Tag Archives: geography

Reblog piece from gasigict.wordpress.com – time out example

Teaching through the medium of #pop videos | gasigict

End of Year Quiz

I usually end the year with a quiz that I put together with links to topics studied, general knowledge and some news stories. This year I decided to produce a photo quiz based on our own school. It would link to geography and their knowledge of our own building with a final quirky round thrown in. The photo style drew a lot of the classes in and kept them busy. Below are some examples from the quiz:


The house system makes team selection easy.


For some classes this task involved a runner descending to the front of the grounds and back (we are on the second floor). One lad wanted to run off to gather information for the rest of the lesson.


One class was able to name the fuchsia rather than flower.


The EAL office poster was great as pupils read their own language or found it was not on the poster and expressed disappointment.


In recent years a number of murals have been painted in and outside the buildings. It was great to hear how the display was read.


As it says one of the new external murals.


The photos gave an opportunity to celebrate the work of different areas of the school.


Also the work of individuals and our high profile student leadership team.

What sort of quizzes do you use?

I have previously developed photo orienteering for Year 7 getting to know the school.

#gaconf13 part 2

Morning break and back to the balcony above the exhibition to share apps lists and refer interested parties to speak to Bob Lang about GIS. Caught up with Rob Morris (@lodgemeister) who’d spotted the tshirt earlier. Also caught up with Prffr David Lambert who’d tutored me on the MA at IoE 23 years ago.

My next workshop was Getting our geographers ready for tomorrow led by Becky, Beth and Emma from the secondary phase committee. I liked their ideas about looking forwards in activities, it matched ideas proposed by Dawn Hallybone in our Geografree Teachmeet takeover at Bett13.


Also met two guys from Essex who’d driven up that morning – possible TMEssex conscripts? Tony Cassidy introduced himself as sat at back of room so we met at last. Looking forward to his shared workshop later.

Made quite a few notes to go away with and also chatted about Solo and need to follow uplinks with Simon Renshaw. The careers cards from GA and RGS clearly have a longer term career link prior to options.

Off to lunch and found ourselves near the front1/3 of the queue which proved a great move after seeing how long the queue became later. Chat with a mix of people including meeting Richard Allaway at last. Then off to look around at least some of the exhibition and met up with Emma Rawling-Smith whose talk I hoped to attend at the end of the day.

The exhibition showed that those Icelandic tweets all week represented lots of trips on offer. Signed up to a range of information sources but I managed to limit myself to one box file of leaflets. Lots of sources I am already signed up to.

While browsing at the GA stand I spied a face that looked familiar. Could it be? So I asked are you Nigel? It was indeed – Nigel Bennett PGCE Leicester Uni 1987/88 with myself – one of a few who have kept in touch and there we were 25 years on still both teaching. Nostalgia ensued with memories of field trips to London Docklands and the Lake District. These linked to some pics I had rediscovered recently with our great tutor Patrick Bailey and the power of the chalk drawn diagrams we used to have to do to show ideas.

Fieldwork and the ranging poles.

Tutoring in field sketching – typical the physical geog/geol students taking photos of the human geographers in our territory.

The purpose of the diagram(one of my best ever) to show the group what the OS map information meant about our proposed walk up Scafell Pike the next day. That day will always live on in my memories and as Nigel said the risk assessment process today does not bear thinking about.

We set off together for the Pearson lecture by David Lambert. for two older guys we beat the lift on the stairs leaving many younger geographers in our wake. The lecture was essentially about how the GA and curriculum plans are achanging. Not for the first time in our careers. Essentially,a chance for geographers to mould what and how they teach so pupils gain a geographical core knowledge and include experiential skills as well. Time will always be a factor in this but it did clearly show how as a subject many ideas have been discussed and shared overtime putting us in a stronger position than other subjects in the curriculum.

