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A weblog designed to share Geography resources with students and colleagues

Monday, April 30, 2007

Countdown conundrum and other games

Categories: Games and Quizzes, Geography General, Population
I have been re-acquainting myself with the excellent Games4Geog website, which I've blogged about before, and it forms a big part of my lessons tomorrow. I really like using games to reinforce learning, and I think there's a case for dropping these in to revision slots to break up the lesson into manageable chunks. For instance, s4 are doing some timed questions on population tomorrow, so I'll probably do a half a min game, a countdown style game, then a past paper, and so on. I want to use the One Child Policy game with my Higher. Although some of the questions are very obvious for that year group, again, it will add a bit of light relief to the lesson tomorrow, and may provide the resident pirate fanatic in the class with his fix! I have s1 playing basketball for weather and climate (before doing some forecasting), while s3 are showcasing more Mumbai movies (some excellent photos on the sister site to the games site, Geog4U). Huge debt of thanks to the site creator. Finally, I just like this. Found via MyWonderfulWorld, this is simply a good tool for increasing awareness of place. Have a go.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Dangerous days

There has been an awful lot written and said about the Kent earthquake from Saturday morning over the weekend. It's amazing that in a place like California, these kind of tremors would be relatively common and not particlarly newsworthy, whereas it was front page here. I was also thinking that I can't remember a time where so many natural hazards were in the British news. A good opportunity for some topical geography and a stand alone lesson. I would imagine the above sheet will also lend itself to some homework. Thanks to Geography at the Movies for the windows clip.

I liked the fruit machine mentioned in the previous post, and will probably use as a little starter with Higher for some Human Geography terminology before some past paper work. I think s4 could benefit from some conventional flogging of the past papers, while s3 should be showing a few of the Mumbai movies. s1 have been talking about weather and climate, but I'd quite like to do a little extra work on extreme weather with this class, so I'll probably start Hurricanes tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Categories: Geography General, Writing and Assessment, s1 and s2, Urban

I found an interesting link by accident tonight. It's almost exam season, so here's a little bit of light relief-find out how stressed you are by looking at the images in this link. Things moved very slowly for me, so I'm not sure it's working properly... ;-)

I am trying very hard to keep revision fresh for you, but please remember that day's like today are neccessary for Higher -timing your answer is vital, and getting your technique honed is just as important as having the knowledge to get an excellent mark. Tomorrow for s4 and Higher, I'm going to create revision 'posts'. I'm basically leaving some resources for topic areas at different parts of the class - past papers, course notes, cards etc. I'll be asking you to head to a table, and when in groups, producing revision flashcards for the rest of the class before collaborating on exam questions.

I'm tempted to use the fruit machine at classtools to pick the groups, butI'll leave that for my s1 as a period starter for weather questions before getting onto the forecasts. I had a disastrous period with s2 today as I wrestled with a DVD player for much of the period before giving up. Nice to have such problems with three new class members looking on...Have booked a seperate DVD for tomorrow, will watch the rest of our movie after a couple of periods break.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Sharing Bookmarks

Categories: Geography General, s1 and s2
I have been meaning to put all of my bookmarks on to del.icio.us for a while now. This is a social bookmarking tool which allows you to share all of your favourites, as well as organising them into tagged groups. I have still loads to add, as my laptop died briefly tonight as I was doing this. Hopefully, it will help you as well with revision by making searching the web easier. Many of the links I've used in class are here, so it will hopefully save you having to search back through the blog if you know what you're looking for. I also told some of the AH pupils about this earlier in the year, and it's a great way for organising your own reading. To access my bookmarks, just click the link above or on the badge on the sidebar.
I am doing a general revision session based around some of today's discussion with s4, and I think I'll probably look at Mass Movements, Limestone and Coasts from Lithosphere with Higher. I'm out at an Enterprise meeting in the afternoon, so s3 will have to hold fire on the Mumbai movies work for a period-Monday is the date for the final movie submission.I fancy doing something similar to Tony Cassidy's weather experiment (I'll post a link later, as Tony's website is under reconstruction) with my s1 tomorrow-but instead of different locations, using different times for pupils to phototgraph the weather. I also liked this as a possible homework.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Ask the Teacher

Categories: Urban, Geography General, Writing and Assessment, s1 and s2

I tried out a nice activity with Higher the other day, adapted from a book called 'The Teacher's Toolkit'. We are doing some revision of Rural Geography, so I asked the class to write out twice one question, any question at all about the topic which they wanted answered by me. I then took one set of the questions and told them this would be the basis of Monday's lesson. With the spare set of questions, I put the papers in a tin and passed round a 'lucky dip'. This question then had to be answered and passed back to the author of the query. A really easy way to put assessment into the start of a lesson and then use this to build on previous knowledge. I can see the benefit of using this with a number of classes, and I intend to do something similar with my s4 a little later in the week.
For s3,I'll need to chase up an IT room, unless the new 'classroom in a box' has been set up for your use yet. the themes for the Mumbai movie tasks are in the sheet above, but if you have any other reasonable suggestions for your movie, I will be flexible.
With s2, I wish I'd been more flexible with the 'Day After Tomorrow' task and used short clips instead of trying to use the bulk of the film. We'll see how tomorrow goes, I might be hitting the skip button a few times. I'll introsuce s1 to the weather investigation and the forecasting task.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Testing Scribd

