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A weblog designed to share Geography resources with students and colleagues

Friday, November 28, 2008

s2 in Top Gear

Categories: s1 and s2, Development and Health, Population
I had planned to use cueprompter to podcast this post, a great little presentation tool (thanks to Joe Dale), but as you can perhaps see from the time (4.49am while I'm writing), I fell asleep telling bedtime stories to the kids! Now, I can't sleep while everyone else in the house is sound, so this is just a quick summary post of yesterday and a rough guide to today while my mind is alert.
With s2, as already posted, I wanted to do an animation. I started the lesson with an episode of 'Top Gear', where Jeremy Clarkson was racing the bullet train. While this was showing, students were taking note of the changing landscapes. This varied from mountains to rice fields to suspension bridges to huge Ferris wheels and so on. After the clip had finished, we discussed some other iconic images of Japan, such as the bullet train below Mount Fuji. From this, I gave out four blank animation frames for students to work in pairs, with the proviso that there had to be a link to previous slides in the animation. This is going to require a bit of improvisation, but that's fine. On Monday, we'll be doing a bit of research for an exercise on Tokyo, so I'm giving each pair a time limit at the whiteboard to complete their animated frames.
Higher are doing Rwanda as a forced migration just now. Might be time to bring in the results of my poll as a comparison soon. We'll be looking at more clips from Hotel Rwanda, and this reminds me about a powerpoint I did as summary of this migration:


My s4 will maybe try the Trade Game, as we're doing human factors influencing development, and s1 will be doing grid references followed by a game of battleships. Should really try to get some sleep now...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Shinkansen into Tokyo

Categories: s1 and s2, Games and Quizzes
Promised myself a night off and failed miserably, primarily because of this:

I quite liked the idea of doing this on the whiteboard with a class input. I'll have a go if a) the flash is up to date in RE, b) I get time to start some frames before s2 come in. If not now, then I'd certainly like to have some students try this out before Christmas break. We could maybe combine some of the manga drawings that a couple have been practising with animation? p.s. Won't be showing this during the period as I want the class to have their own ideas. Also hope they don't have 50+ blank slides tacked onto the end. Not quite sure how that happened...I'm also sure that it should be a lot quicker using the IWB pen than the tortuous process of trying to draw using a mouse pad and the cursor!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Class of Wiltshires

Categories: s1 and s2
I blogged yesterday about how I was going to give s2 the opportunity to do a monster field sketch in the style of Stephen Wiltshire who drew Tokyo from memory, among other places. Today, we started the class with a question about events that students remembered in great detail. Once we had explored these, I introduced Stephen's work through a short video. Students seemed impressed by the achievement, which was followed up quickly by this image (I tried to blog this directly from flickr, but needed to include links in my post, so I've put the hyperlink on the photo):
I liked this image because there are one or two famous landmarks, such as Fuji and the Tokyo Tower, as well as some distinctive architecture which people could focus on. We then covered the image up and revealed it periodically in a 'mapping from memory' style activity in groups of 4. There were some excellent efforts, three on display below. I had to mess around with the contrast, so hopefully the outlines are visible:
This was a nice period in a positive days work. Higher responded well to the migration work, while s1 made progress too, both in their class work and the vocaroo tour which, for me, is really bringing home the wealth of international experiences that students have, from Pakistan to Australia to Orange County to Aviemore!

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's in the detail (or in the archive...)

Categories: Population, s1 and s2
In the fortunate situation tonight of not having to reinvent the wheel, as I'm just looking back at last year and thinking there's most of Highers' lesson tomorrow. I'm also remoulding for our purposes a 'Knock Knock' activity on migration that Alan Parkinson suggested, which should make a nice starter. Looking back on ageing/ youthful populations, it might be worth browsing Tony Cassidy's video on ageing populations just as a light hearted reminder of some of what you need to know. Also mining old seams for s2 tomorrow, a wee break with a look at the work of Steven Wiltshire. Finally, s1 will be doing a bit of symbols, might use wheresthepath, cover the map side, and get students to try their own.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

If you walked in a straight line around the world, where would you pass?

