One fascination of geography lies in its ability to create in children the sense of "being there". Video remains one of the most potent means of achieving this and The Geography Junction: Jamaica offers key stage 2 teachers a splendid resource.
Five 15-minute programmes provide an insight into life on this important Caribbean island, the local people, the work they do, the importance of water and the attraction of its coastal environment.
Each programme uses images of local children and their own enthusiastic words rather than a celebrity voice-over to emphasise the colourful and exciting geography of the island. The children introduce themselves and reappear in each programme to show with considerable pride all aspects of their lives and surroundings, including kitchen, bathroom and backyard as well as the island's lush forests and golden beaches. Repetition of key details and phrases reinforces the essential geography of Jamaica in a way that will encourage learning.
The accompanying resource book could stand alone, but its colourful images and refreshing text, together with the ideas for activities designed to link with the video, are welcome.
Bangalore: life and change in an Indian city ActionAid pound;17.25
This latest ActionAid pack provides a range of resources focusing on a major Indian city for teaching geography and citizenship at key stage 2. It identifies one small neighbourhood in Bangalore - the colourfully named Flower Gardens - and shows through 24 excellent photographs and a series of photocopiable strip cartoons how the people of this "slum" area have sought to improve their environment. The pictures and text pull no punches in showing what life is really like in the city, but the message is essentially positive and hopeful.
Teachers should have no problem using these materials, which include briefing and activity cards offering a wealth of ideas for pupils. Suggestions for role-play are also included. Some of the materials are geared to ability levels, including alternative captions for the photographs, which rremain the outstanding resource of the pack.