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A weblog designed to share Geography resources with students and colleagues

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Theft on a grand scale - or Other People's Work

Categories: Advanced Higher, Lithosphere, s1 and s2

I'm mining other peoples' hard graft tomorrow as I try to complete a bit of my own while classes are working. Advanced Higher are doing GMT's tomorrow. I got the go ahead over the weekend to do our shopper survey (thankfully no similar problems with our second venue), so hopefully we'll be able to use some real results to show the relevance of the statistical techniques you're learning. We've looked at some descriptive statistics already and will be doing standard deviation. I'm not going to overdo the talk here as I know it's something you've done in Maths. For a better understanding of this, and other stats, you might want to have a look at this from LTS.

I'm not sure how the practical stuff worked with Higher on Friday, people seemed quiet and attentive and some decent answers were given to my questions. Apologies about more DVD nightmares. Tomorrow, I'm using SAGT CD material for coastal processes and coastal erosion. Remember to bring your news article for this week.

s2 have had two periods where the quality of your questions has been quite excellent, but I need some written work from you now. I'm going to have a closer look at these for later lessons, and I quite like the Thinking About Volcanoes resource here on David Rayner's site to bring together what we've been learning.

s1 will be finishing direction and doing a bit of work on grid references. On a personal note, I've got a packed couple of weeks coming up and might be out of class a few times (definitely out all day Friday, and probably twice more), making finding time to get in shape for this all the more difficult. Many thanks to all those creators of the reources which are very much helping to lighten the load.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Find your Happy Place...

Categories: s1 and s2

On the radio this morning, I heard the news that Edinburgh is apparently the most miserable place in Britain (Glasgow was sixth from bottom),and wondered what made people think of a place as miserable or cheerful. I decided to do an exercise with s1 second period. We started off with the usual 'how are you's' etc and I started digging a bit deeper-'But, how are you on a scale of 1 to ten?' and so on. I then told the class about what I'd heard on the journey to work and showed them ten pictures of places. The places were the top and bottom 5 from the list. I asked them to work in groups to rate them from happiest to most miserable. The results were not anywhere close to the survey.

I then asked the class to take 5 minutes in the same groups to brainstorm what would make a place a 'happy' place and we shared these. It was quite pleasing to see some of the responses from an s1 class- things such as community were very prominent in the replies. After finishing this, everyone in the class had the opportunity to talk about their 'Happy Place', where it was and why they chose it. We are intending to map the results. Although it wasn't really what I had planned today, I really enjoyed the lesson and it was nice to be able to use something that some of the students themselves had only just heard on their own way to school.

Coasts-Questions and Answers

Categories: Lithosphere

I asked my Higher class to submit some questions about coasts before we started the topic. We've already looked at them during the Intermediate course, and I didn't really want to labour old news, if you like. Some questions were, ahem, not really what I was after:-0 If seagulls fly over bays are they called baygulls? and What is your favourite coast and why? spring to mind. I was also asked what the longest beach in the world is. Some questions have helped me set up tomorrow's lesson though...

1) Why do coasts change shape? I was looking at one of David Leat's books and there was a lesson which started with a bit of modelling clay and chalk. I'd like to use these to show differential erosion- a couple of funnels and beakers, equal volumes of water and we'll see what happens. Might also be able to talk some processes here. Tried it today during a free, was a bit messy...

2) If there were no waves, would coastlines ever change? Same pieces of rock, some water and ink

3) Why do some beaches consist of sand and others rock? Time to smash up a few things with a hammer, I think

4) I get confused with swash and backwash, what's the difference?/ What is Longshore Drift? Tub of water and something that floats.

This could be an absolute shambles, but hopefully it works OK. I'll then show you a bit of 'Coast' from Dorset, followed by a few notes on processes.

Monday, August 25, 2008

OS via GE

Categories: Lithosphere, Geography General

Here's the Google Earth link for O.S. mapwork I promised yesterday, although the map's a bit out. Please download the file quickly, I won't be keeping it where it's hosted for a long time as it's taking up too much space. See the homework blog on the sidebar for a recorded talk-through of lithosphere mapping too. As well as the dominoes today, we did a bit of A question of limestone, thanks to Val Vannet via sln. I'll finish this off tomorrow and do a bit more on some physical features before more mapping.
Never really moved much on s1 and s2 today, but have mooted the disaster drills idea for s2, and let some of s1 have a go at travelpod's traveller IQ. Away to rest my legs now after doing a bit too much on the bike tonight. Think I'm still a bit away from managing the journey to work :-0

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Time travel

Categories: Geography General, Other

Last one for tonight. I found this via boingboing, a map following some of the most famous historical journeys- Livingstone, Columbus, Phileas Fogg (!) and one that appealed to me, Jack Kerouacs 'On The Road' route. Kerouac is one of my favourite authors and much of his writing involves vivid portrayals of place during the time he wrote about them.

