Mrs Humanities

teacher . blogger . friend


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Resource – Keep Learning Sheets

The other day I shared my ‘Keep learning…’ sheet to help year 11 and year 13 to continue learning despite the cancellation of this year’s exams.

Since then others have downloaded the template and made there own for a wide range of subjects.

Initially I added them to the original post however the numbers are rapidly increasing and the post has gone from one page to two. To make it easier, I’ve collated them into a single folder.

Click here to access the sheets

A massive thank you to all those that have already shared their version. And if you have made your own version and you are happy to share it, either pop it in cloud storage and DM me a link or email me at mrshumanities@outlook.com

Hope you can make use of the resources so kindly shared.

Best wishes,


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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 – MYP Unit on Global Issues

I recently posted how I go about creating new unit plans for MYP.

Since I had a number of people email and DM to ask for access I figured I’d a share the resources with you. They are a basic outline for the teacher to adapt to suit their approach to inquiry based learning, so they’re pretty much the bare bones with resources that maybe an option.

The only compulsory parts of the resources are the assessed work and tasks that develop particular approaches to learning (AtLs).

The topic starts with an exploration of the types of and scale of issues.

It then explores the sustainable development goals, encouraging students to connect the SDGs to global issues they are aware of. After exploring the SDGs, students will have an understanding of the importance and role in sustainable development.

After the SDGs, students explore the problem with plastic. These lessons look at why plastic became so popular, why it is problematic and who’s responsible for the problem.

The lessons strive to give students an understanding of the variety of different perspectives on both the issue and the management in order to understand the challenges of dealing with any global issue.

A number of lessons also help students to develop particular approaches to learning, for instance one lesson aims to teach students the art of paraphrasing. This lesson was developed with support from the English Department.

Each element of the topic develops skills and knowledge that will allow students to transfer what they learn to a global issue of their choice in order to complete the summative assessment.

All assessed work (2 formative and 1 summative) and associated feedback sheets are provided, this is to ensure consistency in assessment and feedback across the department.

If you’d like access to the resources, simply click here to download them. This link is view only, if you wish to edit the resources please download.

Click the symbol in the circle to download.

Hope you can find the resources of use to develop your own from.

Best wishes,

Topical Books


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Mrs Humanities shares… planning an MYP unit

At the end of the last academic year, my colleague and I sat down to design a new unit for year 7 that would inspire and empower them to feel that they can do something about the global issues they worry about.

Before we sat down to create our unit, I’d already discussed the idea with some of my year 7 students and they helped me to formulate a few ideas. By the end of our collaborative session, I had a brief outline to take to my colleague for exploration and discussion.

Main points from my students included:
- they worry about global issues but feel they have no involvement in dealing with them
- they felt they didn't have a voice in the issues that WILL affect them (climate change and the consequential problems primarily)
- some knew enormous amounts about particular environmental issues but never got to make use of their understanding 
- they wanted to feel empowered
- they wanted to learn about the solutions as much as the issues

MYP Unit Plan

It’s pretty lame, but I was really excited about creating this unit as it would be the first one I’d had the opportunity to create from scratch. I’d started as Subject Leader in September 2016 and inherited the MYP plans already in place. In the first few years, the departmental focus was on developing the new GCSE course & the new IB ESS course initially, followed by the new IB Geography course. MYP would stay as it were until the new exam courses were in place. Instead with the help of the team, we updated the existent MYP units.

Now however is the time to improve the MYP curriculum, to make it the foundations for future geographical study and to make learning, assessment and feedback fully integrated through the 3 years so that everything builds on what has come before.

Year 8 and 9 (MYP years 2 & 3) are functioning well thanks to the changes and developments over the last few years, however year 7 (year 1) needs quite the overhaul to make it truly fit for purpose. So this is where the ‘new’ department and I have started.

An MYP unit plan looks something like this (please note however that I added SDGs they are not a common feature):

Designing our unit

The first part of designing a new unit is to decide upon the final outcomes – what do we want students to learn and take away from the unit of study?

There are three areas of the unit plan we needed to explore before we could decide on these outcomes, these were
a) the content to cover
b) the objectives of the unit
c) the summative assessment

We started by writing a brief outline of the content we thought appropriate whilst at the same time formulating a few key objectives. Once we had a rough idea, we discussed the summative assessment and how the three would connect. This was all rough and nothing was set at this point.

