Saturday, 2 February 2013

A week in 20 points of odd geography because I love odd!

A big quote from a student this week quickly turned into a poll daddy survey. So what did they say???

Initially when you hear this word you feel slightly bamboozled! Is it a good identity trait or a bad one? 'The girl said "Sir you are so ODD!" "Gee whizz don't mix your words" I replied. "I'm not! Don't get me wrong Sir it is a good thing you always stick something odd or memorable into my mind and I can't get rid of it because it is wacky and off this planet or emotionally charged or it is very inventive and makes me think, 'how does he think up these things!?' Our class do a prediction before each lesson on what stupid idea will we get trapped with!"

I have read in many blogs and listened to Ofsted inspectors saying they hate seeing performances! The teacher doing ALL the effort. I counter this by the quote above. Do students always get together to make predictions before a lesson on what it will be? I do speak for a limited time because yes I firmly agree that they must when they come into the room learn. Variety with rigour thrown in. BUT when I do speak I want to capture 'The Big Picture of create similes through a demonstration that they will remember for a life time. Geography is one of the most powerful for that. It is a subject where visual stimulus captures many.

This made me think am I really that odd!? I will be filming myself and posting next week for you to decide.

So this week I decided to do a little note book on what this particular student said was odd, plus a few reflective thoughts. I posted the majority on twitter yesterday morning a list of 18 learning events in my room. I have added 2 more from 'Take Over Day' where 2 students literally become me living my life for the day:)

@JOHNSAYERS: Highlights of week. 1. Shaking a bottle of tango and irn bru (it had extra carbonate put in) then releasing. Which erupted higher? This I repeated for another class because I wasn't happy with the colour visuals I want one to demonstrate lava flow eruptions and possible fissure eruptions so a more orange colour in students mind and then a grey eruption for an ash cloud one. So we refined to Irn Bru ( that was now flat after been used the day before as i left the cap off to link to the reduced pressure these eruptions are generated from, and Coke and then a Coke with additional carbonate to highlight the changes in chemical composition in a volcano can have a vast impact on the style of the eruption. 'Give it a go' Shake the bottles and open. What happens? What might happen if?.....

@JOHNSAYERS: 2. Pouring chilli dip, syrup, then mayo to get into my characteristics of diff lava flows. The characteristics of specific types of volcanoes is an important lesson for students to make connections between processes like convection which we demonstrated two weeks ago with a fish tank filled with room temperature water Students then filmed described, compared answers, then critiqued for what happened when I added to the left a cup of cold water with blue colour dye and then warm water with red colour dye > convection currents. So from this linked to a post I wrote a few weeks ago by getting students to use their hands to demonstrate flows and then friction, heat and melting they were now to connect the experiment above by describing what happened and then explaining with justification.

@JOHNSAYERS: 3. Erosion Kung Fu with superhero designs for erosion vs weathering battle off! You will see the picture at the bottom about Monsters vs Aliens I find this a very good analogy for explaining the differences between weathering and erosion. They are two separate entities often confused so making them clearly different help students to formulate this in their minds. The students created two separate superheroes for weathering and erosion. One pair even created a 'Rap Battle' the constant differences rapped out certainly helped students to hopefully not mix the two up or get them confused.

@JOHNSAYERS: 4. Custard and cinnamon challenge loss when ALL class got above target in an assessment so I had to do forfeits! Extra push to succeed;)

@JOHNSAYERS: 5. DME exercises for Montserrat (MONSTER RAT) and Chamonix (SHAMONEEEEE) with trigger terms for memory hooks;) this is part of my very silly series. There is a reason I go ODDER at times. These are for my GCSE students two case studies that if asked about in the exam will be for L3 higher marked questions so it can be the difference between a grade getting it right or wrong. I am not in the wrong camp so I want the students to access the L3 detailed answers by using specific case study relevant material. Students afterwards have begun to make revision cards for homework one is epic and I will photograph it as well the MONSTER RAT CARd for Montserrat As is the Bo Selecta SHAMONEEEE card!

