Virtual ‘In the Know’ webinar (Session 1), Geographical Association

Consultancy

 

Wearing my new badge with pride!

It has been a while since I last delivered an ‘In the Know’ webinar series on behalf of the Geographical Association (GA), so we thought it was about time that we offered another one.  With Term 6 being very busy and ending on various dates for schools, it was decided to trial a slightly different delivery; two, 3.5 hour morning sessions within a week of each other, as opposed to the usual hourly, weekly slot immediately after school for six consecutive weeks.  Further details about the series can be found by accessing the web-link below:

https://portal.geography.org.uk/event/view/E000039

Feedback at the end of the sessions will determine which route we consider pursuing over the next academic year.

The aim of these sessions is to enhance delegates’ subject knowledge of several key geographical themes, as well as increasing their confidence to teach such topics both in and beyond the classroom.  Many teaching ideas are suggested and participants are given the opportunity to trial some of these during the sessions too.  There is also a chance to ask questions, discuss issues, either as a whole group or in ‘breakout rooms’, and add contributions to the accompanying chat feed.

After introducing myself, providing some background information about the Geographical Association’s website (https://geography.org.uk/), its Professional Award (https://geography.org.uk/events-cpd/cpd-toolkit/ga-professional-award/) and Primary Geography Quality Mark (PQGM) (https://geography.org.uk/quality-marks/), we moved swiftly on to explore ‘climate, biomes and vegetation belts’.  Pupils learn about weather from the beginning of their primary years.  However, understanding the relationship between weather and climate and how they affect the habitats of different animals and plants, creating biomes, is a complex geographical concept.  For example, did you know that boreal forest is the largest terrestrial biome, Antarctica is a desert or that more than half of Earth’s plants and animals call tropical rainforests home?  As the human effects on the climate become increasingly apparent, it is imperative that Earth’s future custodians have an understanding of the interconnections that link all life on our planet.  Delegates were challenged to a number of activities throughout the first webinar and given fifteen minutes at the end to explore some of the web-links and resources at their leisure.  There was an opportunity to ask questions, either by unmuting themselves or via the chat feed too.  Afterwards, we took a short comfort break.

Next, we looked at ‘mountains and volcanoes’.  Mountains can be tourist attractions, national symbols, a country’s borders, the source of a country’s mineral wealth, inspirational, spiritual and challenging, in addition to being loved by artists, climbers and engineers alike.  The connection between mountains and volcanoes lies at the molten core of our planet, where the gradual cooling of the Earth’s core over millions of years has formed the mountains and volcanoes we see today.  This geological formation of Earth is constant.  Often, in the News, volcanoes demonstrate the raw power of nature and are a stark reminder of how our world was so violently created and how our human existence is dependent on a thin crust of the Earth’s surface that lies above these primal, elemental forces beneath.  Again, during the webinar, participants were invited to complete several tasks and allotted time at the end to explore some of the suggested web-links and resources.  I also answered their questions and directed them towards additional websites or materials where necessary.

Following another brief screen break, we reconvened to investigate ‘latitude, longitude, day and night’.  Learning to tell the time is an early primary skill; understanding how time works through night and day and across different places around the globe is a more complex, but equally essential geographical skill.  I referenced Digimap for Schools lots and we seized the opportunity to ‘have a play’ together.  Some teachers were reasonably familiar with the tool, whilst others had not previously really engaged with it.  All were very impressed with its scope for use both in and beyond the classroom.  I allocated a few minutes for independent exploration and to take any questions from the audience before moving on to the plenary.  At this point, individuals were asked to complete a Google Form, which gave them time to reflect upon the morning’s activities, as well as providing those at the GA and myself with invaluable feedback.

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

Sum up today’s webinar in five words or a sentence or two.

Very useful.  Wish I’d had it before our Ofsted deep dive for geography last week!

Very insightful.  Loads of great resources.

Very informative with some great ideas for websites and teaching ideas.

A very informative session with lots of great teaching ideas.

Informative, concise and clear with a ton of ideas to share and take into class.

Extremely informative and has hugely improved my subject knowledge.

Engaging, informative, rich in knowledge and has significantly enhanced my subject knowledge.

Very informative and useful to disseminate to staff.

Depth of knowledge and valuable teaching strategies.

Are there any activities/ideas that you wish to ‘give a go’?

Yes, lots!

Most of them, can’t wait to share with Year Leads.

I’ve noted so many down and will be sharing with colleagues.

Using Digimap for Schools’ overlays.

I have ordered some recommended texts and have lots of notes to share with other year groups.

Lots of the suggested when I have read more about them.

Too many to list!

Enquiry questions/interviewing occupants of extreme locations/Digimap for Schools subscription.

Are there any changes that you now wish to make?

Yes, lots!

I’d like to look at the Quality Mark next year.

Look into our vocabulary progression throughout the school.

Look at how vocabulary is incorporated into lessons and throughout school.

We will subscribe to Digimap for Schools.

Additional comments inserted in the accompanying chat feed:

Thanks very much, Emma. Very useful morning.

Thank you so much for today.  Very valuable.

Very useful, thank you.  Some good resources that I can share with staff to support teaching.

Thank you, Emma, that was really useful!

Thank you for today.  It has been brilliant!

PDF downloads are also available to purchase via the GA’s shop, either as ten individual titles or as a full set (https://portal.geography.org.uk/shop/index?profile=In%20the%20Know).  These provide straightforward, accurate and trustworthy background knowledge, explanation, diagrams and glossary on topics in the geography National Curriculum so that teachers can develop their teaching with confidence.

I look forward to another enlightening morning on Tuesday 11th July 2023.

 

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