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Discussion in 'Geography' started by dhartley25, Mar 2, 2012.
With Gove on the case, what ways do you improve literacy in Geography lessons?
I talk to the English teacher and check what they are capable of in English lessons and expect the same standard in my geography lessons. For example, if they have written a non-chronological report in English, I would expect them to do so at the same level in geography. I try to fit the text types they are learning in English with the same final written outcome in my geography topics. This is identified in medium term planning. I also use the same planning template, success criteria and any writing template - so they are familiar with it.
For reading, I try to provide texts which are at the appropriate reading level. For their writing, I provide vocab lists with spellings of the key vocab but expect them to use the same spelling and phonics skills they use in English.
The key for me is to liaise well with English staff. But perhaps that comes more easily to me as I used to be English Coordinator.
I have various wall displays that have the key words on them. In the past (when I had more display space and more time,) I have had a dictionary wall, where the students have written definitions of key words, so if they can't remember what they mean they know where to look. With my KS4 classes, they have their own key word table that they complete as they go, so they end up with a glossary and again know where to look for words they are not sure of.
DARTS (Directed Activities Related to Text) are good with less able students - they have an age appropriate text and a series of questions. They highlight the answers to the questions using different colours and can then transfer the answers to their sheet. I find any form of scaffolding sheet is useful with sentence beginnings and a box with key words. I also like word mats as Geography is quite a wordy subject so students can choose the best vocabulary. But these like most things require time unless some helpful person has already done it and put it on TES Resources.
Yet another of Mr Gove's ideas - I'd like to lend him one of my classes, sit back and see how an expert does it, as clearly we can't be trusted to do the best for the children in our care - have started to rant, so best stop there!
I tend to use word walls and word mats myself and use literacy based games for starters and plenarys (ive up loaded a few simple ones if you want to check my resources.) My word wall was literally a wall - pupils write the words and definitions on a piece of rectangular card and place it on the wall eventually creating a brick effect of words - looks good and pupils know where to look for definitions.
My school uses a series of cards to help pupils with different types of writing i.e. report, letter, persuasive, informative - each teacher has a set and gives them out when they match up with the topic of writing.
I also use key terms tables at the start of a topic and then again at the end to check pupils understanding of key terms but if its in their book them they have no excuses for spelling things wrong!
Our school has a low literacy across the board so the basics are really the key, making sure pupils spell words correctly, letting them look up words and definitions themselves. Giving them hints to extend their writing further rather than just writing in short basic sentences.
btw I totally agree with you, Mr Gove is welcome to any of my classes any day of the week to show me how it should be done
I do a map skills/ creative writing lesson in Year 7. This scored a "good" under new Ofsted measures.
Pupils write a story of their own choosing.
They have to base story around real places and features on an OS map.
I get them to identify places and features as a list FIRST so they don't just plunge into a story about vampires
And dead bodies with no geographical planning!!!! Lol
I have PowerPoint of simple story with deliberate typical mistakes to get them to think about grammar, spelling and punctuation as part of introduction and to stress literacy as part of objective.
Timing: 2 lessons and 1 homework
seems to work well and they love it A lot of detailed marking though
I'm a geographer and School Prof Tutor with extra bit to look after like whole school learning and teaching and literacy. If you keep an eye on my blog www.theprofessionaltutor.blogspot.com I will be adding a quantity of literacy support materials aimed to give some ideas how to develop cross curricular literacy. Hopefully these will be useful and will start appearing over the next weeks to support our school.
You could also o to SLN www.sln.org.uk/geography/literacy.htm for some immediate great ideas.