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A weblog designed to share Geography resources with students and colleagues

Monday, February 26, 2007


Categories: Urban
I used this last year and thought that it worked really well as an introduction to Urban Geography, and also made urban models a bit more interesting. This was mentioned on Geography Pages, so thanks. I would probably register doing this activity,simply because you can go back to the board and change it at home, but you don't really need to. Use the board planner to work offline if you wish. Basically, I am asking you to find a map of Glasgow which shows the names of the city centre roads(streetmap is good).Then, you are building your own monopoly board, pricing some of the streets from the centre out, using your local knowledge. This should bring out some key urban themes regarding land values, bid rent. Good discussions from this last year too-what streets were exceptions and why? What links some of the locations that you have grouped? What are the general patterns? What is the correlation between land use and price etc etc? I also have a thinking skills actvity which involves quite a bit of movement, if we have time or there are problems with internet connections, getting us to think about the city as a series of zones. If used, I'll save it to ourmedia and post the link.

Here's the webcams homework

Categories: s1 and s2
A few of the s2 were having problems with the link written down in class for the webcams homework. Here's a reminder about the task. The link is for a 'Webcams on the World' activity. This links in to our work at the beginning of Environmental Issues, when I asked you to decide what made an environment attractive/ appealing. There is a map at the end of the word document which I would use rather than the electronic maps mentioned in the sheet. Use earthcam for kids to help you with the task. You are basically looking to identify places that you would love to visit with some kind of comment as to why. A little tip for using this page, better to use the search facility at the top left than the categories links bottom right as this can give some strange results. I have some excellent examples in already, really interesting to see some of the places you picked. For those still to complete this, Wednesday please. I'll do mine too....

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Big Feet

Categories: s1 and s2, Geography General
We are currently redeveloping our s2 course 'on the hoof' at the moment as a result of moving to the 33 period week. I have been writing the Japan and Environmental Issues units. I was relatively satisfied with the Japan Unit and the feedback has been really positive, and have spent an age trying to finalise the Environmental Issues Unit. Quite by accident then tonight, I found this mini scheme of work on the Internet and it really made my attempts at incorporating your Global Footprints into the coursework look pretty clumsy! Pretty demoralising for me, but a far better resource for you :D This was written by a teacher in England called Daniel Raven Ellison, and I think we will work round about this and I'll adapt some resources for you. Don't worry, I'm not expecting you to read it all, I'm just trying to credit someone else for pinching their work! For the quiz we will use later, just click on the picture to take you there. Why not get your parents to try this version? You might need it for later in the course....There's also the school version, and I am sure there will be a couple of members of staff interested in this. We are doing a bit of local surveying first which I'll try to tie into the quiz.
I welcome two new s1 classes this week, first one tomorrow. I think I'll turn the course on its head a bit and do Brazil first this time-I have just finished teaching this to the previous classes, but both my classes from the last rotation said in their feedback that they would have liked to have spent longer on this unit, so doing this will give us a little leeway. I'm also going to do the customary starter, 'What is Geography?', but think I'll make it a bit different. I'm going to give a reasonable sized blank map of Scotland, as 'maps' always comes up. I'm going to ask the class to tell me what the five biggest town or cities in Scotland are-this in itself will probably be hard enough : s I'm going to then tell the class that size = importance. I'm going to then ask them to put on the map five things that they think Geography is about-the most important should be written on the map in place of the biggest city. I'll try to photograph these, along with last weeks favelas (well the ones which are still standing...) and stick them on the blog.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Maps, maps, messes!

Favelas- the real thing

Categories: s1 and s2, Industry
I am looking forward to testing more favelas tomorrow. I have finally cleared up the mess from the activity, but am preparing for more tomorrow as we get the water out. I haven't photographed these yet, but I was very impressed again, the last rotation have high standards to beat! I am also thinking of putting these photos not only on the blog, but on the school website as well. Rounding up Brazil topic tomorrow as you get ready to move on to History. I have enjoyed teaching both classes in the rotation, particularly enjoyed using the Simpsons for the first time!
s2 hopefully remember to bring the jackets, as we are going to do a little bit of surveying of the school, the grounds and surrounding areas as we look at the local environment. I want to do some kind of environmental quality mapping from this.
Higher are also stuck on maps, not nice as I heard groans about the O.S. question in today's prelim! We are looking at Industry, and I'll probably do the whiteboard screen shots after the activity and either post here or send to you again. Have a look at bitesize for a summary of what to look for, and then test yourself. On the subject of Higher, I am almost finished marking some of the Environmental Interactions papers. Although the marks have been OK, I would like to see more organised answers. The responses seem to stray around before coming back to the point. This has been a common problem for some in past classes-getting used to writing an extended answer after Intermediate- and I have already told you that last years' class benefited from using wordmats in their revision. I also think that despite many many periods of me on my soapbox, some people are still not using regular past paper revision and are solely relying on notes except when I ask for a homework. The prelim has gone now, but for me, this is the most effective way to refine your answers for the final exam. I have marked many past papers in the last few weeks on request-but all coming from 6 people. Please take adavantage of my offer to mark in the run up to the exam, it will really help.
Last but not least, I think I have ICT booked for s4 who are working on presentations for the wiki. I found this website which has some decent satelite views and webcams of active volcanoes, and if you search around I think there is video on it-may be useful.

