‘Geography is a living, breathing subject, constantly adapting itself to change. It is dynamic and relevant. For me, geography is a great adventure with a purpose’
Our Vision for Geography at St Joseph's
At St Joseph’s, we believe that Geography helps to provoke and provide answers to questions about the natural and human aspects of the world. Children are encouraged to develop a greater understanding and knowledge of the world, as well as their place in it. The geography curriculum at St Joseph’s enables children to develop knowledge and skills that are transferable to other curriculum areas and which can and are used to promote their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Geography is, by nature, an investigative subject, which develops an understanding of concepts, knowledge and skills. We seek to inspire in children a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people which will remain with them for the rest of their lives; to promote the children’s interest and understanding of diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. The curriculum is designed to develop knowledge and skills that are progressive, as well as transferable, throughout their time at St Joseph’s and also to their further education and beyond.
Curriculum Intent for Geography
The teaching of Geography is inspired by the Rising Stars scheme of work and long term plan. Topics have been carefully sequenced to build upon the knowledge and skills needed to be a geographer. Where appropriate, links will be made to our Global Driver words for that half term as well as the school’s Catholic Virtues. Teachers use Rising Stars as a starting point and plan engaging and exciting lessons using the 6-part lesson model where appropriate. Field-work skills and visits are heavily encouraged to stimulate the children’s curiosity to find out about and ask questions about the local area of Dewsbury, the United Kingdom and the wider world in which they live.
In EYFS, pupils will experience Geography through the ‘Understanding the world’ strand. This involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment. In Reception class the children have short inputs and circle times which focus on the world around them and becoming familiar with it. Through discussions, the children learn about the place where they live and gain an understanding of the things they can observe in their environment. Children are encouraged to look out for similarities and differences within their environment. Throughout the year, the children will learn about a range of topics which encompasses these skills. Once the children have gained the knowledge and understanding of their world, they are encouraged to explore further through provision. A range of provision is planned which aims to stimulate the children’s interest and develop purposeful play. During this time, adults interact with the children and enable them to develop their understanding and add challenge through questioning, prompts and resources. Adults are encouraged to record these interactions when needed, but this is not always necessary. When recording does take place it is added to the child's individual learning journey.
In Key Stage 1, pupils will develop knowledge about the world, the United Kingdom and their locality. They will understand basic subject-specific vocabulary relating to human and physical geography and begin to use geographical skills, including first-hand observation, to enhance their locational awareness (Taken and adapted from the National Curriculum 2014). A range of provision is planned which aims to stimulate the pupils’ interest and develop purposeful play in the different topics studied. Resources in the areas of provision are implemented with the aim of developing vocabulary, role play and initiating discussion about different areas of the world.
In Key Stage 2, pupils will extend their knowledge and understanding beyond the local area to include the United Kingdom and Europe, North and South America. This will include the location and characteristics of a range of the world’s most significant human and physical features. They will develop their use of geographical knowledge, understanding and skills to enhance their locational and place knowledge (Taken and adapted from the National Curriculum 2014).
The Long Term planning for Geography can be found below:
The importance of Locational Knowledge
‘Maps are the ‘tool’ of the geographer – the medium through which geography is recorded, analysed and communicated. Developing the skills of decoding, interpreting, comprehending and analysing information and messages from maps is invaluable, not simply to understand where you are and find your way but to recognise the features and aspects of an urban, rural or wild area’ (Wiegand, 2016).
Reading and creating maps enables children to demonstrate their understanding through non-text media, a vital skill that appeals to children in an increasingly visual age. Pupils at St Joseph’s will read and create their own maps for a variety of purposes. We believe that the locational knowledge of where areas that they are studying are in relation to other areas studied is an important piece of knowledge. In every classroom at St Joseph’s, a map of the world will be displayed throughout the year with key locations they have studied or are currently studying. Further maps may also be displayed to support the topics they are learning about.
Curriculum Implementation for Geography
Most Geography lessons are delivered using the six-part lesson model. This includes:
Retrieval practice: Pupils will practice key knowledge from the previous unit of work. This is to help move this knowledge into the long term memory. It is also an assessment tool for teachers. This activity can be practical or written and can be completed independently, in pairs or in a group.
