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A weblog designed to share Geography resources with students and colleagues

Sunday, February 22, 2009

As Belgian as Chocolate?

Categories: Industry, s1 and s2

We are on a very tight schedule with Industry. Basically, we have to know factors affecting industrial location, reasons for the growth and decline of an industrial area and re-industrialisation strategies by Wednesday! To start off tomorrow, I'm thinking three things- a Belgian brainstorm, Google Earth Charleroi and atlases. It would be interesting to start the period with an association-type activity round the class. I'm guessing that it will be more chocolate, beer and tintin (or maybe that's me showing my age and tastes) than coal mines and foundries that people know, or think they know about Belgium. I'd like to then fly into Charleroi using Google Earth and introduce the Sambre-Meuse area through it. I once did this in reality and then took a train through Belgium to the Netherlands for a football match. I couldn't believe the difference from what I'd thought Belgium would be like in my minds eye and what it appeared like from the train window. Google Earth with the panoramio layer will allow us to get to know the area a little better, but I'm going to use this in dribs and drabs. After a brief intro to the area in terms of its situation, I want us to consider 'Why here?' for industry- why anywhere? What did industries require in the past, what do they look for now? A quick bit of mind mapping and then onto the atlases- a five minute task to find how Charleroi fits with these requirements. Some help from GE at this point, a summary using the same tool and then a recap slide to round things off. This map might come in handy too when talking about reasons for the growth of industry.

s2 started some work on Dubai on Thursday, and I was quite impressed by the knowledge the class had about this location-some much more than me! We completed a diamond 9 exercise from this set of resources on the GA's website towards the end of the lesson and students are now going to design their own sustainable building. I think I'll create an incentive here for this activity, with three prizes for the top three entries. I've posted the details of the activity, to be completed for homework, on edmodo.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

S1 Survey

Keeping this here for only a short time. Click the link below to take the survey

Click Here to take survey

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

An oasis in the desert?

Categories: Advanced Higher, s1 and s2
Well, that's one prelim down, three to go. Advanced Higher paper seemed to get a mixed response. Suggesting strongly to some Higher candidates that more revision is needed, particularly regarding case study material (my mantra, I know). Don't forget that you will need to look over your lithosphere notes even though this is your Environmental Interactions paper- you will get a question about landscape formation which can be worth up to 20 marks. The fettes site is good for glacial landscapes and the bbc site for limestone. I'm also putting up my powerpoint for coasts from a while ago:
Tomorrow is my last period with one s1 class. I'll be sorry to see this class go, as I've really started to see the characters in the class lately. Tomorrow, you can leave your mark by publishing some of your work online through a wiki page.
s2 have been looking at hot deserts for the past few periods. We were creating games to test each other about people in the hot deserts, and I'll showcase a couple of these at the start of the period if I can. You were supposed to put these onto edmodo, but there are several of you who seem to have been engulfed by the holiday spirit and have forgotten your homework :-0 I'd like to look at another aspect of living in a desert climate by looking at Dubai tomorrow. This really is an amazing feat of human engineering, but I'd like to look at the issues around this through some of the resources here, which I think were the work of Noel Jenkins. This will probably take a couple of periods.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Last minute post for late revisers...

Categories: Advanced Higher, Rural Land Resources
For Advanced Higher, I just want to say good luck with the prelim tomorrow. I'm not posting any links etc as I think it's too late to start worrying about new information. You won't be surprised by any of the questions. Just remember, the mapping is all about how much you can get from the atlas and the extract-map evidence is really vital here and a vague answer won't do. Try to justify anything you say with a reference to either of these. You will have a stats question, and again, don't worry about formulae, they will be there for you. Take your time and be thorough. It's also likely you'll have to evaluate how useful a certain technique is, then apply your conclusions from your results using your geographical knowledge from pre-AH.
Higher have the Environmental Interactions paper on Friday, and I don't see you on Thursday, so the double tomorrow is a revision cram! I've got a couple of ideas of what I'd like to do. I made a question on teach ict, where you bullet point your answer and then check it against mine. Just remember, no bullet points in the exam. It might be worth having a look here, and exploring the rest of this blog which has some walk throughs of exam type answers. I have also been using diamond 9s with a few classes lately at all levels and they seem to work really well, so I thought we'd look at the one below . Hopefully this will help your technique for answering one of the most common rural land resources question. Don't forget about the student q & a on the wiki page for any last minute worries and also for some previous responses which might help you.

