Learning Event Generator and Copenhagen

To me, as geographers, we should all be teaching and covering what is going on at Copenhagen over the next two weeks and beyond. I’m long a believer in Floating Topicality, so all classes that I teach will be looking at what’s going on. I also encourage my department to do the same. There are some ideas on the SLN thread. Here, I want to share my plans this week. I have to say that this lesson is all down to my attendance at the Innovative Teachers Forum last week. During his keynote, John Davitt pointed out that stress kills learning and that more planning should be done while walking to your next lesson. Coincidentally, the advice about planning mirrors one of my first teaching mentors whose words were ‘if you need to do an in depth bit of planning, walk a bit slower between the staff room and the classroom.’

I’m not advocating never planning. Having said this, the results of this lesson were the result of a completely unplanned idea.

The idea went something like ‘Let’s use the Learning Event Generator to explore what on earth is going on in Copenhagen.’

That’s the sort of lesson plan I like 😉

Good job then, that the lesson started well:
Me: What’s going on at Copenhagen over the next two weeks?
Class: Copenwhaaaaa?
Me: You, know, some big event. Not that important, just discussing the future of humanity.
Class: You going off on one sir?

So, assessment of existing knowledge over, I moved on:

The photo above shows the careful, low-tech adjustments that I needed to make to the Learning Event Generator. With John’s stress killing words in my ear I decided to give the group, a middley-low ability Year 8 class, 5 options. These turned out to be:

  • a 20 second rap
  • An army marching song
  • A 50 word account
  • A Role Play
  • A mime

The aim was simply to be able to find out what all the fuss was about. I sat back, waiting for the off-task behaviour to start. And was stunned. Total engagement. Even the two lads who were late got straight on:

Late Lads: What we doing sir?

Me: That

Late Lads: OK

Above is a work in progress. This is a class that struggles to engage with literacy. I was buzzing.

The Wordle.net above was the result of a deal made between myself and one pair or students. Instead of a 50 word account, they wanted to use a wordle that contained 50 words linked to Copenhagen. Above is the work in progress. When asked how this could be made better they pointed out that the most important words, such as UN, global, climate, should be larger.
The lesson ended with a celebration of work, shown on the screens around the room, the class rotated, reading and discussing the work. During the lesson, I also published screenshots of the work in progress on Twitter. I did this as I was both proud and impressed by the work, and I thought that it deserved a wider audience. This was to increase the ammount of positive feedback that the pupils were getting.
I urge everyone to try this at least once!

How else can we cover the Copenhagen Conference?

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