On the 27 November I attended the end of year Auckland Geography Teachers Association course as part of my professional development. This was a day long course and was useful for several reasons;
- We discussed the 2017 externals and changes to some of the wording in Achievement standards. This was something I had not heard news about previously so it meant I knew what to look out for in 2018.
- We also had a speaker from the Auckland Lantern Festival come and talk to us as a number schools teach this as their “Event”. At Tamaki we look at Polyfest as this is perhaps a little more relevant to our students. Nonetheless, this got me talking to other teachers about what they do – some teachers told me that they let their students choose – which I liked the idea of and this may be something I explore in my classroom. It also allowed me to think of other events that might be interesting to students at Tamaki College.
- We listened to a speaker from the University of Auckland talk about Tourism in Auckland – I found this particularly interesting since it got me thinking about the possibility of working on a tourism program at Tamaki College in the future as I believe a lot of students take geography because they are interested in working in the Travel and Tourism industry.
- I learnt about using tour builder this lets students annotate and create tours using google maps. I also learnt about an app called pursued which is a game where students guess the location – if they don’t guess on time they get “kidnapped”. I also learnt some stuff on google earth about tours that students can go on that have already been created with information about a particular place. This could be a fun way to provide students a bit more insight and deepen understanding about place. Especially for topics like the Amazon where students are unable to go a visit. After the course, I took these fun activities to my department and we used this for a lesson we planned collaboratively for Year 8 students from Pamure Bridge, visiting Tamaki College. Apparently the primary students had a lot of fun playing around with maps. While I haven’t used this in my classroom yet I think these tools will be useful – potentially for pepeha or mihi (tourbuilder). I also think I will try using it for spatial patterns in Rotorua as this provides a way for students to annotate and map at the same time.
- Another geography teacher spoke to us about updates with DOC (Department of Conservation) at Tongariro National Park – this is where a lot of Level 2 Geography classes go for their large natural environment (we cover the Amazon). This helped me reflect on our course and think about different field trip opportunities for the future. Perhaps studying somewhere that we can visit may help Level 2’s feel more engaged and deepen their understanding.
- Net working- it was great to spend the day with other geography teaches and hear about their programs. I also spoke to the HOD at One Tree Hill College who has offered to be involved in the moderation process and check assessment templates and share resources.
In summary, this was an inspirational PD. I left feeling excited about planning and reviewing the geography program and hearing different ideas from other teachers has inspired me to try new things and be a little bit more creative with content. After this PD I decided to talk to my HOD about a collabrative social studies program working on several standards together around Ihuamatao (in Mangere).