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A weblog designed to share Geography resources with students and colleagues

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Nurturing your competitive spirit..

Categories: Games and Quizzes, Coasts
I'm just testing this to see if it works. Maybe a nice way to see what you remember from last year. Don't look at the answers, just click 'play' and choose the game you want. I ran it through the wordshoot and its hard to do to time, so take a couple of goes if you need to. Some of the answers are limited by space, hopefully you get the gist. Thanks again to Russel Tarr at classtools.

click here for full screen version

I also liked the link on the bbc website to a new film about a flooded London. I'm generally not a big fan of disaster movies, but would be nice to play the trailer in conjunction with the floods site mentioned last post. Thanks to the sln forum. Anyway, I'd better go, don't want another night of junk sleep, although being a little older than the sample group, maybe I'll get away with it....

Monday, August 27, 2007

Popcorn Double Feature...

Categories: Advanced Higher, s1 and s2, Coasts

Occassionally, as a teacher, you are really thankful for some of the resources that other people collate or share, and one of these is Geography at the Movies, a site which my colleagues and I have found very useful for lesson introductions. Tomorrow, I'll be using a couple of the videos with classes. The first one is with my s1, who are doing symbols-so after Miss Green's reccomendation, I'm using the 'Map Disco' video found here. Higher are starting coasts. Coasts and the Sea are something which frighten and fascinate me in equal measure. Ironically, it's the power of the waves which do both, and this seems a reasonable starting point for any discussion about Coasts. However, just want to start the period with some coastal facts, and have a playaround with this site- A nice little shock factor, especially with the hybrid option on. I may then show my second movie clip from GATM from this set, although if I can remember how to do it, I'll probably take some clips from Clickview and insert them into powerpoint through the options on the application.

I finally found the link which, for me, sanitises stats a little for Advanced Higher. The Seashore, although featuring some geographical topics, is more biology-focused, but has some really useful ways of approaching statistical analysis ('Stats for Twits' as it's labelled).

Vowels and accents...

Categories: Limestone, Rural

...is all that my computer would allow me to type last night. I don't know if this has ever happened to anyone else? I also had a really bizarre internet explorer window, where the top half of the page was out of the margins. I have ran my full scan etc, but nothing showing up...anyway, here's what I would have posted on for today's lessons:-

s4 had a chat at the start of the period about the Green Revolution and other Rural Change in India. I was well pleased with some of the answers to my questioning, but it's clear that some of you could benefit from having a read over your work again. I also told you a little bit about subsistence farming, another one of those words which can quickly become something else if not careful, as well as talking about co-operatives. We then watched a little of this short video with a well observed singalong soundtrack-I split it so that you could list the main features of pre-1950's rural living (picnics and potato picking ;-)), before I asked you to speculate about changes since 1950, and a quick comparison/contrast with Indian changes. Tomorrow, we'll explore this more at the start of the period, before looking at a more in depth video of change in the countryside in EMDC's.

s5 took a little while to complete the mapping, but I was actually really glad to spend some time going round the class and ironing out any problems. Remember, please ask me to go over anything at all you're not sure about now, rather than waiting till assessments and homework. If you are a little embarassed to ask, you could always post on the students Q & A section of the Higher wiki page. I am going to spend just a little time doing a transect of the Ingleborough map tomorrow, before moving on to coasts (more later).

I also had best intentions to put some of your 'teenage years' tasks on the student blog, will hopefully get a couple done tonight and some more throughout the week.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Statistical terror!

Categories: Advanced Higher, Limestone, s1 and s2
I have always been a little cowed by numbers, formulae and statistics, so imagine my delight when I was finally handed the responsibility for Advanced Higher this year, and saw a jumble of words referring to nominal, ordinal and interval data, spearman's rank tests, degrees of freedom etc :-s I think, however, that it's easy to panic when confronted by such terms, and I'm happy to say that, having done a little refresher reading, this suddenly seems a good deal simpler. Tomorrow, we'll start on descriptive statistics, and we'll look at different ways of finding a 'middle' value for sets of data. I'm also really fortunate that plenty of resources have already been shared online, some here and here, which will come in extremely handy now and later.

I'll be interested to see numbers in s5 period 1 tomorrow, as it seems half the upper school will be at a certain concert at Hampden tonight.....Limestone mapping to wake you from your slumber :-0 Had internet failure with s1 today, I'll have the game back on the board, and will send some more groups out on the direction task-11 minutes to beat. I want to look at symbols tomorrow, before a game of bingo on Tuesday...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

...some other bits

Categories: Geography General

I have been slow to respond to quite a lot of things I've been reading lately. One of the things which I enjoyed doing myself was from a suggestion by Tony Cassidy relating to Cultural Geography, something I did a little of way back in my university days. The basic idea was to collate a series of things which you associated with your teenage years from music, tv, food and drink etc. It was suggested that you could compare the cultural influences from different eras-Is there for instance, a British influence throughout your choices? I was interested to see how students choices compared to my choices (couldn't think of one defining book), and if the cultural influence had shifted. I trialled this in the middle of the double period with Higher as a cushion between what were two relatively note heavy sessions.