I'm just testing whether this works on the blog. Hopefully, this will not be blocked at school (yet) and it means that you can download files again in the class. Thanks to benchmarrow! I think I'm OK with the copyright from the O.S., as long as I've credited the source, I think it's acceptable to put up to ten maps on your webpage. If not, I'll take this off again.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

mind maps, movie maker, more global warming

Categories: Writing and Assessment, Urban, s1 and s2

Alright, quick post about tomorrow. Higher slogged out the double today with a timed question and then peer marking, so I'm splitting you into 8 groups and getting you to mindmap the 8 Physical and Human Environments topic (I doubt you'll have the time to complete quite as ornate a map as the one above). I'm going to try where possible to put you in groups based on your traffic lighting, so for instance, if you had flagged up sand dune succession as a red area, I'll probably stick you in the Biosphere group (and maybe drop in one 'green' here to help out). I'll see if this is possible. s4 have an assessment on Environmental Hazards, 25 minute paper, so ten to fifteen minutes at the start for a little revision, Q & A etc. Hopefully the student who posted their question on the wiki has viewed my response by now. S3 are being given a little instruction for making Mumbai movies. This will be important, as although nearly all of you have XP at home, only one of you has used moviemaker before. Adam Lawson has provided online tutorials for making movies at Geogdocs if I manage to completely baffle you.
I thought s2 did well with the Greenhouse Effect activity today, using the images. We used twelve pictures and I asked the class to first of all stick on the board the ones which had an impact on greenhouse gas production. As it were, all of the images should have been used, so this prompted a little discussion. We then challenged the popularly held notion that greenhouse gases are produced by us by splitting the pictures into physical and human factors. We then briefly looked at the notion that perhaps global warming is just part of a cycle. I'm now taking you through the Day After Tomorrow film working under four headings to help us gain an understanding of global warming, and will continue with this tomorrow.
Finally, s1 are either being assessed on Brazil and then being introduced to weather forecasting activities, or else looking at weather instruments and weather words, depending on which class you're in.

More on Mobiles

Categories: Writing and Assessment
Bear with me here, I'm on a bit of a learning curve with this one. I steadfastly refused to have a mobile for about 3 or 4 years. In my last job, you could never switch off, and it became an unwelcome extension of the working day. I also used to get really annoyed when people would text each other rather than talk, and used to get really tired of people holding ever so public conversations on their mobiles too. This was when about the most interesting thing that I could do with my phone was play 'snake' (ok, I was addicted). I was, and still am to a certain extent, always amazed when people said they couldn't do without one.
Recently, my eyes have been opened, not for the want to talk and text (I'm still being anti-social :-( ), but as a brilliant little tool for the classroom and beyond. Ewan mcIntosh sent me a link (many thanks) with some good ideas for using mobiles. Some I've already tried, some I am going to suggest for use with my certificate classes before the week's out. So here's some of the things I'd like to try...
1) Using the countdown timer/stopwatch - Particularly with Higher. I have been talking for as long as I can remember about how well you could do if you can combine your knowledge with an ability to answer your exam questions both in time and in an organised manner. Today, we tried timing a 25 marker, and some of you managed within the time, several of you didn't. Practise the questions using your timer at home and keep doing this until you can do the questions to time. If you're doing past papers, then
2) Use the screen as a prompt - The screens on mobiles are small, so you'll only be able to fit a little on it. Try putting short notes on the screen until you are confident doing the questions solo.
3) Bluetooth computer content/friends files to your mobile- I've previously highlighted some sites with podcasts for revision. I know some of you use your mobiles to listen to music. Why not use it as a revision tool to break the monotony of past papers? Just download the files and bluetooth it to your phone. We have done some voice recording in class. Apart from having a fit of the giggles about each others voices, why not bluetooth to each other, and get an opinion on how you've done, or simply use it to share good study aids?
4) Use your phone as an organiser- How important at this time of year to be organised.. Use your phone to help you. I have been talking in class about the importance of not leaving your Geog revision till the last minute since for many of you its the last exam. Use the diary, the memo facility etc to remind you of times you're planning to study Geography.
Hope this all helps, and makes your revision a little fresher.
P.S. Im also looking to use the bluetooth in France in June to share photos, so that I can maybe post some pupil snaps on to the moblog, rather than simply my own.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Day After Tomorrow, eh, the day after tomorrow...

