Thursday, 17 November 2011

Daily Reading

As a Teacher I feel that it is important that I read up on my subject area of geography. In order to get a grasp of current affairs in the changing nature of how humans live their lives (human geography) and how the physical and natural world (physical) evolve and shape our planet to recurring and new issues and how we impact upon it to damage or repair it (environmental). I can gain an appreciation for this with the ever developing GIS to help me visually see changes and current / past trends/anomalies.

BUT how many teachers like myself have wanted to open the lesson up to students for a discussion on a topic and got blank faces back?

How many have had students utter the words 'I couldn't / can't find anything?'

Well I've taken it upon myself to train students to do a daily dose of reading into the world we live in. This sounds a vast concept and my initial effort / got a little confusing after 2 weeks when students said

'Sir you said look on that site but there was loads of stuff we're not doing, so I couldn't find anything on our topic'

My response naturally wasn't oh that is ok but to challenge 'why wasn't the other topics relevant? Can they be related in anyway? Examine a word mat and see if any reoccurring geography terms appear that could link it to your topic. Categorise aspects - human, physical, environmental geography. Produce a ringed linking diagram to see if any overlap.. Etc

Anyway I evolved this to include twitter and added a hashtag to a tweet and add the blog link e.g #llobgeo7 indicating the tweet related to year 7 and when they clicked on the hyperlink they were taken to the correct page. This worked better BUT hashtags only last a week so via twitter that link would be lost and if a student missed it they would have to come back to me about it.

ANYWAY so to my current evolution. I've seized to add tweets or so many to my unofficial geography twitter account other than to link students to a specific topic of reading materials that focus students reading but actually allow overlap occasionally but also open up students to select additional interest reading into topics they might not be learning about currently but like I said have an interest in.
Another reason why I changed it to a single site for students is to limit them getting lost. More than 2 clicks and the student is struggling or capable of getting lost in their research.

The sites I've developed are as follows then i'll go into my reading technique each morning and night and which I expect students to do for 20 minutes each day and to eventually to take ownership of and to build up the extensive reading material as they home the technique to suit them for geography and other subjects to make them well oiled research learners.

The sites may look long to type in but they are quite obvious titles for the students and I haven't had snubbed come to me saying they couldn't find it.
The tnl one is there for tools as I find them that students should experiment with and other teachers as well.


Each morning I come downstairs with my iPad and I search the following sites to see if any obvious geography has occurred. I say that as geography is everything we do and get involved in and the future but for school curriculums and old fashioned core topics what current news would fit.

1. The BBC app. I search the headlines, world, uk, England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, science and nature, technology, health sections and then tweet to #geographyteacher so that I can come back to it and news blog later that day on. I also do this for other teachers of geography if they don't have time to read up in depth different sites so that they can have a quicker reading experience.

2. I go to sky news app and do the same

3. I go to google news and repeat the procedure. I love this site as it reviews lots of papers into a similar theme of story. This is a great site to get students to read in greater depth on a news story that crops up that is relevant for say a case study. Google news also creates a nice line graph which highlights stories that most journalists have covered on a particular search that you have conducted or around a similar theme to that written about on that day that has caught your eye. It can help give students a quick evaluation form as to what might be worth reading and what not Alternatively topsy turvy it and why is one article less popular? has it been written badly and so the message hasn't been portrayed well? How could the students make it stand out more? could it be the headline or the bulk of the story or the imagery used?

4. Personalised research news apps like Zite. This app is excellent as it allows you to custom the content to be of specific themes. You can even type a key term in and have that as a search for it to do and it will give you a back Catalogue of material on that theme.
I have found that this has really deepened my reading and made a lot of my teaching comments CURRENT. Through time I'll blog findings if students reading and see if it improves discussion lessons.

I love a comment by @anguswillson who I greatly admire for his wisdom that getting students to read their local media coverage will help get them to make connections with their own neighbourhood experiences as well as the global events as I'm sure many geography teachers have faced the question but why are we looking at this place!?!?! I', never going there I DONT CARE! How the local media portray global issues could assist students. Local concepts could open more doors for making the difference geography. Students could be more likely to get involved with assisting local issues and creating a difference than global.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Questions for Sian Welby

Questions for Sian Welby

1.     How did you find your current job?

2.     What was your favourite subject at school?

3.     Who inspired you when you were 11-18?

4.     Where do you get your clothes from as you have lovely style?

5.     What is a typical day for you?

6.     Where is your favourite place in the world?

7.     What do you fear the most?

8.     What do you love of life?

9.     What does your job involve?

10. What do you want to achieve?

11. How do you travel to work?

12. What type of house do you live in?

13. What type of car do you have?

14. What is your favourite programme on tv?

15. What music do you listen to that cheers you up?

16. What do you hate?

17. If you could visit one place where would it be?

18. Who do you most want to meet?

19. What jobs have you had?

20. Do you like sport if so what is your favourite?

21. What make up tip would you give any girl?

22. How do you tell the weather?

23. How do you monitor the weather?

24. What percentage of the time do you get the weather forecast right?

25. How many people work behind the scenes at channel 5 weather?

26. What jobs do the other people in the office do?

27. How long did it take you to learn how to read all the different parts to the weather?

28. How do you know if cloud cover from a satellite will cause rain?

29. Will we get snow this winter?

30. Do you believe in global warming?

31. Do you believe in climate change?

32. What do you think life will be like in 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years?

33. Who will most likely cause WW3?

34. If you could make a law what would it be?

35. What is your favourite name?

36. Can you speak a foreign language?

37. What is your favouirte food?

38. What is your favourite drink?

39. Who is the fittest man in the world?

40. Who is the fittest woman in the world?

41. If money was no object what outfit would you buy?

42. Who is your favourite designer?

43. What is your favourite shop?

44. What supermarket do you shop at?

45. Do you recycle?

46. Do you play xbox?

47. Do you play PS3?

48. Which is best PS3/XBOX?

49.  What type of phone do you have?

50. Who is your favourite comedian?

51. What is your favourite song?

52. What is your favourite film?

53. What is your favourite colour?

54. If you were told you only had 1 meal left and it could be anything what would it be?

55. Would you ever visit our school?

56. How do you stay so slim?

57. What exercise do you do?

58. What shampoo and hair products do you use?

59.  How many pairs of shoes do you have?

60. What was your geography teacher called?

61. What was your best ever lesson that you remember?

62. How well did you do at school?

63. Which A-Levels did you study?

64. Which University did you attend?

65. How many houses have you lived in and where have they been?

66. Are you still friends with anyone from primary school?

67. Are you still friends with anyone from secondary school?

68. What was the naughtiest thing you did at school?

69. What makes a day at work bad?

70. What do you look forward to most each day?

71. What is your favourite day of the week?

72. If you could make an advert what would it be for?

73. What are your hobbies?

74. Do you have any pets?

75. Do you think what is taught in schools is worthwhile?

76. What would your dream job be?

77. What did you grow up wanting to be?

78. What is your favourite weather?

79. Will weather forecasting change?

80. If you could be on Dragons Den what would your product be?

81. What is your favourite computer game?

82. What was your favourite challenge?

83. Who is the most famous person you’ve met?

84. If you could be reincarnated as someone who would it be and why?

85. If you were in the Alan Partridge episode where he is fighting to get a second series and he has to think off the top of his head a TV show what would you say? What would it be about?