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!

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Back to Blog

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>Back to Blog

‘Hey! Long-time no see…’ Yes, it’s been a while since I have blogged anything of any substance. Like for all you all, it’s been a crazy year of educational changes, long hours and hard-work…and I let the blogging slip! Whoops…

Well, like Dr Who, it was time for change on the look of miketidd.com too! The old style blog was looking its age and it needed being regenerated, hope you like the new look – any feedback is greatly appreciated!

I am still Head of Geography at Gillingham School in North Dorset. This was my fourth year here and the time has flown with all the educational changes. During the last four years the department and I have surfed the GCSE and A ‘Level changes introduced back in September 2009. We have revolutionised Key Stage 3 rebranding Geography at Gillingham as the most innovative and creative subject the school has to offer. Results have improved in both GCSE and AS and A2 with new subject best yet records!

Back to Blog

This past year has been no different with Michael Gove introducing further amendments to GCSEs back in September and again for 2015. There have been announcements for A ‘Level changes in September 2013 and now a new National Curriculum for 2015. Exciting and trying times at the same time. The issue for me is there doesn’t seem to be a time to reflect or converse with those at the top to help shape the future of education – are we always doing the right thing for the children?

I will be celebrating ten years as a teacher at the end of July – is the future bright and positive for teachers? I still believe it is! We are the ones who are in charge. The Minister of Education will change. The Government will change. We are the only mainstay. As long as there are innovative and creative teachers (and there are lots of you out there) education will continue to flourish. I will be writing and tweeting (@tiddtalk) all the good things that are happening around the world. All comments are greatly received via the blog or twitter (@tiddtalk).

Keep up the good work folks : )

TeachMeet Dorset

TeachMeet Dorset

Yes, it’s coming – TeachMeet Dorset is coming to Gillingham School! I encourage everyone of you to try and come – Thursday 16th May. To sign up for TeachMeet Dorset please click here.

Every since I went to my first ever TeachMeet down on the Isle of Portland back in November, I have been very keen to bring it to my school. At the time I was a TeachMeet Virgin (!) and only knew about the events through reading about them on blogs or via twitter. I didn’t really know what to expect. Luckily, Gary Spracklen (@Nelkcarps), who organised this event, was very welcoming and a great host. I was very impressed by the opportunity to share teaching ideas and a chance to meet other teachers from other schools.

This year event is being organised by myself and Gary Spracklen (@Nelkcarps) of IPACA, Director of Digital Learning and Innovation and South West Digital Educator of the Year (2012).

So what is TeachMeet?

TeachMeet Dorset

Learn something new, be amazed, amused and enthused. This is an informal gathering of those curious about teaching and learning. Anyone can share great ideas they’ve trialled in their classrooms, ask important questions or simply sign up to take part in learning conversations. Education professionals from all sectors are welcome to take part.

The main part of TeachMeet is hearing stories about learning, from teachers. This is not an event to present about a product or theory – this is a chance for teachers from all types of establishments to hear ideas from each other. Real narratives of practice that make a difference. It is about being engaged and inspired by our immediate colleagues and a whole bucket load of networking to boot!

Please do get in touch if you have any questions or wish to help sponsor the event. For directions to the event please click here. If you are having trouble editing the wiki then just email me at mtidd@gillingham-dorset.co.uk or via twitter @tiddtalk and I will add you to the list. For further details of TeachMeet Dorset click here. I look forward to seeing some of you there!

TeachMeet Virgin

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Teachmeet Virgin

As promised, I am keeping you up-to-date with the going ons in my life as a teacher. Back in November, Ollie Bray, one time fellow geographer at Plymouth University, sent out a tweet to me about a TeachMeet taking place down on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, TeachMeet Dorset. I had heard of TeachMeet but have never had the pleasure or nerves (!) to attend.

TeachMeet Virgin

Well, after a few minutes of deliberating I decided if I was going to go to any TeachMeet my first one had to be within the county I teach. I signed up on the TeachMeet website and bravely decided I would present too. I had a couple of weeks to work out what I was going to present to other teachers from Dorset. I contacted the organiser of the TeachMeet Dorset, Gary Spracklen of Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy (IPACA) and South West Teacher of the Year, to volunteer my services as a speaker.

After a night of thinking I came up with the idea of 25 Ideas in 7 Minutes. A fool hardy challenge but all I could feel was excitement! TeachMeet was something I have wanted to be involved in for a long time. I couldn’t wait to get there. I persuaded my good friend Nick Hargreaves of Radipole Primary School to attend so I at least had one member of the audience I would know!

So what is a TeachMeet? TeachMeet is an organised but informal meeting (in the style of an unconference) for teachers to share good practice, practical innovations and personal insights in teaching with technology. These events are often organised to coincide with other educational events like the Scottish Learning Festival and the British Educational Technology and Training Show BETT.

Teachmmeet 1

Participants volunteer (via the TeachMeet website) to demonstrate good practice they’ve delivered over the past year, or discuss a product that enhances classroom practice. TeachMeet events are open to all and do not charge an entry fee.

I really like the idea that you are limited to only speaking for seven minutes which is a great way to keep things moving and interesting.

TeachMeet Dorset was a brilliant event. I had no reason to be nervous or worried. Everyone was lovely and wanted to develop as educators. It was great to hear lots of expert advice and ideas shared in a lovely informal environment. Gary Spraklen was an energetic speaker who did a fantastic task of organising the event who made everyone welcome.

Will I go to another TeachMeet? Yes! TeachMeets are an amzing opportunity to develop and share ideas. Later this year I shall be going to TeachMeet Pompey on 6th March. This event is organised by Dave Rogers, a brillaint geography teacher down in Portsmouth. I am very excited about attending my second TeachMeet so soon!

Would I organise a TeachMeet? Yes! Myself and Gary Spracklen have started talking about bringing TeachMeet to North Dorset to my school – a seed has been planted and I’m really looking forward to seeing it at Gillingham School!

TeachMeet Virgin

Hello 2013…I’m back!

Image

Well, that was 2012 and now we here in 2013. Over the last few months I haven’t had much opportunity to write for my blog. This does not mean I have been sitting back resting on my laurels though! I will of course be updating you all on what has been happening over the last few months in my world of education. By July this year I will have completed ten years as a teacher (!) – Where did all that time go? I will be looking back on the highs and lows, and looking towards the future.

So 2013, what will the year be offering Mike Tidd and the world of education? Here are a few of the topics and issues I shall be looking at over the next few weeks:

  • TeachMeet Dorset – I attended my first TeachMeet and now want to organise my own
  • Michael Gove’s education changes and the challenges ahead
  • The role of new technology in my classroom and using it!
  • Geography as a leading subject in teaching
  • Freebies – teaching ideas don’t have to cost money or use technology
  • Fieldwork opportunities for students
  • What now for a ‘new’ teacher?
  • My ‘education revolution’
  • New horizons for teaching and myself

I hope you will all continue to follow me on my journey through teaching. Thank you to everyone who reads my thoughts and opinions and to those who make comments on the blog. Thank you!

KS3 Geography Overhaul

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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*
  • Olympics
  • 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 eight 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!

Winter Review: Busy term…again!

The past term has flown at such an accelerated rate .– I have found that every year seems to go faster and faster – no slowing down in the world of geography! At Gillingham School we always endeavor to do the best for our students and are always willing to try out new ideas to improve their knowledge and independent learning.

  • Key Stage 3

We have looked at all our Key Stage 3 lessons seeing where we can make improvements and implementing 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, seen below, 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

Year
7

Year
8

Year
9

  • Rainforest
  • Mapwork
  • Hazards 1 – volcanoes & earthquakes
  • Crime
  • Olympics
  • Tribes & Cultures
  • Population
  • Geographical research
  • Deserts
  • Shanty towns
  • Rivers
  • Feeding the world
  • Hazards 2 – extreme weather
  • Energy
  • Ice Age
  • Geographical research
  • Hazards        3 – tsunami
  • Why is Africa disconnected?
  • Climate change
  • Chindia
  • Coral reefs
  • Waste
  • Coasts
  • Geographical research
  • Stourhead
  • School based fieldwork
  • Disaster Management Day
  • School based fieldwork
  •  Brecon Beacons
  •  School based fieldwork

We must not forget that 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.

  • Barcelona Fieldtrip

The Barcelona AS Geography Fieldtrip took place between Monday 28th November – Friday 2nd December. The students gained a great deal from this fieldwork and the experiences and lessons learned from it are now examined in a unit worth 40% of their final AS grade. In total we took 57 Year 12 students who worked brilliantly throughout the five days out there – well done to all of you!

The trip focused on two topics – Extreme Weather and Rebranding. For extreme weather we looked at a dry river valley that experiences flash flooding in the Riera de Ribes region outside Sitges, thirty minutes south of Barcelona. For the past three years I have never seen any rain in this region but three weeks before we left they did have an extreme flash flood go through the area.

For rebranding we looked at two locations; El Ravel in Barcelona and the Priorat region. El Ravel is an area that is being rebranded with some flagship projects; the Rambla del El Ravel, the Barcelo 4* hotel, the Museum of Contemporary Arts and the university. Our student were investigating whether or not these flagship development projects had been a success of not.

The Priorat region is 120km south of Barcelona, a place depopulation due to tourism and an economic downturn in agriculture has afflicted the area. In recent years the region has been a world known wine growing part of Spain where many international wine awards have been won. Once again our students where looking at the success of this project on a poor area of Spain.

One again I would like to congratulate the students for their hard work and dedication this term – and especially to Andy, Lizzy, Mike, Adam and Emma who helped run the trip.

  • A’ Level Geography Blog

In the past week my fellow geographer, Adam Bettiss, has developed and put together two blogs for our A’Level classes; one focusing on the Year 13 unit of Life on the Margins and a case study blog for our Year 12 students. The great thing with both is that the students have control of what goes on the blog from their findings. This has been a great success and introduced students and staff (!) to the world of blogging – great stuff!

There has of course been the general day-to-day teaching which is where the real learning takes place – I have thoroughly enjoyed this term and the great work that the Geography Department have produced, well done to you all and have a fantastic Christmas.