Geography

Our Aim

At Brunton, our Geography curriculum aims to grow our children’s understanding of their world, firstly locally moving through to globally. We believe our Geography curriculum should excite and ignite curiosity about the world we live in and instil in our children a sense of compassion to enable them to become responsible global citizens and ensure such fascination will remain with them for the rest of their lives. We do so as a school by investigating physical features of the world around us and understanding how humans’ effect and are affected by the natural world. We encourage our children to be deep thinkers by provoking them to pose and answer questions about the natural and human aspects of the world. Children are encouraged to develop a greater understanding and knowledge of the world by exploring their own place in it, their values and responsibilities to other people, to the environment and to the sustainability of the planet. Our curriculum is under pinned by the National Curriculum and we focus our lessons around the concepts of Location, Place, Human and Physical Geography and Geographical skills and fieldwork with the content tailored to our specific children who attend our school.

 

Oracy: Our geography curriculum encourages our children to develop their speaking and listening skills, enabling them to communicate confidently and articulately about their immediate local environment and expanding outwardly discussing more global places, the people that live there and what it is like there. Through discussions, our children will make links with their own experience of the world to the new places studied. They will begin to build a foundation of subject specific geographical vocabulary, when explaining their ideas, developing their ability to listen and respond to others thus further developing their own understanding.

 

Successful Lifelong Learners (Metacognition): Our geography curriculum provides opportunities for our children to think about the location and place they are studying by focusing on human and physical features of that place, to discuss how that place has developed and changed using geographical skills and fieldwork. Early on at Brunton, our children are taught to be inquisitive by asking questions, to use a range of resources to answer these questions, to reflect on their own learning, developing their metacognitive skills and enabling them to become independent, motivated learners. Our Successful lifelong learner characters make these skills explicit to the children allowing them to talk openly and confidently about their learning.

 

Community: Geography at Brunton instils in the children that geography is all around us and affects our everyday lives. It is about the here and now and that the world is a constantly changing place. By developing their geographical awareness, the children at Brunton can see themselves as individuals within their own community moving outward into the wider world. Through studying their local area and how their environment has developed over time, our children will acquire knowledge and develop respect about the physicality’s of their home moving outwards making these vital connections. Over the past year we have made links with the Tyne River Trust who visit school to develop the children’s understanding of how rivers work and the Northumberland Wildlife Trust who work with the children to deepen their understanding of their immediate area of Great Park where the majority of our children live. With our Geography curriculum being progressive we believe that enhanced experiences, wider opportunities with clubs and trips are vital for the children’s understanding. We start very local with the children in EYFS to begin their fieldwork skills by going into their local area to post a letter to Santa. Then Year 1 go further out into their local area to learn about the Human and Physical Geography of Great Park. Year 2 visit Tynemouth to build upon their work from Year 1 about the River Tyne to then compare the local area to another further afield. Year 3 work with the Tyne River Trust to do a KS2 study of the River Tyne and Year 4 go to Beamish to learn more about coal mining building upon Year 1 work about George Stephenson and steam power. These visits enhance the children’s existing experiences for them to make links year on year.

Through these curriculum drivers, our geography curriculum aims to stimulate children’s inquisitiveness, develop their understanding of the world, and prepare them with the skills they need to become informed, thoughtful, and well-rounded people going out into the world around them.

At Brunton, we believe in the importance of providing our children with an engaging and interesting curriculum which has been planned so with progressive skills that allow our children to develop a deeper understanding of the world around us which promotes independence, the ability to be a critical thinker which in turns creates individuals who have mutual respect for themselves, others and their environment.

At Brunton we want to equip our children with geographical skills that they will use for the rest of their lives, as Geography figures throughout their daily life from the simplest task of knowing what clothing to wear when visiting a new place through to getting from A to B!

As a society we know that learning does not only come from oneself but from working with others and within geography lessons the children are taught to cooperate and work as a group. These skills are accompanied by speaking and listening skills as part of our oracy driver, as communication is an essential life skill our children will need to be equipped with for life. We want our children to have a voice and to have the confidence to be heard. Our children develop strategies to manage challenge and how to apply these within different areas of the curriculum. Here at Brunton, we nurture children who are respectful, empathetic and tolerant of people who attend our school, people who live in our local community and then further out into the world.

