Mrs Humanities

Because I'm married to the job


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Flexible Seating

This week I tried flexible seating with my year 8’s. They just finished their inquiry on global interactions and sustainability in China and have started their summative project on the sustainability of modern day life in the country.

I decided that I would give flexible seating a go. The idea behind it is similar to that you might find in a Primary classroom whereby different areas of the room are for different activities.

For my classroom the flexible seating divided the room into several areas:

Recap and research – tables set up with resources we’ve used throughout the topic as well as other suitable resources such as textbooks and news articles. Resources had to remain here.

Collaboration corner – an area where students could collaborate their ideas and discuss their projects.

Progress check – an area for students to have their work assessed by me or to ask questions in relation to their work

Individual workers – an area for students to work by themselves with potential for support from their peer if need be

Got this! – The ‘Got this!’ tables were for those students that were just getting on with their projects. They knew where they were going and could just work.

flexible seating

Students could move around the room and pull up a chair to where they needed to be. Students made the decision as to where they would start and where they needed to go. Throughout the lesson students were moving around, for instance some started at the Progress check table, they wanted reassurance that they were going along the right lines, once confident they moved some went to the Got This! table whilst another went to the Recap and Research area.

It truly felt like a MYP classroom, students reflecting on their learning before and during the work process, moving around to meet their needs, self-led and student-centered.

When I asked a few students at the end of the 1st lesson like this, they said how they liked it as it meant they were thinking about their learning and could move to what they needed to do. Thumbs up I think.

 

 


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#TMHistoryIcons 2017

This coming weekend I have the pleasure of presenting at #TMHistoryIcons again for the second year running. Last year’s conference was my first time presenting in front of other teachers and educators and it was insanely nerve wracking. Since then I’ve had more experience having led and presented at several teach meets and education conferences so hopefully the disco leg of nerves won’t be in attendance as well. I can’t wait.

Last year was incredibly exciting, so many ideas and lots of inspiration for both my history and geography teaching. Highlight last year was watching and meeting Russel Tarr, who totally lived up to expectations.

This year is just as exciting with Scott Allsop as the key note speaker. I love his ideas from last year and look forward to hearing him this year.

 

I feel a little bit of a fraud however since I no longer teacher History or Humanities, but I won’t mention that bit on the day. Anyway last year I came away with so many ideas to share and implement, I’m sure the same will happen this year so do keep an eye on my twitter feed throughout Saturday 1st April and the hastag #TMHistoryIcons

Last year I presented on ways of developing independence in the Humanities classroom. This year I still haven’t confirmed what I’ll be presenting on…. starters and plenaries? marking and feedback? learning activities? Ahhhh I don’t know, maybe I should get on with it. Maybe you could help me out and tell me what you would want to see? Suggestions welcomed.

I look forward to seeing lots of familiar and new faces.

For more information on #TMHistoryIcons head over the website http://onlinehistorytutor.wixsite.com/tmhistoryicons2017.


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A Spiraling Curriculum?

Now this post is just about thinking aloud, sharing my thoughts and ideas. Nothing is set in stone and apart from initial ideas discussed on a recent course with one colleague, nothing has been discussed with the rest of the team. So this post may or may not make much sense, but I’d love your ideas and feedback.

I first started to consider the spiral curriculum model when my last school introduced mastery as a way of assessing student progress, although the approach didn’t quite work it made me aware of it. Later when I went to a CPD course on Developing the More Able, it cropped up again and it quickly got me thinking about how to incorporate such an approach. Unfortunately due to the system in place, it wasn’t possible to implement. However the concept has stuck in my mind.

More recently I was inspired to look at it again whilst on an IB Diploma Geography course, despite not being related to Key Stage 3, it got me thinking.

So what is a spiral curriculum? 

The ideas was first developed by J.Bruner and essentially involves the return to topics and concepts over time. Learning is essential spread out and material is revisited repeatedly with development and progression on the initial learning. Each time a topic, skill or concept is revisited new details are introduced and the complexity of thinking develops whilst at the same time the basics are reemphasized until mastery is achieved.

 

 

How is progression achieved?

Progression is approached through the development of the same concepts and skills but each time with increasing complexity and sophistication. Not only is the breadth of knowledge developed so is the depth as learning takes places.

