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Odblog

A weblog designed to share Geography resources with students and colleagues

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Paper Houses

This is a snapshot of 4H's settlement work. I am using this as an assessment of the students understanding of site, urban zones, function, land use and urban change. Some very good examples of work, where students encountered real urban problems such as a lack of space :-)

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

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Building walls and cities



Categories: Urban, rivers, s1 and s2

Starting to find my feet with classes now at the new school. It seems that one of my s4 group are quite far ahead in the Settlement topic. I showed the class Charley goes to New Town last time we were together, and thought that this would be an excellent prompt for them to try a Planners of the Future activity from sln. As I'm just getting to know the group, it would let me get a further indication of how well they have understood the content so far, as the exercise demands a reasonable knowledge of site, situation, function, urban models and urban change. I would have liked to have tried this via sim city, but haven't checked if a) it's not filtered for students, and b) I'd have access to a suite, so we'll go for the paper version just now. I'll probably photograph some of the results, cross post here via posterous and ask for some comments from the class on each others work.
S3 presented back their river features last time, so I'd like to just firm up on some of this. Many groups started well, but forgot to mention river processes, so it's either this or this as a period starter, some teacher led explanations in the middle, and an adaptation of this at the end to review where we are at. I've also started one class on a wallwisher task which will provide a self sourced revision page. Looking forward to seeing how this develops over the week.
Finally, while still on wallwisher, I am starting the Japan topic with an S2 class tomorrow and I've produced a variation of the rainforest wall that was a successful tool with the S1 in my previous school. I also do a little basic Japanese and encourage the class to start our lessons with some Japanese greetings and set a family tree homework exercise using the Japanese name translator. Hoping this can then be displayed in the class.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Student Teachers


Categories: Urban, Rivers
Had a decent lesson with S3 this morning, where we started looking at river features in detail. I talked the class through both diagrams and explanation for the formation of a v-shaped valley. In an attempt to move away from relying on powerpoint and teacher talk too much, I then split up a number of river features among the class from upper course to lower and set a Student as Teacher activity. Students were given 15 minutes to research their given feature, and afterwards had to teach the class how to explain the formation. Certain rules were outlined. No group would be allowed to read directly from their notes. If any notes were taken to use during presentation, they had to be simple prompts. The groups would be given 3 minutes to present, 2 minutes to prep diagrams at the board, and one minute where they would be talking to the class. We then set up a random group picker to sort the order. Groups may or may not have to present. Although we never managed to hear the presentations, this is our starter for next period. Some groups were very worried about speaking to the class, and others about the time. I equated it to the exam, where students will only have a short time to organise their thoughts and will have a set time to get through the paper. We will be giving two stars and a wish after each group. I think some groups really seem to have grasped it, while others are naturally taking a little longer, but the class worked purposefully throughout and I'm looking forward to hearing their efforts.
With s4 (here in a few minutes, I'm planning a quick word association starter using classtools (all settlement topic terms/themes), looking at out of town developments, but might sneak Charley in New Town into the lesson, both the video above and a text version of the transcript. It will also help students re-examine reasons for inner city change as well as the reasons for new towns themselves.

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.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hello (Goodbye)

Categories: s1 and s2, Rivers, Urban
Whirlwind couple of weeks mean that I've not really had time to reflect on leaving one school to start in another. I should state on the record that my 7 years at St Ninians were a fantastic education as a teacher, and I feel very grateful to the students and the staff for making my time at the school so enjoyable. It's off to new pastures now as a Principal Teacher of Geography, but I already know that, while I am looking forward to the journey ahead, I have a lot of sadness about what I'm leaving behind too.
It's been straight back into work, and I expect the blog will be in regular use as I get to grips with the courses in my new school. Fortunately, some of my existing resources and lesson activities fit well. Tomorrow will be all about meeting the students, underlining what lies ahead this year and how we're going to get there. There will be a large chunk of the day devoted to recapping on what had been learned before the summer. I'll either use a revision quiz in teams or a walkabout talkabout exercise with 4D1 under the following headings:-
Growth of settlements
Order of service and sphere of influence
Function of settlement
Urban models & land uses
Urban problems
I'll try to bring a little bit of enquiry skills into the discussion that will hopefully ensue. It will feel strange teaching Standard Grade again after 7 years of Intermediate in s3 and s4.
With s3, it looks as though the class are in the process of learning about rivers. I have a little mapping from memory actvity, which will bring together river landscapes, enquiry skills and then some independent evaluations as to where certain land uses might be found. Also found a little bit of audio on the BBC website which might be useful. Second year start the session with an intro to Empty and Crowded lands, a little bit of video then a lot of classroom movement. I might then extend this out into a short exercise in literacy. This will precede introducing an investigation which students do as a major piece of homework. At the moment this is all written, but I see no reason why students couldn't be given an option on how to present their work as long as they are meeting the criteria. I'm a little apprehensive about a new set of students and a new school tomorrow, but it will also be nice to start teaching students after a combined 4 days of in-service between two schools! Now, when's that September break...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Glasgow Giant

I took a drive out to Clydebank today to visit the Titan Crane. Friends had visited and said that it was impressive and the views really appealed to me. I have to say that I found the visit quite sad, as the lone Crane in the wasteground symbolised the death of a place, a community that stood up to the bombs of the blitz, but couldn't compete with economic change.
Yet again, the Crane is seen as a beacon for the regeneration of the area, but it looks and sounds like that is stalling with government cuts. It was fascinating looking back up the Clyde to the heart of Glasgow, so much a product of the desolate giant and others like it that no longer stand. Looking out to the Firth, I saw a solitary ship coming up the river, but couldn't help imagine the thousands that made their transit the other way, gone like the people, jobs and houses that used to surround the Titan.

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