Well. it was time for Session 2 of this ‘In the Know’ webinar series; a slightly different format to usual, but one which seems to have been well-received overall and certainly an option to consider repeating next academic year.
Further details about the series can be found by accessing the web-link below:
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.
I introduced myself, provided 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 (PGQM) (https://geography.org.uk/quality-marks/) for anyone who had joined this session and not attended the previous one. I then moved swiftly on to explore ‘Rivers and the water cycle‘ with participants, a theme frequently visible on many whole school geography curriculum maps. Water is constantly on the move; water from melting glaciers and water held in the ground gets channelled into tiny streams that grow and join up with other streams to form rivers. Rivers form a major part of the water (hydrological) cycle; rivers are responsible for transferring water to the oceans. River landscapes are often beautiful and changeable and provide many examples of physical geography at work. Later, I paused for fifteen minutes to allow individuals to peruse the suggested resources and web-links that were of particular interest or relevance to them and answer any pressing questions.
After a short comfort break, our attention was directed towards ‘Settlements‘. Settlements are places where groups of people live and work. While settlements can vary tremendously in size, they often share a range of characteristics that are influenced by similarities in the landscape, the background or history shaping a settlement over time and the sources that influence its growth. There are reasons why settlements developed as, and where, they did: without looking at the history of a place, it is impossible to see how it has developed and changed over time. This webinar clearly demonstrated geography’s cross-curricular links, especially with history. Again, I allocated a few minutes for teachers to digest the content on the accompanying slides and investigate websites and materials further. I responded to comments added to the chat feed or from those that unmuted themselves.
Following a brief screen break, we reconvened for the third webinar, which took the theme of ‘Grid references and map symbols‘. Maps are works of art. There are many types of maps, but they all communicate information, spatially and pictorially, about a particular area, from a theme park to a country to the world. Understanding maps is an important geographical and life skill, which can be improved with good knowledge of directions and compass points, distance and scale, features, symbols and grid references. I attempted to incorporate a number of practical activities here, which attendees seemed to really enjoy and actually ended up becoming rather competitive!
Some of their ‘concluding comments’ can be viewed below:
Sum up today’s webinar in five words or a sentence or two.
Very informative and detailed.
Informative and great tips and websites.
A good session – lots of information.
Really useful and useable resources.
Informative; inspiring; useful; well-planned; worthwhile.
Another really useful course, thank you!
Intense, but very useful.
Are there any activities/ideas that you wish to ‘give a go’?
Digimap for Schools and MapChart, as well as the 5Ws + how for a topic starter.
Layers of inference and river bingo.
Yes, lots! Using grid references in stories for the children to practise the skill.
Digimap for Schools; activities around school.
Are there any changes that you now wish to make?
Lots linked to the above.
Increasing vocabulary tasks throughout school.
Wider use of maps across the school.
How has attending this webinar series supported you in your role as a Geography Subject Leader/classroom teacher?
Improved my subject knowledge; more effective as a Subject Leader to support colleagues with planning.
As a Subject Leader, it has given me ideas as to how we can progress and strengthen geography and support teachers with a wealth of not just knowledge, but ideas and resources.
Lots of resources and ideas that I will take back to the classroom.
Increasing knowledge and providing useful resources.
Helped me refresh my practice.
Improved my subject knowledge and widened my resource bank.
I was added on last minute by my Deputy Headteacher, but I am being given the opportunity to disseminate to staff in meetings.
Additional comments inserted in the accompanying chat feed:
Thank you for another super informative session today.
Loads to think about and implement. I am very excited.
Thank you very much! Once again, this session has been really informative.
Thank you very much, Emma. So many useful resources. I’m looking forward to using them and sharing them with other staff at school.
Thank you for everything. It’s been really helpful!
Thank you for another great session. It has been so useful.
Thank you – got some really good teaching ideas.
Thank you. Really useful.
Thanks for an interesting session.
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 hearing about, and seeing evidence of, you all putting the teaching ideas into practice in the not too distant future.
Have an enjoyable and restful summer holiday.