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Odblog

A weblog designed to share Geography resources with students and colleagues

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Evaluation, evaporation, preparation..that's about it!


Categories: Population, Rural Land Resources, Hydrosphere, Advanced Higher
I was really quite apprehensive about a whole double period of critical essay writing with Advanced Higher on Friday, but in hindsight, I am really glad we never took the option to split the period. I felt that towards the end of the period, most of you were appreciating how to evaluate a source, and we had some real breakthroughs in terms of the thinking behind your writing. I am hoping to finish this tomorrow, before setting some more as homework.
Last day with Higher, we used Google Earth to draw some watersheds and identify some drainage basins. I thought this was quite successful, but I'm happy to put the images up with a little explanation should anyone require it-Please comment here if you do. There is some work to finish, and then I'm going to go back to look at the water balance. We'll watch some video here to give an illustration, as I have found people struggle with this sometimes.
S4 started a Population mindmap on Thursday. I am hoping to use freemind to let class members contribute to a class mindmap for consolidation of the work you're doing in groups. I am looking at ways to attach weblinks to this. In the meantime, you could look at my Population links, revisit this recent post and activity or search 'Population' in the sidebar. Hope this suffices for now. Thanks to Flickr user arenamontanus for the Population image above, and sln member hre99 for the link.
Lastly, a link for Rural Land Resources from Val Vannet's Higher Blog . This could be really useful for you in supplementing your reading, a key development need in most of the target setting exercises.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sing along...



Categories: Hydrosphere, Industry, Population, s1 and s2

I was looking for some links for the water cycle for Higher. There are a lot of good links, such as the one here and further back in the blog, but I also came across a rather bizarre song , which I'll play to Higher tomorrow. I am going to start the period using the whiteboard to reorganise a few heads and tails for water cycle terms. I'm going to add a couple of extra terms and maybe a couple of deliberate wrong answers too. I'm then planning on giving out a template diagram and asking the class to fill it in from yesterdays activity, before using this question on the wiki with the class-if you like, an extension of what we did at supported study; What's good about the answer, where could we improve it, and how would we do that? If we get time, I'll move onto drainage basins. I always try to use google earth here, find a good mountainous area, tilt the view and get pupils out to draw where they think the watershed should be. I'll try to overlay this with an O.S. map, if not tomorrow, then for Friday.

I'll start s4 with a little revision Q&A from the industry work that we tidied up using some images on the whiteboard, before splitting into groups to mind map the population topic. I think there may be some scope for use of the wiki here too, which lies fairly undeveloped for s4. I'll also be dropping the bombshell that you have a NAB next week!

S1 will see the Rainforest video, before going on to look at whether Brazil is a rich or poor country. The last couple of times I've taught this, I've used the excellent Gus Rubens photo, stuck it into paint, and split it, to ask what links the two images. I then normally do a little class development indicators exercise, where I use a variety of economic and social indicators on students-This always throws up a few good anomalies where we can challenge the idea of what defines a rich person, and from that, a country. I might even use the richometer on the global rich list.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Dustbins for Dorset

Categories: Rural Land Resources, Industry, s1 and s2, Advanced Higher

Today was a bit of a mixed bag. With Higher, we were trying to push on through the Coastal case study in Rural Land Resources. I felt this meant I hogged the floor a little, and although I asked plenty of questions, there was probably too much teacher talk. Tomorrow, I'll start the double period with a little game based on yesterday's work:-


Click here for full screen version


I have created a little drag and drop quiz around the social and economic opportunities you should have learned about in class today, and have added a bit about hard and soft coastal defences. I'll let people have a go at this while we finish some of the work, this game normally gets competitive so be gentle with my board...I'm going to spend only the first part of the double on Dorset, and I'll be moving swiftly on to the Hydrosphere, where we will do a little mapping from memory to start us off on the Water Cycle. I'm then going to ask you to work on defining some of the terms that will be placed in the diagram, but not explained. For supported study, I'm aiming to use some of the SQA exemplar answers, and some that I have from previous years groups to do a little marking of Rural Land Resources questions. I'm really keen for you to see that although I've probably nagged you senseless about it, good answers have to be full of named examples.

I felt that with s4 today, I really needed to recover work that I thought would have been completed when I was off. I'm glad I did-the mapping exercise that we completed at the start of the period also showed me that some of you had very sketchy knowledge of new industrial landscapes. If you want the powerpoint I used, I can make this available, but hopefully this has filled in some of the blanks.

S1 were a little hyper today. The period started well enough, as we spent a lot of time discussing knowledge of the rainforest. Several of the class brought up 'Tribe', and it seemed to really spark the interest. I was a little disappointed that we had to leave the video out at the end of the period and concentrate on some written work, but we can perhaps revisit this on Thursday.

