went to an in-service course for Modern Languages teachers looking at how podcasting could be used in the classroom. It was very interesting, but also baffling. The host, Ewan McIntosh of edublogs was talking about blogs, wikis, audio editing etc. At the time, the extent of my ICT skills were based around a couple of decent websites, and occassionally using the whiteboard in my classroom. I didn't have a clue what a blog was, never mind a podcast. It was round about this time that I set up the blog. In that time, I feel that I have learned so much, and have been able to bring a lot of this into the classroom. Except for the original idea of podcasting. I was thinking about my s2 who are doing a 6x6 on Japanese Natural Disasters, an activity that I have suggested they construct a news bulletin around. I thought it would be really good if we treated this as a real broadcast, adding volcano and earthquake sound effects, while the groups read their news reports. I hope to use the programe suggested at the in-service, Audacity. We will record what will hopefully become a podcast, although I am finding it very hard to convince my classes to bring their work to a wider audience-initial bursts of enthusiasm are tempered by worries over who will hear/see this! I am still waiting to finish the leaflet videos because of this reluctance, although by next week, there will at least be photographs of the displays of work on your blog . Regardless of this, I may use these podcasts myself from time to time for revision.
Other work tomorrow-s4 Paris Basin case study (although some in the class have been asking for musical relief in the form of 'I've got a brand new combine harvester'), s5/6, Dorset Booklet, s3 Post-it activity for limestone on classtools, and all three will hopefully be using the wiki. Hopefully do some weather forecasts with s1, using some of the activities here .

Monday, September 25, 2006

Now for the rest

Categories: Rural Land resources, Rural
After the September weekend, I needed someone to help me out of an inspiration blackhole-Thankfully, Tony Cassidy's site has provided a couple of resources for use with Higher and s4. I am putting a link to an alternative case study to the Dales here. On the tourism section, there is a link to a powerpoint which gives plenty of info on the Peak District. For s4, we have just finished the France 2000 video looking at rural change to settlements in the Massif Central (you might recognise the picture), so I thought we could use the links from here to summarise the impact. For my Higher, I will probably use a short name game activity, prize an extra day for the Homework. Basically I am trying to stress the importance of named examples of features, locations etc in the Rural Land resources section of the course. I will include examples from all three case studies and we will then swap and mark-pretty simplistic, but will hopefully ease people in after the short break.

Classtools and Wikis

Categories: Rural Land Resources, Limestone, Coasts, s1 and s2, Games and Quizzes, Writing and Assessment
I have been experimenting with an excellent new tool for the whiteboard from Russell Tarr of www.activegeography.co.uk . Classtools gives a variety of flash templates which can be used-from living graphs. essay planners and Target Diagrams to Diamond 9's and my own favourite, lights out. I have been using the lights out feature with my s1 during the weather topic, and have added mini mysteries to the activity. An example would be the picture I used on Friday, where we gradually revealed a beach with sun loungers and palm trees. Pupils were asked to guess where the picture was taken. I then revealed that it was from an island on the west coast of Scotland. The next question was 'Why are there Palm trees on Island X?'. I have about five or six images to use with the classes which will hopefully encourage discussion about why different parts of Britain get different weather. I am also using the lights out activity briefly with higher, but this time, they have a limited time to spot coastal features of erosion and deposition, land uses and conflicts, as well as conflict resolution within a single image of the Dorset Coast. Finally, as my s3 move on to land uses in a limestone area, I am simply going to leave an image on the board, and allow them to use the 'post-it' function to get us started. This has fantastic potential, and also has templates for games-match up, manic miner, wordshoot etc, which will be good fro the lower year groups in particular. The wikis need some attention. I have added a mass movements question to the higher wiki, and have changed the password too. On the intermediate wiki, I have set up the password, and added two questions from the first two areas of the course. I will probably get these up and running in class tomorrow for some attempts.

