Mrs Humanities

Because I'm married to the job.


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Guest Post from @TeachYesterday – Breaking down exam skills with ‘source windows’

Breaking down exam skills with ‘source windows’

Inference can be a tough skill to teach, particularly at KS3. The nuance and context that surrounds a source can be incredibly complex, but, like any other skill, improving a students’ inference can be achieved by the consistent repetition of good practice (easily said, I know).

During my training year, my SENCO emailed me a template of a ‘source viewer’ he had seen on Mrs. Humanities (a website which then became my professional life-raft), I decided to adapt the source viewer to make it suitable for my lower attainers (Figure 1).

Originally, I was trying to create a resource that would help them with the basic provenance of Time, Audience, Author and Place.

Figure 1


The students enjoyed using the laminated source viewers and asked to use them again. So following this mini success, I decided to adapt another version of the viewer (Figure 2) or ‘source window’, as the students had named it.

Figure 2

This one focused on the exam specific interpretation and source skills needed for the AQA GCSE History papers. This viewer had three sides which were colour coded; the purple panel included generic versions of all the source and interpretation questions found in the AQA papers. The orange and green panels featured questions that broke the required skills down, making the students’ answers more of a step by step process. The challenge for each student is then to attempt one question from the colour above at some point during the lesson.

Feeding Back

The students are directed to the colour panel of questions that is appropriate to them on feedback sheets I use to mark their books. I assess their source analysis using the AO skills sheets (Figure 3) and assign them one of the three colours.

I was then able to say to a class “Everyone answer questions 1-4 on the source window for Sources A, B and C” and the class would then be answering three versions of a GCSE question differentiated based on their level without me having to micro-manage three tasks to one group.

Figure 3

This was a big hit with that same SENCO as I was then able to differentiate by task on all my source work without any extra resources and at any point during the lesson.

Feeding Forward

After source analysis tasks students then consult their AO skills sheets (Figure 3) and assess their own answers and identify one skill from the next level of difficulty that they will work on in the future. I even make them write it in the ‘progress focus’ box to ensure each student is aware of their target. I then encourage them to refer back to this the next time we are doing source work.

Figure 4

I then stared to create other resources (Figure 4) that all use generic versions of KS4 questions which also break the required skills down into the same three levels. These resources allowed me to create ‘circuits of progress’ in students’ books that make the students’ progress clearer to the student themselves. This enables them to move up through the tiers refining their skills as they go, outlining a pathway so the students know exactly what they need to do to improve. I have shared my adapted source viewer on Twitter and other people, (some from around the world) have made their own versions adapting the questions to their own exam papers. Create your own and share it!

Thank you to @MrsHumanities for the inspiration

Mark Grantham – DCCA
Follow Mark on twitter @TeachYesterday

Download a copy here.


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Resource – Geography in the News Reading Review Sheet

During a lesson with one of my year 13 classes recently, it became apparent that I often ask “did you see in the news…?” after my students highlighted the fact that I regularly ask it and they always say “nope”.

It got me thinking about how I can get them to engage with current affairs, especially as so much of it is relevant to the IB Geography course particularly the higher level topics. This morning it came to me! As part of their revision process I’m going to get them to find, read and review news articles that link to the content they have covered. They will then share their findings with the class in order to develop discussion and a review of their prior learning. In particular I want them to be able to see the bigger picture of how much of the content links.

In order to help facilitate this process I’ve created this resource sheet.

It got me thinking about how I can engage other year groups in reading around the subject, especially as there are a number of students that excel in Geography every year and I encourage to read and watch the news to be able to draw upon other examples in their work.

I therefore decided to make a similar sheet for MYP (Key Stage 3) to use for Geography as a stand alone subject, for Individuals and Societies as a discipline and for IB Environmental Systems and Societies. For MYP I’m thinking I might set it as one homework per unit of inquiry.

I’ve made a further version which is more general and can be used with any year group.

To download editable version and a PDF, click here.

Hope you find them of use.


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Resource – IB Geog your Memory Revision Resource

This is a resource I’ve been working on now for a couple of weeks and finally today I was determined to get it finished.

It’s a revision resource for the IB Geography course, covering all of the core and the 3 options we cover – Oceans and Coastal Margins, Geophysical Hazards and Freshwater.

It’s quite simple really. It’s a wide collection of recall questions, 30 for each of the above topics, in a spreadsheet.

I have then used a mail merge to fill a template. This means I can easily move the questions around if necessary.

If you’d like instructions on how to use the mail merge feature in word, check out this post.

My using mail merge I’ve been able to easily produce 30 ‘Geog your memory’ sheets ready for revision.

