A great way to spend a Friday afternoon in lockdown 3! (Primary Humanities Network meeting – Term 4)

ConsultancyWorkshops

It was lovely to see, albeit virtually, many familiar faces, as well as a few new ones, this afternoon.  We were also fortunate to be joined by Glenn Carter, the man behind History Rocks (https://www.history-rocks.com/).

After welcoming everyone, I outlined the aims and structure of the meeting, namely:

As there was so much to get through during the meeting, I swiftly moved on to the ‘starter’.  Here, I looked at some of the latest developments in education, especially those relating to geography and history, such as:

Next, Glenn gave teachers a whistle-stop tour of Mosaik3D’s new games and tools (https://www.mozaweb.com/mozaik3D).  Delegates were impressed by these features and gained some great ideas from Glenn as to how they might realise Mosaik3D’s potential in the classroom.

Afterwards, I paused for ten minutes to allow participants to digest some of the material, bookmark websites and download resources that were of particular relevance to them.

The ‘main’ part of the meeting concentrated on support for remote/home-learning, before highlighting alternatives to trips/visits and ideas for local fieldwork.  I allocated individuals to ‘break out’ rooms to discuss their experiences of remote/home-learning, identifying what went well (WWW) and even better if (EBI).  They were also requested to select one resource/website that they would recommend to those present.  On their return to the main session, teachers were asked to add their suggested resource/website to the chat feed, so that we all had a bank of useful sources to draw upon in the near future.  Among their suggestions were:

I then directed attendees towards a number of documents relating to evidence gathered about remote/home-learning.  Schools Week recently published an article detailing the main points from Ofsted’s latest report, giving their findings about remote education and the effects on teachers, pupils and parents (https://www.risingstars-uk.com/blog/february-2021/ofsted-s-remote-learning-report-and-eduu-school).  It was highlighted that:

  • the switch to remote education has increased teachers’ workload;
  • there was difficulty aligning the curriculum with remote education;
  • a third of teachers were not confident delivering remote lessons;
  • there were feedback problems as teachers could not see body language;
  • video lessons may offer a solution to shortage subjects and snow days;
  • schools went ‘out of their way’ to provide laptops.

Teacher Toolkit has some great remote teaching tips here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZXDx-x66zY and https://www.teachertoolkit.co.uk/product/remote-teaching/.

Teachit has also published several useful documents on their website, e.g. 10 evidence-based approaches for remote learning (https://www.teachitprimary.co.uk/resources//10-evidence-based-approaches-for-remote-learning/36534); 10 ways to build relationships with students remotely (https://www.teachitprimary.co.uk/resources//10-ways-to-build-relationships-with-students-remotely/36513); eight ideas for planning home learning activities (https://www.teachitprimary.co.uk/resources/f/languages/computing/eight-ideas-for-planning-home-learning-activities/35891) and 10 things parents want teachers to know about home learning (https://www.teachitprimary.co.uk/resources/10-things-parents-want-teachers-to-know-about-home-learning/36520).

In addition, the GA is helping continue geography education at home (https://www.geography.org.uk/Announcements-and-updates/how-the-ga-is-helping-continue-geography-education-from-home).  There is a variety of teaching resources to access (https://www.geography.org.uk/Teaching-Resources).  Besides, there is a specific section of their website dedicated to ‘Geography from home’ (https://www.geography.org.uk/Geography-from-home).

Furthermore, the RGS-IBG has a wealth of free online resources, lectures and podcasts, as well as extended resources available as part of their School Membership package.  Teachers, students and their parents can utilise the resources to support online and home-based lessons and to provide further reading or watching (https://www.rgs.org/schools/teaching-resources/).  They too have a section of their website dedicated to ‘Geography at Home’ (https://www.rgs.org/schools/teaching-resources/geography-at-home/) and ‘Geography at Home Worksheets’ aimed at geography teachers looking for quick tasks or a little inspiration (https://www.rgs.org/schools/teaching-resources/geography-at-home-worksheets/).

