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A weblog designed to share Geography resources with students and colleagues

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ho Ho How long to go?

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Categories: s1 and s2, Coasts, Advanced Higher
I think with s1 tomorrow, I would like to stop and take stock of where we are with the unit. I'm going to do a little bit of self assessment at the start of the period on what I feel we should know about people in Brazil and also the rainforest topic. I'll then be showing some Bruce Parry to hopefully again challenge the opinions expressed on this. I've also asked a colleague from Carrick Academy to ask her students to add to this, but to add opinions which contradict the ones already there. At some point, I'd like to tie this in to the events in Copenhagen, and I loved the idea of hope trees from Dan Roberts in Saltash School.Most of my students seem pretty fixed on their opinions that removing the rainforest is a bad thing, but I wonder how many of them think about the impacts of their own actions here? The hope trees would be a nice way to involve students in personal pledges.
With s3, I'm going to hopefully play back the video from some of Friday's Glow meet, but would also like to push on with coastal land uses and conflicts. A reminder to complete your feedback on the animation narrations on edmodo, please, to finish the physical features part of the unit. I'm going to start with the 'physical' conflict at coasts where erosion threatens existing land uses. A quick and easy card sort should do the trick here. I'd like to follow this with a variation on mapping from memory. I'm going to show a series of pictures for 30 seconds before blacking them out. After the black out, students have to identify as many of the land uses in the picture as they can to start our discussions on why certain activities are found in coastal areas.
Finally, with Advanced Higher, we are going to have a pretty small group tomorrow due to the jammy, I mean, fortunate individuals who are on the ski trip to France. This should give me a good opportunity to spend some time helping with redrafts of issues essays and organisation of fieldwork for your study. I also want to try a meet through the web in the evening to do a bit of map revision. We can record it so that the skiers can do some apres ski revision during their holidays :) A week and two days, not long now...is it time for sling shot Santa yet? Probably not now or ever, but you might want to waste your time doing something as embarassing as the video above. Sorry for the disturbing images :)

Reflections on Copenhagen Glow meet

Categories:Geography General
Was a really interested participant in my first Glow meet on Friday. Myself, Miss Armstrong and Miss Jamieson, along with two of the depute heads were listening in to a broadcast live from Copenhagen Climate Change conference. As I mentioned in the previous post on this, Oxfam and WWF were answering questions from Scottish school students in this broadcast. We had been able to send 8 or 9 questions which were based on those from members of my s3 class (some similar questions were asked by several, so we just attributed all of their names to them). I was delighted when the first question that was answered was from Luke in my class, who had asked about Hydrogen fuelled cars and how suitable it was to be talking about this as a climate change solution for developing countries. We got a great response from the panellists, who more or less intimated that it should be, but with us having a responsibility to provide the technology and information . Hou Yin's question was also asked - about the benefits of climate change for developing countries and wildlife species (although I'll have to take Miss Jamieson's word for this as, at the time, Mr Creighton, the depute head was asking about Glow). Many of the schools participating had webcams and were able to therefore allow their classes to become involved, culminating in a performance of a song by a school in Cumbernauld. I also recorded the whole event, though I'm having some difficulties with playback just now. I was really impressed at the ease with which all of the participants could communicate, and that we could bring something so relevant straight into the classroom. I'm also looking forward to using the Glow meet with my classes, as I've now had a play around with Advanced Higher' s group and see the huge potential. Watch this space!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Old Faithful

Categories: Development and Health
Tried and tested starter video for s4 tomorrow

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Copenhagen Connections?

Categories: Geography General
Although I've had a Glow password for some time now, I haven't really used it much. Part of the reason for this lay in the fact that neither the kids nor the staff in my school or authority were using it, and the other reason, to be honest, was the difficulty I found in navigating the site. Since last week, however, I have been itching to try using it in class. The reason for this is due to an invite from Val Adam to participate in a Glow meet for some classes who were learning about the rainforest. I had several difficulties in setting my class machine up to allow participation, and there was also a bit of 'let's try it and see' from the technicians, if I'm honest. We eventually successfully managed to link to Val's school, but unfortunately, not to the zoolab event that we were hoping to, but we did manage to see a succession of trouser legs walking by the webcam!
Anyway, the opportunity to participate in some more Glow meets has come up, and I would love to be in the position to join in with the UN Climate Change conference one ,I know that most of my students accounts have not yet been activated, but I think the power of being able to bring live speakers into the class from organisations such as WWF and Oxfam to talk about real time, real life issues is a huge step forwards for our students in our schools, and lends immediate relevance to the subjects that they are learning about. For that reason, I think it's entirely reasonable that every class tomorrow has a portion of the lesson dedicated to talking about this and giving them the opportunity to prepare their own questions which I can hopefully forward.
I think there is huge scope with glow meet. I have watched with tremendous interest how Dan Roberts
has used twitcam to broadcast to a wide audience. There are lots of tools which I'll continue to use over and above Glow, but Glow meet gives teachers and students the ability to widen their reach, but to do it securely, and I look forward to exploring this in the months to come. If you are a Scottish teacher or are in a Scottish school, the link to the Copenhagen Glow meet can be found here.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Spit animation

Hope this works. Going to ask students to use audacity to record a commentary to the videos. Should have been one, but I accidentally stopped recording
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Download now or watch on posterous
spit2.3GP (2990 KB)

Posted via email from Mr O'D's class posterous

Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Myth of Trust

Categories:s1 and s2
Making a return to wallwisher with this newer s1 rotation, and doing a little bit of a variation on a theme. Last time, we started looking at the rainforest by just doing a general round up of interesting facts. This time, we've been a little more specific. At the end of last week, I played devils advocate to the class when I asked them why we should bother about the rainforest. I was quite surprised by how indignant my class were about the viewpoint I was portraying. A sample of typical parts of the conversation:
Student: All of the animals would lose their habitats
Teacher: Never been one for pets, what do I care about Toucans?
Student: But what about the oxygen?
Teacher: Science is always progressing, I'm sure we'll come up with a solution
Student: People in the tribes will lose their home
Teacher: as long as I'm not losing mine...
I really learned from this that, as a teacher, we probably have more influence over the class than we ever think. I also learned that many of the students only seemed to have been exposed to a single viewpoint. One boy in particular was ready to agree with me wholeheartedly. When I asked him why, he offered 'Because you are the teacher, so you must know it's true' (or words to that effect). That makes it even more important that we aren't just feeding classes information, but asking them to question it. To that end, I have asked the class to make their own contribution to that debate and to look for the facts. Therefore, any point that they make, they should be able to back it up (which brings another dimension regarding the reliability of sources...). After we have reviewed this, I want the class to think more deeply about the environment which they are studying by doing a tried and tested rainforest plane crash mind movie. Val Adam has used a really nice example of this in her Glow group, but I have always done this as a sensory activity. Asking students to think what they can see, for instance, can bring very vivid descriptions of what they understand the rainforest to be like, and can also help deal with misconceptions - for example, many students meet people in their stories and only really think about the small probability of this when brought to their attention by someone else.