Once we had a rough idea, we went back to the core elements of an MYP unit; the key concept, relate concepts, global context and statement of inquiry. The aim of these are to establish the purpose of the unit.

From there we created the inquiry questions for the unit, these are broken down into factual, conceptual and debatable questions. These questions guide the learning and are asked throughout the unit to check for understanding.

The next stage of developing a unit is going back to the objectives, content and summative assessment and fine tuning these so they integrate the inquiry questions.

We decided upon the following objectives and summative assessment for the unit:

The unit would develop student understanding of one global issue together – we selected the plastic problem. We would teach students about the issue, management (including responsibility) and a select few solutions to the plastic problem. Student will then use this outline to structure their own awareness raising campaign, which makes up the summative assessment.

Our next focus for discussion returned to the content. We had our objectives and summative assessment decided we now needed to align the content, approaches to learning and formative assessment to these.

We started by breaking down the content and working out the sub-content.

Once the sub-content was determined we explored the approaches to learning that could be developed through the content delivered. Students would cover the AtL – Research (information literacy) in unit 1, so we wanted students to build upon this and selected a further two as shown below.

Now that we had our objectives, summative assessment, AtLs and content sorted we could consider the formative assessment – these are pieces of work that are assessed by the teacher and feedback is provided to the student. These are the only pieces of work teachers are expected to assess. All other work can be assessed through book looks with feedback provided via whole class feedback, assessment for learning strategies or peer/self assessment.

The aim of any formatively assessed work is that it should feed into the summative assessment and future work. Thus meaning that any feedback provided ought to be transferable between topics – thus developing the learner not the work.

We decided upon the following:

And added in where the formative work fitted into the content.

The final stage involved completing other elements of the ‘learning process’ section which include the learning experiences & teaching strategies along with differentiation (scaffolding).

After this unit, we created two more units using the same process. However the one difference being ensuring that content and approaches to learning developed through this unit, fed into units 3 and 4 of year 7 (MYP year 1).

Assessment for Learning and Feedback

In order to reduce the workload of assessment, teachers and students are provided with a feedback sheet prior to the task. These sheets outline the success criteria for the task. Here’s an example for formative work 2.

Teachers are encouraged to live mark whilst students work, pointing out the next steps the student could take before completion of the task.

My classes do a lot of what I call ‘messy progress’ , this means they are encouraged to add to their work, this can be in the margins, as footnotes or through the use of edit strips, encouraging them to self-assess their work and look for their own potential improvements before submitting as complete. It may end up looking something like this:

Once a formative piece is completed the teacher simply highlights the successes achieved and any relevant next steps. If teachers have any specific feedback for individual students they can either write it in or speak to the individual during the lesson in which they receive their feedback.

Summative feedback looks very similar, except an MYP grade is provided for the criterion assessed.

The key part of producing feedback sheets is that you have to know what you want your students to achieve through the task. This therefore requires an element of planning backwards.

Lesson Planning

From unit planning came lesson planning. During my gained time I created a set of outline lessons to cover the content of the unit. These are just outlines for the class teacher to amend to suit their approach.

Hope you found the post of use, feel free to share how you go about planning a new unit or SoW.

Best wishes,


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Resource – MYP Inquiry and Feedback Templates

One of the things I really wanted to improve in the last academic year was my departments approach to MYP criterion B – Investigation. In order to do so I set about creating inquiry templates to support our students to develop their approach to this criterion and to improve the teacher’s understanding and application of materials to support.

Criterion B: Investigating Students develop systematic research skills and processes associated with disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Students develop successful strategies for investigating independently and in collaboration with others.

International Baccalaureate

In order to achieve this, I looked into ways to develop investigation in the Individuals and Societies. Since my research proved challenging, I set about exploring the individual elements of criterion B which were:

  • creating research questions
  • formulating an action plan
  • collecting and recording relevant information
  • reflection

My research led me to develop inquiry planning sheets which initially looked something like this for both individual and group investigation.

