What if we were the IOC?

Next week the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics start and with it will start a whole wave of classes learning about the Olympics. My Year 10 class will be amongst the students learning about the Olympics over the next few weeks. However, I don’t want it to be a case of choose 1 country, find some facts and colour in the flag. I want some deeper thinking to occur.

Image via @zoelee

Image via @zoelee

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The Day We Colonised Another Planet in Class

Mountain on Planet Epic: resource to utilise or sacred ground?

Mountain on Planet Epic: resource to utilise or sacred ground?

This post is being jointly written by Danielle and Steve and cross-posted on both of our blogs (you really should check out Danielle’s blog http://missdtheteacher.blogspot.co.nz/ it is awesome). We are co-teaching a Science and Social Studies module called Post-Mortem for the first half of this year. This post is to share a learning experience that we designed to kick off the second term of our course: colonising another planet.
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How Might We Reduce Scarcity?

This term I am teaching a module on Economic concepts called The Apprentice. Each week is a different challenge based upon a different concept or skill. So far we have investigated resource types, consumer rights and made an advertisement. Today our focus was on the concept of Scarcity and I decided to approach it as a 90 minute Design Thinking challenge.

As usual, we started the class with a What If question – today’s being: What if there were no chickens left in the world? With 5 minutes to write down as many ideas as possible and then sharing a few answers, 10 minutes of our precious 90 minutes a week was gone. We had, however, opened up into a divergent mindset ready to think creatively in our task at hand today (as well bemoan the loss of KFC and pancakes from our lives).

The only form of direct instruction in the lesson happened next as I led a whole class discussion on Scarcity. What does it mean, what are some examples etc. Students then chose a specific scarce resource and worked in groups for 10 minutes to generate a list of all the different things it is used for and what the issues are with it as a resource. After this the group had to come to a consensus as to what the key problem is for that resource.

We then discussed the challenge for today:

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Inaugural Social Sciences Chat

Last night was the first #socscichatnz where we discussed Social Sciences teaching and learning in NZ. The first session was pretty much a general chat, moderated by Mary Robinson we answered these questions:

  1. What do you love about teaching Social Sciences? (With a 1. What topics do you like to cover?)
  2. What frustrations are there with teaching Social Sciences? How do we overcome these?
  3. What’s the value in teaching Social Sciences in schools?
  4. What skills and content are key to teaching Social Sciences?
  5. Share a great Social Sciences lesson you have taught this year

Here’s a storify of highlights from the chat.

These chats are running Monthly 8.30pm on the 3rd Sunday of the month. This means the next chat will be on November 16th at 8.30pm. Some ideas were gathered at the end of last night’s chat for the next topic so a poll will probably come out before then through @socscichatnz.

How Might We help students develop empathy for distant issues?

I see empathy as a key step in gaining a deeper understanding of issues and it is something I am trying to develop in students in my Social Studies (and Geography when I get back to teaching senior students again!) classes. When focusing on local issues or the local impacts of global issues, this is a step that is straight forward to implement. Exploring, observing, interviewing, listening etc to how it is affecting people. How do we do this effectively though for issues or case studies that don’t have such a local impact though?

Films can sensationalise and/or trivialise the impacts on people

Documentaries can be extremely biased

Role plays (thinking land mine victims by tied up legs etc.) are well meaning but do they really get students truly feeling what it is like – have seen plenty of giggles and laughter while doing this, definitely not how a true victim reacts.

Distance, time zones, language and cultural barriers can reduce our ability to interview, survey etc. whilst cost severely limits our ability to observe and explore the area.

In Geography and Social Studies we rightly study issues from all around the world. I want my students to be able to develop the deep understanding of these global case studies. How might we help students develop empathy for distant issues?

 

This post is Day 17 of my Questioning Quest.

Is Globalisation Good or Bad?

My Year 10s are working on a unit about Globalisation at the moment. We have done all the intro activities, looked at global economics, fashion, global links, globalisation at school and globalisation of media (including the class and me getting in trouble for writing in washable chalk on school buildings – must remember instruction of ground good wall bad for next time!). Today I split the class into random groups and gave them 2 lessons to investigate the 3 most positive aspects and 3 most negative aspects of globalisation. Essentially a basic research task but with the added critical thinking of what are the most important pros and cons.

The class know that they then have to give a 2-3 minute explanation to the class of their most positive and most negative aspects on Friday. To follow this up the class will enter a philosophical chairs discussion on “Is globalisation good or bad?” Continue reading

Year 10 Inquiry Questions (Hopefully Ungoogleable)

Our Year 10 class are studying how societies in the past have influenced modern times. To start this topic we focused on the Vikings for 2 weeks and looked at their contributions to law systems, marine technology and navigation. Now we are going to break up into an Inquiry phase based upon student interests around this theme. I gave the class the question development guide outlined here and these are the inquiry questions that they came up with (hopefully ungoogleable):

  • Has religion had a positive effect on society, and what would life be like without religion?
  • How did the gaming economy become what it is today?
  • How has the Victorian era influenced society today?
  • How did the French revolution affect the world?
  • How did Hitler’s actions impact on our lives today?
  • How does consumerism affect America?
  • What events in the past have made [student’s name] the way she is now? And how or why does this make her different?
  • How does the formation of the Soviet Union impact modern society?

Getting to know your learners

Mark Osborne made a comment at ICOT that “Each year your class are different so your lessons should be different.” I have kept that in mind as my first classes approach this year and tomorrow I meet my 4 classes for the first time. Here’s how I will start to find out about the learners in my classes this year. Continue reading

Intro week activities

The following are some start of year exploration activities that I am integrating into my Introduction to Geography and Social Studies lessons over the first 2 weeks of school this year. Many of these activities were inspired by the Hangout for Geography Awareness Week which focused on exploration.

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