Progression is therefore not only vertical through increasing complexity but also horizontal as the range of knowledge and application of understanding develops.

 

My Plan

So the school I’m currently teaching at covers the IB Middle Years Programme at years 7, 8 and 9. Students then undertake GCSEs and return to the IB at Key Stage 5.

Before starting I knew very little about the IB programme, but amazingly so much of it fits with my approach to teaching. Anyway whilst away on the IBDP course my mind started whirling and I was inspired as to how a spiral curriculum can be developed through an inquiry approach.

Firstly my thoughts started with teaching by country/region/continent.

regions

Next step was deciding on reoccurring themes. What’s important to geographical knowledge? I’ve considered these 6 themes to be of most relevance to our students and the world in which they are growing up. In addition I considered what knowledge in particular would be required for GCSE and IBDP Geography – or A levels if students choose a different route. What do you think? Suitable as reoccurring themes?

themes

I want themes that are applicable to students and their life long learning of geography and/or humanities.

 

Then my favourite part was deciding on core topics to run through each country/region/continent of study.

topics

Next I need to make the topics and content relate to the MYP assessment criteria, key concepts for Individuals and Societies and related concepts for geography.

content

Surprisingly it was a lot easier than I had anticipated, I must be getting the hang of all they MYP terminology malarkey.

So the idea is that for each region students will develop their knowledge and understanding of the reoccurring themes through inquiry into the core topic/s for each country, region or continent of study.

Whilst the units are split into countries, region or continent slowly but surely the topics will start to make comparisons with other countries. For instance whilst looking at the tectonic landscape of Iceland, not only will students look at the impact of eruptions there they will make comparisons with an LEDC such as Montserrat.

With each unit, the students will develop their skills and understanding in relation to the reoccurring themes and their application of their knowledge. For instance in year 7, students may create graphs to show the population size of a selection of European countries, then when looking at the UK start to look at population density and describe patterns with evidence. By Iceland they will be able to use the population density maps and describe and explain the trends shown. Initially being scaffolded in the process so that by the time they come to producing an inquiry on a country of their choice in year 9, they would have mastered the skills in preparation for GCSE and will be able to carry them out independently.

My ideas for monitoring progression are as follows

  1. Formative assessment of the reoccurring topics which students will cover in each unit will be assessed on shared success criteria for the bands entering, developing, secure and mastered. A target will be set which will be returned to the next time they covered the reoccurring theme.
  2. For each unit there will be an assessed piece of work related to the learning taking place in relation to the core theme of the unit. These will relate to the MYP assessment criterion.

Here are my ideas so far…

assessments

Okay so these are my initial ideas. They are just my thoughts and ideas, nothing set in stone yet. What do you think? Could it work? Anything you would suggest?

Mrs Humanities

 

 

 


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Resource: Revision Knowledge Organisers for Environmental Systems and Societies

This academic year I started teaching the International Baccalaureate Diploma course – Environmental Systems and Societies. It’s a course that I was completely new to but I love it. I started making revision knowledge organisers for my year 13 students to support their revision. topic-1

It’s not the type of Knowledge Organiser that are doing the rounds at the moment where all of the information is already present for the student to learn from, but instead it is a way for students to recap and organise their knowledge and understanding using their notes and assessed work.

example

Students quite simply fill in the boxes with relevant information from their notes, work and textbook. I had a student email me recently to ask if I would be making more of them because they are finding them particularly useful for developing their revision technique.

I’ve done them so far for the topics that I teach (ESS is split between two teachers) and will be making a start of the topics that I don’t teach shortly.

I will be uploading them as they are completed to the ESS revision resource google drive here. Please feel free to download and use them with your students.

Hope they are of use.

Mrs Humanities


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Resource – 3 Gorges Dam Information Collector Sheet

I love an information collector activity and use them regularly with KS5 in preparation for writing essays.

I haven’t used one in a while with KS3 so thought I’d make an activity for my year 8 classes this week. We are investigating the social, economic, environmental and political impacts of the 3 gorges dam.

3 gorges dam information collector geography

Students will be given a set of resources and will use them to fill in their sheets. Nice little task that encourages student inquiry. Students will then use the information they collect in an extended writing task.

I’ve compiled a selection of facts, statements and images from a variety of sources for the students to use.

You can download a copy of the resource here.

Hope its of use.

 

Mrs Humanities