My first observation was how difficult the students found it to articulate their favourite things- I found this particularly odd since many admitted quite freely putting a host of personal likes/dislikes etc on their own myspace (or similar) pages. This reminded me of a post by Ewan McGregor, and of how much thought we put in to what we actually might publish online. The second striking thing was how little students knew about the origins of the things we consume-clothing, food etc-something that we have been trying to raise awareness of in the new s2 course. Finally, I noticed that, while most of my favourites from my teenage years had a British link, and most of Tony's had an American link, the cultural influences coming through in my students efforts were far more widepread. Is this an example of globalisation, with the world becoming a smaller place?

I really enjoyed the activity, and what was meant to be a period breaker turned out to have really nice geographical significance.. I'll try to put a sample of some of the students attempts here later, or maybe on the student blog. Many thanks to Tony for the idea.

First, the lessons....

Categories: Lithosphere, Rural, Geography General, s1 and s2, Advanced Higher

OK, haven't posted much of late- Higher have been on a slog keeping up with my limestone notes( remember the BBC site), we'll hopefully finish off tomorrow. We'll concentrate on underground features- caverns, stalactites, stalagmites etc after doing dry valleys, erratics, swallow holes/pot holes and resurgences today. I told you several named locations today, and its important you remember these for the Rural Land Resources section of the course, so here they are in case you missed them:-

Dry Valley-Watlowes

Erratics- Norber Stones

Swallow Hole-Gaping Ghyll

We also started looking at Cavern systems, and the one I showed you an image of was Battlefield Cavern, which is in the White Scar Caves. All of the images that I used were sourced from a website called flickr, and are all locations within the Yorkshire Dales, which will be our RLR case study for limestone. It's worth having a look at the images, particularly if you're crashing the Higher and want to familiarise yourself with the features. Also, remember the spelling! I don't want anyone talking about their stale tights...

I am really pretty passive just now with Advanced Higher, as you are now on to the t-task in section 1. If you are doing any of your graphs, on my del.icio.us links under graphpaper you'll find templates for triangular graphs, semi-log and polar graphs if you need these.

My s4 are finishing work on the Green Revolution-still haven't resolved the Audacity issue, which is a shame, we will definitely come back to the vokis, even if retrospectively as I was impressed with some of the scripts (although I have to say, some of the characters were slightly less believable-pink haired bikers, anyone?). I normally do Rural Change in EMDC's first, but I just felt this tacked on nicely to the work on Mumbai. I fancy doing something on cultural Geography with you tomorrow-just as a one-off exercise, having been inspired by Tony and Alan- I let my Higher class have a wee look at this today for 15 minutes or so, and they seemed to enjoy it-more in another post. We'll then finish off the Rural India work.

I would really like to do a sort of treasure hunt activity with s1, by posting some clues around the school and getting groups using a compass-I always feel that I gloss over direction a little-but this will depend on whether I have time to walk it out myself first! I think I could send you out in small groups with Miss McGill, and we could decide on a winner by time....

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Del.iciou.us and a little walk....

Categories: Glaciation, Limestone, s1 and s2, Geography General

I've been reading quite a lot tonight about del.icio.us social bookmarking, and Ollie Bray flagged up a nice video on YouTube showing how it works. I've used it to organise my own bookmarks for a short time now, and have suggested it to other teachers, but I'm going to show it tomorrow in a little detail for Higher and Advanced Higher. I feel that we use the internet so often now in class that the number of sites recommended becomes confusing (this was one of the main reasons I started the blog). Higher could easily bookmark by topic, making revision through the tags much simpler, while Advanced Higher will hopefully build relationships with those in other schools through the field weekend and the wiki, and would really benefit from being able to share each others links.

I've also been playing about with walk score. This has been floating around on some of the web pages that I regularly visit for a few days now, and to be honest, have been too pre-occupied with other things to have a look. It's not particularly relevant for any class work that we are doing as of yet, but I suppose you could explore some urban/settlement themes through it. I got a little carried away as usual and started putting all kinds of addresses into this. My present house has a walkability score of 31 out of 100 (which means there's not too many facilities/amenities within walking distance). If you really want to, you can view the walkability score for homes of the stars....while I'm on a vaguely urban note just now, I should reference Rob Chambers Geobytes Blog for some really useful info at the moment.