We believe that children should learn to be responsible for their actions as well as taking on responsibilities as they mature through school. Children from each class are given the opportunity to represent their class as Geography Ambassadors where they have a voice and meet with other children in school to discuss, plan and explore geography in school.

Being a first school, our children’s journey ends at Year 4 but we want to equip them with experiences and a good grounding of geography for them to continue to make further progress in upper KS2 and beyond. The planned units of work, lessons they attend, trips they experience and visitors they meet will allow success for them entering the next stage of their school education as they will have developed so much more than you can see on a learning objective. Within geography lessons we want the children to see beyond the classroom and see how the skills they are acquiring could be used in their future carer and personal lives as an adult. At Brunton we liaise closely with the other schools in our Trust to ensure that key skills are progressive and that topics and areas of learning don’t overlap.

Our teaching and learning of geography focuses on developing our children’s skills set in order for them to tackle new learning that is built upon previous learning. Taking objectives from the National Curriculum we have created a sequenced and progressive curriculum containing the key concepts children need to be able to work and think like geographers.

 

The key concepts in geography are

  • Location– where is it?
  • Place– what is it like there?
  • Human and Physical Geography – How do humans interact with the natural environment?
  • Geographical skills and fieldwork – Why is it like this here?

Geography at Brunton First School is taught through sequenced skills based lessons that begin with an umbrella ‘Big question’. Each topic begins with a ‘hook’ to stir the children’s curiosity. Each lesson, the children will use their reoccurring geographical concept skills to achieve the knowledge and understanding needed to ultimately answer their ‘Big umbrella’ enquiry question by the end of their topic.

 

Staff have identified the key knowledge and skills associated with each geographical topic with familiar progressive concepts to create a skills document that we feel is right for our children at Brunton. Time, thought and preparation with the History lead has meant there are careful links and space allocation given in the timetable to allow for coverage and connections that are built upon each topic, term and year group. This allows for progressive flow in topics covered that allows for children to look back and make those vital connections.

 

EYFS

At Brunton, geography underpins, in conjunction with other subject areas, the development of every child’s understanding of the wider world. In reception, staff create activities such as drawing and making maps of places they have visited and opportunities for our children to explain how they got there. Our children have access to topic books, both fact and fiction providing opportunities to experience places they have heard of and new places they have yet to discover. Our children are encouraged to talk about these new places and to say what it is like there and say if it is like, or unlike where they live.  This is the first step in our children comparing places by saying what is the same and or different about what they know. Our growing diversity means that we recognise, highlight and value children’s experiences from where they live, have lived and would like to live or visit.

In Reception, the curriculum is split into 6 umbrella topics where our children create work in the different areas of learning, specifically relating to the Knowledge and Understanding of the World objectives set out in the EYFS Curriculum where geography figures significantly. In EYFS, geography is about having the chances to find out and learn about the world they live in and discover how they fit into this place as an individual.

KS1

Children learn about their immediate location within school and its grounds expanding further into the local area and beyond giving the children a grasp of what is around them and why. KS1 sets the foundation for many of the key skills in KS2 where the children learn about the importance of the River Tyne and why Newcastle grew the way it did because of its human and physical geography. Once this locality and sense of place is established, then Year1 learn about the UK and its countries and capital cities paving the way for Year 2 to then build on this by expanding to the continents and seas and oceans that surround them. Within these places, children learn the basics about settlements so they know the difference between the size and locality of these places to then develop this understanding in KS2. Children learn about the weather associated with seasons, identifying patterns within these throughout the year, preparing the children to understand about the poles and equator and the impact they have on humans. Children are given a variety of resources to practise their geographical skills including, maps from past and present, globes, the use of ICT to research and aerial photographs that allow the children to grasp different ways of knowing what a place is like and why.

KS2

Children continue to learn about new places around the world where the natural world is having a significant impact of those who live there, beginning with our Year 3 Danger Zone topic. Our children use their knowledge and understanding of the concepts location and place to learn about what it is like there in conjunction with their geographical skills and resources to deepen their understanding of why it is like that there. KS2 then build upon our children’s knowledge of the River Tyne to go on to compare it to the River Nile focusing on each river’s human features including settlements, trade, economy and leisure as well as the physical features of each river and why most cities are situated by a river. In year 4 the children travel back to Europe to study a region in Greece making links from previous historical learning about Greece in the past. The children will pool together all previous skills taught to investigate what this region is like for those who live there and why. Finally, for our children in Brunton in Year 4 they look at how the geography of the North East has seen how coal mining has changed over time where the children’s curiosity has been stirred by KS1 learning about George Stepheson and the Industrial revolution in our school’s Victorians topic. These cross curricular links that run from reception to year 4 allow these connections to make sense to the children and we are proud that this progressive curriculum fits our children now and where they are from.

  • A retrieval activity to remind pupils of prior learning and encourage children to revisit key facts, use appropriate geographical vocabulary and develop their working memory as they acquire new subject knowledge
  • A hook or engaging lesson opener which inspires the children to engage in their new learning in a geographical context
  • Remind children of the umbrella ‘Big Question’ then share the enquiry question for that lesson set in order to reflect upon at the end of the lesson
  • Introduction of key geographical concepts, vocabulary or knowledge with opportunities to talk, explore and share ideas
  • Task – independent, pair or group supported by staff as appropriate with differentiation where appropriate
  • Children are given the opportunity to revisit and reflect on key vocabulary and learning and reflect on the question set at the start of the lesson
  • Explicitly teaching metacognitive strategies – activating prior knowledge, independent practice and structured reflection
  • Modelling by the staff, verbalising their thinking and scaffolding tasks
  • Setting an appropriate level of challenge for main task with a step-up challenge
  • Promoting and developing metacognitive talk in the classroom – language development and acquisition
  • Explicitly teaching children how to organise and effectively manage their learning

In Geography assessment figures throughout each lesson. From the start of every lesson, all staff will assess the level of understanding and use this to scaffold each segment of the lesson through the use of talk partners and the ‘think pair share’ technique. Teachers will use the learning objective to assess whether the children have met this by being clear about what/how they might expect the children to demonstrate this. Target groups will be both planned for and ‘live’ marking and giving instant feedback means that misconceptions are dealt with immediately and high attaining pupils are challenged appropriately with a step-up challenge or a Now you are Flying challenge.

The Head teacher, the Deputy Head, Senior Leader team and Geography subject leader play a vital role in the monitoring and evaluation of the quality of teaching and learning of geography across the school.

The monitoring strategy:

  1. Book looks with the children are conducted to gather pupil voice
  2. Book looks are carried out alongside planning to check for consistency, marking and feedback and progress
  3. Lesson ‘drop ins’ and observations take place in all classes throughout the year.
  4. Feedback is given to staff with next steps to maintain quality of learning across school
  5. SMART notebooks are checked alongside the MTP’s for consistency and that the tasks match the learning concept and objective and at the end of the unit of work the annotated MTP by staff is reviewed by the subject lead to inform planning for the following year

We do this so our children, by the end of their First School Geography curriculum, will have received a high quality geography education that allows them to gather knowledge and understanding, skills and values so they grow up to be well informed, knowledgeable, accountable people of the world.

As Geography Lead what I would want for all our children who attend our school is for them to firstly love to discover something new about the world they live in…. but also:-

  • have children who can talk about their local area, describe what is there, what is it like to live there, what is nearby and what is the same and different for people who live there.
  • create curious children who are interested in different places and can discuss and record how these places are the same and different to places they know.
  • have confident children ready for year 5 who can use various navigation strategies including the use of an atlas, maps and google maps to locate places to be able to access and follow instructions to manoeuvre around a map and identify places previously taught.
  • have children who can talk about the world in terms of what they might see (human or physical) and what it might be like to live there with reference to the themes of weather, climate, economics, jobs .

As a school we would like to nurture well-informed geographers with a growing knowledge of the world and their place in it. Our children will have a wider vocabulary of geographical terms. This curiosity will inspire the children to discover more about the world, through reading, travel or the media.  We will enable children to use their voice to express themselves and their opinions and develop their geographical skills, such as, evaluation, creativity, problem solving and enquiry.

“I love it when the children make connections with places they have visited with new places we are learning about.”

Staff Voice

“It was interesting to learn about Greece, I want to go there one day.”

Year 4

“When we learnt about Tsunamis it was easier to understand when we were hands on and made one happen in the classroom.”

Year 3

“I know the difference between a country and a continent as I remembered the song we learnt.”

Year 3

“I loved learning something new about Newcastle in Geography as I know that place.”

Year 1

“Our world is a big place. Our school is a little place.”

Reception