Another leading subject association, the HA, has shown its support to teachers during the current pandemic.  It established a ‘Resource Sharing Hub’, a place to find quality home-learning resources that you can have confidence in.  New resources added in recent weeks include chronological timeline research tasks on World War II and the Anglo-Saxons, plus tasks for learning about the Olympics – ancient and modern (https://www.history.org.uk/primary/categories/resource-sharing-hub-primary).

And, not forgetting Early Years!  A great article appeared recently on Teach Early Years’ website, providing some ideas as to how to make online learning fun.  Scroll down to the section entitled ‘Understanding the World’, which has particular relevance to geography and history (https://www.teachearlyyears.com/learning-and-development/view/ict-activities-for-eyfs-how-to-make-make-online-learning-fun).

Various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have also helped to facilitate remote/home-learning.  For example, Greenpeace has some ready-made resources and lesson plans that can easily be shared and adapted for online learning.  There are a range of inspiring resources which can be linked easily to the curriculum.  Two of their current highlights are: https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Explore-and-Act-Plastic-Pollution-7-11-year-olds.pdf and https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/GP-7-11-Environmental-Worries-Dec.pdf (https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/all-resources/education-resources/).  For anyone studying explorers, the Arctic or climate change, there are some short movie clips and resources on Wicked Weather Watch’s website, e.g. https://wickedweatherwatch.org.uk/get-active/further-info-draft-page/, https://vimeo.com/wickedweatherwatch, https://vimeo.com/502669221, https://vimeo.com/421872106, https://wickedweatherwatch.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Resource-9_Arctic-map-puzzle_FINAL_Feb17.pdf.

Home-learning support is also on offer from CLPE (https://clpe.org.uk/home-learning-support-clpe).  They have collated all of their teaching resources into one place to support primary schools with their home-learning needs.  Resources include free teaching plans, videos, book recommendations and online learning opportunities to strengthen literacy teaching.

Free teaching resources and teaching ideas can be gleaned by visiting The School Trip Community’s website (https://theschooltrip.co.uk/teaching-resources/).  This is work in progress, but there are many teaching resources, educational packs, educational games, presentations, lesson plans, educational videos and worksheets that can be downloaded and used.

It was then time to move on to a timely theme given the current restrictions placed on schools; alternatives to trips/visits and local fieldwork ideas.  In the latest edition of the GA’s Primary Geography journal, Julie Tanner writes about ‘Progression in geographical fieldwork experiences’.  Not only does Julia remind us why fieldwork is such a valuable and vital component of high-quality geography, but she also provides us with practical guidance for effective progression.  Her framework for progression in geographical experiences is fantastic and should be examined by every Geography Subject Leader.  Within the same edition, Deborah Myers explains how a novel approach to fieldwork empowered pupils to think more carefully about their home town of Croydon.  What they completed could easily be replicated in other areas of the UK (https://www.geography.org.uk/Journals/Primary-Geography).  I sang the praises of The Everyday Guide to Primary Geography: Local fieldwork and projected extracts from the book with ideas for local fieldwork activities, including one that had given me inspiration for a Year 6 ‘geography day’ and another that had links with both geography and history (https://www.geography.org.uk/Shop/The-Everyday-Guide-to-Primary-Geography-Fieldwork/9781843773672).

Furthermore, the RGS-IBG’s website has some suggestions for fieldwork under its ‘Resources for schools’ (https://www.rgs.org/schools/teaching-resources/?categories=Fieldwork,Keystage1,Keystage2).  Ideas for on-site school fieldwork can be found here: https://www.rgs.org/schools/teaching-resources/ideas-for-on-site-school-fieldwork/.  There is one centred upon Gloucester, which could be extremely helpful to teachers based across the whole county of Gloucestershire in actual fact.  There are numerous resources for virtual fieldwork too and I directed delegates towards ones that I had used or been particularly impressed by (https://www.rgs.org/research/higher-education-resources/virtual-field/).

