Costa Coffee

Costa Coffee

Costa Coffee

For those that know me, I do like my coffee – especially on a lazy weekend catching up with friends and family. I recently got contacted by Costa Coffee regarding their Costa for Schools resources. I am a big fan of their coffee but had never looked or knew about their school resources.

Costa for Schools is a comprehensive human and physical Geography resource for students aged 11-14. It explores coffee-growing communities around the world and how the coffee trade affects their lives. These are great education resources and they are free – great for those magpie geographers out there!

Currently, there are three lesson plans that can be used flexibly over an individual lesson or over three lessons to build on previous knowledge. No doubt Costa for Schools will be expanding these resources over time.

They cover key aspects of the Geography curriculum at KS3, including:
•Space
•Interdependence
•Cultural understanding and diversity
•Graphicacy

For my school, they would add a great resource to our Year 9 unit; ‘Why is Africa Disconnected?’ Along with these lesson plans there are a wide range of case studies (Costa Rica, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Colombia, Uganda, Vietnam, Honduras and Peru) that could be incorporated in your lessons. For more information please follow this link to the Costa for Schools website.

Teaching is Cool!

Teaching is Cool! 2

Teaching is Cool!

‘It isn’t what you say that defines you but what you do’

These are the wise words of Batman that every aspirational teacher should know.

Teaching is a popular profession for many graduates. Last year over 16, 000 people completed a secondary PGCE. The number of graduates completing PGCE’s has steadily risen over the last few years. It is a role that people find exciting, challenging and extremely stimulating. It is a profession where we are able to move people forward in their aspirations and assist their learning.

Unfortunately, I was sad to read last year that the number of teacher training places at universities and colleges is to be cut by one fifth. The Coalition wants more teachers to learn their skills on the job in schools rather than in training colleges. Now I agree that we should have more on the job training – it’s where I learnt my skills and it was where I did most of my learning– but fewer teachers and training opportunities? Universities and teaching colleges offer fantastic teaching expertise and facilities that should be further funded. This maybe in response to subject demand but I am sure we will need teachers in the future and these cuts maybe putting off hundreds of potential brilliant teachers.

Teaching is Cool!

Nicholas Hargreaves of Radipole School, Weymouth says, ‘teaching is a wonderful career choice for anyone. From a young age several teachers and friends helped and encouraged me to aspire to become a teacher. To provide young minds with the knowledge, skills and passion to take control of their lives and become the experts of tomorrow. Personally it has given me the chance to inspire young people with my knowledge and expertise. Working with a group of like-minded teachers and young people is extremely inspirational. It is a role I have always been determined to succeed in and work hard for.’

The role teachers’ play in their local community is also central to a student’s development. Schools’ and communities must work collaboratively together for an area to benefit. Economic investment is a necessity with schools. Schools are the training ground for our future generations and they need to be at the forefront of technology for our young learners with the very best facilities for them to achieve their potential. The local community and schools’ must be incorporated into working together to create an ethos of self belief and to achieving their personal best. The community must be involved in their local schools creating community centres, so local people can benefit from the facilities and technology a school has. A community that sees the benefit of an education can help generate our leaders of tomorrow but they must work in partnership with the local schools. We as teachers are the facilitator of this role and can help enrich a wide variety of lives in the process. Working with the local community to enhance the school ethos and help an area develop.

Russell Wait, Curriculum Leader of Global Studies at Cove School, Hampshire; ‘I was inspired by my secondary school Headteacher who encouraged me from the tender age of 12 to reach my aspirations and goals. I find that teaching is an ever-changing occupation that keeps you on your toes. To teach the future generation of Britain with a passionate voice can create change and can only be a benefit for the country’.

Many professionals from industry are turning to a career in teaching because of the many benefits the role brings. They bring with them a vast range of experiences from industry that can only enhance the profession. Experience from outside the classroom and shared with the students is vital. Young people do need to have role models and even though they sometimes might not want to admit it, teachers are a very important one. It is very clear that many people want to train as teachers but cannot afford to take a whole year off for training. With the recent credit crisis it is understandable, but it does show that people do want to be teachers.

With this in mind, young people choosing to become a teacher may not get a job at the end of their training. If the government get their way we will all be working till at least sixty-eight – where is the opportunity for the young, fresh and talented teachers? We need teachers, inspirational teachers with new ideas and outlooks. Choose teaching – be a teacher!

New KS3 NC

New KS3 NC

New KS3 NC

Before Michael Gove made his ‘big’ announcement regarding the National Curriculum changes we had been looking at how we were going to improve geography at Gillingham School at Key Stage 3. For the last year our primary target for improvement has revolved around teaching & learning within Geography. We have spent the last year looking at our Key Stage 3 lessons seeing where we can make improvements and implement new teaching strategies. We have been trying to make the teaching experience more personal for the students and improve their independent study skills. This is being developed from KS3 onwards and carried on into KS4 and KS5.

