Mrs Humanities

teacher . blogger . friend


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Mrs Humanities shares… my less is more approach to remote teaching.

Despite 2021 starting off with a bit of toing and froing from government on whether school buildings would open for students or not, at least now we know we are teaching remotely until at least February half term.

Know that teaching and learning for the coming weeks will be online makes it much easier to plan and prepare for the term ahead. We can use the skills and knowledge we gained since March and implement it well as we are not going to on the conveyor belt of uncertainty. Yay.

So for my first post for 2021 (and first since September 2020), I thought I’d share how I am approaching remote teaching with a less is more attitude.

Teams Set up

Firstly I’ve set up the following channels on each team
a) General (default channel – used for general communications with the class)
b) Classwork (instructions for each lesson and any resources are provided here)
c) Extend Yourself (any useful or interesting resources related to the topic or exam specification)

I have the following tabs on the general channel beyond the default ones:
– Document library – entitled ‘Resources – Key Stage … ‘, this takes students to SharePoint where all my teaching resources are available.
– Grades – this is a grade book for marked assignments (Teacher Only)
– Insights – this tab is useful to monitor student engagement within the Team. It provides data on communications, downloads, time viewing documents etc. (Teacher Only)

How to…
Add Tabs to Teams
Add a SharePoint page, list or document library

Remote Learning Routine

Prior to period 1, I use the announcement feature in posts to outline the lesson. In the announcement post I provide the following information:

  1. Time to join the Live Meeting (start of lesson)
  2. Outline of the work to be undertaken
  3. Resources needed for the lesson
  4. How I will check their understanding

My morning announcements look something like this:

At the start of the lesson I start the meeting by clicking ‘Reply’ to my morning lesson announcement. I then select the ‘Meet Now’ function.

The meeting opens and students can join. At present I don’t use the lobby function so students enter straight into the meeting. I found myself getting flustered whilst they entered, I tried to set up any resources and welcome them at the same time. So since Thursday 7th January, I’ve been starting the lesson with a holding screen that welcomes students to the lesson, which is just a PowerPoint slide that I share. Since it is only one slide it doesn’t take long to load and gives me time to get comfortable.

Image

After sharing on Twitter, I’ve decided that I’m going to introduce 3 recap questions to my holding slide and ask students to write their answers in the chat or similar. I’m aware that they might just copy each other but I’ll see how it goes for now.

My introduction to the lesson is usually quite brief. I tell the students the content they will cover, what they should know and understand by the end and quickly outline the content of the worksheet or booklet pages they will be completing.

Once I’ve provided the essential information for the lesson, I allow students to leave the meeting. However I keep it running for the entire hour so students can rejoin and ask any questions or seek support.

A few minutes before the end of the lesson, I send a message that lets students know the lesson is almost finished but to rejoin the meeting if they have any questions or issues. The last week I’ve also used the poll function to find out if they need more time next lesson.

How to…
Share a PowePoint slide or slides in a meeting (without screen sharing)
Change participant settings – so you can ensure students don’t take control of the slides 🙂

Work Set

I’ve tried to keep the work I set as simple as possible, so they require little instruction from me. However everything the student needs to complete the work is either included or linked within the document.

Worksheets or booklet pages general consist of the information, tasks, video links, reference to textbook pages and optional further reading. additionally, I try to include ‘extend yourself’ tasks for those that wish to go beyond the specification.

By providing worksheets with all the relevant learning materials, I hope that my students can then work through them at their own pace during the hour. At least then if they are experiencing any disruptions at home they don’t feel pressured to keep up with the rest of the class.

Here’s an example of a worksheet for GCSE:

Worksheet Example: GCSE Geography

Here’s an example of a section of a booklet for KS4:

Example of section of booklet: IB Geography

Up until this week I’ve not found it necessary to produce PowerPoints or videos for classes, but did create two short videos (Record PowerPoint, then Save as mp4 or wmp.) These were elements of the course content that students have found tricky, and despite showing a clear understanding of, some needed reassurance. The videos were uploaded to the class team and students could choose to watch them (or not).

How to…
Record a PowerPoint
Turn a PP presentation into a video

Assessment for Learning

Prior to this term, whilst teaching both in school and remotely, I’d been using Microsoft Forms to set an AfL quiz. I’d send the link about 15 mins before the end of the lesson as students start to finish off the main body of the lesson. Before the next lesson, I’d make note of any common errors or misconceptions and this would influence my planning. If they weren’t common, I’d make note of the student and check-in with them individually either in person (if in school), by commenting on their live work (if set as an assignment) or by email. If necessary, I’d provide individual support. Last week I didn’t find the time to produce them, but I want to reintroduce them this term as I found them really useful.