I have recently worked with Adriana Meirelles, a professional film maker originating from Brazil, but now based in the UK, to steer and co-deliver several virtual multi-schools events.  I played a short movie clip, before linking to blog post reports from our latest ‘amazing Amazon adventures’ (https://create2inspire.co.uk/2020/10/15/lets-go-on-a-scintillating-south-american-adventure/ and https://create2inspire.co.uk/2020/12/03/off-to-south-america-once-again-virtually-of-course/).  The next one is scheduled for Wednesday 24th March 2021 (https://create2inspire.co.uk/2020/12/05/fancy-a-virtual-trip-to-south-america/).  Five schools have already signed up, so there is just space for one more; do get in touch swiftly if you wish to be part of this event.  I also publicised another forthcoming multi-schools event (Wednesday 31st March 2021), which is again hugely topical: joining forces with Rachel Shilston, a former secondary school art teacher and now owner of ‘Inspiring Creativity’ in the Forest of Dean’, to offer an experience entitled ‘From local to global: Exploring our connections’ (https://create2inspire.co.uk/2020/11/28/fancy-taking-part-in-our-next-multi-schools-event-connections/).

Educational establishments within the south west, e.g. particularly those in Chippenham, Bath and Bristol, should look out for Wicked Weather Watch’s Schools Programme 2021, which will be launched just after Easter.  It includes speakers, pupil workshops, teacher training and much more.  Contact Rhianna to sign up or for further information: schools@wickedweatherwatch.org.uk.

Teachwire has some inspiration for virtual school trips too.  Their virtual tour and virtual workshop ideas can be accessed here: https://www.teachwire.net/news/virtual-school-trip-try-these-virtual-tour-and-virtual-workshop-ideas.

Not forgetting our History Subject Leaders, I linked to a section of the HA’s website, ‘Resources’, with an array of material they might wish to explore (https://www.history.org.uk/primary/categories/347/module/8754/primary-history-articles-for-the-school-history-su/9919/resources).  For those based in Gloucestershire, I drew their attention to an article that had appeared on Gloucestershire Live’s website last month (https://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/news/gloucester-news/roman-remains-gloucestershire-find-4933381) about the Roman remains to be found within the county and an extract from Discover DeCrypt’s eNews about the ‘most important discovery for decades‘.  Owain Hughes, alas that Museum Man, is worth following on Facebook and You Tube too as new content is being added and virtual opportunities offered all the time (https://www.facebook.com/That-Museum-Man-101841218576169 and https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCggt56wkKthWG4kCfOoQVvQ?fbclid=IwAR1ORrfbow0YjSXbNiNhxAy6P_44itrLM4AtGofBP5sGhFUl8e6ct3bSICc).

We paused for fifteen minutes or so to allow delegates to explore some of the suggested websites and resources further, as well as pose any questions that they had.

It was then time for the ‘plenary’.  Here, participants were asked to complete two activities before I invited attendees to share their thoughts by either unmuting themselves or via the accompanying chat feed:

Some of their ‘concluding comments’ can be found below:

Sum up today’s meeting in five words/a sentence or two:

‘Thank you for yet another fantastic session with lots more to explore.’

‘Interesting; relevant; informative.’

‘Thought-provoking; resourceful; good timing with returning to school.’

‘Masses of inspiration and resources, really informative.  Thank you.’

‘Lots of useful resources and information to explore!’

‘Inspiring; informative; a wealth of knowledge.’

‘Informative.’

‘Full of new interesting resources to try!’

‘Lots to explore and share!’

‘Informative; interesting ideas; thought-provoking.’

‘Relevant; resourceful; inspiring; practical and exciting.  Thank you so much!’

‘A very insightful and resource rich session; thought-provoking and informative.’

‘Thank you so much, Emma!’

Possible themes for future Primary Humanities Network meetings:

  • Incorporating diversity.
  • Sharing high-quality planning for differentiated learning.
  • Assessing history and geography.

All in all, an enjoyable and productive end to a very busy week.  Good luck for the return of all pupils to school next week.  Hopefully, the remainder of the academic year will be a smoother ride.  Our next Primary Humanities Network meeting, again virtual in nature, will take place as a twilight session on Thursday 22nd April 2021 and during the afternoon of Friday 30th April 2021, so that it is accessible to as many as possible under the current circumstances.  Keep an eye on this blog and your inbox for further details, which will appear shortly.

 

 

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