Categories: Population, s1 and s2, Advanced Higher

In the past couple of days, there have been items posted on sites I visit which do a far better job than I of providing pros of the One Child Policy. If we were to compare China with India, an interesting exercise would be to outline some of the ways in which India has tried to control a burgeoning population - public education campaigns, contraception, sterilisations and voting rights in states being tied to population growth. Which is more likely to be successful? Which more humane? A little debate about this in class, starting with comparing growth and structure. I'd then like to use parts of two articles. The first is about India, brought to my attention by Ian Murray on sln and a harrowing read. The second is about China, found through Osocio, and in it's own visual way, as powerful as the last article. I'd like to give the class some time to digest both of these before asking students to formulate their own responses about the success or otherwise of China's population policy.

On less serious matters, I was looking at a resource which I will probably use as a period starter with s1 tomorrow. If you travelled in a straight line from the school, depending on the direction we went, where would you pass through? This map helps and can be opened in Google Earth too. I've also started collecting vocaroos in our world tour, some of the results here. If you are listening back, I'd advise that the volume is low. My fault, I forgot to suggest that students kept back from the mic a bit :-( This is really just some personal reflections on places that students have visited or would like to visit, and is a means of a) me trialling this and more importantly b) creating maps which show personal geographies and have some meaning for the class. I am pleased with the exercise so far and will continue to add more.
I'm in the middle of Tony Cassidy's Lost in Translation exercise with s2. It reminded me that the last time I taught this, I used a Tokyo webcam early in the morning as it'll be 6 at night in Tokyo. Providing it's not filtered, I'll try to do the same again tomorrow morning. Got some maga drawings from one pupil and looking for more tomorrow from another. If we have time, more Unzen stories will be recorded too.
Finally, Advanced Higher. I haven't quite decided how I'll use it yet, but I'm sure I could get some kind of mapping/ GMT exercise out of the London profiler and the data it holds. This and the direction link are all courtesy of googlemapsmania.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A long one, just like the walk...

Categories: Population, s1 and s2, Advanced Higher
It was nice to read one of Mr Alexander's many blogs tonight, adding to the growing list of teachers such as Mr McNeillie and Mr Kerr who are using these in the school. I hear that s1 are now doing a blogging unit too, so hopefully, students will be more confident in the use of blog comments in the future and really help us improve your experience. Speaking of experience, I could really have used some today when myself and my Advanced Higher went a walk to try out a Garmin sat nav. I'm thinking of buying a couple of these for the department, but I guess I'll need a few more goes before I get the hang of it. Think I forgot to reset it, as apparently in 10 minutes,we'd walked 121 km. These would be great for Advanced Higher fieldwork.
I'm back to recycling old work with Higher. I'd like to do a bit of a recap on Population Pyramids with some drag and drop on the whiteboard. I'll use Malawi in comparison with Japan (pyramids below). I'll run both through classtools first for description, a take on the work some got on to on Wednesday.

This drag and drop will be primarily about the consequences of certain population structures and this will lead on to how governments respond to these challenges. We've already raised the one child policy in class, and as with last year, I'll try to bring this article into the discussion, maybe playing devils advocate. I think it's important that we recognise that, yes, there are human rights conflicts with the policy, but not without appreciating the reasons behind its introduction. I'll then use some video for you to develop your case study- Why was the policy introduced? What were the key elements of the policy? How has it changed? How succesful has it been?

s1 are doing a bit of direction work. We tried the google map exercise and today's class best distance was 12.59 miles for the route ( which I've wiped from the map, as well as readjusting a couple of placemarks :-0 ). I'll probably have to use one PC tomorrow, as we won't get the library, but I'll show you how to do this exercise in Google Earth, and we'll see how many pairs we can fit in to the period. I also thought that this might be quite a nice homework exercise.