The curriculum map we have designed is set in a specific way. Most importantly it allows students to follow a natural progression building up skills and using them in a number of different ways. The progression also leads through to Key Stage 5. We are aiming to promote progression in a number of ways;

  • Depth of knowledge
  • Breadth of study
  • Complexity of concepts
  • Independent learning and research
  • An increase in spatial scale

Progression is mainly achieved through deeper understanding and increasing complexity of tasks. There is also a broadening of the breadth of study. More explicitly we are looking at increasing spatial scale, increasing awareness of society, economy and the environment. Work is currently being undertaken to ensure that there is smooth progression from KS2 to KS3 and also from KS4 to KS 5.

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

  • Rainforest
  • Map work*
  • Tribes & Cultures
  • Crime
  • Hazards 1 – volcanoes & earthquakes*
  • Olympic Legacy
  • Population
  • Rivers*
  • Feeding the World
  • Ice Age
  • Energy
  • Antarctica research*
  • Hazards 2 – extreme weather
  • Deserts
  • Why is Africa disconnected?*
  • Coral Reefs
  • Sustainability
  • Hazards 3 – tsunami
  • Climate change*
  • Coasts
  • China
  • Stourhead
  • Buy a rainforest
  • Disaster Management Day
  • World Food Day
  • Fairtrade Fortnight
  • Brecon Beacons
  • Oxfam Unwrapped
  • World AIDS Day

*Levelled assessed piece of work

KS3 is the building blocks of a successful education. Key Stage 3 can be sometimes be forgotten about in this world of examinations at KS4 and 5. The young students at KS3 need the skills and knowledge to help them in their later geography education. We are currently devising seven topics containing eight lessons for each year group. This would enable free time for us to look at world events that take place i.e. Geography Awareness Week, Fairtrade Fortnight, Japanese earthquake etc. This new format and the topics decided upon can be seen in the table above.

We are entering a very exciting time at Gillingham School where we are creating an innovative and inspirational curriculum for our students. There have been some rollercoaster moments but none which were unexpected. My department has been working really hard on these lessons and I am 100% happy with what has been planned so far – well done team, you have been brilliant!

Movie Magic

Movie Magic 1

Back in January 2010 I wrote about hoe films can enhance a teachers lesson on my blog and for Sec-Ed in April 2009. I have always been using documentaries and footage from DVDs and videos in my lessons. It got my mind racing on different aspects of films that could be shown to pupils within different subject areas. I soon realised that films could enhance and develop a pupils learning and encourage them to be life long learners.

Films can enhance a lesson and excite a young mind with their powerful and thought-provoking subject matter. My good friend from my Southampton University days, Dr. Pietari Kaapa of the University of Helsinki, has stated that, ‘cinema as both a popular form of entertainment and a means of artistic and political expression, is a crucial area of classroom teaching. The pedagogical potential of film provides an immediate and invigorating addition to established lesson plans, while the history of the medium and its contextual socio-cultural relevance function as sources of study in their own right.’

As a Geography Teacher I have used a wide variety of different films to help show and back up key terminology or sometimes complex geographical features. The world today has created a generation of young people with very active minds. The days of a teacher in a classroom talking for 50 minutes are long gone and would not generate much enthusiasm from today’s young learners. Interaction and variety is what is needed to engage learners and film is one medium that can grip a young person’s attention. Film can enthuse and generate much debate and help a learner.

Pupils are requested to use and take part in different types of media within their learning from the National Curriculum. Films like music should be encouraged to be used within the classroom. My good friend and former flatmate, Nick Hargreaves, of Radipole Primary School in Weymouth, Dorset, believes that ‘films are a really valid text as much as books. With the National Curriculum we have to look at various types of media within a child’s learning and film is one way.’

‘Films are not always easy to understand and it does take time sometimes for a young learner to fully understand the complexities of a film like the music changing in relation to the mood of the film.’ As we are aware there are three types of learners; visual, auditory and kinesthetic. A film is one medium that incorporates all three learning styles and can hold the attention and pass on knowledge and understanding to all three main learning styles. Nick Hargreaves says ‘film takes into account how a learner learns…it attracts the three main types of learners and engages all of them in one sitting. It reaches out to all target levels especially boys’.

I remember reading Great Expectations at school and found watching the David Lean adaption a much-needed guiding hand when it came to revising for the GCSE. A film may not always be true or correct, but in the right hands, us as teachers, we can filter out the bad and use the great pieces of film there is out there waiting to be used. I would really like to know what films you use in the classroom – do you have a ‘Top Ten Movie List’? Please send in your comments via the comment box below or by twitter @tiddtalk – I look forward to reading your choices!

geogonthespot

geogonthespot

geogonthespot

Former colleague and NQT Amber Moore has recently started her own blog on the adventures of being a Geography NQT. The new blog is entitled geogonthespot! Amber recently returned to Gillingham School, after completing her PGCE at Plymouth University, to observe some KS5 lessons and help out on our Stourhead Orienteering Year 7 fieldtrip.

Amber will be completing her NQT year at Avon Valley School in Wiltshire. You can view her blog here or follow her on twitter @AmberKatja

Good luck with your NQT year Amber!

Well Done OB!

Well done OB! 1

Well done OB!

My good friend, Ollie Bray, has achieved his life long dream of becoming a Head Teacher at Kingussie School in Scotland. I have known Ollie since our university days in Plymouth and he was always driven to succeed. He is one of the UK’s leading educators on new technologies within the classroom. His blog, olliebray.com, is always high on my list of blogs to read. It is a fantastic achievement for all the hard work he has been doing over the last twelve years. I remember sitting in a pub in Plymouth, back in 1999, asking him about his future plans. Teaching was firmly on the agenda after his year working in the Cairngorms as an outdoor instructor. From that conversation I started to seriously consider teaching as a future career choice (its all your fault Ollie!)

I am really looking forward to hearing about Ollie’s adventures and futures successes! Well done Ollie – it’s a fantastic achievement!

Mini Motivators

Mini Motivators

Mini 1

Back in November 2012, Ollie Bray tweeted me a link and planted a seed (!) to go and present at TeachMeet Dorset down on the Isle of Portland. The TeachMeet was being organised by Gary Spracklen of IPACA. I duly made the long journey down on a cold wet evening taking my good friend Nick Hargreaves of Radipole School for company. A seed was indeed planted as I came back to school the next day talking enthusiastically to Mark Lavis, my Deputy Headteacher and fellow geographer, about the evening. In February, Gillingham School hosted its own inhouse training day where Heads of Department were given five minutes to share good practice. I had the task of Mini Motivators and I thought I would share my ideas with you.

Post – it Notes

Mini Motivators

I am an addict for using post-it notes in my lessons! I find them a great resource as a starter or plenary to find out what my students understand, know or what to ask. The example above is from my Year 7 class who had the question, ‘What do you know about earthquakes?’, nothing more or less. They had two minutes to write down their ideas and come up and stick their note on the board. It also gives them a chance to get out of their seats as well.

I love reading out their answers – they know than you think! I have been using it a lot with my GCSE classes for keywords and connectives for exam questions on what they need to include in an answer.

Socrative

Mini Motivators

Socrative is fun interactive game using mobile phones – I can hear the groans and panic from some corners. I do believe mobile phones will become common place in teaching. There are so many great ideas and opportunities that can be ultilised with a mobile phone and it would be foolish to discount them as a teaching resource. I use them quite a bit with my A ‘Level classes and they really enjoy the interactive opportunities it delivers.

I have been trialling a brilliant smart student response system that empowers teachers to engage their classrooms through a series of educational exercises and games via smartphones, laptops, and tablets. This particular one is called Socrative. I have to admit it is a fantastic resource for all teachers of all subjects.

Socrative is very easy to use and takes only two minutes to set yourself up on it. You can import exercises and games or create your own. The only details they require are that you are a teacher, your school name and your email address.

The apps are super simple and take seconds to login. Teachers login through their device and select an activity which controls the flow of questions and games. Students simply login with their device and interact real time with the content. The quizzes range from multiple choice questions, true or false responses or shoprt answers. The class gets instant answers and explanations on what they have inputed.

Student responses are visually represented for multiple choice, true/false and Short Answer questions. For pre-planned activities a teacher can view reports online as a google spreadsheet or as an emailed Excel file.

As they leave you could check on on your students’ understanding as they are able to leave a message on what they have learnt today and what they need to learn. Gather responses on their comfort with the material as well as answers to questions you create in real time or prepare before class.

The best thing about Socrative is that there is no exchange of personal information (such as mobile numbers) between the class or the teacher. When the class log in via the web address below, which is different to the teachers, the only thing they need is the room number, such as 12345, the quiz will start on their mobile phone. The results will appear on their mobile phone instantly, and the teacher can see the whole class response (not individuals).

To sign up http://m.socrative.com/lecturer/#register

For teacher login http://m.socrative.com/lecturer/#lecturerLogin

For student login http://m.socrative.com/student/#joinRoom

I would thoroughly recommend looking at Socrative, it would be a brilliant starter or plenary. Plus, you might want to check with your Headteacher and the whole school policy on mobile phones!

Twitter

Mini Motivators

I am a huge fan of Twitter as an education resource. For me it is the best CPD available. I haven’t ventured into using it my classes yet with my classes, but I know lots of you that do! I do use the concept of twitter for some of my plenaries where they have to write an answer or sum up their learning in 140 characters – harder than you think!

Random Name Generator

Mini Motivators

When I asked questions in class I always got the same students putting their hands up. I decided this had to stop, so I now use a random name generator. There are loads out there on the web for ‘free’. This one for example is from Teach-ICT.com.

Taboo

Mini Motivators

Using games in learning is great way to engage all students. Taboo is great for getting students to describe and think about key terms, people or case studies. They might not be able to use certain terms or words. They might have to guess what’s written on the post-it note. There are lots of opportunities with taboo. As you can see from the photo you can have lots of fun with your work colleagues too!