After a busy July and beginning of August, my thoughts are turning to the new term, new resources and exam results. During July, I was able to visit Dune du Pyla (or Pila) on the Atlantic coast in France. The sheer scale of the dunes (nearly 200 metres high) and how far they stretched down the coastline made me think of what a good place it would be for some future coastal IGCSE / IB coastal/tourism fieldwork. It also made me think that next time I'll take the specially created stairs up rather than try and climb up with an additional 8kg strapped to my back!!
I also had a couple of social meet ups with Russ Tarr, where we discussed the possibility of hosting a conference down in Toulouse in 2015 as well as taking some of the ideas onboard contained in the excellent work by the 'NoTosh' team and in particularly in the book - http://notosh.myshopify.com/products/how-to-come-up-with-great-ideas . I have this book on order and look forward to ploughing through it as soon as it arrives (hopefully before September 1st)
I am also due to finish the Otzi Iceman SOW for Year 7. This is based on the Alan Parkinson (@geoblogs) book and is a joint history and geography project to grab the enthusiasm of the kids at the beginning of the term and in their new surroundings. Russel Tarr has finished his resources ages ago (because he is miles more organised than me) and so the pressure is on to get something written that compliments his three sessions of history, evidence and source work. We have the police crime scene tape, with white suits and masks ready. The finished display project should be brilliant but we'll blog and tweet about it as we go along. If it all works out, it should be a memorable one!
I have also committed to producing some Geography teaching resources for the GapMinder team in Sweden. They have provided me with a series of as yet unpublished Hans Rosling videos and asked me to write some resources to go with them. I love the GapMinder site and our kids are really enthused by it too. I was very honoured to get a tweet from Hans Rosling (which has been the Tweet of the Week on the geographypods.com frontpage for the last 12 weeks!!) as he had seen the work on the World Cup in Brazil and given it his seal of approval!
There will also be some fairly significant changes to geographypods in the coming year as I look to expand the number and variety of topics that are covered and tighten up on some of the content in IB & IGCSE. My aim is to incorporate more worksheets into the site that can be easily downloaded and edited to suit both my students and others who use the resources. I will also be changing some of the case studies to more up to date events and trying to get GapMinder into the site as much as possible. I just wish the data visualisations could be embedded into the site but there are no plans to allow this to happen as yet.
The Year 8 Brazil World Cup resource will eventually morph into the 2016 Rio Olympics page. It will be massively interesting to see what other changes and modifications are made to the infrastructure of the city and if and how the existing facilities will be altered to host the games. Of course the social and economic impact will again be the focus in the lead up to the Games and I hope to produce something of similar quality that can be used to improve the understanding of the relationship between sport and development. The resources on Brazil were viewed over 30,000 times on geographypods and I didn't get any complaints. Hopefully, that means they were good and colleagues enjoyed the activities within.
IB results were released and I was generally pleased by what my students attained. Another year where we managed to get at least one Level 7 and as a result, everyone got to their first choice university or college. IGCSE results have just been released today too. I must say I was dreading these as a) it was the first run through and b) I had a class of 40 students and so it was a bit stretched to say the least! Initial analysis is that the results don't seem to be concerning. The very low ability students have suffered from the sheer amount of content and revision necessary and having no tiered entry (like our previous OCR B qualification). We have a pleasing number of A results and a smattering of A* too. However, we are someway short of the number of A* results attained in history and so another focus will be looking into how I can do more to transform some of those A's into A*'s. I have started a discussion on the IGCSE grades over at the support Ning that I created - http://igcsegeography.ning.com/
That's all for now. Hungry child calls.