Finally, Advanced Higher are working on some critical evaluation practice exercises. Students seem to be finding this quite difficult. I shared the marking information with you today, and will try to give you some guidance as you go tomorrow- I think it might be a good idea for me to have a look at your work after you think you have satisfied each competence. The way you will be structuring your essays should allow you to do this, as I'll be able to check your summary of sources, then your geographical evaluation, evaluation of exaggeration/bias and so on.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Coasts to Coasts

Categories: Lithosphere, Rural Land Resources, Advanced Higher

Tomorrow, I'm going to give back a couple of homework tasks submitted a while ago. I have tried to give some common feedback on this short screen recording of the slides you were using. Apologies about the stutters, I have posted about this on the student blog where the original homework was located.











I think we'll spend just a little time reviewing what we know about the Dales - Opportunities, Limitations, named Conflicts, conflict management, before introducing the Coastal RLR case study. After reviewing the Coasts homework, I'll probably do this by giving you the first part of the 2007 RLR paper and asking for your thoughts on how you would answer this and how you would structure the answer.


I'll be interested to hear what the Advanced Higher thought of Dr Gordon Dickinson's talk regarding your Issues and Study. I personally found it useful, and it clarified a few matters for me regarding where I should be crediting your work. All in all, I felt afterwards that a lot of what we have discussed in class had been vindicated. I'll be asking tomorrow if there are any points which need clarification, and then, using the guidelines I gave you from English, I'm going to ask you to peer mark your first attempts at critical evaluation. We have a few more of these to do, including a NAB soon. I was also informed about a good Reuters link through a colleague, which might be useful for some in their Issues essays for locating news stories.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A reflection at mid-term

Categories: Geography General, Urban, Lithosphere

Hope you all had a nice break. I just thought I'd post on a few links and also a few thoughts about the last couple of days of term. The first piece of news was something that I spotted on Ogle Earth regarding a new YouTube videos layer. In the future, if the school server were to lift the block on YouTube, this would be a fantastic tool-I have been using the Panoramio layer quite a bit in class of late, and this would add another dimension, but I also think it would be great for geo-tagging fieldwork outings. Secondly, I have been reading on a couple of blogs tonight about a new Sim City game. I remember we tried to play the original last year with s2, but couldn't get it to download, so I went back and tried this tonight and had success. I think I'll try this in school-may be blocked as its a games site, but this would be really useful for Urban Geography, as advocated by Ollie. I am also playing around with the Quizmaker option on TeachICT at the moment, really useful as your quizzes are instantly available online. Lastly, a link which has some relevance to climate change/sea level rise looks at how sea level rise will threaten 21 megacities near the coast.

This part of the post is just a personal reflection on some things I found out about my classes last week, which were quite illuminating. I am always a little concerned that, as Higher and Intermediate are similar in content, it will be difficult to sustain interest in some units. It was therefore quite surprising, but pleasing, that many of my Higher pupils identified this as a positive when we were doing our target setting. The general feeling was that, in comparison to other Highers, students felt the transition in Geography was easier, as they felt confident of their basic geographical knowledge in areas such as the lithosphere and RLR.

I was also interested in the feedback that some pupils provided regarding their experiences in class in relation to other subjects. I am pleased that you see the value in some of the group/interactive work we do. One of the pieces of feedback from our pupil surveys last year was that students would have liked more comprehensive notes. I have always been a bit cynical about notes for the sake of it, as I feel it takes away the actual learning process, but I also accepted that some things could have been clarified more in class. I have tried to give more support in this, but don't want to make your time in class passive, and it was heartening to hear pupils talk about the impact of some of the activities we've tried to include . I should probably counter this by saying that an s4 pupil did tell me she doesn't understand a thing I talk about!!!!!!

The main thing that came out of the target setting (s4/5/6) for me was how awful we are at recognising when we are doing well. I am involved in classes where there are extremely capable pupils who only recognise their shortcomings. Once we started discussing attitude to work, test marks, homework and so on, many pupils accepted that they were already working at high levels, and we could then decide one or two small targets to help maintain this, usually centred around study skills. I think it's important to remember what you are good at, there is nothing wrong with having high expectations of yourself-it should help you strive for the mark you want. Hopefully, the target setting exercise has given you a little confidence in how you are coping with the demands of the courses.

Human Environments-loadsa links

Categories: Population, Rural, Industry, Urban
I'm quickly doing this post from the school in respect of s4 coming to me period 2. We will be looking at some revision materials while I do a little target setting. Even if you don't manage to use them all (which you won't ), this will provide a good list of sites for your NAB preapration.
I'll start with BBC Podcasts, which are based on the English curriculum, but are useful for a lot of our topics. you van play these in the school if you click 'real audio'. The English bitesize site has some useful material too:- Some useful urban and rural test materials, and some population tests too. The Scottish site has some good standard grade and Higher links which might be of some use too. The Higher site has good urban, rural and industry activities. The standard grade is organised under different topic headings, but may be of some use. Some urban revision under settlement, rural under farming (be picky here), and some population. Finally, there is some really good population revision on the Scottish Intermediate page. Good luck!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Teamwork without the technology



