CPD workshop (Let’s go on an awesome Arctic adventure, in conjunction with Wicked Weather Watch), The Royal High Preparatory School, Bath


Well, Thursday morning saw the last of our CPD workshops for this academic year.  The venue was The Royal High Preparatory School in Bath, and being slightly beyond my usual working territory, meant several new faces.

The aims and format of the session were shared with attendees at the outset. We then moved on to the ‘starter’, which looked at the new Education Inspection Framework (EIF) from Ofsted and the judgement category named ‘quality of education’ and it 3 Is (intent; implementation; impact) in particular.  Afterwards, I set delegates a couple of activities to ensure they were kept on their toes!

Many had identified similar aspects that they now needed to address, such as ensuring coverage and progression, identifying assessment opportunities and facilitating internal and external moderation of pupils’ work and exploring reading/literacy links.

It was interesting to see the variation in reference to the Arctic and climate change between schools.  Several focused on cold environments at Key Stage 1, including the North Pole, and the Arctic Circle was pinpointed during mapwork activities at Key Stage 2.  When focusing on world biomes, e.g. tropical rainforest and desert, many discussed issues like deforestation and desertification and how these were related to climate change.  Attention was also given to the very concerning and hugely topical issue of ‘plastics in the ocean’ and how we all might reduce our carbon/global footprint.

We spent some time ‘unpicking’ the National Curriculum programme of study for geography at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 to emphasise the potential that exists to tap into these important areas/themes.  I also displayed the Geographical Association’s fantastic four page document on progression and assessment in geography, which was written for the new National Curriculum a few years ago now, but is still widely referenced (http://geography.org.uk/news/2014nationalcurriculum/assessment/#16850).

The main part of our CPD session ‘zoomed in’ on Wicked Weather Watch (WWW)’s website (https://wickedweatherwatch.org.uk/), including the amazing video footage, teaching resources (a full Key Stage 2 scheme of work, plus additional activities linked to sustainability, reducing one’s carbon footprint and promoting critical thinking) and links for further information.   I showcased some of the Global Learning Programme (GLP) Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3 transition projects, multi-schools events and single school workshops that I have coordinated and co-delivered alongside Wicked Weather Watch.  Mention was made to other Arctic/climate change resources that I have found to be incredibly useful too, such as Arctic Alive (http://www.canadaukfoundation.org/arctic-alive/), Expedition Greenland (http://www.wilabonn.de/en/projects/723-expedition-greenlandsustainability.html), Encounter Edu (https://encounteredu.com/teachers) and the London Sustainable Schools Forum (http://www.londonsustainableschools.org/london-climate-action-week.html).

Most importantly, time was allocated for teachers to explore a number of suggested web-links and materials.  In addition, there was the opportunity to ask me questions and seek further advice specific to their own or school’s needs.  Refreshments were served for sustenance too!  It was so lovely to see delegates interacting with each other, sharing best practice and developing rapport to exploit throughout the next academic year.

Enjoying having time to explore the various resources that had been brought along to the session.

We drew the morning to a close with two, short plenary activities.

Some of their next steps are visible below.  It appears that many are having a whole school curriculum focus … time to ensure that the content is ‘knowledge rich’, with opportunities for skills development and to deepen conceptual understanding (mastery).  Sourcing subject-related reading material and using this to support literacy/guided reading featured strongly too.

The feedback was, once again, very positive, which makes mornings such as these so worthwhile:

Delegates were asked to ‘sum up’ the session in five words or a sentence or two: 

‘So useful as new Humanities Lead.  So many useful resources to explore and connections made.  So productive.  Thank you.’

‘Informative; interesting; ideas-based; lots of food for thought.’‘

Resources; information; requirements; geography.’

‘Inspiring; well-resourced; relevant; thought-provoking; worthwhile.’

‘Informative; importance of progression from Key Stages 1 to 3; how to show clear assessment; go with the children’s world; it’s all about the future!’

‘Informative; thought-provoking; content rich; interesting … overwhelming (a whole day would have been good to actually start mapping something out).’

‘Thank you very much for yesterday’s session.’

‘Very informative and supported by knowledgeable leaders with practical implementation ideas.’

‘Finding out about what is available in terms of resources, etc.’

‘Opportunity to ask questions and discuss ideas with others/experts.’

‘Thank you, it’s been hugely useful.’

Suggestions for further resources that attendees would like Wicked Weather Watch (WWW) to provide:

  • Would be useful to have resources based on contrasting biomes – to be able to compare with the polar environment.
  • Single school workshops.
  • Links to texts (fiction) to be used as a starting point with Key Stages 1 and 2.
  • How to run a whole school ‘climate change awareness day’.
  • How to establish an ‘Eco Team/Climate Change Council’ with pupils.
  • Ideas for a structured climate change focused week.
  • How to engage teachers who are less interested/inspired.
  • A case studies scheme of work looking at certain groups of people affected by climate change (e.g. Nenets of northern Siberia) with accompanying resources.
  • An assembly resource to ‘kick start’ a climate change week, e.g. multimedia presentation or activity.
  • Interested in the Siberia project that was talked about – links to resources about this.
  • Science experiments that help develop pupils’ understanding of climate.
  • Some Arctic explorers (living) biographies.
  • Workshop material – inspiring examples (visuals of what schools are doing) and practical opportunity (work with other teachers in key stage groups to plan curriculum opportunities).

I am looking forward to hearing about, and seeing, the outcomes of some relevant and lively Arctic/climate change-themed lessons very shortly!

Many thanks to The Royal High Preparatory School for their warm welcome, as well as outstanding ICT support.

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