Shoppers pre-survey?

Categories: Advanced Higher

This post is a little bit of information for Advanced Higher about tomorrow, and about how I'm teaching you the course this year. I told you that I planned to use one double period for GMT's, one for Issues/Study work, and the remaining two for mapwork and other bits and pieces. Later in the week, we're hopefully going to go out and complete some questionnaires. I sense some anxiety about this-do not panic, people are generally very polite and helpful if you explain why you are there and who you are. We'll get all sorts of information from these, and there are many ways in which it can be interpreted. One thing that you can do with data collected in this way is statistically test it. Before we are in a position to do this, I want to teach you a bit about descriptive statistics. You will also find this and some of the other statistical work that we do useful for your Ardentinny trip. Remember to keep your eye on my del.icio.us links for your issues topics. I really like a lot of the topics you've chosen- they are different, yet current and newsworthy- and think you'll be able to source loads on your own, but if I can source a link here and there then hopefully this will help. On that point, remember to use your own del.icio.us accounts to store your bookmarks.

Maps, maps and maps again

Categories: s1 and s2
Got a good response from s1 when we used where's the path for map symbols last week. This really made sense of the map when we centred it on the school and students could clearly see things like their train station, the route their bus takes, the park near the school and so on. I'm going to continue with symbols tomorrow, but also want to spend a little time on direction. I can use the image of the school on this site to involve the class in a direction challenge. Armed with a compass, we'll send two students out on a route through the school with instructions to report back on which directions they travelled on their journey. While they are out, the class will use the image to a) find their bearings and follow their classmates path, b) plot the directions c) test their classmates use of the compass. This will have the added benefit of getting s1 more familiar with the school building.
s2 are due an apology. I had all sorts of problems with the tectonics video due to both a change in the technology in my classroom and problems with the audio-visual material. I'll translate- I couldn't work my new video, and kept putting on the wrong tape. I might use Earth: Power of the Planet tomorrow, and will, as usual when teaching earth forces, look for earthquakes which have happened recently.

Note for Higher

Categories: Lithosphere
I told you I'd put the Google Earth Fort William map file on here along with slides from some of the maps powerpoint I used on Friday. I'll need to do this tomorrow from work, as I thought I had these at home too. Meanwhile, here is tomorrow's starter, based on some of the things discussed in the video. I'll probably use the lithosphere booklet after this.
Read this document on Scribd: Limestone dominoes

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Here comes the flood

Categories: Hydrosphere, Glaciation, Rurla Land Resources
Both of the things I want to post about tonight are perfectly in tune with the scene a few hundred yards from my house earlier, where a car was up to its bonnet in water. This reminded me of last week, when I was passed by a fire service land rover fleeing to some sodden scene with a boat towed behind it. Is this really summer? We are not doing hydrosphere just now,but a few days ago I saved a flood simulation to my bookmarks, and several people have been blogging about this. See if you can help the poor car driver and others by sorting out our flooding problems.
The other item I want to post is all about water again, but this time meltwater. I might use it tomorrow, and if you want to learn more about these use the links on the left hand side of the fettes page.

