Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Year 8 Tweet About Poverty

SPA Geog Year 8
Tweets About Development

Year 8 as part of their Development SOW exploring poverty completed emotive tweets about the lesson on ‘Comparing Lives’. As part of the lesson, the students compared their own lives to those of a similar age to them around the world. These included:

Hannah likes Science, and plays the trumpet. She has just been to Mexico on a school trip. She gets $30 a week pocket money (about £20). Sometimes she wants to be an engineer and sometimes a writer. She worries about getting a job. Her parents would like to see more of her but they’re just so busy.  

Josephine lives in Accra. She’s top in her class at maths. She enjoys hanging out with her friends. When she leaves school she’d like to run a business and be able to buy a nice house, but hopes to start out with an office job. £50 a month would be great!

Julien lives in La Paz. He works as a shoeshine boy. He earns 6p a customer. He lives in the family shack, with no running water. He studies every evening at a special centre. He’s learning to read, write and use computers. He dreams of buying a motorcycle. 

Nisha lives in Nepal. She has never been to school. She helps on the farm, collects firewood for cooking and looks after her brothers and sisters. Someday, Nisha hopes to get married & have a family.

Students connected with these students on a deeper level as they worked with their peers to ascertain the quality of life and standard of living for each child. A homework task compared each of the children’s life to their own and if they could spend a day in one life who would it be. Have a look at the tweets below:

#OneDayInPoverty! In Nepal a young girl named Nisha is living in poverty. I would give up my life for 1 day to live in Nisha's way of life!
137 characters

#BeingPoor41Day If I had to swap lives with Julien, Nisha, Josephine or Hannah, I would swap with Nisha because I want to feel empathy for her and know how it feels to live in poverty so I can appreciate the resources we have! (Rachael-8C)

#WeCanHelp I have problems with the world today because of poverty. People are suffering from being poor like Nisha #99problems (Daniel Maimbo-8D)

#MakeABetterWorld I am shocked that people are not aware of the development issues around the world. An ordinary person has a good home, an education, whilst others don't have anything! (Matthew-8D)

#Where’s your next Geography classroom?

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

'Cymru, byd gwahanol'- Wales a whole different world. By Princess and Yetunde.

SPA Geog Ambassadors

'Cymru, byd gwahanol'- Wales a whole different world.

It all started from an email from Mr Davis, "A new competition about Action for Conservation" he said, he believed we could do it, but could we?
After stressful weeks of revision, Yetunde and I got together and answered a series of questions about our community, and an impactful hour of deliberations later; we had finally finished our bid to succession. 

Then some months later, on the other end of a late-night phone call:

..."We won the competition!" My best friend screamed. Long story short; we were ecstatic. Ecstatic to be part of a group of thirteen winners; out of so many entries across the entire nation.

So, on the first week of our summer holidays- it all began. On the way of a six-hour drive from Paddington to Stackpole, we had so much to see, ranging sadly from the horrific Grenfell tower in Kensington, to Wales's beautiful seas, various birds and miles of sustainable growth; you would definitely notice we were not in London.

Five days of an all-inclusive stay, we even confirmed to vegetarianism- a fantastic experience-we learnt about how unconscious choices like eating beef could affect our world so dearly.

Did you know that?

There wasn't a dull moment in the massive house we stayed in; we took turns to set the table, to cook and to clean; we played cards, and we connected on different matters- age made no difference.

Outside- we visited Pembrokeshire's beautiful landscapes, from cliffs to marine life, to beaches- and even jellyfish. We surveyed local areas- interviewed tourists and residents, listened to frequencies and watched colonies of bats. We reflected on moments in our lives in peaceful, quiet times, characterised by different settings: by the sea, by the river, on a bridge at night; near the forests. We understood the importance of peace all because of the AFC.

We volunteered in the local area, uprooting poisonous plants to mammals like cows- and even humans- called Ragworts from fields. We made visited many beaches and successfully started a 'cracking' fire by the sea.

The AFC gave us the confidence to step out of my comfort zone, to try new styles of foods, meet and work with different people of different age groups, freely take interviews and also marvel at the beauty of biodiversity so different to our 'normal' life in London.