Categories: s1 and s2, Geography General
I find myself having many 'senior' moments of late, and by that I don't mean moments of great wisdom. I tried to record this film for use with s2 last night and completely forgot how to use my DVD recorder (I still haven't figured it out). I have also spent two nights trying to set up a moblog for when we go to the Alps using go@blogger.com, was getting the text in my post but no photos. Finally discovered tonight that my mobile network is not acceptable for this purpose, so have set it up using flickr, more on this later.
I felt the lesson with s2 started well the other day with the Twister board activity, but felt I dragged out the work on renewables a little. Tomorrow, we'll look at a much simplified version of this activity from channel 4, no longer than fifteen to twenty minutes to open up the debate on global warming and the greenhouse effect. I would like to use parts of the film opposite, Miss Reilly has kindly offered me a loan of the DVD. Although the film is obviously highly dramatised (and has some serious cringe moments, with a good dose of ham acting), I still think there is a really good educational use for the themes it deals with. I remember reading something around the time of the movies release on the BBC, and the science behind the film was pretty accurate in many respects. We will use some of this, but again, I'm going to seriously prune the resources as they are a bit word heavy and not all that accessible for the year group I'll be using this with. This might be useful too.I really want to use the previous day's lesson and the next few to prepare you for your magazine activity or decision making task at the end of the unit, and this might be a more relevant way of doing it.
As for Higher, its revison, I'll try to break this into chunks and different activities most of the time, but will probably use part of tomorrow's double for a twenty five marker, and may then use a peer marking activity.
Finally, the moblog is now up and running, nothing at all to look at for the moment, but will use this to relay back our trip exploits in June and will hopefully use it for class activities like the favelas/Paris models in future for instant uploading of pictures instead of encouraging major forgetfulness event yet again...

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The eggs are eaten...

Categories: Urban, s1 and s2, Geography General
Hello all, welcome back. I can’t remember a holiday which seemed so short…well, not since the last one anyway! I know many of you have been busy with easter school too-I’m sure all the hard work will be worth it. A reminder that although the Geography exams are among the last, shouldn’t make the mistake of leaving all your study till late on. You should have a study plan worked out with your pastoral support teacher, try to stick to it as much as you can in the next few weeks-and pop in for any problems.
I am back to Mumbai with s3 tomorrow. We finished Paris with a Challenge Board, which always seems to create a really competitive atmosphere in the class. Last year one of the girls in my class had an uncle who kindly donated a lot of Mumbai photographs for us to use after a business visit. I am going to use some of these and we’ll be trying to compare and contrast Mumbai to Paris. I also want to dispel a few myths about Mumbai, particularly regarding the slums, and there’s an excellent interactive resource from the BBC here. I want to also use this as the basis of a homework task on the s3 wiki in the next couple of days. If time, I’ll guide you round Mumbai using the Google Earth tour I made last year.
With s2 tomorrow we have a link period- I want to make sure that you are all OK with what you are doing with your radio shows (these will have to be finished in small groups as we are now sharing the use of Audacity with next door). The next thing on your planner is our activity where we use Twister. I’ll probably try this either at the start or the end of the period. Either way, the activity is designed to help us understand what happens if we keep consuming resources without replacing or re-using them-we will eventually run out. This will lead us nicely towards looking at renewables and non renewables. I have a very basic powerpoint, and then we’ll look at these short film clips created byDan Raven Ellison, a Geography Teacher from England. What I really want to think about with these is this-What Environmental Issues are created by the use of renewables?
S1 will want to judge their favelas. I’ll then give a quick rundown of things you should know for the forthcoming assessment. We might get on to a new unit, and I may give you a choice as to what you’d like to study next from the available units.
S4 have a period of intensive revision for the assessment on Tuesday, while for Higher, I’ll manage to use some of the Easter School materials that we didn’t get round to or deliberately excluded. This week we are going to do several questions to time, including at one point one of the 25 markers.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Easter School again...

Cateogories: Geography General
I will be using many of the materials from last year's session (scroll down) , but have adapted some resources to tailor for requests from students. The two 'panic' areas seem to be Atmosphere and Hydrosphere, so I am putting in some of the slides from this revision powerpoint (with many thanks to Ollie Bray), and will be using the Rivers site mentioned recently for both some interactive boardwork and to get us thinking about exam style questions here. Other areas which I'll be attending to-Rural Land Resources for Development and Health-I don't see the point in spending too much of the session on D & H, since assessment and class work shows you have a good grasp of this. I know many of you found the RLR part of the course difficult because of the number of examples to remember. We'll try and look at what makes a good answer here, and the best starting point is your wiki answers-what would we as a class keep in here, what would we add and could the structure be improved? Demographic Transition and Coastal Landscapes in at a push, and I'll run off some sheets on urban models too. I'm sure by tomorrow, there will be some other things which have cropped into my head too, so I'll post retrospectively on these. I have concentrated the past paper questions purely on old examples, taken from my brothers' old booklet (mine's is museum fodder) simply to illustrate how often questions are recycled in the Higher exam...and therefore how important past paper revision is ;-)