Feedback from students had been positive however they highlighted some areas for improvement. Their feedback led to the creation of two versions, one for individual inquiry and one for group inquiry as well as increased guidance.

Individual
Group

As you can see, the template suggests that teachers ought to remove elements of the scaffold as students become more independent in their approach to Criterion B.

My research also led to the creation of an improved summative assessment instruction template:

Template
Example

I decided to keep the summative assessment feedback sheets as they were:

We are yet to reach a summative task, however feedback on the new and improved inquiry planning sheets have been positive.

If you’d like access to the templates, click here.

Feedback from MYP teachers very much welcomed.


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Resource – IB Geography Core Topic Inquiry Booklets

Last year after the first cohort of geographers went through the first set of examinations for the latest IB Geography specification, I decided to change our approach. Firstly to bring the units together better and secondly to build more inquiry and independent learning into the mix.

To do this I started creating booklets for each topic.

Each booklet starts with the statement of inquiry, the content from the specification and key terms. They then follow on with theory, application and case studies.

The booklets cover the core topics from paper 1; population, climate change and resources.

If you’d like access to them, simply click here.

If you’d like to say thank you for the free resources, I’d greatly appreciate a donation towards my walking challenge in May 2020 to raise funds for the Education Support Partnership.

They are the only UK charity dedicated to improving the wellbeing and mental health of education staff in schools, colleges and universities across the country. You can donate here.

Best wishes,


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Creating a Coherent Curriculum: Geography

Creating a coherent curriculum is no easy feat. I know because I once did it from scratch single-handily for Humanities!

Thankfully, I’m no longer in that position and have a fantastic team around me to develop ours. In the 3 years I’ve been at this school, I’ve been making slow changes to our MYP (KS3) Geography curriculum.

What I inherited was okay, but it desperately needed a revamp and some coherency. In that time there have been two new IB specs one for Geography and one for ESS, along with the new 9-1 GCSE spec, MYP unfortunately had to take a back seat. However this year, it’s turning into what I’ve envisaged for the past 3 years; a coherent curriculum, and I’m excited.

I’m going to outline the steps taken but do note this has been a slow process and not all in one go. I didn’t want to change everything at once.

Step 1. Planning Backwards


The first step has actually been getting my head around the new IB and GCSE specs and considering how everything we do prior to exam years is foundation setting whether it be skills or knowledge and understanding.

I carefully unpicked the assessment criteria and content of the IB and GCSE specifications in order to work out exactly where we were going to go with our curriculum. Some questions that drove my thinking included:

  • What do they need to be able to do at the end of GCSE?
  • What do they need to be able to do at the end of IB?
  • What would we want them to take away from Geography if they decided not to carry it on at GCSE or IB?
  • How were we going to develop and enhance our students understanding and experience over the 5 or 7 years in which they study geography?
  • How were we going to enable them to get the most of their studies?
  • How could we support and facilitate them in becoming independent learners?
  • How could we take their learning beyond the specifications?

Useful Resources

Start at the End -A Case for Backwards Planning
How to use Backwards design for effective lesson planning!
Outstanding Teaching: Teaching Backwards
TEACHING BACKWARDS TOPIC PLANNER

Step 2. Spiraling Curriculum

Before the next step I investigated the concept of a spiraling curriculum and from there considered with my team at the time the themes, concepts and skills we felt should be built upon from year 7 to year 13.

Our reoccurring themes were to include:

  1. Physical geography
  2. Population and Demographics
  3. Culture and Society
  4. Sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals
  5. Global Interactions
  6. Geographical Skills

Since I didn’t want to change everything at once, I decided it would be beneficial to make as much use of what we already had in place and instead refocus and develop it. So with that in mind we decided upon the overall topics of study. They were to be as follows:

Year 7Year 8Year 9
Geographical SkillsSustainable Development Development
SettlementsBiomes and EcosystemsWeather and Climate
ResourcesPower and ConflictTourism
Tectonics

Then we decided on some regional or national areas of study to locationally focus the themes.

Initially we decided on the following:

Year 7Year 8Year 9
EuropeBrazilNorthern Africa
UKChinaUK
IcelandMiddle EastThe World

I wrote about my initial ideas here towards the end of year 1.

