Thursday, 7 December 2006

Meeting with Wakefield Primary Geography Coordinators

I would like to say a big thank you to the 15 Wakefield Geography Coordinators who attended yesterdays meeting about school self evaluation and the use of the Primary Geography Quality Mark. The meeting was very enjoyable and people contributed with great enthusaism. It was good to catch up with so many friendly faces.

Looking ahead to the next meeting, on the afternoon of February 14th at Woolley Hall, teachers identified aspects of geography that they are working on now and things they would like to work on next. I thought I could share their ideas through this blog. There seems to be two core groups of interest - those who are focused on developing policy, reviewing schemes of work etc. and those who would like to focus more on cross-curricular approaches and making sure the curriculum is more creative and fun. These do not seem to me to be mutually exclusive and it would be good to try and think how these link together in our next session. If anyone would like to contribute to this discussion - please post your comments below.

What are you working on now?
Developing the use of the Outdoor classroom for KS1
Exciting ideas for IWB’s
How to record monitoring of planning & children’s learning
Review policy & SoW using PGQM – use key indicators to audit with members of staff
Build up appropriate resources
Finalising geog policy for amalgamated school & reviewing resources
Curriculum review – allocation/ re-allocation of topics and resources
Trying to give geography a higher status – reclaim it as part of a broad & balanced curriculum.
Make it fun & exciting.
Develop cross-curricular themes.
Promote Speaking & Listening, use more role-play
Free up time to spend on Geog.
Extend resources
A file of places to visit in Yorkshire
Review geog policy
Audit resources
Skills based learning
Develop a more creative/ cross-curricular approach in KS1
Raising standards & attainment (Core?)
Skills/ fieldwork
More flexible approach – linked to other subjects – making geog fun
Investigations in geog, higher order thinking, G & T in Geog

What are you keen to work on next?
An outdoor maths trail
Update policy
Monitor effectiveness of geography in school
Scrutiny of work + Lesson observations and evaluation
Develop a ` World Week’
Update resources and teaching materials
Develop local aspects of hist/ geog
Use school facilities to enhance geog curriculum
Cross- curric initiatives
Subscribe GA
Meetings with colleagues
- discuss/ develop geog teaching
- scrutinise & level work
X-curricular opportunities
Creativity theme weeks etc

Wednesday, 6 December 2006

Everyday Geographies

Over the last month I have been writing a contribution for the Primary Geography & ICT section of the Geography Teaching Today website - the full text should appear on the web in late December/ early January. I have become interested in thinking about how we use our everyday experience of the world to engage children in geographical learning. The following extract is a quote from the materials that will appear on the GTT website.

Everyday Geography
An exciting and meaningful debate is currently taking place within the geography community about whether we engage effectively with our own and children’s everyday experiences of the world. If you read Primary Geography (Autumn 2006) you might have seen Fran Martin’s article entitled `Everyday Geography’. I would like to use this article as a starting point for reflection on what we teach in primary geography and how we can make this more meaningful for pupils.

In the article, Fran describes an activity that she carries out with her students. This is something that you might want to try now:

`Sit and think for a moment.

If you remember the geography you were taught at school what comes to mind?

Now think about the geographical experiences you have in your everyday life.

How did your own experience compare with Fran’s?

How often do you start from either your own experience of the world or from the children’s direct experience of their world?

Find out more … If you are a member of the GA you will have the Autumn edition of the magazine in which the article appeared. When the full version of this distance learning material appears on the GTT website you should be able to download a pdf copy of the article from the web.

Saturday, 2 December 2006

New girl on the blogging block

I’d heard about blogs – I’d been to conferences where blogging had been a focus of particular lectures but I’d never really got into them. I had an idea that they were some kind of online diary – which is possibly true for some but not all

… and now I’m hooked

So what won me over?

Well first my colleague Nicky showed me how to create an account on – which is a free blog space. It was easy, instantly satisfying and I was inspired to want to create a blog of my own. Though not immediately clear what that blog should be or do.

Next I re-read Alan Parkinson’s article in Teaching Geography which helped me to understand a little more about what blogs are and how they can support geography. I then clicked onto his website:

and began to look at the recommended sites that Alan has included on his website.

I particularly liked:

Geography: My Place and Yours

… in which secondary head of geography, Val Vannett, talks to her students through her Blog.

I liked the personal and chatty style and the choice of activities/ places on the web that she suggests her pupils might undertake or visit.

I thought that many primary teachers would get lots of ideas for creative approaches to geography from this blogsite and that it might provide inspiration for things to try in a primary classroom.