Sunday, April 8, 2012

Never too young for geography

Related sites to the Spatialworlds project
Spatialworlds website
21st Century Geography Google Group
Australian Geography Teachers' Association website
'Towards a National Geography Curriculum' project website
Geography Teachers' Association of South Australia website
Email contact

Where am I??
Adelaide, Australia: S: 34º 55' E: 138º 36'

Images above: Students "doing geography" at Cowandilla Primary School in Adelaide, Souh Australia.

We are reading the globe!

Whilst not advocating teaching extremely young children meaningless place names such as has been shown on various YouTube videos in recent years, there is a place for introducing geography in the earliest years of schooling. This posting is dedicated to the work of Years 1-2 teacher Tina Photakis at Cowandilla Primary School. Tina participated in both the DECD and ACARA geography trials in 2011 and did some outstanding work introducing geography to her students, with all its paraphenalia of maps, globes and spatial thinking. The trial focussed on the draft Australian Curriculum: Geography Years 1-2 outlines, with a focus on geographical thinking and the use of spatial technology.

The trial focussed on the following Year 1 and 2 descriptions from the draft:

The Year 1 curriculum expands the understanding of familiar places explored in Foundation. Students are guided to see familiar places as part of bigger places and they begin identifying how places change. Spatial understanding is expanded from exploring the arrangement of space in Foundation to recognising ways that places are used. The inquiry process is guided and students are introduced to geographical tools that help them develop their skills and answer their questions.

The Year 2 curriculum builds on student learning about places in earlier years by exploring people’s connections with other places. Students then expand their geographical knowledge by finding out about these other places and using an increasing variety of information sources. Their spatial understanding is extended from reviewing the use of spaces to examining how distance influences the places they go to.

Hear lead teacher Tina Photakis talk about the trial in her 1-2 class last year. A great and informative trial for the development of the Australian Curriculum: Geography - well done to all involved.

Thanks to the generosity of the Cowandilla Primary School students and teachers in giving permission for their teaching materials and reflections to be part of this blog. In particular thanks to Tina Photakis, the lead teacher for the trial at Cowandilla Primary School.

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