Secondary Starters and Plenaries – Geography

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I pre-ordered the above book when it first appeared and received my copy though the post on Saturday. It is a mix of more traditional ideas, old ideas with a new twist and totally new ideas.

I really liked the introduction of the book:

“The aim of this book is to bring excitement and high levels of engagement to your geography lessons, so that your pupils feel really inspired by the subject. We want your pupils to leave your lessons feeling exhilarated about what they have learnt and eager to return to your classroom for more. And we want the geography department to be known as the place where the most interesting learning takes place.”

The authors also give six characteristics of high quality starters and plenaries:

  1. They help pupils develop their geographical knowledge and/or skills by focusing on one discrete area of the curriculum.
  2. They help pupils to understand important geographical principles that can be applied in a variety of contexts.
  3. They encourage pupils to think deeply about geographical topics and case studies, and ask relevant questions.
  4. They help pupils make links between different aspects of the subject through knowledge or skills bridges.
  5. They provide pupils with deep geographical learning that they can take with them beyond their formal schooling.
  6. They provide a means of addressing the themes of the Global Dimension and Sustainable Development, and therefore make a meaningful contribution to the school’s work on two important cross-curricular themes.

The book states that it has a companion website – however when I visited the website (23/2/2014) there was no content available. I image it will be put on soon as the book has only just been published!

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The book is arranged by topics and has a range of activities for each. What I particularly liked was the authors use a named place example for most activities; these can be easily be changed but makes it more readable.

Some of the activities I particularly liked were:

  • Getting students to consider comparing ‘Amazon’ and ‘Leeds’ on street view; what would a camera capture in both locations.
  • Looking at a photos taken in cities looking in two separate directions from the same place.
  • Get students to design success criteria for redevelopment projects.
  • Decide who would benefit most from an electric bike scheme (residents of a hamlet, visitors staying in a holiday cottage, or residents of a large village).
  • Ask pupils to consider what type of business from a detailed daily weather forecast; what type of information would that business particularly need.

This is just a brief summary – the ideas are more developed and better explained in the book!

The book was up to date looking at ‘modern’ topics such as fracking and flooding in the UK.

In summary this book is affordable £13.49 on the Bloomsbury Website, £14.99 on Amazon. It will also be available on Kindle on March 13th. I would definitely recommend it to all beginning Geography teachers, it would also have a place on all departmental book shelves.