I ask my GCSE classes to upload their work to a ‘Classwork Submission’ assignment. Before Christmas this was after every lesson whilst they were learning remotely. I’ve now decided to make it weekly after our lessons on a Friday. I’ll do a quick check just to make sure they’ve done the work set. However, I don’t provide feedback on general classwork. Instead students can identify parts of the work they would me to review and feedback on for reassurance.

The other year I produced booklets for each topic of the IB Geography course (very grateful for that foresight now). Which has meant that Year 12 have been working from booklets since September whether they’ve been in school or at home. The use of Teams this year though has meant that at the end of the booklet, I can ask them to submit the booklet for checking. Which has been much easier than then emailing me their digital work or handing in their folders. This year I’ve also had year 12 doing an AfL quiz roughly once a week since September and this is something I will continue after the pandemic.

Additionally, I try to provide students with the answers to the worksheets so they can check and correct their own work at the end of the lesson or during the next lesson.

All of the above then support my planning. The following is an example of a resource produced for a review lesson based upon the AfL quizzes and classwork submission.

Review Lesson for Year 12 – Based on work submitted for checking and AfL quizzes

Assessed Work

My GCSE and IB students are continuing to complete PPQs at home in the same way we’ve always done using the AfL booklets they are provided with at the start of the course.

We cover content, AfL informs planning of next few lessons but no marking of classwork. After several lessons, students complete a set of past paper questions (PPQs) and submit via Assignments. PPQ influences starters, content review and revision lesson at end of topic.

Feedback

Feedback hasn’t changed much at all, well with the exception of less live verbal feedback.

KS3
Individual feedback on formative and summative assessed tasks through the rubric attached to the assignment. 4 topics, 7 formative assessed tasks, 4 summative assessed tasks across the year.

KS4 & 5

Individual Feedback
Self-marking AfL quizzes
Marks and codes on PPQs using Feedback function in assignments


Whole Class Feedback
Verbal feedback (via meeting), mark scheme and coded feedback shared.

Self-assessment
Students provided with answers to elements of worksheet at end of lesson, series of lessons or beginning of next lesson. Students self assess through check and correct process.

How to…
Set an assignment (and schedule in advance)
Create a feedback rubric

What my students say…
A number of my students have been kind enough to give me feedback on the approach I’ve taken. The most common being that the work is easy to follow, they’ve appreciated that by not delivering a lesson via PowerPoint they are able to work at their own pace and that because I’m live they can ask questions when they arise during the lesson and receive a timely reply.

I hope this outline is helpful to those of you that are perhaps feeling swamped and out of your depth a bit. Unless your school is really strict on their expectations (I know some are), you don’t need to overcomplicate things. Think simple. If you’re finding online delivery overwhelming, it’s likely that your students will too.

I’ve found myself to be quite proficient at using Teams, so I’m happy to answer questions. Feel free to leave a comment, tweet me or email.

Best wishes for 2021.


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Resource – Continued Learning for KS4 and KS5

Last week when it was announced that GCSE exams were cancelled, I was heartbroken for my incredibly hardworking year 11 students. Many I’d taught for 3 or 4 years, they were excelling and I knew this year groups results were going to be phenomenal. However, they’re also not just a grade. They’ve grown into incredible young adults; conscientious, humorous and down right awesome geographers.

When the IB exam cancellations were announced on Monday, felt exactly the same for them. Some of my year 13 IB class, again I’d taught for 4 years. I even dedicated ‘Making it as a Teacher’ to their GCSE class.

Yet, I believe I hadn’t merely been developing my students abilities to pass exams. Instead I’d been teaching them to become life long learners… hopefully even geographers.

In order to keep them engaged with learning and the geographical world, my team and I came up with a list of books, articles, podcasts etc. we thought students would find interesting whether or not they are continuing with geography next year.

I then turned our suggestions into the following sheet. The content is divided into books, articles, documentaries & movies, podcasts and TV shows. All images are hyperlinked.

I’ve uploaded the geography one as a PDF and editable Word document, in addition to a general template for other subjects to amend.

You can access the resources freely here.

In order to edit, you will need to download the resources.