We made pledges about what we wanted to achieve by the next time we meet:

We were inspired to make a change when we discussed and watched the documentary 'Before The Flood'- *highly recommended*

Now you can see our experience has been great; we would like to thank the whole AFC team and Mr Davis; we are grateful for being the new AFC Ambassadors. Could you be next?

On Saturday 7th October 2017, it will be our first official meetup as Ambassadors.

For more information you can visit:

@action4conserv or www.actionforconservation.org/

Written by Princess Emeanuwa & Yetunde Kehinde (Year 11 SPA Geog Ambassadors).

Where’s your next geography classroom?

Sunday, 1 October 2017

SPA Geog Ambassadors Bubble Football

SPA Geog Bubble Football
After an amazing year of teamwork and dedication, the Geography Ambassadors elected Jack Petchy winner, James Douse, decided to use his money; “For a good and unique final team building activity.”
James wins the Jack Petchey Award for the SPA Geog Ambassadors.

Deciding on a stereotypical boyish exercise, the concept of football was sure to make some of us roll our eyes, but hearing of this unusual, laughter-inducing twist to the game made us all eager to turn up at Goals. 

After being briefed of the usual safety procedures, we took it in turns going on to the pitch and playing a “classical” game of football surrounded by giant bubbles of mass destruction. It was the Orange vs Clear bubbles and we sprinted across the field towards our opponent in hopes of knocking them over. 

A lot of us went flying while some of us just toppled to the ground and struggled to get back up again. The worst part was when you got stuck upside down and you could feel all the blood rushing to your face while all you could do was kick and flail your legs aimlessly until an instructor came and rolled you over again. Few goals were scored; mainly due to me cheating and sitting down inside the goal, but it was all in the name of fun and my peers had the best laugh trying to coax the ball away from me. 

An impatient Mr. Davis competitively determined it was his turn to have a go. And we watched terrified from the sidelines as he effortlessly sprinted towards people and knocked them over in a game of Bulldog. Even one of the parents decided to have a go and we played on in a hilarious game of Adults vs Teens.

At the end of the day we were all exhausted and red in the face but we were still giggling with excitement. As our final farewell to the eldest in the school, we wish them the best of luck for the future and are sure we will see them back again, supporting the SPA Ambassadors.

Where’s your next geography classroom?

~Written by Shanelle Shim

Have a look at the videos below:

SPA Geog & Peabody Ambassadors visit the REGEN Project and cast their vote.

SPA GEOG Ambassadors
& Peabody REGEN Project

 Figure 1- SPA Geographers past and present.
Written by Amy Kren (Class of 2016).

Thamesmead is a town which is currently undergoing regeneration. we were privileged enough to go to visit Peabody on the 29th September 2017, to see the proposed plans for Southmere Lake’s NEW Library design. The REGEN Project by Peabody fascinated me as this is an area which I have lived in since I was born, and although Thamesmead is very large area, I never really saw real development. The houses often seemed outdated, grey and dismal, dilapidated even, however, with these proposed plans it will bring a welcomed regeneration to Thamesmead.

Figure 2- The 'Swan Nest' Design A Southmere Library.

Figure 3- Design B of the Southmere Library.

 Figure 4- Design C of Southmere Library.

Figure 5- Design D Southmere Library.

Although the proposed plans had their own unique agenda, some caught my eye more than the rest, my personal two favourites were the ‘Swan Nest’ (Design A) and the multi-faceted facilities in Design D. The Swan Nest was unique and very creative; it bought nature into the design which is a key passion of mine. The entwining branches within the building gave it a natural but a unique feel, and although it may look very modern - which is good for our contemporary society-  I am almost certain the older community would like this too because they have a closer connection to nature. 

Similarly, we had Design D which I really liked, as it was sustainable and multipurpose to use its space wisely. On the top it had a sports pitch, which is ideal for the younger community, it is a place where people can socialise and make bonds with new people in the community. Additionally, it had a retro interior which brought a warm, friendly feeling which is needed to attract people to a library. However, a lot of the Geography Ambassador’s commented that they were not overall keen on the exterior of the library. So, we all wrote our comment down and placed them in the comments box making our mark for the future. It was a real privilege to have a say in the future of Thamesmead.
 As well as admiring the models, it was lovely to see the new current year 11’s Ambassador’s again, as I have sadly had my time at St Paul’s Academy (currently a year 12 student), and it was lovely to meet and bring our geography knowledge together, to bring a positive impact to our community. Geography has shaped us all and I think I wouldn’t understand everything like I do now, I really hope that you consider to take up Geography in the future because it certainly has intrigued me to learn about the world we live in. 

