I am not a great one for New Year Resolutions – but I did promise myself to include a regular new ‘slot’ in my blog for 2014. I have called this my ‘monthly WARP’ – based on an acronym where the ‘W’ stands for a web resource, the ‘A’ for an app, the ‘R’ for a reading resource, and the ‘P’ for a photo or image.
My second ‘WARP’ – for February – consists of the following:
Textivate creates a range of interactive browser-based activities based on any text you put into an on-screen textbox. It allows you to quickly make exercises for the whiteboard, including gap-fills, anagrams, snakes and ladders, flash cards, matching exercises, dominoes, and various games. Good for starting lessons or making ‘exit tickets’ at the end.
TELLAGAMI – This month’s highlighted app is one that my students love – and put to really good use. It allows students to create and share a quick animated film (or ‘gami’). Students can create a scene for their gami – choosing from existing backgrounds or using their own images, add dialogue from their own recordings or by adding text which is spoken by the pre-set voices. We have used it in lessons to answer questions, correct misconceptions, summarise initial responses to a project or a problem, and then re-record again midway through the work and at the end to show how understanding has changed.
My featured book this month is a must-read for all geography teachers – “Six Degrees” by Mark Lynas. In this book, Lynas investigates scientific claims that the next Century will see global temperatures rise between 1 and 6 degrees, with devastating results. The book is divided into chapters each dealing with a further temperature increase of 1 degree. Although first published in 2007, it is an easy read, and contains a treasure-chest of interesting facts and points for geography teachers covering the issue of climate change.
Some brief extracts:
“Scientists have established beyond reasonable doubt that the current episode of global warming, of about 0.7 degrees Celsius in the last century, has pushed Earth temperatures up to levels unprecedented in recent history. The IPCC’s 2007 report confirmed that no ‘proxy records’ of temperature – whether from tree rings, ice cores, coral bands or other sources – show any time in the last 1300 years that was as warm as now. Indeed, records from the deep sea suggest that temperatures are now within a degree of their highest levels for no less than a million years.”
“It has become something of a cliché to talk about the ‘canary in the coal mine’ when discussing climate impacts on the natural world – but one group of animals more than any other exemplifies this point: the amphibians. With their moist skins and early lives in water, frogs, salamanders and toads are particularly vulnerable to change in their environment. Indeed, an amphibian – the Costa Rica golden toad – is often cited as the first known case of a global warming extinction.”
“Wiping out phytoplankton by acidifying the oceans is rather like spraying weedkiller over most of the world’s land vegetation, from rain forests to prairies to Arctic tundra, and will have equally disastrous effects. Just as deserts will spread on land as global warming accelerates, so marine deserts will spread in the oceans as warming and acidification take their unstoppable toll.”
More photographs from my travels abroad can be found at: