Geography Revolution

The primary target for improvement this year revolves around teaching & learning within Geography. We are proud of Geography’s achievements over the years at Gillingham School but we do not want to be complacent. We must focus on our own teaching and how the students learn. As a Department we want to teach the best we can and we are looking at Key Stage 3 lessons seeing where we can make improvements and implementing new teaching strategies. We must 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

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
  • 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
  • Brecon Beacons

 

With the new curriculum at Key Stage 4 and 5, Key Stage 3 is a priority this year. 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. 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. I will keep you all posted how our plans, successes and failures go as the year goes on. 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!

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Curriculum Changes

With an ever changing world, it is time for our geography curriculum to change. Since joining Gillingham School in September 2009, we have rewritten the GCSE course and made amendments to our A’Level course. Now that they are finally written, we have turned our attention to Key Stage 3.

Key Stage 3 is the building block of geography in every secondary school. It is where some students are only just learning the subject for the first time and building upon the foundations of their learning at KS2. We are turning KS3 upside down on its head at Gillingham School and shaking it for the first time in several years. We already have a very large uptake at GCSE and the students enjoy their lessons. We feel that it is time for a change, to gain the skills and knowledge required at KS4 and beyond, a new layout must be put in place.

Currently we teach five/six topics across each year. With students being more interactive and demand for knowledge, we have decided to go for a format of eight separate topics of eight lessons each. We currently teach four lessons over a two week timetable. This means topics will interchange at a fast rate, we won’t get bogged down in one topic and it keeps it exciting for students.

It also means we can dip out of the curriculum when we need to – eight topics x four weeks = 32 weeks out of 39 teaching weeks. When there are world events like the current crisis in Japan we can take time out to look at them and improve the students’ knowledge.

The only problem is, what topics do we teach?

This week we have been looking at our current topics and deciding on what we each would like individually to teach if we had a clean slate. Our next meeting together we will be looking at all our choices and formulating a new curriculum – exciting times! The themes have ranged from traditional geography like settlement and population to new ideas like tribes, cultures and why Africa is disconnected?

The new system will also allow us to look at events such Fairtrade Fortnight, World Aids Day, Geography Awareness Week without the worry of time. I will keep you all up to date with our progress and choices. All suggestions greatly received.