Hope you and your students can find it of use.

Best wishes,

keep learning sheet for key stage 4 and 5 students


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Resource – Welcome to GCSE Geography

Yesterday I shared this post on twitter and since then I’ve had a number of requests for a copy of the document.

I’ve amended it slightly to make it more generic and adaptable for other schools to make use of.

welcome to GCSE Geograpy #AQAGeography

You can download a copy by clicking the button below.

download here

Don’t forget I’ve also uploaded a range of revision materials for students and teachers to make use of.

Resource – How to Revise in Geography
Resource – Assessment for Learning Booklet AQA Geography
Resource – GCSE Case Study and Exam Question Revision Booklet
Resource – AQA Revision Booklet adaption by @MrTomlinsonGeog

Hope you can make use of this resource and the others.

Best wishes,

Mrs Humanities

 


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Resource – Assessment for Learning Booklet AQA Geography

resourceI’ve previously shared with you all the AfL grids my department and I use with our GCSE students which our students use to assess their understanding of the content before and after the topic. They also enable students to track their progress.

We make use of ‘PPQs’ also known as past paper questions. These are mostly taken from the AQA sample papers but we have also used a number of relevant questions from past papers.

Rather than printing off each set of PPQs as and when required, this year to help our students to become more independent in the learning process I’ve created an assessment for learning booklet.

These booklets contain both the AfL grids and the PPQs which will be completed over the course. Some times PPQs are completed in class, other times for homework.

booklet pages

My plan is that as we cover the content, students can start to answer the PPQs when they are ready to do so. A deadline for submitting the PPQs will be set as we undertake the topic so students have a deadline to work to.

You can download a copy of it by clicking the button below.

download here

Updated version here 

Feedback welcomed.

Mrs Humanities


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Resource – Paper 3 Question, Mark Scheme and Answer Advice Match UP

resourceRecently I put together an activity that involved my students looking at AQA paper 3 fieldwork questions, their mark schemes and answer advice. The feedback from the students was resoundingly positive and after some recent requests I thought I’d share it.

The card consisted of 6 questions, 6 mark schemes and 6 answer advice cards.

instructions

cards to cut out.png

cards.jpg

Students were given the set of 6 questions from Paper 3, Section B on fieldwork and were asked to try and work out how many marks the question would be worth. Students were thinking about the command terms and the content of the question, their discussions effective at drawing out the purpose of the question.

Next they tried to match the mark schemes to the question.

cards-2.jpg

Finally they added the answer advice cards.

cards-4.jpg

We then went through the questions, the marks available and discussed how to answer them before finally answering the questions for themselves.

 

To download an editable copy click here below

download here

 

Hope you can find it of use.

Mrs Humanities

 


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Resource – GCSE Structure Sheet

GCSE structure sheetOne of the challenges I imagine many Geography teachers across the country are faced with is the challenge of getting their students to answer the 9 mark questions of the new 1-9 GCSE Geography examinations.

I’ve produced this support sheet to provide guidance to my students but I hope it will be of use to others.

support sheet In addition I’ve included a generic mark scheme for 9 mark questions that can be applied and amended to any 9 mark question based on the AQA assessment objectives.

levels for 9 marker

You can download the word version here  and the PDF here.

Hope it’s of use to you and your students.

Mrs Humanities


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Changing Role and Status of Women

Seeing as I’m no longer teaching history but have hundreds of resources, I thought I might start sharing them for others to make use of. So I’m starting with one of my favorite topics from the AQA Specification B (Final exam 2017) on the Changing Role and Status of Women.

AQA women.png

I loved teaching this unit so hope you can make use of the resources which can be found here.

 

mrs-humanities

 


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Getting GCSE ready

Personally I believe and teach in a way that key stage 3 is simply setting the foundations for key stage 4. You could essentially say I’ve planned a 5 year scheme of learning, where students revisit knowledge and skills via a variety of topics, believe it’s linked to spiraling (I’ve not researched it but someone mentioned it recently).

After looking at recent assessments and discussions with students I’ve completely scrapped the scheme of work I had in place for year 9 for term 5 and 6. Instead I’ve set about creating a scheme of work that gap fills to ensure all of my year 9’s are prepared for the next stage of their learning.

The scheme of work will revisit a lot of what we’ve covered in year 7 and 8 as well as what we’ve covered in year 9 so far.

