Virtual ‘In the Know’ webinar (Session 2), Geographical Association

Consultancy

It was time for us to reconvene for Session 2 of this ‘In the Know’ webinar series.

Further details about the whole series can be found by accessing the web-link below:

https://portal.geography.org.uk/event/view/E000092

The aims of these sessions are to enhance delegates’ subject knowledge of several key geographical themes, plus increase 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.

As we had no new attendees, I skimmed through the opening slides, which introduced myselfprovided 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/), and moved swiftly on to explore ‘Rivers and the water cycle‘ with participants. This is a theme that is 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 at the end 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 delegates seemed to 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.

Another great session to show how to engage pupils in geography.

Great webinars. They have helped me feel more confident about the content of the geography curriculum. I knew more than I realised – I just needed a refresher course and this was perfect!

What did you enjoy the most today and why? (WWW)

Ideas for activities and websites that can engage pupils.

The great resources and links Emma always directs you to. Thank you – they are so useful.

What did you enjoy the least and why? (EBI)

Nothing!

The section on settlements as it made me realise how poor my historical knowledge was. Uninspiring teachers at secondary school made me drop history at the first opportunity!

List your key takeaways from today’s webinar.

I can use grid references for not only geography, but also for number work!

Digimaps for Schools is useful and very useable – I just need to get this message through to staff!

Consider your next steps.  List three things that you intend to do. 

We are looking to find a new geography curriculum to follow, so will be contacting for some advice.

Look at geography-related story books across school. Get staff using Digimap for Schools. Try to make use of some of the resources/links to bring our curriculum alive a bit more.

How has attending this webinar series supported you in your role as a Geography Subject Leader/classroom teacher?

Lots!

It has helped refresh my knowledge and I feel more confident about talking to members of staff that teach higher up in school about the areas they are teaching.

Additional comments inserted in the accompanying chat feed or from follow-up e-mails:

Thanks for today. It’s been great. Lots to go and read and take in again.

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.

Good luck!

Enjoy the remainder of Term 4.

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