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A weblog designed to share Geography resources with students and colleagues

Monday, January 24, 2011

Darfur and forced migration: For Holocaust Memorial Day

Categories: s1 and s2, Other
Our department is involved in commemorating the Holocaust this week. The theme we are working to is that of untold stories. I am working on ideas for two year groups at the moment. As a prelude, we spent quite a bit of time looking at the world surname profiler, which created a good discussion. It was interesting to take a name and strip it back. For example, we took 'Mill' and saw the strong Scottish origins of the name, particularly in the East, the spread to former colonies and English speaking countries and were able to suggest reasons for this spread. When we did the same thing for ethnic groups, Jewish ethnic concentrations still show up very high in Germany more than other European countries, which again might take explanation in light of the Holocaust.

For my S2 classes, although we have been studying earth forces, one element of the recent work on volcanoes has focused on people being displaced by these events, a good example of a forced migration. Using this as a start, we looked at reasons why people migrate. This was a simple lesson, made easy by the use of Noel Jenkins kinaesthetic activity here. I got quite a lot of unexpected reasoning here when I trialled it today. For instance, one of the boys had moved to an area where jobs were in short supply. He had moved from the town. When asked why, he reasoned that he could be retiring after working and wanted a peaceful, less crowded environment. This image below shows some of the other reasons that the class provided during and after the activity. We also marked whether the class believed these movements to be forced or voluntary. By complete chance, when we were talking about this, the topic of Jews in Nazi Germany was raised and allowed a good link to the theme we will be exploring next period, genocide.
When the class arrive next, we will be working on an activity which allows a reader multiple scenarios to choose from. We are not going to be looking at the holocaust for this, but a modern day reporting of a genocide in Darfur. I am going to begin the period with a recap of the previous lesson followed by a glimpse of the Darfur Wall. I want students to think what the numbers might represent, bearing in mind the theme. Clicking on these reveals a name of a sponsor, mostly American. Aside from acting on their conscience, I wonder how much the average donor knows about life choices that people have to make in these dreadful circumstances. Using examples taken from real people, I have been putting together an exercise which simulates some of the events along the actual timeline which might have triggered the movement of people to safety, further danger to their life or, in the worst scenarios, death:

Students will have to make choices at the end of each short paragraph which influences what they read next. I'm hoping that this illustrates some of the major obstacles presented to people in Darfur and how such hopeless situations can rapidly develop. The idea is taken from an old college lecturer who did domething similar around Kristalllnacht. When the class has finished the exercise we will have a plenary which will include introducing the students to the characters who make up the choices and are, fortunately, not a number on a wall. I've also considered using this No Comment TV clip and asking students to use the knowledge from the exercise to construct a newscast to time.

For S4, we are looking at it from another angle. Resentment is something which is easily stirred on the grounds of ethnicity and I want to look at the host nation. We had a great start to a discussion today when I asked the class to think for homework about the impact of a) losing immigrants for a day e.g. a mass pullout from society to show their worth, and b) a ban on immigration. For the former, one boy suggested he would be really affected at the weekend, as the transport he takes is likely to be driven by someone from, most probably, Eastern Europe. This led to discussion about why these jobs are the ones that migrants take, if it's good or bad that they do, an open and interesting discussion which challenged assumptions. In the next lesson, we will put the class in charge of immigration and present a number of potential immigrants. It will be interesting to see the initial reactions before building the scenario further. I would like to again, where possible use real examples by exploring potential backgrounds to the immigration taken from people fleeing from genocide in the past, again reaching the untold stories. More information about Holocaust Memorial Day can be found here.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Out with the old...

Think the old Munro calendar might just about form the basis of something with S3 tomorrow, as part of revising for the glaciation test; feature recognition, suitable land uses, limiting features of the landscape, map orientation using the images. It pays to be a hoarder...

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

The Impossible Egg

I'm going to use this as a lesson starter tomorrow with my S4 classes. We are looking at Tundra climate and quite a few large scale projects which at first glance seem impossible have been completed in such parts of the world.

I'm going to challenge a few people in the class to have a go at the task, show the solution and then relate this to how Tundra projects have coped with, for example, permafrost, earthquakes, threats to wildlife etc. Hopefully, we can draw quite a few of the solutions out before extracting them from our sources. After this, we can hopefully evaluate their successes.

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