Click here for full screen version

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Pop ups, past papers and podcasts

Categories: Atmosphere, Advanced Higher, s1 and s2
It's been an eventful day today. Although we have moved on to look at wild weather with s1, we had time to revisit our favelas activity. I had planned to show the video of students talking about their projects, but unfortunately, my able assistant, Jack has unwittingly included half of the class in his camera angle. Might show these back in class if we have time, but some excellent work. Also, finished uploading the slides that I have in old ppt format to s2's presentation, only waiting on 5 or 6 which I'll need to convert now. Please have a look and comment on each others work through your edmodo page.
I was talking to one of my s1 classes today about hurricanes and gave Tony Cassidy's pop up hurricane (above)a go. This seemed to work well after a myth buster starter activity, so we'll probably use this tomorrow with the second rotation.
With Higher, I had cause today to think about the way I have been approaching your past paper revision. I have always been keen to mark this work and feel that when it has been presented to me,I have returned this quickly. However, maybe at this stage of the year,this should be less voluntary, as we are running out of class time to do revision before the prelims. It is with this in mind that I've set up anassignments page on edmodo for Higher too,and have posted a rural land resources question. Maybe this will have the same effect as with s2, where I have definitely noticed an improvement in the punctuality of homework, but also the quality. As for tomorrow, we will be trying to round off the atmosphere topic soon, so some global climatic change with a bit of The Great Global Warming Swindle thrown in (might not have the time for all of this, as I'd like to do an activity based around Ollie Bray's geocasts to recap on some of the other atmosphere topics). Thinking about global warming brought me to a great story about Sammy Wilson, the Northern Ireland environment minister who doesn't believe in it to the point of banning global warming ads!
Will be talking to Advanced Higher about field notebooks, recording techniques, issues essays, map interpretation and just a few other things tomorrow! I've been playing around with latitude on google via my phone with some interesting quirks to the maps. This is a long shot, but I wonder if there is a project/fieldwork in there somewhere re: mapping accuracy from mobile masts for next year?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Trade winds, t-tasks and a bit of hot air

Categories:s1 and s2, Urban, Atmosphere, Advanced Higher
Been fighting with a google doc for over an hour and I'm having to admit defeat. I'm posting what I've got here just now for s2's activity, adapted from a teachers shared resources idea as detailed on edmodo:

Could you please give the class an audience by adding any comments when the rest of the slides are added (18 still to go), especially if it's positive criticism-this would be particularly useful? Thank you in advance. Also, if anyone knows why I'm finding it difficult to import slides, I'd be most grateful of some advice:

Continuing tomorrow with the desert landscapes posters, while some of the class will be skiing in Kitzbuhel. Looking out of the window just now, they would have been as well staying here :-)
Will be asking s1 about their weather homework, testing favelas and then looking at weather v climate with the help of some resources from Tony Cassidy.
Alan Parkinson highlighted a new generator which I'll probably use at supported study with Higher for a starter activity. Would be interested in the webcams feedback before moving on to look at the ITCZ in class tomorrow. I saw a nice bottle which highlighted our focus for tomorrow (rural land resources at s/study, atmosphere during class time):

Geography in a bottle
Advanced Higher, well I've been waiting on some work for a while which doesn't appear to be forthcoming, so methinks a t-task is in the offing. Got to fill those folders somehow...
Finally, not necessarily something that I can use in class with anyone just now, but read two really interesting pieces today. One was about Prince Charles, who said Dharavi was a great example of sustainable living. I don't teach s3 this year, but this would be useful for a different perspective when my colleagues do. The second was a really vivid portrayal of the cultural geography of conflict in the former Yugoslavia. We teach about forced migrations, but the reality of the situation which leads to it is best left to those who have lived amongst it.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

A bit of Atmosphere

Categories: Atmosphere
Going to try a mixture of old and new approaches wih Higher tomorrow. I think I'll try to book the class in a box for starters. I'd like students to have a go at the classtools matching pairs exercise below to review your knowledge of atmospheric circulation from Wednesday:

Click here for full screen version

I used webcams two to three years ago when teaching this, and I am not sure what is blocked and what is not, but we could maybe then have a look at the world map on earthcam and pick out sites at our cell boundaries(e.g. UK- London?, Antarctica etc) and as an extension activity, if the conditions do not match your expectations, try to justify why this might be the case (what other factors might influence weather?). A look at the overall pattern would be more apparent if we then used Google Earth with the weather layer turned on, and again there might be opportunities here to look at anomalies. I could have used the webcams on GE, but unfortunately, there is no student access through the network:

I'd like to then start talking to you about the role of the oceans in redistributing energy. We could again start with Google Earth by looking at sea temperatures:

Hopefully, although really simplifying the science, you'll see a surplus of heat energy stored in the seas near the equator, but there is also scope to discuss the uneven distibution of heat here-for instance, if we compare the temps on the eastern coast of Canada with ours, Canada's is much colder despite being on the same latitude. What reasons could we give for this? Finally, I'd hope to use the powerpoint by Ollie Bray on ocean currents below, but as slideshare is blocked in school,it all depends on Ollie getting my request for a download before class tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Favela madness

Favela madness from Kenny O'Donnell on Vimeo.
Categories: s1 and s2
This is 1@3 in action today, as filmed by Miss McKay, who has joined us for a short time. Please listen with the volume down! This will hopefully let your parents have a look at what happens during the activity, and the video on vimeo has a short explanation of why we are doing it. Apologies for the horse racing commentator who can be heard in the background from time to time ;-)
With 1@6 tomorrow, thought we'd factor in a weather lesson to take advantage of the snow. I thought we could start using the last posts video through a loop on powerpoint as students come into the class. I wanted to talk about your experiences of the weather- how long did it snow where you were, what problems did it cause for you or your family, what wider problems did the weather cause (loads of news clippings), why do you think these problems were not foreseen? Thought it might be nice to let you rate your snow (I'll show the #uk snow map) but also talk about forecasting. How reliable is the forecast (the snow was predicted, but we still had major problems)? What happens when we get it wrong? This clip could be useful:

We are then going to attempt an ICT activity where I'll get you to research three days forecasts in class and compare to the reality for homework. This will actually be very good prep for extreme weather and Hurricanes and the impact of forecasting the strength and track of the storms.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Posting from home, dodging the gremlins...

Categories: Other
Due to family circumstances, I find myself at home today. Which is probably just as well, as I wouldn't have fancied negotiating the backroads this morning...

Treetop snowfall from Kenny O'Donnell on Vimeo.

Not quite Fargo... from Kenny O'Donnell on Vimeo.

Going to try to do some work now, but not for lessons. Today's should do for tomorrow, as I'd imagine you got cover work. Have tried doing a few things already, but the tech gremlins are out in full force...

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Not your average desert...

From flickr user iva_1

Categories: s1 and s2, Advanced Higher, Atmosphere

As s2 have been doing their homework via the web for the last couple of weeks, I thought it would be nice to do something which required a more old fashioned approach tomorrow. I thought about adapting a webquest from sln into a classroom resources based exercise for groups. I like the idea of comparing what you thought about deserts (visuwords has an interesting use here, but not for obvious reasons) with things that you did not know until after your research, but I also want to bring in other skills. For instance, I'd like all of your posters to include a climate graph with comments about the range etc. I want labelled landscape features and sketches and generally better use of your own words than some web based exercises return (although the quality of your homework has been outstanding in many cases). I'm thinking of using a clip from either 'Long Way Round' or 'Cars' as a stimulus for the landscape- no difference! Although we have embraced a lot of technology, it's important to develop key geographical skills too.

With s1 tomorrow, we are going to have an ongoing documentary as you complete your favelas. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to film the construction or whether to involve a student. We'll also film a final comment about your design etc. We won't be filming people, just the favelas and the voices in the background, so we should be able to post it here later in the week.

Higher are starting atmosphere and I normally try to introduce the global heat budget to you by mapping from memory. This usually works well, and is a nice way to start a topic which many find a bit overwhelming.

A bit unsure of what to do with Advanced Higher as we are being decanted due to building work. This could be a good opportunity to look at the type of mapwork question that you will be presented with in the prelim and the final exam.