Students will be issued with a learning ladder that clearly outlines what they need to be able to do for the different bands; Bronze, Silver and Gold. Students will have to demonstrate their understanding and mastery of the bronze before moving onto silver and/or gold.

Students will be guided as to which band they are aiming to master based upon targets, however as always I will encourage them all to aim for gold.

The learning ladder will look something like this….

learning ladder

The ladder starts with essential map and atlas skills which takes in some aspects of physical geography followed by essential human geography linked to skills such as description and explanation. The final part of the learning ladder focuses on the recall of key terminology; this section has been based upon my gap analysis of the work undertaken over time and is essentially the areas where misconceptions have arisen, challenges have been faced or just general forgetfulness has taken place over time.

I want to ensure that their prior learning is recapped and embedded before the summer holidays (and the 6-week brain drain takes place) to make it that little bit easier in September when they start the GCSE course.

It gives me the opportunity to fill any gaps in student knowledge, particularly as a number of new students have joined throughout the year and allows me to ensure students have a secure understanding of what I believe are the foundations needed for GCSE Geography.

My plan is to make it as independent as possible with the resources available for students to work through at their own pace, completing and revisiting as they feel fit.

I’d like to put all the resources such as helpful PowerPoints onto a website for students to access in class and at home but not entirely sure where to start seeing as WordPress is blocked on the school network. So any recommendations are greatly welcomed.

So there it is, my little gap filling idea.

Now onto the lesson planning….

If you do anything similar I’d love to hear about it.

 

 


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Resource – Visual Hexagons Revision

I’m sharing the visual hexagons I make as and when I make and use them. They’ve  been designed for Edexcel Geography B but they’ll be applicable to other exam boards.

You can find them in the dropbox here or here’s a  Hexagon Template to help you make your own.

Hope they can be of use to you.

Also if anybody has any visual hexagons made for revision purposes that they would be willing share with others to reduce everyone’s workload, please get in touch and I’ll add you as a contributor. 

(None of the images belong to me and the source has been hyperlinked [for most]).


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Developing Independent Learners – Help Yourself Display and Resource Station

DIRThelp yourself resource stationThis year I’m striving to make my learners more independent. Last year many were making excellent efforts and this year I want to push this even further.

I’ll be doing this in 3 ways

  1. Tabletop resources
  2. A ‘Help Yourself’ resource station
  3. Personal Interest Projects

In this post I’m going to share my ‘Help Yourself’ resource station.

The idea behind it is that learners use the resources to help themselves to learn and progress.

I’ve created two areas, one for key stage 4 and the other for key stage 3.

The first, the KS4 area, consists of a noticeboard for GCSE Geography students.

This board contains past papers, exam questions and information sheets for Unit 1 and Unit 2 of the course for learners to access freely. Then there are topic specific help sheets for the current area of study in the ‘Current Topic’ resource holder. Learners have already been directed to these when they were unsure of how to draw the diagrams to demonstrate river erosion processes and will be encouraged to continue to do so.

I’m slowly training them that this is where they go in the first instance if they need help, they then ask another student and if they are still unsure they can ask me; 2 lessons in and so far this seems to be working effectively. Hope it continues.

The display also includes a notice board for important announcements so that they’ve no excuse to forget important information such as exam dates or deadlines; an outline of what should be covered from their work booklets each lesson from now until their GCSE exams as well as a sheet that outlines all the places they can get help if they find themselves stuck. GCSE display

My final addition to the board is a progress to target reward board. Next week I will ask each student to give themselves a personal target grade influenced by their end of year target, each time they achieve that grade in an assessment or exam question they can date the reward chart. After 3 successes they receive a reward, each reward is of greater value than the last. It’s a male heavy GCSE class so I hope a little competition might be of encouragement to them. GCSE reward

The second, the KS3 area, consists of a resource station. In the resource station there are a variety of resources to support my learners. This includes key word sheets, literacy mats, topic mats, reference books, sentence starters, scaffolding support sheets, DIRT and Curriculum Link sheets as well as textbooks for student reference.

I’ve made a variety of resources over the last 3 years which end up stuffed in a cupboard, folder or filing cabinet after a couple of uses, despite all of them being designed  to support learners. The resource station gives learners access to these support devices when they need them.

help yourself resource station

I just need to add labels to each shelf to identify and to give a brief description of the resources available so learner’s can make decisions on which one’s would be of use to them.

Once complete I will share the resources that make up my resource station.

How do you encourage independence?

Mrs Humanities