My weekly s4 period is tomorrow, and I know you have been working on development indicators. I'll probably start off by using happy cards, which were a product of Tony Cassidy quite some time ago now. Development might mean differences in quality of life, but it's still incredibly hard to measure this against how people feel about their own situations. I'll then release a bit more about each country to see if we can account for differences in development before completing some questions. I might give out a homework as well asking you to compare countries' development. While looking at some of this work tonight, I was reminded about the Happy Planet Index. You can do a personal Happy index. Mine's wasn't too good, think I'll have to be kind to myself at the weekend... :-)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Paris Match - a new look at map skills

Categories: s1 and s2
Thinking about how to teach direction a little bit differently, so have created a 'Paris Match' competitive exercise for s1. This depends on computer access and the filter for students letting you access google maps:

It's basically an exercise combining direction and scale. The object is to travel from the Eiffel Tower to the Bastille, passing through some of Paris' major attractions in the shortest possible distance. Students as collaborators would be able to draw a line of their route, which would let them calculate their distances. Will be interesting to see how pupils take to this.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Does Running Daily Leave Ropey Fitness Behind?

Categories: Population, s1 and s2

It's November and I find myself chasing time with Higher yet again. Tomorrow, I hope to get a computer room booked for this to build on the demographic transition. Having looked at population change over time, we want to combine that with population structure. We need to understand this before we look at population policy. I will also try to collate some of the homework through woices as blogged about before while you are working away. If I can't get the room, I'll be using some bits e.g. the 'lights out' and suggesting the rest as a homework. This is also very useful, along with other parts of the site about the census and a later topic, migration.

In my s2 class today, we had something of a nightmare regarding missing resources (we're out of department) and the worst was averted by a very enterprising Disaster Drama by 4 of the girls- a fictionalised eruption of Mount Unzen with pyroclastics, petrified forests, helicopter rescues, nuclear power stations and dead (yet strangely laughing) bodies on my classroom floor. A pair of boys were also recording an eye witness account on vocaroo which sounded good on a listen. By the end of the drama, I still didn't have the neccessary resources, but we'll return to this next day.

Finally, I am sure Higher will concur in that today wasn't particularly enjoyable going over the NAB. Vast majority passed, but we spent most of the period on a post NAB inquest. One of the themes that I addressed with the class was hydrographs. I spent quite a bit of time talking about explaining the graph, but for description, if you are struggling to recall which parts of the graph you should be citing, why not try mnemonics? Through twitter and Mary Cooch, I found out about a site called joglab. The title of this post is actually a mnemonic which I created for this purpose. Click here to see what it's about...As for the running, along with beer and cigarettes, it worked for 101 year old Buster in the photo (click on it to read his story)!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Population, doubled

Categories: Population, s1 and s2

Pop Growth

Get your own at Scribd or explore others:

This is just an idea I've been toying with for Higher as a starter tomorrow, really just to trigger some thinking about population growth and where countries fit in the spectrum of the Demographic Transition. I never really got using this site last time, so it will be a nice way to introduce the topic before starting on the theory. I'll also be using scribd for my s1 starter for the new rotation of first year, while s2 are working on a group writing 6x6 activity based around an eruption of Mount Unzen. We might get finished this, and will be looking at population (snap!) in Japan next. Using an idea from Ollie Bray, while introducing this topic, a running flickr slideshow would be a very visual way of forming your opinions on this. I had a look at this tonight as preview, and the images are mostly very relevant to what we'll explore in this section. I should be marking NABs just now, which I thought I'd lifted and haven't, so it looks like an early trip to work tomorrow...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Other People's Voices

Categories: Population, Geography General
I was browsing through some of my del.icio.us links tonight for Higher Population. This led me to the BBC leaning zone clips, such as the one below:

Nice starter for population growth. What makes a population grow rapidly? Why have experts had to revise their forecasts? Indeed, there are a few relevant clips for later on ageing populations, so might be worth a browse for students too. I will probably do a quick terminology exercise too, a population mythbuster, followed by use of these Welsh NGFL resources, which all worked quite well last year.
I have been really benefitting from Twitter lately, and tonight was pointed towards a truly brilliant tool for use in the class by Noel Jenkins, Vocaroo. This is just so easy to use and can be brought into so many lesson situations. Also gives me an option for the Woices task on Monday should recording through Audacity take too long (only have it on one machine)-could switch to tour in GE (although first option preferable for those without this at home). Now just need to check it's not filtered :-(
I also found a really easy way to switch seamlessly between any slide in a powerpoint, swap between annotating and an ordinary cursor and turn my screen black or white without needing an interactive board thanks to the twittering of Joe Dale. Guess what I'll be trying tomorrow? :-)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bit of a lucky bag