I am starting Limestone tomorrow with my Higher class, and will probably use some images from Geograph and some video as a starter, while the Advanced Higher are basically working away on section one. I liked my new s1 class today, who seemed very enthusiastic and participated well in deciding their own code of conduct, as well as sharing their thoughts about Geography, what it means to them and followed this by some questions about the course...and one about a dog..... :-0

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

High up, but getting that sinking feeling...

Categories: Rural, Glaciation, Geography General
Well, that's it-holiday over, I'm afraid. I wanted to share a wee story about one of the things I did while on holiday with a couple of my classes tomorrow. My friend is a very keen hillwalker, and had invited me to try a couple of hills previously. I had other commitents, but was keen to give it a go at some point, remembering back to scaling the mighty Goat Fell in Arran with my dad when I was nine...how hard could this be? The answer was, at times, seemingly impossible. He took me to a Munroe (hill above 3000ft) called Beinn Narnainn, near Arrochar. The path had no walk in-you started at the roadside and just went straight up a vertical. the worst thing about the climb was the number of false summits. I kept seeing what I thought was the top, only to reach the ridge and see more of the mountain in front of me. Moreover, I had 'come prepared' as had been suggested. I seemed to think that jeans would be a good idea for climbing a mountain. This seemed an even worse idea when the rain started. Mick was firing on ahead, and disappearing out of sight-he's a very considerate guy-while I seemed to be walking backwards through tar. I thought about stopping and turning back about 4 times, but ploughed on. When I got to the summit, the weather became very chill and a strong wind came across us, with near vertical rain. Would I do it again? Absolutely! I have to say that I thought of myself as relatively fit until I did this, possibly the most physically demanding thing that I have ever done despite playing sports for many years, but the sense of achievement when I got to the summit was immense. So why am I rambling on about this on a teacher's blog? Well, I moblogged the episode and am using some of the photos tomorrow as a refresher through this:-

This will hopefully allow us to move on from glaciation with Higher, which I felt we trod water a little with before the break.
I will mostly be finding out where exactly my classes are and doing a little revision on June's topics-so for s4, we will do a little rural revision on the Green Revolution. I haven't forgotten about the vokis, and still intend to use these, but audacity seemed to have vanished from the machines in the base and I'll need to relocate it or get it reinstalled. I also want to emphasise how important this year will be, and really intend to step up past paper practise as homework to prepare you for the exam.
With Advanced Higher, I really want to introduce you to the flexible learning pack-you go on your field weekend in September, and need to be able to use most of the techniques in section one by then. I also have some very useful links for stats - Geography Pages as ever has a host of useful resources, and there are some resources on LTS which I'll be using-I'm going to ask a couple of you to stick these onto the wiki for your reference as your page.
Finally, I may have a first year class, and can follow up some of the work we did during the two day visit in June. I am losing my s2 and s3 classes this year. I can't emaphasise enough how much I enjoyed teaching these classes- I am sure you'll have a great time with Miss McGill, and hope to see some of you again further up the school. If you keep up the levels of work and attitude that you have shown so far, I am certain that your time in Geography will be a great success. Good luck.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

....and relax....

Categories: Geography General
My blog, like myself, has been pretty much redundant during the holiday months, but as usual, in the run up to the exam results, I start fretting a little. I know some of you may find it hard to believe, but for the last three or four years, I've had to pop in to the school on results day to put my own mind at rest re: your results. So I did the usual today, and have to say overall that I'm absolutely delighted with the outcome. I was really pleased with the Higher results in particular, and especially for the fifth and six year leavers who needed certain grades-I don't think there was anyone in this group who didn't get rewarded for the work you put in. I'm hoping that you are reading this soon, as I won't see many of you again. I just wanted to say well done to all of you, and I sincerely wish you all the best in the future , whatever you do.
The Advanced Higher results, while I had limited involvement, were refreshing too, and the Intermediate results were pretty much as forecast, which I'm very pleased about after what I thought was a relatively tricky paper at Int 2. I am glad that many of the people who have left Geography this year to complete other Highers now have a good grade on their certificate first and foremost, but also the option to come back in s6 knowing you can excel in the subject. Well done to everyone on your achievements.
There are maybe a couple of people who are reading this who perhaps didn't get what they wanted from the exams. All I would say to that is that you're all young enough to make amends on that, whether it be repeating a subject, choosing new ones or going into further education, if you feel that is important for your future plans-It's certainly not the end of the world, so keep the chin up!
I hope this post finds you all well and rested after your break-see plenty of you all too soon next Thursday (It's Tuesday for me:-( ).
Mr O'D