The Gloucester Farmers’ Club was the venue for our CPD workshop, entitled ‘Let’s go on an awesome, Arctic adventure!’, and what an ideal one it was too! We had a well-equipped room with lots of space to spread out, were supplied with plentiful tea and coffee (supplemented with some home-baked goodies, chocolate fingers and a tub of Heroes that I brought along with me), were surrounded by stunning gardens and had a large, free car park at our disposable. Gill Johnson, from Wicked Weather Watch, also joined us … it was great to have her presence and hear about some of the charity’s exciting developments ahead. I will certainly consider using this venue again for further CPD events.
The session began with a formal welcome and introductions, before the aims and format of the workshop were outlined. I prompted delegates to think and become involved from the onset by challenging them to a quick starter activity … to review their current school curriculum and identify any links to the Arctic, either at Key Stage 1 or Key Stage 2, or both, depending on whether they were based at an infant, junior, primary, middle or special school. Participants then shared what they had written down, which also gave me an insight into termly themes covered within their establishments. As several were non-specialists, new to the Geography/Humanities Subject Leader role or recent entrants to the profession, I dedicated a significant amount of time to ‘unpicking’ the National Curriculum for geography and highlighting the many, possible links to the Arctic region. I also displayed the progression framework that the Geographical Association produced when the new National Curriculum was launched. This lists the expectations of pupils at 7, 9, 11, 14 and 16 years old and is a useful reference when planning.
Next, I accessed Wicked Weather Watch’s website and provided an overview of the new Key Stage 2 scheme of work and its accompanying resources that has been produced and tested in local primary schools. Whilst this is, perhaps, best suited to those in Years 5 and 6, it can easily be utilised with both younger and older students … there is a huge amount of content to ‘cherry-pick’ from. We looked at the Polar Ocean Challenge’s website briefly and Gill added some information about Sir David Hempleman-Adam’s next adventure … he is off to Greenland with Northabout and crew this coming June and is integrating a land expedition to one of the North Poles. I relayed information about a Global Learning Programme, Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3 transition project between four schools and relating to the Arctic that I had steered a couple of weeks ago too.
After a brief refreshment break, delegates were given time to explore a number of recommended web-links, browse resources that I had brought along with me, network, seek school-specific advice and ask any questions that they had. Being a relatively small group, it was lovely to be able to spend some time with individuals … an effective means of seeing and hearing what goes on in the great variety of schools that we have, both within the county and beyond.
Finally, participants were given a set of footprints and asked to use these to record their next steps once they left the room at lunch-time. I advised them to start with the big toes and work outwards and stressed that each step could be as simple or complex as they liked. It was very encouraging to see that all identified a step for each toe. Our subsequent discussion was lively and clearly reinforced how individuals had been enthused by the morning’s session.
Delegates were requested to use the blank postcards left on their tables to offer feedback about the workshop. They were advised to consider what went well (WWW) and even better if (EBI), as well as noting any additional resources that they would like Wicked Weather Watch to generate.
Some of their concluding comments can be read below:
‘Thank you. It was a great morning. I feel very inspired.’
‘Many thanks for this morning’s CPD event. It was very beneficial.’
All in all, not a great money spinner for me, but extremely worthwhile knowing that I have supported and truly inspired many individuals. Hopefully, some high-quality geography will be taking place in local schools before too long!