Ideas for Geography lesson planning

img_0256Trawling through my (very unorganized) home area on the school network today to locate a medium term planning sheet (which I never found!), I came across a document I made a few years ago of ideas to support the trainees and NQTs I was working with in Geography to plan their lessons.  None of the ideas are very whizzy or new (and many are just basic teaching strategies) but I thought I’d share them as a little aide memoire if you’re looking for another idea for a lesson (that won’t take too long to prepare).

Strategies for developing knowledge of place:

  • Constructing annotated sketch maps.
  • Display (in any format) a sequence of facts or development indicators about any given country for students to deduce the location of the lesson focus and whether the country is developed; this can be extended by introducing a false fact for students to deduce and justify.
  • Display a sequence of slides which build up and create understanding of life in the new location; 5 second delay between slides and no more than 15 slides.
  • Students ask 7 questions about photos – what, where, when, where, why, what ought, what might and how?
  • Google earth can be used to show scale and sizes of places.
  • Provide photographs and a climate graph for students to guess the country; students must justify their choice.

Strategies to assess the learning taking place during lessons: Assessing knowledge:

  • Multiple choice quiz; students indicate answers using 1/2/3 fingers in the air.
  • Quick fire quiz; using mini-whiteboards to display answers.
  • Give me the headlines; students summarise their geographical learning in the lesson in 3 bullet points.
  • Students go back to ideas at beginning of lesson and add to them, given new learning.
  • Targeted questioning.

Strategies to assess the learning taking place during lessons: Assessing examination technique:

  • Peer/self assessment against pre-defined success criteria/markscheme.
  • Highlighting/underlining student responses to focus on SPaG/decision making/use of connectives/vocabulary.

Strategies to develop extended writing:

  • Modelling and developing the application of generic structures; eg using flow charts to break down sequences or cause and effect.
  • Modelling and developing the use of connectives to maintain the cohesive ties of the text to help students maintain ‘sense’ in their writing.
  • Redrafting sections of work based on specific targets; eg improving use of geographical terminology.
  • Using card sorting to rank and identify priorities (eg diamond ranking or concept mapping) and to look for relationships and explanations before tackling a piece of writing.
  • Key word and definition matching to enforce use of geographical terminology.

Strategies to develop oracy:

  • For group discussions: establish an open-ended topic to discuss and specific tasks which can act as a focus and framework; provide information to stimulate and direct discussion; use visual material to minimize time taken up reading; give students some time to prepare ideas so all can contribute. The discussion should result in a specific product such as a summary, list or series of conclusions.
  • For class feedback: plan your questions beforehand to ensure you have clear outcomes expected from the feedback; correct use of geographical terminology; keep the discussion short and focused. The discussion should result in a specific product such as a summary of key geographical points or redrafting of a section of work.

Top Tips for Group Work:

Each of the following strategies is designed to:

  1. Ensure group work has a clear focus related on the topic being studied.
  2. Ensure methods of individual and whole class assessment are built into the activity.
  3. Ensure a well-defined outcome from the activity.


Number of students per group Strategy
2 Argue and counter-argue framework for discussion; eg give a contentious statement and ask students to discuss this, offering counter-arguments to each other.  At the end each student must summarise what their partner said; either during whole class feedback or as a written statement.
3 Give students a topic to discuss; one interviewer, one interviewee and one ‘reporter’ noting key points in the discussion.  Students rotate roles; eg each student could be given a different perspective on an issue.
4 Students work in pairs to present one side of an argument.  Each pair presents while the other pair takes notes ready to question at the end.  At the end the students have to synthesise both sides in a group report.


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