However the following year when we actually started to implement a spiraling curriculum, we decided to change some of our initial plans. We removed the topic on tourism and replaced it with a topic from GCSE – The Challenge of Resource Management.

In doing so we made our Weather and Climate topic the unit in which we assessed all 4 MYP I&S criterion to be able give students an overall grade for their MYP experience when we then wrote their reports in the Summer. We created a unit which provided lots of insight into and knowledge of the topic and then allowed students to follow the avenue of inquiry they found of most interest.

Useful Resources

Research into Practice: The Spiral Curriculum
The Evidence People: Jerome Bruner’s constructivist model and the spiral curriculum for teaching and learning

Step 3. Planning Assessments

Next step was looking at the formative and summative assessments we already had and considering how they fitted in. Initially there had been too many assessed pieces of work in the units; I wanted to strip that back and look at how they actually fed into one another across the unit, across the year and across the key stage.

To do this I looked at the content, the skills and summative assessment for the unit as well as how we were going to build upon that from the units came before. It required big picture thinking.

What I came up with was a formative and summative assessment similar to that outlined below:

feedback

This example is for year 8. It identifies the assessed work for the topic, both formative and summative and who should be assessing and feedbacking on it. Tasks that required students to be provided with the opportunity to feedforward on the piece of work were also identified.

In the first topic, the feedback for the first two pieces of feedforward work came from the teacher so as to set up expectations and demonstrate effective feedback that allowed for action. From there the teacher could develop effective peer assessment routines that allowed students to feedback to one another before acting on that feedback prior to teacher assessment.

At the same time, each assessed piece of work assessed different MYP criterion. We looked carefully at the spread across the year to ensure all criterion could be built upon as students progressed.

Step 4. Planning Feedback

Final stage in all of this has been planning feedback, although this had been considered throughout it was only at the end that I could make it all explicit. I set about creating success criteria and feedback sheets for formative and summative assessed MYP work.

The feedback sheets for formative assessed work now look something like this:

Template
In use

Whilst summative feedback looks something like this:

In action

The criterion changes dependent on that which is applicable.

An example of how I use and embed formative and sumamtive feedback in my MYP classroom can be seen here.

GCSE and IB were somewhat easier to plan for. We only assess past paper/exam style questions – these equate to assessed work every 2-3 weeks. More info here. Therefore assessment for learning, self and peer assessment and verbal feedback is vital in lessons to ensure students leave feeling confident in what they have covered and so the teacher can effectively plan future lessons based upon the feedback they receive from the above.

Useful Resources

https://mrshumanities.com/2019/01/02/mrs-humanities-shares-10-useful-blog-posts-about-feedback/

What changes have taken place?

Many!
Towards the end of the last academic year, I sought to update the MYP curriculum in which we’d developed, particularly our year 7 curriculum. Since only 2/4 of us would be here come September, we both worked together to redesign our year 7 experience to give a global insight which would lead to national/regional studies in year 8 and 9.

Whilst this year we are exploring the embedding the themes implicitly rather than explicitly in year 7 and whilst maintaining the explicit themes in year 8 and 9.

What does it look like completed?

To start with, we are still working on this. My team has changed this year so their input into the development of the curriculum I feel is important. My aim this year to improve on our collaborative unit planning and resource sharing to ensure consistency in experience across geography.

So this is what our MYP curriculum looks like at present.

The following is an example of a unit of inquiry from our MYP curriculum. You can see that it outlines the objectives, content and assessment.

At GCSE we follow AQA and at Key Stage 5 we follow the IB. The development of these is a whole other post.

So for now I’ll leave you with some useful reading to support the above approach to curriculum planning.

Useful Reading

Feel free to share your thoughts.

Best wishes,


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Resource – Metacognition in Lessons

If you haven’t already read my post on metacognition in the classroom, I’d suggest starting there as it provided some context to the resource I’m sharing in this post.

I first came across the term ‘meta-cognition’ 4 years into my teaching career when I attended a Stretch and Challenge Conference back in 2015. Yet I’d been applying meta-cognitive strategies since I started teaching. Once I was able to put a name to the strategies I employed it opened up a world of other examples, evidence and approaches. Since then it forms a regular part of my teaching practice and is fundamental to the feedup-feedback-feedforward cycle that’s constantly implemented in my classroom.