Categories: Games and Quizzes, s1 and s2
Right, a while ago I managed to use this in class with s4 as a prelude to the NAB. I don't know if this will download (I already have this on my laptop), and as archive is blocked at school, could someone let me know if this works? Apologies about spelling if I've mixed up my s's and z's. I also have a match up game, which I'll put here if the download works.
My Advanced Higher were a great help to me today when we split s1 into groups of 5 and interviewed them about climate change and how they see it affecting them. Our link school is taking part in Children in a Changing Climate, and I wanted to send them some of our responses as a comaprison to their own. Groups all participated really well, and I have to say I'll be sorry to see both s1 rotaton classes move on. Between tomorrow and Friday, I'll try to involve classes in displays of your work, but will also get a bit of feedback about your time in Geography.
Noel Jenkins blogged tonight about Microsoft Live Search maps, and I downloaded this to have a look at it. I used this ages ago through the browser, but the 3D imagery now is outstanding. Tokyo is stunning, as the screenshot below shows.

I always have a laugh with my s1 when they explore Google Earth, as the first place they head for is their house. Well, I made the same journey myself tonight, and was surprised to find an excellent birds eye view that can't be more than a year and a half old:

It also looks as though my car is about to get flattened by the bus in the picture, but fortunately it's just about in one piece still. Have also been navigating the stars tonight thanks to Keir Clarke, not subject related, but definitely worth a peek.

One of my s2 girls has mentioned a couple of anime films that she has seen, and raves about. One, Spirited Away, seems to have been big news in the aniamtion world. I have a book in class about anime art. I think I'll show the clip below of the film (in Japanese) and see if anyone is willing to have a go at some artwork at home for our soon to be burgeoning Japan display.

I'll probably do the Mount Unzen 6 x 6 activity tomorrow, providing I can cadge enough dice from learning support. Need to find this file as the laminated copies seem to have went walkabout :-(

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

When is teaching not teaching?

Categories: Geography General
It's been fascinating to watch people vote on my question on Ask 500 people in the last 24 hours. After a few hours, there had been very little in reply. I asked some colleagues in various parts of the British Isles for their vote to get us started, but this was rapidly overtaken by votes from the States. There have been votes from every continent bar the big cold one at the bottom, and the variation in response has been very interesting. Although I am not in the position to use the results yet, I am very pleased with the discussion and impact potential from these results to the present. Thanks to anyone who contributed to the vote through twitter or sln.
Tomorrow is a strange day as I don't really find myself teaching much despite a full timetable. I have double Higher, who have a NAB assessment, double Advanced Higher, who will be working on a nearest neighbour map exercise (looking at the enormous number of dams a few miles from us) - more here -and s1 who I hope to do a couple of periods of Malawi link work with before the change in rotation, a ready made resource for how climate change affects our lives in Scotland. Will try to finally do some marking during this precious time then :-(

Monday, November 10, 2008

Survey the world from your classroom

Categories: Geography General, Other
I've been looking at Ask 500 People over the last two nights and really like the idea of using this in a number of ways. For instance, one of my Advanced Higher students is doing an Issues essay about how the credit crunch will impact on climate change strategies in the UK. I saw this vote and its interesting to note both the result and the negative view of the Europeans who completed the survey question. I also thought that this might be an interesting starter when doing Migration with Higher. Like any site such as this, there are some silly questions (e.g How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? 203 responses!) and admittedly some funny ones too, but the serious questions seem to get a good response, and lots of discussions seem to have been triggered, for example, by the US election and the impact Obama may or may not have. Mostly, I like the thought that I could post a question here, which would later be repeated to a class and their response could be compared to a global sample. I submitted a question tonight as we are soon going to be looking at forced migration. It chills me to see the similarities between DR Congo and Rwanda, which we study. I wanted to see if these similarities were seen pretty universally, but also if people bothered. The voting patterns for most questions show a large number of votes from USA and Western Europe, and I remember a quote from the film Hotel Rwanda about people here saying how terrible the situation was and then going back to eating their dinner. I'll watch the results with interest.