Now for the IT based workshops with friends leading. Down the B block stairs 3 floors, over to the N block and up 4 flights of stairs ( ah this will explain weariness later). Workshop 20 App’ening geography led by Alan (@geoblogs) Parkinson and Katy Shipman. Earlier Alan had taken a pile of the apps sheets from our ICT stand and distributed the as part of this session. Some good background and resources were shared. It was interesting after spending a lot of time at Teachmeets how the baseline of app and mobile device experience in the session was lower than I had anticipated. Thanks to Alan for mentioning the overlap between the secondary committee and ICT group. I also made requests re. Teachmeet involvement (again!) and. Any Android or non Apple apps users to contact me so future GA lists could be more representative of the range of devices teachers may encounter. I encouraged people on my table to contact me so I could share geography app presentations used previously that included ideas suitable for primary and secondary use.

Suggested categories for app use – also see the apps list on the GA site ( newest list at conference not uploaded yet).

Now to zoom to the most anticipated meet up of my day. In between leaving files in rooms and retrieving my bag from downstairs another 8 flights of stairs and rest! Workshop 26 Two (hundred) heads are better than one: the power of collaboration led by Alan Parkinson, Tony Cassidy and John Sayers. Three names synonymous for those of us active online with outstanding contributions over a period of time. As the room started to fill it was initially the twitter collective very clearly. The presenters divided up their time. Alan led off, then Tony with a great pound land pedagogy activity and finally the resource table that others have pictured with John. What can I say? Inspired as always by three amazing and inspiring practitioners. Ideas galore and yes John could have presented for hours. Thank you gentlemen for a memorable session. We overran so a slower departure meant that Emma’s vignettes were missed but we waited around to see her after.

John, gave me a lift into the city centre, we found the Beermeet venue and I had one drink before the train. We met up with Angus Wilson,Nigel Bennett, Bob Lang and others arriving as I left. I tried blogging on the train but honestly brain and physically drained. Thank you to the GA for a grand day out. Surrey 2014 I need to be there and how do I book up to lead a workshop? Yes I am hooked.


So, Friday 5 April. The personal treat in the family holiday a visit to The Geographical Association’s annual conference (#gaconf13). My 25th year as a geographer yet my first conference – shhh almost sacrilegious but true. I’ve joined the ICT Special Interest group last year so have a role to drop off the revised Apps list that I updated in February and printed off 150 copies.

A family holiday near a conference, very suspicious but a cottage that we liked last year and an area with plenty still to visit and do. Today was my earliest rise to be on a cold single track station for the 07.40 train.


A good ride in, as a geographer it was interesting to see where the number of passengers increased the most (Belper and Duffield). Off at Derby and then locate the shuttle buses (coach) to the University venue. Some fellow badge wearers pointed its the green coach we’d walked past. On in time and we were off. Arriving and meeting old friends in the queue to collect the conference handbooks. Then off to the balcony and deposit the apps sheets I had stored at the side of the cottage all week.

Then a chance to slow, look around, get my bearings and the meetings begin – hi to friends and colleagues met previously. Then oh look over there is … As fellow tweeters were pointed out or spotted or my t- shirt ploy worked to show who I was. I gave the first round of talks a miss to stay at the stand and talk to visitors interested in apps or GIS who I would direct to more relevant members of our little team.

A conference is a new experience for me, I’m used to Teachmeets these days where presentation are far more rapid fire.The chance of overload was very probable.

In round 2 I attend the IT workshop I’d agreed to attend as a member of the IT group. Dr Ian Cook, Mary Biddulph and a gathering of PGCE students who introduced/ reviewed/ explained the site followthethings.com. the session was advertised as Teaching trade. I liked the site but was initially scared by the depth of information. Not KS3 or 4 friendly for many but then I discovered links to Mission Explore and the blog with examples of use.


Now here there were clear possibilities including the lego movies. I chatted with Ian about using the materials in co-construction lessons as explained by @headguruteacher on Twitter and through his blog, who I have the pleasure of hosting Teachmeet Essex with. Also where student leaders are encouraged to take learning responsibility in the classroom, as being developed at my current school. I also promoted the idea of. More geographers participating and sharing their practice at Teachmeets.