Categories: Writing and Assessment, Rural Land Resources

I have been reading a lot lately about Google Apps for Educators, and it looks a really good way of allowing you to assess each other's work. There are several things which I'd need to run by the appropriate people in the school and the authority, but the basic idea behind it reminded me of something significantly lo-tech that I haven't done for a while in class. I used to quite often create small groups for revision through past papers where pupils would mark each others work before I then returned my mark. I think I'll do this tomorrow with s4 as we begin the run in to the human NAB. I think four in a group would be ideal, as this means I will be able to cover all four topics (Urban, Rural, Industry and Population), with each of you doing a question on a different one. There are some important things to remember when you are working on this:-

1) You are being assessed and assessing- Even when you mark each others work, I will then be checking your understanding of the topic through the marks you have given

2) Be constructive-don't just mark the question, give advice on how the response could be improved.

3)Use the exercise as a building block- This should help you and your group recognise your own revision needs for the NAB.

I intend to give the groups feedback time during a forthcoming lesson, where we can use the whiteboard to highlight strengths and development needs, and would love to see this exercise leading to a little more collaboration in your study. Think about how you can help each other address your revision needs-could it be a game, a small task, some wiki work? I also think that this is something that I could use with Higher soon in preparation for your first RLR past paper, something which requires an extended response unlike any of the exam style questions that you have been used to. We'll look at this at some point this week.

If Advanced Higher happen to be up late reading this post, I'll remind you that Ardentinny fieldwork, including stats testing must be handed in tomorrow. Mail it to my school account if you wish.

This post has taken forever to write- 'g' and 'm' are a bit hit and miss on my keyboard, so apologies if there are some strange looking words-I think I've checked and changed them all.

Earthmine

Categories: Geography General, Writing and Assessment



I will be watching the development of this with interest, after reading about it on Techcrunch today. I'm sure there will be a cost to this, but I really like the idea that you could tag panoramas using your mobile when out and about-good implications for fieldwork.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Walkabout, Talkabout


I spent some time today with two classes doing ' walkabout talkabout'. I have had a growing feeling that I have kind of skimmed over industry with s4, and wanted to test my fears, I suppose. With Higher, I always feel that Rural Land Resources is such a big topic that it can be overwhelming, and I like to stop in the middle of the topic and take stock of where we are at. I put out some flipchart sheets with appropriate headings. The groups would collaborate for about 5 minutes or so on one topic, write on the flipchart sheet what they had agreed was relevant, and then move on to the next table. At this point, groups would then look at the list the previous group had written, tick or cross whether they agreed with the statement and then add their own extensions to the list.

I was really pleased with the results from both classes. I combined the exercise by leaving a traffic lighting sheet at each desk for completion before groups had moved. First up, industry doesn't really seem to be as lacking as I thought, maybe just a little bit of mapwork and some revision of reasons for decline in old industries. You seem to have a good understanding of most topics, and we will have a look at how you would apply that knowledge in a tets paper scenario by looking at a past paper. Secondly, the Higher are actually fairly comfortable with most of what they have done so far. This is really pleasing, because I always feel that it is sometimes late in the year when RLR really 'clicks' for some students. There are again, a few minor areas to address, which I'll try to do tomorrow as we review the exercise. This does not mean, sadly, that I can postpone more of the core work. I'll think of a way to soften the blow a bit :-( . On that note, there are some good links on this site for National Parks, which we'll hopefully finish tomorrow.

S1 are doing a little bit about people in Brazil. We spent today looking at Brazilian culture, having a little fun around some Portuguese language, odd Brazilian sayings and riddles. We then used google Earth to explore some places around the Globe. I asked the class to think about what linked the places. After some good discussion, we arrived at the answer that people have moved to Brazil from these places, places as diverse as Italy and Angola, and the movement was not always one of choice in the past. This sets us up for some of the written activities we have to complete, but only after our map skills assessment....Look on the bright side, it's almost the weekend!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

National Parks, Audacity updates

Categories: Rural Land Resources, Geography General, Writing and Assessment
I am finally getting the hang of Audacity, including exporting files as mp3's, which I want to do to submit them as podcasts on Switchpod. I spent a while messing around with voice and music tracks tonight, adding effects and so on, and by the end of it had made a voice recording which sounded like a passable trance tune, but stripped down, there is excellent potential for uses of this software in a number of scenarios, and a number of subjects. I will get you to mail me your audacity files tomorrow, and I'll put them through the conversion to mp3, stick them onto the student blog and get you to do some kind of peer assessment exercise. Meanwhile, as we do National Parks tomorrow, I might have a look at this powerpoint.

Creating and subscribing to your own BBC feeds

Categories: Advanced Higher

Some of the Advanced Higher have been struggling to find relevant feeds that could be used from the BBC site. I have put a little video here to show you how to create your own news feeds. It's very simple. Just go to the BBC homepage and type in your subject. In the example, I've imagined that you are following stories related to Malaria. Once the search results are returned, click on 'BBC News and Sport', and then on the orange feed button. The URL can then be pasted into your bloglines feedreader, and voila, that's you done.