More about how classes/year groups can express an opinion now... I've been looking at Power League as a class voting system. There are so many uses for this to let classes prioritise issues in a debate, but my immediate thoughts were how I could use it to involve s1 PSE classes in prioristising link themes with our Malawi school. I have Poetry of Place from English and some work from Geography to send, but I'd like more democracy in what we do with the link. Will be discussing this tomorrow with Mr Creighton.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Shake Out, Scribble and Shanty Pics

Categories: s1 and s2
Having recently finished Earth Forces, it's a shame that we wouldn't be in class to take part in a mass earthquake drill (Thanks to Bob Lang on sln), but could probably have a go at the game which goes with it (Thanks to GreatGeography and thanks also for the blog link). Screen shots, please for progress. I'm also going to show s2 the bennetton flipbook that I experimented with a couple of posts back, particularly useful for the Japan topic, a place where animation is so popular. I'd like to use this later in the topic, but just want students to have a go at this in their own time to get used to the workings as it's quite time consuming. Of course, this depends on the school filter (big problems with anything including the word 'games'). Starting Japan's physical geography tomorrow over and above that.
I'll probably be out in the afternoon tomorrow, which means that s1 will have to wait to see the favela pics unless they're reading here first. Here's some of the best ones, more later
Two levels with a terrace upstairs. What you can't see is the decor inside, which was excellent. What you can see is the irn bru bottle, full and waiting to unceremoniously soak this fine effort
Another split level, complete with car parking outside!

This one had a really nice door design to stop water getting in, with something similar to a canopy, and also had a small outhouse.

I really liked this one, but unfortunately, the bulldozers had to remove it after a gust of wind literally took the legs from it. All favela homes were made from materials scavenged froma communal dump created in the classroom. Groups were given a number and the number determined whether they got access to the good stuff or had to wait on the dregs. These groups were the last to move from the 'countryside'. Groups actively traded (self-help) and there was plenty of evidence of crime in the favelas too...

Revision is just an echo coming back to you...

Categories: Population

I'm sure there are several, but I would say two of the things which might frustrate my students about me are a) my lack of patience and b) appearing to be trying something for the sake of trying it. If I expand on this, I often use new sites/applications/ideas in class but then when other things (e.g. course timelines) become more important, I lose patience with these and move on to something else. This might lead to students thinking 'Why did we do this in the first place?' as they sometimes don't get the opportunity to finish their work. This is not always the case. There are several examples on this blog and elsewhere where we have successfully taken ideas from start to finish, but as this trait is something which frustrates me myself, I can only imagine those I teach feel the same.

It is with this in mind that I'm coming back to Woices. I have been looking at this site for a while now and watched as others have explored its uses in class. I have thought of a couple of half ways in which I could use it, but feared the outcome above. I'm now coming round to a use for Population. Here goes:

Introduce idea in class of 'A walk across a crowded world' . Where would you go? What makes these areas people magnets. Is it always by choice that people locate here? Again, I'd have the google earth population layer on and spinning for reference. Let class brainstorm topic for a few minutes and collect feedback. Write locations on pre-cut paper. Similarly, ask class to consider 'Exploring the Empty lands'. Same idea and processes. We would then have a collection of locations to consider which could be redistributed around the class.

Second part, introduce homework task where students research assigned location for further reasons for population density. One week should still be enough even though the NAB is on Wednesday. Students to create a summary of the reasons that, when spoken, should not exceed one minute. Show students woices and tell class about concept of a 'walk'.

Third part-recording echoes. Once these are all collected (probably a couple of weeks time), I should be able to embed these here and students can follow the 'walks' as an alternative way to revise the topic. Depending on success I'll display the results. If, for some reason I don't, I'll write up why.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Categories: Geography General
I was alerted to a site with some really nice tools for class use by Daniel Raven Ellison of Urban Earth via the sln forum today. I have just been trying it out, and if you have tremendous visual reflexes, you might just about be able to follow what's going on above. I'll obviously have to use more frames in future to slow it down (first of all it's Saturday night, and secondly my concentration isn't the best tonight), but this could be great for student use e.g landscape formations animations. What do you think?