Keeping in touch globally

This week while teaching about flooding with Year 8 we’ve had more floods in the UK and in Queensland, Australia. So having promised the pupils to not teach out of date examples from texts how could we resource this?

UK- I have made extensive use of the BBC news links online and the Environment Agency’s Floodwatch. We used comparative screenshots over a two day period to show fluctuations in the flood warnings and linked snow melt reference was made to the make snowmen advice given and why this would slow the release of water back into the drainage basin.


Queensland – I follow a few locals on Twitter after last years floods around Brisbane and Toowumba. I use YouTube footage of Toowumba's "inland tsunami" to show the results of flash flooding. So I have information from the area.



Our lead Humanities TA (G. Conroy) also contacted a friend in Queensland and passed on some photos taken of the floods – just after discussions about the need for rain. Well after the bush fires affecting Australia that’s not surprising, but maybe not this much rain

These resources will be used to conclude the unit.




Department blog and trips


Linking the classroom to the web and preparing pupils for fieldwork. We have been visiting Tilbury power station for many years as a school. The changes it has undergone in recent years has kept the trip fresh for staff and provided a different perspective for pupils.

In the last three years we have seen security changes in line with the protests held in Kent about proposed new stations. Then the proposal to change fuel from coal to gas and now the transformation that we witnessed last year, a biomass powered plant.

Is it a possible visit for you?

Also a chance to develop the use of our new departmental blog.

Natural disaster, twitter and Flipboard

Wednesday 11 April travelling to see my parents. I was on return leg drive so had a look at twitter – an 8.9 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Banda Aceh (site of 2004 tsunami). My alert system as a geographer switched in and I spent the rest of the journey reading retweets and following new tweeters across SE Asia. The news came from several directions, points were duplicated and as I had done during the Japan March 2011 I retweeted, followed new sources and saw how the situation developed. Two days later I am still following up links from geological reports on what occurred and the good news that lives were not at risk this time as they were in 2004.

Flipboard is an accumulator / magazine format in which I can look back at my tweets in an easy to read way. MY next task to go back and follow the links to develop notes to use in my teaching about such events in the future. Thursday, in The Times, my daily paper – no mention of this frantic episode at all!


Socks extends his portfolio

After some chats on Twitter yesterday about the use of sock puppets and puppet pals apps from the Apple store I found myself revisiting the idea of how the idea could be used more in my main subject of geography.

Both videos created: longshore drift and Introduction to Italy were uploaded to my bpictac YouTube channel (link to follow).



Global warming and geography

Global warming -a topic that we revisit frequently but do so in a manner that acknowledges that there is a broad range of scientific interpretations. Al Gore’s previous material released to schools was followed by warnings about delivering in an open framework where views were shown to differ. So as I approached a lesson yesterday what new resources could I include?

NASA’s Earth Now app for the iphone allows images with upto date data to show images of data on the earth and a good discussion point when projected via VGA from the iPad.


Ok so now I want to look at how temperatures may have changed over time so I use the Just Science app in different ways with different groups. With some I let the animation play, then discuss what the pupils have seen. In another we look at intervals of 50 years and predict what differences we may see 50 years hence. Differentiation and good discussion starters.


Combine these with diagrams I build up with the class within my ActivInspire software I have a lesson that uses a range of resources that are visually stimulating,discussion is provoked and an interest in data and it’s uses. This is so much easier than when I. Used to hand. Draw diagrams on a chalkboard !!!

Apps for geography


Comic Life as a vehicle for narrative about events or handbooks. An app that needs initial investment but includes planning skills, design, drafting, image editing – I look forward to suggesting it until such a day as devices used commonly in our school.


NASA Viz a great source for outstanding satellite imagery – a dream resource for many years.

More to follow in future posts. All comments gratefully received.