Moving in

Categories: Population
Tomorrow, s3 will be having a look at the immigrants experience of the UK. This isn’t really a part of the course, but something that I think is an important issue for people to have an awareness of. We have already discussed the idea of voluntary and forced migrations and most of you were aware of asylum seekers from the news. But what about the idea of having to complete a citizenship test? I tried this sample of possible questions, having lived here all my life and got 12 out of 14. I wonder how my class would score? We’ll have a look tomorrow. I have previously shown the surname profiler in class, and knowing that there are a number of different backgrounds, I have put this link on, which would allow you to find out how to trace your family roots.Thanks to Alan for reminding me of both. There are also some migration histories and stories too. Finally, three really good ways to look at migration- First of all, how does migration influence our culture? I am going to ask the class the question- If there were no immigrants, what would you miss? Secondly, I spotted an idea a while ago, can’t remember where, which had classes planning their own illegal border crossings-maybe a homework or extension. Lastly, I gave a resource to the History department a while ago developed by my old college tutor Henry Maitles which allows you to make choices for a Jewish person staying in Germany during the rise of the Nazis. I remember the impact of this activity being really vivid-I tried several choices and mostly ended up dead, showing the desperate circumstances behind many forced migrations.

Regarding the picture at the top of the post, can you guess what the map is showing? Click the picture to link to the full map.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Bad Atmosphere

Categories: Atmosphere, Geography General, Writing and Assessment

I was a little disappointed in my inability to really put your fears at rest regarding the atmosphere unit at supported study tonight. With both latitudnal variations and the movement of the ITCZ, I felt that despite using diagrams, having group discussion and basically preaching a bit I didn't really connect with some of you regarding the main ideas behind each. I am hoping that this link will maybe help a bit with some of this, and would advise you to use both the course notes book and the bitesize web site as well. The slideshare above is from Ollie Bray, and the first few slides are a summary of what you need to know for the unit. I felt that the work on rural and hydrosphere went a little better, and hopefully examining the answers from the wiki page helped that.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

What I Know Is....

Categories: Geography general, Writing and Assessment, Environmental Hazards, Population, s1 and s2
Someone once told me that this is what wiki stands for. I have never checked this to verify it, but happily, there has been quite a bit of activity on the Higher wiki of late with people keen to demonstrate exactly this. I have spoken of my desire for this page to be edited and controlled by students, and by and large it is, but from time to time I use it in class to sort out some of the content. I won’t edit this myself, but sometimes using an already edited piece of work with the whole class can open up a few different ways of looking at the questions posed. Tomorrow will be one of those times, going back on my pledge to leave revision and coursework separate just now. Please use this exercise to update the pages if you can.
I am also keen to get s4 using their page more, and I may bring an activity in to class tomorrow which is designed to be completed for homework. Please look at the wiki page over the next few weeks to see this develop. I’m basically splitting the class into groups for some Environmental Hazards topics, with hopefully something quite visual at the end of this. I don’t really want to be forever using the wiki page in school, as I do with s2 at the minute, and I don’t really want to be holding the reins all the time either, so we will see how this goes.
I will spend the start of the period with s3 tomorrow going over a Demographic Transition homework, but then I want to spend a bit of time looking at jotters and so on while some of the core work is completed. S2 are starting Environmental Issues tomorrow, with maybe a bit of survey work around the school (if not tomorrow, then Wednesday). S1 are hopefully building favelas (third class doing this activity, I’ll need to remember to take photos this time).
Now for reminders to myself. I will be tidying up the Alps Trip tomorrow, including some staff changes, need to make some time to have a look at the school website but still waiting on FrontPage being installed (will follow this up). Hopefully will clear my feet with some of the prelim marking before Wednesday’s second paper for Higher and get some cross marking done. I will get these papers back to students at some point this week.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Enforced Absence