Connection Probs

Have not posted for a while, as there has been a problem in my area with my internet provider. Fingers crossed, this seems to have been resolved, and although I will not put everything up here that we used, there are some items that I will try to add over time. I used a 'spotlight' powerpoint with s3 when we started the limestone topic, which helped us describe the pavement landscape well. I will upload this when I can, purely for future use, but www.classtools.net will be a quick way to do something similar in the future with the 'lights out' template. More on this in the next post. I also used my old Rural Land Resources powerpoint for coasts with Higher which can be found here . In the next two posts, I will talk about classtools and wikis, and resources for tomorrow.

Monday, September 11, 2006

A Day on Google Earth

Categories: Rural Land Resources, Rural, Glaciation, s1 and s2
I find myself in the situation that tomorrow will see Google Earth being used in all of my lessons, so I thought that I would create a tour of all my lesson locations with links, starter activities and whiteboard resources. I am experimenting with 4shared for my files due to real problems uploading to ourmedia , but the school server is a wee bit temperamental re: access to this. As a result, we may be on plan B in class tomorrow and this can be used at home, or when we have ICT booked. I am especially keen to get s1 having a go at labelling height on this , before comparing it to the 3d view on Google Earth, then the O.S. map to see how its really done. I have the two locations we will use here . I will hopefully be videoing s2 leaflets tomorrow using the phone, and hopefully, the good work we are doing, whether it be whiteboard shots, videos, audios, posters, powerpoints or anything else can be shown on http://ourstuffonline.blogspot.com/, a new blog purely for student output to be displayed.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Touring 'Monarch' Country

Categories: Rural Land Resources, Rural, s1 and s2, Development and Health, Games and Quizzes, Writing and Assessment
I took the Higher class through a tour of the Cairngorms on Google Earth today (an old link here ), and I changed the template of the Limestone wordmat to use for examples and key terms along the way. We will finish the tour tomorrow and use the booklets and Applications textbook to complete our case study. I am starting Rural Geography with s4 tomorrow, and thought we could do farming 'tig'-I have a grid of glossary terms which I want students to become familiar with. There are about 18 different terms on the sheet, and I want the class to ask a different person about each one-lots of movement, and hopefully some good ideas. I will then hand out the definitions, but with pupils still to match to the terms. Hopefully there will be some similarities between answers on the sheet and actual definitions. I also think it will help mix up the groupings in the class a little, which may benefit some. At some point, I would like to use the Development farming game, but probably not this period. One game I do hope to use tomorrow, just as a bit of a break in the period, is this . Not strictly related to what we are doing, but hard to stop once you have started. This was flagged on the Geography Forum website. My best position was 293rd, but its harder than it looks! Have now gained a copy of the Japan 'Journeys' programme thanks to the kind people at sln forum, and will show snippets of this to s2 tomorrow, while I will hopefully finalise names for the Alps Trip ballot for s3, while the Keswick map exercise gets attempted. Which reminds me, I'll try to put a basic landscape mapping powerpoint on here soon.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Using the News

I saw something similar to this which I think was an 'Introduction to Geography' type activity, where a 'Have I Got News for you' starter was used. I thought I could adapt this, particularly for the Higher who are starting rural land resources. Firstly, it will allow us to place some of the topic in reality, as the examples used are all real headlines. Secondly, its a bit more interesting and engaging than a simple discussion/mindmap and other approaches to starting the topic we could take. It also ties in nicely with where the s3 are in the Intermediate course and could perhaps be adapted, although I do want to get on to www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk and do a bit of landforms mapping. I may, if time permits, adapt it tomorrow for s4 to tie in with the Call Centres case study as there are reams of news stories on this topic.
s2 are progressing well with the leaflet task on Japan, and I may be getting some freebies from that country in the near future. Watch this space. S1 are expecting Symbols Bingo, which we will play soon, but I really liked Ollie Bray's idea here as a means of reinforcing the work we have already completed, and am still toying with the idea of symbols taboo after making, to be honest, a complete hash of introducing it to another of my s1 classes. If at first you don't succeed....