Mrs Humanities

Because I'm married to the job.


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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,


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Resource – IB Geography Inquiry Booklets Core Unit 2

After teaching the new specification in full, I could see the bigger picture a lot clearer. After reflection and much consideration I decided that I’d try to split the core into theory and then located inquiries. Last week I shared my booklets for Unit 1 – Changing Population, this week I’m sharing my booklets for Unit 2 – Global climate.

Similarly to the Changing Populations inquiry, the topic starts by covering the geographical theory and the more generalised impacts of climate change on the hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere, before moving on to look at the impacts and response from 3 located studies.

The booklets contains everything the students need – an outline of the course content covered, the statement of inquiry, list of key terminology, outline of geographical theory and activities to undertake along with videos, articles, case study templates, things to discuss, images etc.

Theory includes:

  • Layers of the atmosphere
  • The Global Energy Budget
  • Greenhouse Effect – Natural and Enhanced
  • Global Warming and Global Dimming
  • Planetary Albedo Effect
  • Sources of greenhouse gases
  • The history of climate change
  • Evidence of climate change

Before a look at some of the general impacts of climate change.

Example of Theory Pages

After the theory behind climate change, we begin to explore the impacts of climate change for 3 locations. Each located inquiry starts with a section on background information to provide students with insight into the development and demographics of the named country; providing students with a sense of place and ability to compare. Followed by exploration of the impacts of climate change for different societies within the 3 located studies.

The three located studies are:

  1. USA – focuses on southern states and indigenous communities of Alaska
  2. Maldives – focus on low-lying island communities
  3. Bangladesh – focus on low income communities

The located studies also explore the concept of risk and vulnerability, along with the responses to climate change both in terms of adaptation and mitigation.

Case Study: USA
Case Study: Maldives
Case Study: Bangladesh

The topic ends with one final inquiry into the responses to climate change from a governmental perspective.


ResourcesAnd now the part that is of most use to you. A link to the documents for download. Simply click here to download all the resources for IBDP19 Core Unit 2 – Global Climate.

Booklets for unit 3 are currently in progress and will be added to the site when complete.

Hope you can find the resources of use.

If you enjoy reading my blog, you might be interested in my first book due for release 28th May. Click the image to find out more or to pre-order it. Massive thanks in advance if you do!


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Resource – IB Geography Inquiry Booklets Core Unit 1

After teaching the new specification in full, I could see the bigger picture a lot clearer. After reflection and much consideration I decided that I’d try to split the core into theory and then located inquiries.

In January we started the first of the core topics – Unit 1 Changing Population. I started the topic by introducing the theory required on global trends, predictions and momentum, demographic transition, development indicators and dependency ratios.

We then moved onto our first case study, China. Through exploring China we covered the following course content

  • Demographic Transition
  • Population Problems
  • Population Policies
  • Urbanisation
  • Megacity growth
  • Forced migration and internal displacement
Booklet 1 – China

The booklets contains everything the students need – an outline of the course content covered, the statement of inquiry, list of key terminology, outline of geographical theory and activities to undertake along with videos, articles, case study templates, things to discuss, images etc.

Page 1 – Statement of Inquiry, Course Content and Geographical Terminology
Geographical Theory and Activities
Activities associated with theory

Each located inquiry starts with a section on background information to provide students with insight into the development and demographics of the named country; providing students with a sense of place and ability to compare.

From China and Singapore we moved onto demographic dividends, gender equality and anti-trafficking. Each starting in the same way, content covered, theory and then located examples.

We looked at South Korea as our located example for demographic dividend followed by gender equality in India and Syria for anti-trafficking.

Demographic Dividend Booklet
Gender Equality and Anti-Trafficking Booklet

Reflection

The students engaged well with the content and the booklets, my only issue with it was getting my head around how to teach using booklets instead of PowerPoint slides. It’s slightly harder as students work through the content at different paces and thus when there is something I wish to go through before they move on I have to stop the whole class to discuss it, to watch the videos etc. even if some haven’t finished the previous task. I have to consider how to get around this.

One of the main issues being that some students choose to use a digital device and thus have access to the booklet in the lesson, whilst others don’t so printing of the main resources (news articles etc.) has been required. It’s not an issue at all just that I need to remember to print off the articles and other vital resources.

Resources

And now the part that is of most use to you. A link to the documents for download. Simply click here to download all the resources for IBDP19 Core Unit 1 – Changing Population.

Climate Change is currently in progress and will be added to the site when complete.

Hope you can find the resources of use.

If you enjoy reading my blog, you might be interested in my first book due for release 28th May. Click the image to find out more or to pre-order it. Massive thanks in advance if you do!


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Mrs Humanities shares… 5 highlights from EduTwitter

I had a brain wave this morning. You know the kind you have and then think why hadn’t I thought of that before?!

It’s a simple idea really, but goes a long way to highlighting the amazing work being done and shared via twitter for those of you that don’t make use of it for CPD.

For me, Twitter has had a huge impact on my professional practice from inspiring lesson resources to ideas for supporting colleagues, there’s so much you can take away from EduTwitter (see my A-Z of EduTwitter for more info). So here it is, my simple idea is to share 5 tweets that have inspired or interested me each week that I think others may find of use.

Now I just need to work out which day is best to publish? Monday, Friday or Sunday? Hrm… I’ll have a think and set it up from the first week of the next term.

For now, here’s 5 tweets that I think might be of use or inspiration to others:

Knowledge Organisers for Religious Studies GCSE from @MrSmithRS

Geography Teaching Resources from @MrTomlinsonGeog

Teaching resources to support learners with this years RGS Young Geographer of the Year competition from @KCGeographies

Medicine through the Ages Revision Rap from a colleague of @HistTeach55

Finally, this fun little number on workload and wellbeing from @carpool4school1 featuring @RossMcGill.

Oh and don’t forget there are almost 1000 ideas over on Magpied Pedagogy.

Is bringing useful tweets to you a good idea? Let me know your thoughts.


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Resource – Thematic unit on conflict, fortification and armour

When I taught Geography and History through the umbrella of Humanities, we did a lot of thematic topics; exploring concepts over time and space.

I thought I’d share with you the unit we did on conflict, fortification and armour.

Outline

The unit took students through technological advances in conflict, fortification and armour, finishing with a personal interest project.

I remember my year 8’s really enjoying the topic. It gave them insight to different time periods and encouraged them to research and find out more.

Here are some example resources:

The topic covers a range of content and whilst I’ve produced much of it, some elements such as the ‘top trumps’ were free resources available online. Since it was so long ago since I made the lessons (2015) I can’t remember the original sources but if you find one of them is yours please let me know and I will add your name and the source to the piece.

Castles – Type and Location

Siege Warfare

War at Sea

World War 1 – Technological Change


Homework

Homework gave students choice and different levels of challenge.

Week 1 Homework
Week 3 – 7 Homework

Examples of the homework produced




Levels
You will notice some of the resources use National Curriculum Levels and some use GCSE ‘grades’, I’ve just uploaded the resources I had. I clearly hadn’t backed up all of the resources at home before leaving the school. Doh!

If you’d like to access the resources you can do so here.

I’m not a historian, so my apologies if there are any historical inaccuracies, I put a lot of research into the materials and got them checked by my historian husband…. but I’m sure there will be something to be found.

Hope you can find them of use.

U