Read this document on Scribd: Fluvioglacial

Monday, August 18, 2008

A touch of the Ramsays

Categories: s1 and s2, lithosphere, Advanced Higher, Other
Fancy beating the credit crunch? Buy your own mini-cow, a little like our cursing cook Gordon, rear it in your back garden before 'enjoying' the fruits of your labour with a nice steak and a milk. Another bizarre story via boingboing. Is this the way to self-sufficiency? Not for this teacher...
My Higher section is swelling a little with a few additions today. I hope I didn't go too fast when we looked at till and fluvioglacial deposition. I'm going to go over some of the features of deposition tomorrow -Drumlins, Moraines and Erratics. I think I'll try to avoid powerpoint except for photos of these. I felt towards the end of last term, I probably used too many of them, and after getting you to do a little thinking on the spot today,I'll just talk through these features with your participation, noting some points as we go on the board. A bit old fashioned, but sometimes other ways of looking at physical features I've used such as student as teacher don't give the whole class a sound enough understanding of their formation.
I gained another s1 class today which I wasn't expecting, but it's good to have two in a rotation as different classes respond differently to certain activities. I'll be able to do our traditional 'find someone who..' starter with one class, and the other are a period ahead. I have recently started using a lot of images from strange maps to start map skills. These are good as students often don't realise they are looking at a map representation, and can very often justify why it's not by giving their perceptions of what a good map should have. S2 starting plate tectonics after a good level of participation on yesterday's starter movie.
Finally, a link for Advanced Higher-Highland Learning has lots of good resources. We did some really useful prep today on questionnaires for a Shopper Survey, and it might be a good idea to compare your surveys to the one here- What type of questions have they used, is the structure logical and flowing?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Back to School

Categories: s1 and s2, Glaciation, Advanced HIgher
Returning proper tomorrow with students also probably packing the bag just now... I have a few classes which I started work with last year (term), and will spend some time doing a bit of recap and then swiftly move on. I used the video above two years ago and it seemed to work quite well as an intro to earth forces for s2. We'll start by a short discussion of what the term means before working through the video and then maybe some apples! I haven't forgotten about the videos that you were making before end of term-now that you have some research, this will become your first major homework task. With Higher, I have a deposition starter and I am going to throw AH straight into making questionnaires. Keeping this short as first days are always organised chaos anyway. See you tomorrow.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mapping my tracks and more

Categories: Geography General, Other

Back to the grind today, couldn't shake a headache which has plagued me for three days, but apart from that everything was ok. I am supposed to be looking at course outlines just now, but have been messing around with something called Fire Eagle. It basically stores information about where you are. This information can then be used by other services in response to your location (bear with me here...).

One of the things that I found out about through fire eagle is an application called Map My Tracks. If you have a mobile phone with built in GPS or a GPS receiver, it basically maps where you are in real time. So, for instance, the cycle route that I followed the other night could be tracked while I was actually cycling it and seen on the web-or if I was doing fieldwork with say, Advanced Higher, I would have an accurate map of the area we had covered and sample points we had taken. I really like the look of this and hope to play around with it througout the coming year once I resolve connection issues with my phone. One of the most appealing things about this is that you can also export your tracks to Google Earth.

Less complicated and something I could probably use frequently during class time is something called Where's The Path, which, providing you get on the site early enough, allows you to have on OS map side by side with google satelite imagery. I can imagine this would be very good for teaching map skills to newcomers to the subject or those who have difficulty interpreting OS maps. The only problem appears to be a limit on the amount of OS images used in one day, hence the reason you might need to get on the site early.

Anyway, more in-service tomorrow, I'll probably be working on updating course outlines...

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Avoiding Google Earth blobs while out on the bike...

Categories: Geography General

Out to clear my head on the bike tonight- a good ten mile trip of ups and downs in the rain as I attempted to shift my six week state of lethargy for school on Thursday. Seems instead of the streams,trees, rivers, bridges and buildings I thought I'd passed, I actually cycled through a big green, white and red blob. Or so it would appear on Google Earth, who have yet to acknowledge the existence of my little patch (literally) of the world. Maybe by next summer, when guilt again gets the better of me, I'll be able to track my path in glorious satelite imagery.

Just a v.quick update on the blog-not quite in work mode yet. Well done to students on exam results, which were, on the whole, better than we had expected. Glad your hard work paid off in the paper, particularly in Int 2, which I thought was a very tricky paper. To those who didn't perhaps get what you expected or hoped for, come and speak to me when we're back.

I have added a couple of links in the sidebar to blogs that some other teachers, past and present, have been working on. Mr Kerr has been running eco-club with Miss Green for the past couple of years, and has started a blog to showcase the work that students have been doing. Please have a look and contribute if you can. One of our old colleagues, Miss Tomitaka, has started her own blog too for the students of her current school. The blog is 'for everyone who is interested in global issues such as poverty, inequality, trade and the environment to mention just a few'. I'm sure that Miss T would be pleased if you popped over and had a look.

As you have a few more days than me till you return, try seeing 'Wall-E'. It's an excellent film, quite clever and thought provoking too. Enjoy the rest of your holidays and see you soon.