New learning: Pupils will be introduced to the Key Learning and knowledge for the lesson. They will also explore and practice tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary that will be used throughout the lesson. Direct teaching of the new knowledge and skills will be introduced and modelled where appropriate.
Let’s explore: Pupils will have the chance to practise new skills, knowledge and vocabulary within a short task. This can be completed independently, in pairs or in a small group.
Develop learning: In this part of the lesson, the knowledge and/or skills will be developed further as well as preparing the pupils for their independent task.
Independent task: Pupils may work independently, in pairs or small groups to complete a task or tasks linked to the Key Learning. Activities may be scaffolded for different groups of learners.
Plenary: Pupils will have the chance to reflect on their learning that day and self assess using their KL sticker. Pupils’ work may be celebrated and a discussion question may be used. Reference to our Global Driver word for the half term may also be used (where appropriate).
‘It is important that we are exposing children to concepts (words) within subjects and studying them in more depth in order to strengthen their understanding of topics and allow them to build on knowledge acquired in previous year groups. The stronger a child’s understanding of a certain word is, the more likely they will be be able to attach new vocabulary and knowledge on top’ (Marcus Jones, Huntington Research School).
At St. Joseph’s, key vocabulary is introduced at the beginning of each lesson. This will include Tier 2 (vocabulary linked to the subject area) and Tier 3 (specific vocabulary for that lesson or unit) vocabulary. New words are discussed and potentially modelled within the lesson. There is an expectation that all pupils use the correct vocabulary within full sentences.
Vocabulary linked to the whole subject (tier 2 vocab)
Map, symbol, route, compass, country, continent, ocean, north, south, east, west, city, capital, town, locality, village, river, temperature, climate, weather, location, nation, world, globe, hill, mountain, change, physical, human, cause, effect, contrast, compare, place, environment, community, local, urban, rural
The importance of Knowledge
‘Knowledge and the capacity it provides to apply skills and deepen understanding are essential ingredients of successful curriculum design.’ (Amanda Spielman)
Units/topics in Geography have been carefully sequenced to build upon prior knowledge as well as developing new knowledge in a succinct way. Teachers are familiar with where the units/topics fit in pupils’ educational journey at St Joseph’s and discuss with previous class teachers what has been taught. Teachers highlight key knowledge that they want pupils to learn on their planning and create knowledge organisers to support the development of this knowledge across the unit. Knowledge organisers include: previous knowledge needed; our Global driver work and impact statement; key knowledge for the topic; aspirations for the future; glossary and key maps needed for the topic. These are available in every geography lesson for pupils to refer back to.
Find below the progression of Knowledge in Geography:
Assessment in Geography
Teachers use Assessment for Learning throughout their lessons through questioning and during the ‘Let’s explore’ part of the lesson. Teachers will formatively assess pupils against the Key Learning using pupils’ Key Learning stickers. If a pupil has met the Key Learning, the teacher will highlight the Key Learning with green. If a pupil is working towards the Key Learning, the teacher will highlight the Key Learning with orange and green. If a pupil needs further work against the Key Learning, the teacher will highlight the Key Learning orange and there will be evidence of an intervention before the next lesson. Teachers will also note on the Key Learning whether the pupil has had teacher/teaching assistant support to inform formative assessment. At the end of the unit, pupils will complete an end of unit task which will showcase the knowledge and skills pupils have learned within the unit. At the end of the unit, teachers will make a judgement whether the pupil is working at, below or above the National Curriculum expectations for their year group and this will be logged throughout the year using Insite. Subject leaders will then analyse the data from these assessments to track the progress of pupils and spot any patterns between groups.
Curriculum impact for Geography
By the end of their time at St Joseph’s, we want the pupils to be aware of the impact human actions have had on the natural environment in the past, how our actions are affecting the environment today and what changes we can make in the future to protect and value our planet making them excellent global citizens (Taken from our Curriculum statement). This means that pupils have the knowledge of key areas in the world including landmarks of interest. They are able to describe these using geographical vocabulary and can note changes that may have occurred to these places. Pupils will also have had experience creating their own maps and plans from areas studied or influenced by their own field trip.