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A weblog designed to share Geography resources with students and colleagues

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Back to Basics

Categories: s1 and s2, urban, rivers

It's one week since I started in my new school. One of the things that I'm finding hardest to get used to is not being in control of the course timings and having to build relationships with students from scratch again. I think I've taken for granted for the past few years that I'd know the courses inside out and could pick up the baton with classes pretty quickly, even if I hadn't taught the class before. Now, I'm teaching different courses with different students, most of whom had started before the summer. I'm having to pick my way into these courses, made a little harder as lots of students have progressed at different rates due to extra curricular activities and absences before the summer break. On top of that, I've taught my classes the way I would have in my old school, and while it's been succesful sometimes, other times I don't think I've taken account of the fact that the students are different too. I've probably been a bit too full on instead of trying to get to know kids, and as such, I'll probably have a few bridges to mend.
I'm stripping it back to basics this week. Tomorrow with s4, I'm going to keep it really simple. I'm going to use the Glasgow 1:50,000 map and build the lessons for both around that. I'm not going to be didactic, as I feel that the classes have been waiting a little for me to tell them answers and I'm going to look for several outcomes from the lesson. By the end of it, I'd like students to be able to
1) Recognise different urban zones on a map
2) Understand reasons for the growth of out of town developments
3) Explain how site and situation contributes to the growth of a settlement

Most of the work will be completed by discussion in pairs, with a recap every five minutes or so. I'd then like to use the traffic lights in diaries to gauge understanding across the lesson.
For S3, I'd love to think I could use river aerobics as a plenary, but I think I'll have to again take the traditional route to teaching features of the river landscape first, maybe using some of the BBC video or those in department. I would like to maybe check learning later in the week with some speed dating, a variation of this glaciation exercise I created a while ago. For tomorrow, I'd like to make sure we had reached at least the following outcomes:
1) Students will be able to explain how rivers erode, transport and deposit material
2) Students will be able to explain how river processes influence the upper course of a river
Finally, with S2, I'm going to take a little time to get to know the class, as I'm sharing them with another teacher in the department. One of the things I'd like to do is take a little time to ask them about their experience in Geography last year. We have a major task in redeveloping the first year course, but I don't want to throw out things that are working. I want to know what they enjoyed, what they would like to see more of, the things that they would like to learn if the choice was theirs. I'm also looking at developing a Scotland topic to link with History and Modern Studies and would like to hear what their thoughts on some of the ideas are. I really think it's important that students experiences are accounted for if we are going to get this right, including their experiences before they reached the secondary school.


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