As a subject leader however, I didn’t feel it was as embedded across my department as I would have liked. So over the summer I set about creating a resource that would help my team to apply metacognitivie practices in their classroom. It started with a PowerPoint split into two parts, first part information and guidance on metacognition for staff whilst the second part consisted of question slides for use with students. I don’t use the resource myself, however these are the kinds of questions I ask students as we plan, as they work, as they reflect and as we evaluate.

I hope the PowerPoint is a resource from which my colleagues will extract ideas from for their own lesson planning.

Teacher Slides

I’ll be making use of these in the first subject collaboration session later in this term to outline what metacognition is and how it should be applied within geography as part of our day to day teaching practice.

Student Slides

These slides are simply a range of questions associated with the following stages of the teaching process used in MYP Geography:

  • Planning (feed-up)
  • Monitoring (feedback – student to teacher, peer to peer)
  • Evaluation (feedback – student to teacher, teacher to student)
  • Reflection (feedforward)

One of my objectives for the last academic year was to develop student understanding of MYP I&S Criterion B – Investigation (more info here). This meant developing our students understanding of inquiry planning, effective research, academic honesty and assessment of sources within the context of geography. Many of the questions incorporated in the student slides I’ve incorporated into the resources I’ve been building to develop the elements above (I’ll write more about these in due course).

If you’d like a copy of the Powerpoint, simply click here. Hope you can find it of use.

Best wishes,


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Resource – Welcome to GCSE Geography (AQA)

Whilst many of us are getting ready for heading back to school I thought I’d share with you my resources for the first few lessons with my GCSE students. Although it’s all one PowerPoint, I break it up as required.

I start the year off by outlining the course, the examinations and specification content.

Followed by the course outline, what they can expect and what they need to get started. At this point I’l give out books to those that wish to continue working in a book and ensure those that wish to use a folder have paper.

Next I explore the support available to students and how we encourage them to ask for help if they need it.

Next I’ll go into reviewing subject content. This year I’ll be getting students to return to subject content from year 9. They covered The Challenge of Resource Management in terms 5 and 6 and therefore I’d like to see what they can recall.

I’ll be starting with a bit of retrieval using a question grid.

Students will then self-assess as we discuss and review the answers.

Students will then use what they learnt in all three topics in year 9 to the discuss the link between resources and conflict.

This acitivity has been inspired by this resource on TeachItGeography.

I’ve taken the images out of my PowerPoint but you can find them at the above link if you wish to use them.

I’m then going to introduce ACE feedback to those I’ve not taught before by getting them to peer assess.

If time, they will make improvements and then peer assess again using PA Points focusing on terminology. Again inspired by the resource above.

In one of the following lessons, once the Assessment for Learning booklets are printed and ready to go I will then cover being responsible learners, assessment for learning and feedback in Geography.

I find that explaining feedback to students particularly useful in supporting them to understand how, where and when they will receive feedback and what to do with it. I also find it important to help them to understanding that the teacher is not the only one that can help them in their learning.

In addition I give students a copy of the ‘Welcome to Geography’ sheet and ask them to glue into the front of their book or folder for reference. This provides them with essential information as suggestions for GCSE Geography Revision. This year however I’ve added it to the AfL booklet.

If you’d like to download the powerpoint and sheet click here.

A few others have adapted and made their own versions for other specs.

OCR (A) Geographical Themes by Vicki Reed, @VickiLouise17

OCR B – Geography for enquiring minds (J384) by Natalie Batten, @Nat_Batten

Both can be found in the folder above.

If you’ve made use of the ‘Welcome to GCSE Geography’ document for other Geography exam boards or other subjects, get in touch and I will add them to the post.

Hope you can find the resources of use.

Best wishes for the new academic year.


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Resource – Department Handbook Template

After writing the post yesterday which gave an insight into my department handbook, I realised that although I couldn’t share OUR department handbook I could make a template for others to use as a starting point.

It’s just a template with some hints to help anyone creating their handbook to get started. Adapt and amend to suit your needs.

I’ve left my departmental feedback strategies in it just in case it can be of use.

To download a copy, click here.

If you have any questions, do get in contact.

Best wishes,