Noticeboard - JULY

Welcome to the July noticeboard! This noticeboard will be continuously updated throughout the month, so make sure to check back to stay updated with everything that is going on in the Geography teacher community.

Tweet us @ECGeogNetwork

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Visit the Drive

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Our latest platform for the Early Careers Geography Network is Flipboard where we collate relevant Geography news stories. 

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View the Flipboard

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Constantine Raphael Georgiou - @Constant
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July welcomes 3 new Ambassadors to the Early Careers Geography Network; Lauren Cooper-Jones, Kodie Richards, Constantine Raphael Georgiou and Victoria McGowan. Make sure to follow them on Twitter to stay updated with their wonderful contributions to the Geography teacher community. 

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Mr Pérez

An Ode to the Whiteboard

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Hello fellow geographers!

My name is Abdurrahman Pérez and I’m Head of Geography at an academy in south-west London.

For me, the whiteboard which hangs at the front of most classes is one of the most important tools at your disposal (along with your visualiser, questioning techniques, etc…). Some of the things below sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many of those new to teaching either completely neglect it or use it simply as a place for the date to be written on and don’t use it to its full potential! 

Using your whiteboard allows you to be responsive and responsive teaching is great teaching. It means, say, being able to add certain keywords which students are struggling to spell or a great phrase a student has shared, but which were not on your PowerPoint presentation up on your interactive whiteboard. This answers the inevitable: “why can’t I just do all the below on my PPT?”; a fixed document just isn’t as flexible as we need to be when engaging in the complex process that is teaching and learning.

Here are 5 ways I use my whiteboard:

  1. Diagrams: Much has been written about the timeless benefits of storytelling (see, for example, Andy Tharby’s How to Explain Absolutely Anything to Absolutely Anyone) and using diagrams handwritten by you is a perfect way to accompany a story or a good explanation. I usually think of it this way – how else would I be able to teach about the multiplier effect without a diagram…? This applies to so many geography topics: I much prefer a bit of chalk (Maxiflo bullet tip) and talk when teaching about, say, the formation of headlands and bays than a lifeless, PPT-animation driven slideshow. For more on this, I highly recommend Mark’s take on the subject: https://teachreal.wordpress.com/2018/09/19/reclaiming-chalk-and-talk/

  2. Modelling: I know that this is usually the visualiser’s realm but (a) not all of us are lucky enough to own one and (b) the whiteboard can be more helpful for shorter bits of modelling, when going to your desk, sitting down and setting up would just slow things down. Modelling your thinking underneath an exam question, breaking down the meaning of a keyword and the thought-process behind how you remember its meaning (e.g. biodiversity), writing down a perfect sentence/paragraph and breaking down how it is great in different colours, etc… - the possibilities are endless! 

  3. Write the aims of the lesson: As I am big believer in sharing learning aims and the ‘bigger picture’ with pupils, I like displaying the aim of the lesson in the form of a question, e.g. What have been the impacts of migration on the growth and character of London?, nice and large on the whiteboard. This makes the purpose of the lesson abundantly clear and everything can then be linked to it via a simple arrow.

  4. “Thinking together” mindmaps: In my experience, the atmosphere of a class discussion and the drive to be engaged in a lesson completely changes when students realise that what they’re saying is being heard and acknowledged. Obviously we can ensure behaviour is good (so that that they’re heard), we can issue merits (so that they’re praised) or we can use bouncing questioning to build on a pupil’s response so they feel part of the learning process. These are all good techniques, but just the mere act of writing a student’s thoughts on the board as they speak is powerful. I’ve observed lessons where this doesn’t happen and, although this isn’t the sole determining factor leading to this, it certainly feels like the student thinking process is as follows: “Well, if it’s not being written on the board then it’s no good/doesn’t matter and therefore why should I bother to contribute?” This might seem extreme but not so much when we consider the opposite is nearly always true: next time you’re doing a class discussion, watch how the demeanour and attitude of the student whose point you just wrote on the board changes and how it encourages another pupil to raise their hand! Next time you’re doing feedback on the Do Now, spend about 5 minutes jotting down ideas – along with the discussion I’m sure you’ll be having – and just watch the impact.

  5. Articulate: this is simple one – at the end of lesson just as you’ve all packed up and having a few minutes to spare, have a pupil come up to the board and face the class. Write a key term above their head and get the class to give them clues until they guess it! The pupil with the “winning clue” comes up and the pupil who previously stood at the front writes a new keyword.

 

Top tips:

  • This mind sound super pedantic/boring but the board position is important. You’ve got to ensure it is visible to all (i.e. nothing obstructing the view or normal size handwriting is visible to the student at the back). Also consider your positioning when writing, as you want to be able to see pupils – even if out of the corner of your eye – when writing and don’t want to have your back facing them for too long (for obvious reasons…)

  • Another pedantic – nay geeky – one is your choice of pen. I know it sounds silly but I genuinely enjoy writing with a Maxiflo pen (bullet tip only for me!) and so I then do it more often!

 

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Top 5 podcasts:

  1. https://99percentinvisible.org/ - 99% Invisible: An incredible podcast for all things human geography: It’s great for A-Level (Changing Places and CUE especially) but also some ones which could apply to GCSE.

  2. https://open.spotify.com/show/2ZFDmgDS2Z6xccP51s1zFQ - Economist Radio: A brilliant way to get caught up world politics, economics, etc... I highly recommend this one!

  3. https://open.spotify.com/show/64cCsH4LCyO5U52xUU4Pax - The BBC World Service's 'The Documentary': Great mini audio documentaries - a recent one Africa-China relationships was great for CP and GSGG!

  4. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p029399x - BBC's The Inquiry: Another BBC production, this one explores questions from the recent news. 

  5. https://www.rgs.org/schools/teaching-resources/ask-the-expert-podcasts/ - Ask the Geographer: The RGS' podcasts bring the latest in geographical research to your classroom from a host of experts.

 

Top 5 websites:

  1. Our World in Data - https://ourworldindata.org/ - from country specific profiles to your ability to edit charts, this website is the ultimate source of data on almost anything you like! https://worldmapper.org/ provides a useful addition to this if you’re keen.

  2. Reddit’s ‘Map Porn’ and ‘Data is Beautiful’ subreddits - https://www.reddit.com/r/MapPorn/ & https://www.reddit.com/r/dataisbeautiful/ - not all of these are going to be relevant (obviously!) but another great source of potential figures in exams for you to analyse and "use your own knowledge" on!

  3. Guardian Cities: https://www.theguardian.com/cities - so much of our focus in human geography is around cities and urbanisation. This part of the Guardian website brings together all things urban!

  4. Google Timelapse: https://earthengine.google.com/timelapse/ - a stunning way to show your pupils change over time.

  5. IfItWereMyHome: https://www.ifitweremyhome.com/ - my go-to site when doing development. It really brings the topic to life for students and sparks some rich conversations.

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July CPD 

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Websites to Follow

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Geography TED Talks

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