The template consists of a questions and answer sheet. So far I’ve simply copied the question sheet onto PowerPoint slide and the answers onto another. I’ve popped the questions on the board and given students the 10 minutes at the start of the lesson to answer the questions. We’ve then discussed the answers and then I’ve shown them the answer sheet which they’ve used to add notes to their answers.

And yes, you can download them too. Click here to download the documents including the spreadsheet of questions, template and the 30 ready to go sheets.

The feedback I received on the first two have been positive. So I hope you find the resource of use with your students.


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Resource – Geographical Skills Revision Booklet

I wanted to create something for my students that would provide them with guidance on the wide variety of geographical skills they could come across in the exams, but in particular Paper 3.

We’ve covered so many during the course but they’re not always remembered. I wanted something that would bring it all together as much as possible. So I set about creating a skills overview booklet.

The idea of the booklet is that students can self-assess their level of confidence with the skills listed in the AQA specification.

From there they can focus their attention on particular sections.

At the end there are past paper and sample paper questions.

I’ve been somewhat lazy with the production of this resource, making use of booklets and resources available online. I take no credit for any of the material compiled and have provided a list of sources at the end of the document and below. However I was somewhat forgetful at referencing the sources as I made it, sorry. A massive thanks goes to those that have made the original material that I’ve collated together into this booklet.

https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/geographical-skills-revision-booklet-ks3-and-ks4-11872979

http://www.oaklands.hants.sch.uk/_site/data/files/documents/subjects/geography/A7986022DFBD4AE39D4EA09A74E9A197.pdf

https://www.teachitgeography.co.uk/resources/ks3/maps-and-map-skills/exploring-and-mapping-the-world/understanding-contour-lines/25112

https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/aqa-gcse-geography-skills-workbook-11058377

http://arkwilliamparker.org/sites/default/files/GCSE%20Geography%20Revision%20Booklet-%20AQA%208035.pdf

http://thewilnecoteschool.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Geographical-skills-booklet.pdf

https://www.teachitgeography.co.uk/skills

If there are any original sources I’ve failed to identify, please let me know and I will add details to the list.

To download the booklet click the download button below.

Hope it can be of use.


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Resource – Alaskan Oil Hexagon Task



As part of the current GCSE specification we explore the opportunities and challenges associated with development. Our case study is on Alaska so we take a look at developing tourism and oil extraction.

In this lesson we look at the opportunities and challenges associated with the exploitation of Alaskan oil reserves.

We start with a bit of background information on Alaska’s remaining oil reserves, the history of exploitation and the development of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline.

Students then use the textbook resources and their own research to complete the hexagon thinking task as outlined in the instructions below.

The aim of the task is to make students understand the challenges and opportunities associated with oil extraction as well as the interconnections between the different elements shown on the cards.

I show students a range of clips in addition to the background information I provide including some of the following

Past views – 2002

To download the hexagon sheet, click here.


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Resource – UK Climate Inquiry

Teaching about weather and climate is probably one of my favourite topics to teach in Geography. I love the relevance, I love the theory and I love exploring the data surrounding it. To help my students understand the climate of the UK, the differences and the influences I created this UK Climate Inquiry.

Students are provided with a task sheet individually and a resource pack in groups.

The resource pack contains
– Climate data for 6 locations in the UK from the Met Office
– Precipitation and temperature maps for the UK from the Met Office
– Air mass diagram
– Factors affecting climate cheat sheet

Students are also provided with 4 climate graph templates to reduce the time spent creating climate graphs so they can focus on developing their understanding of the theory.

The task requires students to explore a range of resources to help them to understand how the climate of the UK varies and the factors that influence our climate.

Stage 1

Students start off by making predictions on the following using their prior knowledge

  • Which areas of the UK do you think get the most rainfall? Why do you think this?
  • Which areas of the UK do you think have the highest temperatures? Why do you think this?
  • What do you think affects an areas rainfall and temperature?

They then use the resources provided in the group pack to fill in the two tables.

Stage 2

Next they select 4 out of the 6 locations provided. Using an atlas students have to work out where the named locations can be found. Choosing one location to represent each section of the UK (North East, North West, South East, South West). To stretch and challenge students there is also a central location to encourage comparison between coastal and inland areas.

Stage 3

Next students create climate graphs for each of their chosen locations using the Met Office data found here.

I provide the students with climate graph templates so they spend less time deciphering how to set up their climate graph and more time analysing them. To stretch and challenge I do encourage students to create a climate graph of their own for the central location.

Stage 4

The next stage involves data analysis and interpretation. Students are required to describe the patterns they see for each section of the UK and offer reasons using the resources provided.

Stage 5

Finally students write a conclusion in their book to bring together their findings on how and why the climate of the UK varies.

Stretch and Challenge

For students that excel in the task, they are encouraged to compare central and coastal areas by creating their own climate graph for Sutton Bonnington. After doing so, they then compare the characteristics with the other locations, using the factors affecting climate cheat sheet to explain the differences.

If you’d like the resources, download it here.

Hope you can make use of the resource.
Best wishes,


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Mrs Humanities shares… the 10 most viewed posts of 2018

2018 was quite an incredible year for me, it went from being offered a book deal to appearing on BBC Breakfast. In 2016, when I went through depression and a breakdown, I could barely envisage a future in teaching, to be able to use the experience to help others has been life changing for me. But I’m not here to talk about that but you can read more in my review of 2018 here.

What I am sharing in this post are the top 5 most viewed posts of 2018. They were bloomin’ popular. So here goes…

1 // Resource – GCSE Case Study and Exam Question Revision Booklet

In this post I shared a revision booklet to facilitate student independence in the revision process. Designed for AQA Geography but easily adaptable for other specifications.

The booklet provided students with a list of case studies, templates to summarise the case studies and exam questions to apply the content. With over 5,000 downloads of the booklet, I hope it’s helped students (and teachers) across the country.

2 // Resource – How to Revise in Geography

Creeping in just behind was the ‘How to Revise in Geography’ guide. Inspired by Greg Thornton’s post on How do we revise for history? which I recommended in my post on Mrs Humanities shares… 5 Epic History Revision Resources I decided to make a resource for my Geography students. It clearly hasn’t just been of benefit to my students, with almost 5,000 downloads of the document I’m hoping it’s been of help to many young people beyond my own classroom and school.

3 // Mrs Humanities shares… 10 Great Geography Revision Resources

I’m starting to see a theme now. Clearly revision has been on the minds of many this year. Perhaps it’s the pressure of accountability measures, maybe the tougher nature of the new 9-1 exams or maybe teachers just want to improve their student’s approach to revision, either way most popular post number 3 was another revision one. This time I shared and highlighted the work of a range of Geography teachers from the Twittersphere including
@teachgeogblog , @Jennnnnn_x , @InternetGeog , @GeoNewbz  and other. Many of these I have made use of in my own classroom.

4 // Zombie Apocalypse Atlas and Map Skills SoW

This one is always a popular post. In it I have shared resources to the scheme of work I produced to develop and embed atlas and map skills through the scenario of a zombie apocalypse. I’ve taught it a couple of times and every time it has been loved by the students.

I’ve seen it (via twitter and emails) used in classrooms across the world, which is incredible. It’s been adapted into other languages (Welsh and Chinese) and has been download over 40,000 times since I first published it back in Autumn 2015.

5 // Resource – Differentiation Strategies CPD

Next up was a resource I produced to support teacher training on differentiation. The presentation provides a variety of tried and tested strategies for differentiation and scaffolding to support and challenge students. You can even download the ready-to-go PowerPoint presentation.

6 // Mrs Humanities shares… 5 Whole Class Feedback Examples

Unsurprisingly the next few most read posts of 2018 are associated with feedback and marking. In this one, I shared 5 examples of whole class feedback to support teachers, departments and schools making the move from marking to feedback.

7 // My Marking and Feedback Toolkit

Since publishing this post in January 2017, it’s been a popular one. In this post I share the strategies that make up my marking and feedback toolkit. I tried and tested a range of strategies over a couple of years to find what worked best for me, my style of teaching and most importantly my students. In that time I changed schools and had to start again with the narrowing down process but it didn’t take me long to find what worked. This post goes on to highlight those 5 strategies.

8 // Mrs Humanities shares… 6 Epic History Revision Resources

Back to revision again, this one shared 6 epic resources for revision in History. I no longer teach history but I do like to keep up with pedagogical developments and resource sharing just in case I ever return to it. This post needs up-dating as I’ve seen many more fantastic resources since I first posted it, that will happen in due course I promise.*

*but please don’t hold me accountable if I do completely forget 🙂

9 // Marking, feedback and DIRT

This is one of my first posts on marking and feedback from way back in June 2015. The area of interest has come along way since then, but it’s a great post for those new to the profession or those being introduced to the idea of #feedbackNOTmarking.

In the post I share a range of strategies I’d tried in order to improve feedback but reduce workload. These then made up part of a CPD session for new and current staff at the school I was working at. The post also provides a downloadable resource with all the strategies included.

