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Geography

Geography teaching at St Mary’s focuses on an understanding of places and environments. Through their work in Geography, children learn about their local area and compare their life in this area with that in other regions in the United Kingdom and in the rest of the world. They learn how to draw and interpret maps and they develop the skills of research, investigation, analysis and problem-solving. Through their growing knowledge and understanding of human geography, children gain an appreciation of life in other cultures. Geography teaching also motivates children to find out about the physical world and enables them to recognize the importance of sustainable development for the future of mankind.

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Seven Sisters(1)

The aims of geography are:

  • to enable children to develop a curiosity and fascination for our world and its people
  • to increase children’s knowledge of other cultures and, in so doing, teach a respect and understanding of what it means to be a positive citizen in a multi-cultural country

  • to enable children to develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places, including defining physical and human characteristics, knowing and understanding environmental problems at a local, regional and global level

  • to encourage in children a commitment to sustainable development and an appreciation of what global citizenship means

  • to allow children to learn graphic skills, including how to use, draw and interpret maps

  • to develop a variety of other skills, including those of collecting, analysing and communicating a range of data acquired through fieldwork and enquiry, problem-solving, ICT, investigation and learning how to present their conclusions in the most appropriate way

  • to become competent in interpreting a range of sources of geographical information

  • to develop over their school years an ability to communicate geographical information, ideas and understanding in a variety of ways, including drawing maps, writing at increasing length and presenting through speaking and the use of ICT

We use a variety of teaching and learning styles in our geography lessons. We believe in whole-class teaching methods and we combine these with enquiry-based research activities. We encourage children to ask as well as answer geographical questions during our planned activities. We offer them the opportunity to use a variety of data, such as maps, statistics, graphs, pictures, and aerial photographs, and we enable them to use IT in geography lessons where this serves to enhance their learning. Wherever possible, we involve the children in ‘real’ geographical activities, e.g. research of a local environmental problem or use of the internet to investigate a current issue.

Arundel castle

We recognise that there are children of widely different geographical abilities in all classes and we provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child. We achieve this by setting common tasks which are open-ended and can have a variety of responses, setting tasks of increasing difficulty, grouping children by ability in the room and setting different tasks to each ability group, providing resources of different complexity according to the ability of the child, using classroom assistants to support the work of individual children or groups of children.

Teachers assess children’s work in geography by making assessments as they observe them working during lessons. They record the progress that children make by assessing the children’s work against the learning objectives for their lessons. This allows the teacher to make an annual assessment of progress for each child, as part of the child’s annual report to parents.

Assessment by way of quizzes, filling in missing geographical vocabulary on maps or in geographical diagrams, multiple- choice style test questions and end of topic “I’ll show you what I know” knowledge booklets created by children, can be valuable as part of the teacher’s assessment of Geography progress within topic work.

History

History teaching at St Mary’s focuses on enabling children to think as historians. We place an emphasis on examining historical artefacts and primary sources. Where appropriate, children are given the opportunity to visit sites of historical significance. We encourage visitors to come into school and talk about their experiences of events in the past. We recognise and value the importance of stories in history teaching and we regard this as an important way to stimulate interest in the past. We focus on helping children understand that historical events can be interpreted in different ways and that they are encouraged to ask searching questions.

We recognise the fact that children are all of different abilities and we provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by setting common tasks which are open-ended and can have a variety of responses, as well as tasks of varying difficulty, enabling all children to make progress in their learning. We pride ourselves on providing a range of challenges using different resources/artefacts to study, observe & research in detail & by encouraging representation & recreation of the past in a variety of ways including drama, role-play, writing, artwork and dance. We provide opportunities for displaying & presenting this work to peers.

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History 1
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Skills and Knowledge in History

We plan the topics in history so that they build on prior learning. Children of all abilities have the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge in each unit and, through planned progression built into the scheme of work, we offer them an increasing challenge as they move through the school.

 

Our school teaches History through a 2 year cycle of topics which last either a term or half term. The topics cover a range of themes & eras, for example the Stone Age to Iron Age, World War II, Ancient & Modern Greece, Riotous Romans, Mayans, Schools & Villages, Toys (across the ages), Explorers, Brave New World, Fire, Castles, Flight and Invaders & Settlers.

Assessment in History

Teachers assess children’s work in history by making informal assessments as they observe them working during lessons. They record the progress that children make by assessing the children’s work against the learning objectives for their lessons. This allows the teacher to make an annual assessment of progress and attainment for each child, as part of the child’s annual report to parents.

History 3
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