Friday, November 07, 2008

Wake up to the World

Population Starter
Get your own at Scribd or explore others:
Categories: Population, Advanced Higher, Development and Health, s1 and s2
Higher have some hydrosphere work to finish, mainly from past papers, and I'll give you some tips for the upcoming NAB. I'm then going to go straight into Population. I'd normally use a starter movie, but I think I'm going to get some movement into first period. Using the powerpoint above, I've set out stations in the class. I want students to imagine that you have the free choice to move to any of the locations in the slides. Each photograph is linked to a station in the class. When you've made your decision, I'll ask you to go to your table of choice and leave a couple of comments - why you have chosen this area and where you think it is. After we've discussed the responses, I'll tell you where these places actually are, using a spinning Google Earth globe with a population overlay. From this, I hope we can pool together factors affecting population distribution. I'll also show you this, and see if we can relate it back to our first activity- Population is growing, but where and why? What are the implications? Can we trust the numbers?
s4 go out on work experience after tomorrow, and I have my weekly slot at a time when a new topic is being introduced, Development. I'll do my usual rich list, maybe the biscuit game and if not, a developed or not activity. It's important that we think of development in terms other than just money. Advanced Higher are finishing a mapping/sampling exercise and s1 are destroying, I mean, testing the rigidity of their favelas last period.
I'd like to place on here my thanks to Miss McGill, who leaves us tomorrow. I had the benefit of a helping hand in my Higher lessons last year, which was hugely beneficial, and I will no doubt become even less organised (c'est non possible!?) in her absence. I am sure many of the students will join me in wishing her all the best in the future.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Numbers and letters

Categories: Rivers, Geography General

I have just realised that the last post was my 400th on this blog. That's an awful lot of words. Ironically, I just logged into blogger to remind myself and students about 100 words , which isn't. I'm going to try something, particularly geared towards Higher and Advanced Higher over the next 7 days. I outlined my thoughts about progress in Higher last night and followed this up with a discussion today. This led to an idea about how I could ensure that you were a) getting regular revision b) regular homework and c) concise notes for use in exam prep.

For the next week, I'm going to choose at random a topic you have studied in either the lithosphere or hydrosphere. Your challenge is to write about 100 words on that topic for the following day. I might even treat it like graffiti and give some space on a wall. I'll stick some pics up for you to surround. I'm hoping this is pretty painless and starts a habit. Not of graffiti on my wallls...

With Advanced Higher, your sources now look fine, with Frankie the understandable exception (although I have good news on this). I'm therefore going to challenge you to write about 100 words proper of your Issues essay per night to get you started. I'll get at least a rough introduction out of this.

Finally, in a post all about words fitting to numbers, I can't believe that the aforementioned 400th post was about statistical techniques...

Quick Quiz for Advanced Higher

Categories: Advanced Higher

As it's a while since we've looked at GMT's, here is some revision work for tomorrow.

If you were looking to analyse the following, what tests would you use?

1) Land price in relation to distance from the city centre

2) The % of ethnic minorities in London boroughs

3) The relationship between land use and underlying rock type

4) Settlement size and the number of services

5) The age structure of the population in East Renfrewshire and South Lanarkshire

For a Spearmans Rank test and a Chi Square test, what sample size would you say is reliable?

Name one weakness of using standard deviation to compare data

For a river study comparing gradient and velocity, you have used a Spearmans Rank test to check for correlation. What are the problems with using this test?

Choose one of the 5 scenarios above. Describe how you would conduct your fieldwork to collect the data you needed. Consideration should be given to sampling, potential difficulties, times etc

If you manage to get all the answers, I don't think I'll subject you to another stats test just yet, but might ask you to do this

Monday, November 03, 2008

A bit of help yourself

Categories: s1 and s2

No relation to previous rant. Keen to get back to the positive now. I think the favelas were a great success today. It was pleasing to see some not-so-obvious groupings working so well together. I dread the mess from this period, but every time we do it, I see the absolute value in it. I'll try to get the camera out tomorrow for blogging purposes. All of which brings us nicely to self-help schemes in the favelas, effectively what you were doing today with your trades and your teamwork. I'll show a short video clip tomorrow and then we'll do an activity about improving your favela. You'll be given some points to spend and it's really up to groups how you do this. I think I'll keep today's groups for continuity.

Simple period tomorrow with s2. We're mapping Japan. I think I'll take the opportunity to print some of your magazine covers off, and maybe share them on an old s2 wiki page. I'll again let some students explore Japan through Google Earth as blogged previously.

Huge, meandering mass (and that's just this post)

Categories: Rivers

This is a bit of personal reflection as I had reason to be frustrated when looking at Friday's Higher work, completed in my absence. I used a random word picker to check river terminology and understanding. The response was disappointing , but highlighted a few things for me, things in truth I knew already:-

1) That when studying Higher, students need to take initiative in terms of personal revision. I can check work, as I did today, which has been completed and completed well, but the knowledge seems to disappear as soon as some have left the classroom. I think one of the reasons for this is the pace of work in comparison to s4, and there is little chance to dwell on a topic. This makes it all the more important to review the day's work at home, as it is not possible for me to go backwards all the time.

2) That all students shouldn't really be treated the same. I had a sermonic (is that a word?) moment today, one which many people deserved, but others clearly didn't. It's sometimes hard to seperate students in situation like this, when so many people are not quite where I would like them to be, and the temptation is to give blanket coverage to concerns. This is something I did today, but should really have let some students just move on and let others take responsibility themselves to catch up.

3) That I should not assume so much of students. I was irked by the number of 'don't know' responses today. I think some of this was from an unwillingness to answer, but I have to ask more questions here. Are there issues with the work, the language and level of difficulty? Have I assumed that students would develop an understanding without a taught lesson? Maybe some of the 'don't know's were genuine moments of confusion, and as a result, I'm going to revisit some of this work tomorrow.

More than anything, I find that this just again highlights how I can't take it for granted that successive classes will respond to the same set of activities that have been successful with others. I feel a bit of evaluation coming on...

Right, if I can get off my soap box, I'd like to use tomorrow to finish river features. I'll use the IWB. I've been messing about with some images in paint to remove diagram labelling. I'm going to put text to drag and drop for formations. This should help sort out any misunderstandings lingering from today. I think for the river profile activity, the model below would be useful (click to link to source).

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Pick up your brochure

Categories: s1 and s2, Rivers
Just trialling the magazine cover maker mentioned a few posts ago. The reason for this is that s2 have access to PC's tomorrow, and I think this site should no longer be filtered. I'll be setting the leaflet/ magazine as a homework after tomorrow, providing assembly doesn't take up too much of the period. Quintura is good for searching for images, or you could use flickr and try a creative commons search. Thanks to ciro@tokyo for the original photo in the magazine cover, whose photostream can be found here.
s1 are doing their favela team task tomorrow, last period of the day, which should give me plenty of time to tidy up afterwards, and Higher should have finished most of the booklet work on rivers. This means that you should be able to start your slide commentaries on the long profile of a river. This brought me back to some of the previous audio work on coasts via mobiles. I'm trying to think of a way I can give everyone individual feedback, but share the best bits - We'll have a chat about this tomorrow.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A short post about doctors, referees and a Wally

Categories: Environmental Hazards, Geography General
I attended a talk last week by Dr Ian Stewart about hazards. He was basically saying that he had spent the best part of 20 years studying the physical elements of hazards and had now come to the conclusion that the human interactions in hazard zones could not be viewed as seperate to this. A great example of this appeared on the BBC today, with the eruption of a mud volcano, apparently as a result of exploration drilling for oil and gas. In hindsight (and looking forward to next year), there is great scope for an Advanced Higher Issues essay here. I will also attempt to be less disparaging about the performances of referee John Underhill in future too, after learning his day job:-0
I also aim to have a look at Where's Wally in Google Earth (thanks to Google Earth Blog). I only have this s1 rotation for another week or two, could maybe try to do this as a running theme next week for a lesson starter/homework?