Look up for inspiration

30th March 2007 at 01:00
Geography. Ages 11 to 16

I was looking for a way to improve the quality of written responses, especially for examinations and assessments.

In particular, I noticed that pupils' responses could be quite vague where they needed to be specific.

The introduction of the "banned word" board and "heavenly words" display has worked wonders. The banned words include "stuff", "things", "it" and "people".

There are also semi-bans on words that require qualification, such as "pollution" - air pollution.

The idea is that pupils are not allowed to use these words either in writing or in verbal contributions but substitute them for a specific term.

This is supported by the heavenly words, which provide alternatives such as local residents instead of people. This display is on the ceiling.

I have found the quality of written communication has improved considerably, especially when the board is referred to throughout the age range. The idea can be easily adapted for any subject Useful websites for me are the many weblogs available. Visit www.daviderogers.blogspot.com or www.olliebray.com. These blogs have a full list of other similar sites. I have found these an invaluable source of continuing professional development, including lesson ideas and resources.

These blogs are usually maintained by geography teachers and are used to communicate with other teachers, students and parents. David Rogers is a teacher of geography and outdoor learning at Portchester Community School in Fareham, Hampshire.

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