6. EPIC Y9 assessments - I will photograph a few next week with FiSH <>< marking for you to see and read the quality.

@JOHNSAYERS: 7.The Iceland M:E booklets finished:) all I can say is GO TO ICELAND WITH DISCOVER THE WORLD and enjoy missions created by me:)

8. <>< feedback symbol evolution into book marking students love its visual:) I had Jess the student from Take over day use it and she loved it and found the fish head for where good learning was then a big fish head for where she had made connections very powerful then the > body to build upon it by giving specific and helpful feedback to feedforward and then the green tail < for where to make the additions to their learning. She commented on the clear ease it allowed for the boy who you will hear got sent into my room to identify in someone else's work what they had done well and what they needed to do to improve. BINGO!

9.Geog teach meet: I haven't asked her if I can blog about her but I took the time out this week to visit a fellow geographer in the area to offer some support and ideas. I don't think in teaching we are great at supporting others. Often a fresh approach often from someone at a different school with a different demographic of students can look at a problem or big picture from a completely different angle! This is where I offer my services to each and everyone of you particularly geographers in the North-East of England just tweet, email me and I will coach, mentor, share ideas with you:)

@JOHNSAYERS: 10. Creme Brûlée torch! Take snow and mud put in a wooden box made of MDF and create a slope. At bottom Lego town. Heat the snow which mixes with the snow this creates a-lahar. This moves down the slope as a mud flow and-floods the Lego settlement so the poor Lego men and houses- especially when with more heat and time the mud set-causing a concrete like texture making recovery work difficult! A simple experiment but as the - show lots of connections can be sequenced from it.

@JOHNSAYERS: 12. From 2 students was Erosion vs Weathering rap battle with some MCing was funny seeing students desperate to swear with it but hold back.

@JOHNSAYERS: 13. Discovering Wordfoto. A powerful app for describing images for unlocking the key to using key words connected to images. I have used this app all week and will blog about it when I do a post on photo/picture work.

@JOHNSAYERS: 14. Group effectiveness reflection/evaluation tool proved very effective for self regulating for each group:) Students were focused on the learning driven by a simple evaluative tool. Thank you Andy Day!

@JOHNSAYERS: 15. Self worth when people from other schools tell me they've used and loved my deeper Q matrix:)

@JOHNSAYERS: 16. Evolution of the Q matrix for a student self/peer assessment grid. Each traffic light split in 2. 1.self 2.peer

@JOHNSAYERS: 17. Incorporating AR into the learning in DeBono Thinking hat mat task:)

@JOHNSAYERS: 18. Using and sharing the #7eplan very effective for thinking through a lesson. See blog by @HThompson1982 or it:) I can't shout from the roof tops how much Hayley is inspiring me t the minute. I love someone who is thorough and wants to push thinking with a class. Hayley does that and she is willing to share. She is my learning crush as I LOVE her lesson plan!

19. A young lady that I teach called Jess came up to me this week and asked, "Sir can I take over you on Friday with Sophie?" This is a whole school day where students get to take over staff and become a teacher. I naturally had them doing all sorts from organising, display, marking using the <>< technique, planning their coming lessons so they can tutor students in the room on their take of the 'Big Picture', they tutored a student who was sent out from another class. So I have given them my copy of Mission Explore Food as a thank you and because they did so much when I get hold of the parents on the phone I will donate my daily salary to the two of them! Stupid some have said but they did 'Take Over' from me and do a brilliant job whilst I coasted!

20. Meeting up with fellow Geographers last night Nick Piercy and Andy Redhead my two best buddies. It is great musing over your subject and discussing life. Two of us are meeting up today to thrash out a set of job applications.

What about 11? This week I applied for a new job:) and hopefully I will become the Co-Leader of 'The Geography Collective' with the great and inspiring David Rodger. Fingers crossed as I think we will do a fantastic job in spreading geography to more people:)

I hope you have enjoyed reading my post today. 'Give it a go' trigger hooks for your learning. More importantly let students create them a great active learning journey.


  1. Hi John. A great read. Nothing wrong with 'odd'!We ought to set up a 'ready, steady, cook' style competition on twitter to see who can be the most inventive in creating a memorable learning experience from the contents selected. What do you think?

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