10 // Mrs Humanities shares… 10 fantastic displays for the Humanities

The final most popular post of the 10 was this one where I shared 10 fantastic display ideas for Humanities. The post shared 10 great examples of displays I’d come across on Twitter from the likes of @mrsrgeog @sehartsmith @MrJPteach  @EduCaiti and several more.

And that sums up this post on the 10 most popular posts of 2018. Hope you’ve found something of use and inspiration this year. Thank you for the continued support throughout 2018.

Best wishes for 2019.


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Resource – GCSE Revision G.Y.M

This is a project I’ve been meaning to do for a while now to support revision and recall inspired by Jen Monk’s ‘Geog your memory’ resource.

The idea is that through the use of a mail merge you create a variety of ‘geog your memory’ resources which can be used at the end or throughout the course.

It’s nothing fancy but super easy to do.

First create your template in word.

Next create your spreadsheet and collate your questions in whatever order suits you and your needs. I’ve done it mixed to support revision with my year 11 class. I’ve used the sample paper questions and created some of my own to test student knowledge and recall.

Next is the mail merge. These are super easy once you get the hang of it.

Here’s a step by step guide.

Step 1 – Data Source

Open up your template in word. Go to the ‘Mailings’ tab and click on the ‘Start Mail Merge’ icon. Select ‘Normal Word Document’. Then go to ‘Select Recipients’ as shown below. Select the option ‘Use an Existing List’. This will open up a the ‘Select data source’ window. Just find your excel spreadsheet in your files and select OK.

Step 2 – Inserting your data

Next you want to add the data to your mail merge. Place your cursor where you want to insert information. You can see I’ve clicked in the first definition box. Once your cursor is placed, click on the ‘Insert Merge Field’. Then from the dropdown list select the data option you want to insert.

Insert the fields into the remainder of your document.

Step 3 – Finish and Merge

Once your data fields are inserted into the template document you’ll want to merge the data into the file. Click on the ‘Finish & Merge’ icon. From the drop down menu select ‘Edit Individual Documents’.

When the pop-up opens, select ‘All’ and press OK.

This will open up a new document with all of your data inserted into several versions of the original template.

And there you have it, a whole selection of ‘Geog your memory’ sheets for students.

If you don’t want to make your own, guess what I made some for you to download and amend. Download the Word Template, the Excel Spreadsheet of questions for AQA Geography and the document with 30+ GYM sheets ready-to-go by clicking the button below.

Hope you find the resources and tutorial useful.


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Mrs Humanities shares… Simulation Games for Geography

I was recently searching for GIS resources when I came across an old document I had about the use of simulation games in Geography. I haven’t used them for a long while (since my PGCE) so thought I’d take a look at what is out there now and share some useful ones with you. 

Disaster Master

Suitable for Key Stage 2 and 3.

Each disaster starts with a comic strip style introduction before a question is asked and a decision is to be made. Depending on the option chosen, students earn points. 

The game takes students through a range of scenarios and solutions, giving them insight into the hazard and management. 

Stop Disasters

Suitable for Key Stage 3 and 4.

This game is provided by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. Through a range of scenarios and levels students develop an understanding of the risks posed by natural hazards.

Students can choose between tsunamis, hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes and floods. 

Once a hazard has been selected players can choose a scenario from numerous regions of the world allowing students to compare countries of different stages of development. 

The game then takes the player through a scenario in which they have to respond through careful planning and preparation. With limited funds students have to consider how to spend the money effectively. 

2050 Energy Calculator

Suitable for Key Stage 4 and 5.

This is an interactive game created by the Department for Energy and Climate Change that allows students to explore scenarios to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions. 

Students explore supply and demand as well as energy security, air quality and costs in this simulation. It provides effective insight into future energy challenges. 

FloodSim

Suitable for Key Stage 3 and 4.

This simulation aims to raise awareness of the issues surrounding flood policy and management. During the game students are put in control of flood policy in the UK for three years. They must decide on how much money to spend on defenses, where to build houses and how to keep the public informed all whilst remaining in budget. 

They are required to weigh up the pros and cons of flood management against the potential impacts. 

Climate Bathtub Simulation 

Suitable for Key Stage 3, 4 and 5.

A very simple interactive simulation game, the climate bathtub simulation teaches several principles regarding the dynamics of the global carbon cycle and climate change. It helps students to understand how changes in carbon dioxide emissions will affect levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Energy Saving Game

Suitable for Key Stage 2

In this game students explore the home for potential energy efficiency improvements and answer quiz questions to lower a house’s energy use.

Other games I’ve not tried

Fate of the World  – Climate Change Simulation

ElectroCity – Urban Management Game

Eco – Decision making game 

EarthGames


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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