Have not been posting much at all recently, have simply not had any time of late. Higher and Int prelims have been taking up a lot of time, as has some new s2 course development. Over and above that, some other things at school keeping me occupied, and have s2 reports to complete for tomorrow. It was really pleasing to receive some very positive feedback on the last two s2 course areas through survey monkey. I shared the results with my class, but unfortunately can't post them, as this is a premium feature i.e. you have to pay for it! Most pleasing for me was the enjoyment of the interactive activities like the movie making and the montserrat exercise. I was also interested that some seemed to enjoy the peer teaching activity (and I personally was pleased with the way you fed back to each other today and took into account the nerves/awkwardness that some people feel when presenting to a group).
I was a bit worried about the lesson with s3 today prior to the period starting. It was on Population Pyramids and my feeling was that first period back after the break, this would be heavy going and quite dry. Thanks for your contributions to the lesson today, as it actually became quite an involved lesson, and I felt that by the end of the period you were exhibiting a good understanding of what we had spoken about.
Tomorrow, I am unashamedly teaching for the exam only with Higher for Industry. We are basing our lesson round about a past paper where you will be using a case study to look at reasons for the initial location of industries in an area. I want to use a very old video (almost as old as the industries it speaks of) looking at the Sambre-Meuse area of Belgium, simply because it ties in with the textbook work in the Core book. One of my aims for next year is really to update some of the case study and video available for the Higher, as it can be personally quite embarrassing using outdated resources. Geography, I think, should be topical and help lead you to an understanding of things which affect you-It can be hard trying to justify this when using videos that I probably got at school! Rant over... Remember that your next prelim supported study will be on Monday next week for the Wednesday exam.It was unfairly suggested that I scheduled this on the Monday so that my Tuesday evening would be free to watch the football! I know I am going to struggle to justify this, but one of the reasons I have proposed Monday is that it is near enough to the exam to stay fresh in your mind, but also gives you a day between for me to look at past papers that you want a mark for. Will try to start posting links/resources etc from next week again, sorry if I've missed anything out from the past week, just request it if you feel it would be useful...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Checking in, checking out...

Categories: Industry, Geography General
Haven't blogged the last couple of days, I am feeling the pace of this term myself, and looking forward to the couple of days extra after the weekend (bit of snow would be nice). s4 have the prelim tomorrow, and hopefully the good past papers handed in over the past couple of days have helped calm some of the nerves. Higher have the prelim the Wednesday we come back. Supported study was strangely unsatisfying tonight, I had planned to have it as an open session for past paper revision with my role as guide if you should encounter any problems. We ended up doing half of the session as a rural land resources tutorial, which I felt was a little repetitious, but hopefully it has helped some of you.
It was good to get Higher back to a little independent work today. We started off with a look at some top 150 companies, and I then got you to sort these into groups. Most of you correctly identified the four types of Industry, but it was good to see some discussion about some more ambiguous examples-e.g is Glaxo Smithkline secondary (manufacturing) or Quaternary (research and development)? We then spent the remainder of the double period with a map of Glasgow and six potential industrial developments, ranging from a McDonalds franchise to a Vauxhall car plant. I asked you to think of the locational requirements for each and then identify an area of the map which would meet these. We then put the results on to the Wiki. Some excellent work, but some of you will need to redirect your pages. If you log on and look at your pair number you might think your work has been lost. Click on Show All Pages and you'll see your work, simply link it back to your pair area.
Tomorrow, I will be trying to finalise s2's project work, showing the impacts of an ageing population to s3, and spending some time in the rainforest with s1.Have a nice mid term.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Warming, cooling or dimming?

Categories: Atmosphere, Geography General
The image on the left, from Geography Pages, was used to give a high impact vision of the effects of climate change, something I'll be covering with Higher tomorrow. I'm interested to know the class views on this topic. Some people think climate change is just part of a cycle, and that we are coming out of the last ice age-compare this map with the one in the picture. On the other hand, others argue passionately that humans are accelerating climate change in a manner never before seen. When you see melting glaciers like these, or temperature changes like the ones shown on the globes, its hard to argue. However, I wonder what students thoughts are on the dip in temps from the 50s to 70s. And where's the origin of the snowy christmas card street scene from the 1800s? Why might we actually end up entering a mini ice age, and what is global dimming?
Other themes for tomorrow-Population Change, video with s3, s2 assessment return (excellent results) and some work on the peer teaching task, s4 rural revision for the prelim, and Sipsons with my other s1 class-Episode can be found here, thanks to Helen on sln. Finally, if Val manages to find this post, thanks very much for the info you forwarded for my student re: his architecture interview at Dundee. I have tried mailing you several times, but my yahoo mail account is being very stubborn....