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Exploring Childrens Personal Geographies Sharon Witt June 2010.

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1 Exploring Childrens Personal Geographies Sharon Witt June 2010

2 As they explore their surroundings children construct private geographies which meet their physical and emotional needs Scoffham,2004,p.17

3 Why explore personal geographies? To provide real, relevant, meaningful learning experiences for children; To ensure participative, inclusive opportunities within the geography curriculum ; To explore childrens individual knowledge and understanding of localities including emotional responses and attachment to place: To value the insights, backgrounds, experiences of the children within the class; To find out what the children already know.

4 The essence of building a motivating and effective primary geography curriculum is one that focuses on working with children" not on behalf of them or to them nor ignoring them (Catling, 2005,p.340)

5 Exploring childrens personal geographies Aim: To recognise and celebrate childrens personal geographies; To explore childrens individual responses and attachment to local places; Martin calls for the use of childrens everyday experiences or personal geographies as a basis for curriculum development The pupils in your classrooms will all have their own experiences to draw upon and it is important to elicit these for use as starting points Martin, F. ( 2006) Everyday Geography Primary Geographer Autumn 2006,p.7.

6 Guess this place? To provide children with the opportunity to talk about local places Geographical learning objectives To ask geographical questions To use appropriate geographical vocabulary To identify and describe what places are like To describe where places are Resources needed: Photographs of local places the children will know and visit in envelopes Children work in pairs. One child takes the photograph out of the envelope without looking at it and place it on their head so that their partner can see. Then asks questions to see if they can work out where the place is?

7 Nested Hierarchies Geographical learning objectives To communicate in appropriate ways To use appropriate geographical vocabulary To recognise how places fit within a wider geographical context Zoom – Istvan Banyai Could you make your own version of Zoom related to your local area? Google Earth could be helpful to model the activity.

8 Nested Hierarchies Geographical learning objectives To communicate in appropriate ways To use appropriate geographical vocabulary To recognise how places fit within a wider geographical context To identify and describe what places are like. Acknowledge childrens prior experiences : – Make a personal geographies key ring; – Record personal geographies on concentric circles; – What places do children know? Local, Regional, National, Global

9 What places are you connected to ? Past Friends Holidays Activities Places visited with school or other groups Places visited with family Make those links! Paper Chain Geography Exploring childrens geographies- local to global / Past, present and future

10 Think about a place that is special to you ? A happy spot !

11 Make a scrap book page about your happy spot ! Make a scrap book page for your happy spot !

12 What could you include on your scrap book page? Pictures; Photographs; Colour palette/wheel; Symbols; Maps; Rubbings/ textures; Words to reflect feelings/ sensory experiences

13 Why scrapbooking? Authentic To explore the use of childrens everyday geographies within the classroom drawing on experiences which are directly relevant to them, their lives and concerns about the world (Martin, 2006,p.4); Celebrating the joy of places Making children connoisseurs of their own personal geographies

14 This is Ben Cruachan and there is a lovely view of Ben Cruachan from my Grans house and she only lives a few miles away from the mountain.I like to watch the clouds move over the top of the mountain – it is very calming. Childs commentary

15 What the teachers say? Giving children a free rein to express themselves often leads to surprising, impressive and ultimately very creative outcomes. This was therapeutic, and the idea that there was no right or wrong outcome began to really appeal. With thanks to Jo Sudbury This provided an opportunity to view childrens unique way of seeing the world and to formally recognise childrens immediate sensory encounters with places.

16 Why did you choose this happy spot to scrap book ? A sense of documenting for the future – a personal legacy It was private and it was mine. It wasnt anyone elses to have and it was different. It would always be there on paper that I had been there with my cousins. I had been there and it was so nice there and it really was just great !

17 What the children say? Children themselves value the opportunity to share their private geographies It was nice to have a chance to talk about … my secret happy spot which is not secret anymore!

18 What the children say? It was really fun because you could create it how you wanted it and how you like it and choose your colours. Enjoyable, motivating and a sense of ownership!

19 Geographical learning objectives for scrapbooking To identify and describe what places are like? To ask geographical questions To collect and record evidence (if part of an enquiry approach) To communicate in appropriate ways To use appropriate geographical vocabulary To use secondary sources of information

20 Scrapbooking as a tool to record childrens personal geographies can be: Creative Active Independent Fun Captivating Thought Provoking Challenging Stimulating Child-Centred Relevant Varied Interesting Enjoyable Purposeful Meaningful Personal Flexible Empowering Involving Question Raising Inspiring Equipping Child-Led Collaborative Exploratory

21 More ideas! Scrapbooking – places in the school grounds, places in the local area, Places in different seasons Journeys Share your local place with a school from a different locality Feelings towards a place Journaling – recording offsite visits Digital scrapbooking – blogs, digital photographs, digital sound files, videos etc.

22 Bibliography Banyai, I. (1995) Zoom, New York: Viking; Catling, S. (2005) Children's personal geographies and the English primary school geography curriculum, Childrens Geographies, Volume 3, December 2005,Issue 3 December 2005, pages ; Martin, F.( 2006) Everyday Geography in Primary Geographer, Autumn 2006, pp.4-7; Scoffham, S. (2004) Primary Geography Handbook, Sheffield: Geographical Association; Sudbury. J (2009)A sense of place at Bishops Waltham Junior school, Hampshire Arts News 20, Autumn / Spring 2010 Winchester: Hampshire Inspection and Advisory Service.


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