Figure 7- Princess voting on the design of the library.

Amy casting her vote and writer of the article.

Where is your next Geography classroom? 

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Ambassador Residential- SPA Geog and Peabody

Reach your peak in Geography- Become an Ambassador!
SPA GEOG & Peabody
Ambassadors’ Residential
The Geography department took two days of interviews to select 22 Geography Ambassadors. We witnessed over 40 interviews and a high quality of applicants, which meant much deliberation and a challenge to choose our final students. The two key questions were: How would you promote Geography? Why should you be an ambassador? Let me introduce the final students who will represent Geography and Peabody as ambassadors!

The Geography and Peabody Ambassadors from Year 10 and Year 11 in their new hoodies. Top left: Kwabena, James, Nathan, Precious, Una, Yetunde, Princess, Miguel, and Giovanni. Bottom left: Gareth, Luke, Marcell, Amy, Temi, Klaudia, Anna, Lilly, Shanelle and Eljay. Others missing: Stephen, Sammy and Chantal.
As part of the Peabody ‘Young leadership’ accreditation certificate the group attended a fully paid (courteous of Peabody) weekend residential.  The aim of this trip was to firstly work on team building and implement skills that underpin leadership and teamwork. Examples of activities embedding these skills included Blackout sensory walks in teams, building towers out of marshmallows, military drumming and an assault course carrying a bucket of water, to name a few.

The residential started on Friday 3rd March, with the group travelling with Mr Davis and Diana Webb to Lambourne End Outdoor Centre, and ended on Sunday 4th March. The company Oakley Adventures should be commended on a comprehensive program that worked towards building a rapport amongst the students and developing skills that underpins the Ambassador initiative.

Diana and Mr Davis in the new leader hoodies.

These students epitomise the high quality and excellence that St Paul’s Academy exhibits, within and outside of the classroom. We can expect very exciting times in Geography with these students leading as role models. Congratulations to all for your participation and making the weekend enjoyable by the staff and teachers. A special mention needs to go to Caroline and Steve from Oakley Adventures for organising the event and Alison Wood from Peabody making this all possible.

For photos and videos of the activities please look below:

Camp fire

The camp fire included popular camps songs, dancing and roasting marshmallows. Mr Davis showed the students a few dance moves and also how to make the best smoors. The excitement of the day got too much for some (as you can see by Amy opposite)!

Group marshmallow and spaghetti towers:

Students were given a time limit to make a structure that was free-standing and able to withstand shakes. Much of the weekend was geared towards team-work and gelling as a group. It was successful with friendships that will last a lifetime. 

Military Drumming:

 The SPA ambassadors were involved in a military drumming session on the Sunday. It takes coordinator and being in sync with each other to be able to drum effectively. It was remarked by Steve from Peabody that the group "were one of the best that I have been involved in!" This is a testament to the group and how they have developed as a unit over the weekend.

Firelighting and popcorn making:

Students were taught how to make fires from scratch using cotton wool and vaseline. When the fires had been lit, the ambassadors were able to make popcorn.


Students got to try archery during the Saturday day. After they had initially mastered the art of shooting they worked in teams to earn points by shooting the target and hitting balloons. 

Daily Life (travelling and around the camp):

 The pictures are around the residential. The students worked to lay out the table and wash up. Fabulous food were supplied by Oakley Adventures to cater all tastes. Precious and Yetunde made friends with the local dogs. Other activities included chilling out, twister and hot chocolate before bedtime. The team worked with Oakley Adventures to discuss what made a perfect Ambassador, which underpinned the activities of the weekend. At the end of the weekend the students were able to describe their favourite moments and nominate key individuals that displayed ambassadorial skills.

OS Map Challenge:

Students worked on OS Map skills. This was a valuable skill to revisit as all students are studying Geography at GCSE. This lead to challenges in the outdoor environment in teams whereby they hid objects for the other team to find. Students were taught map symbols and 6/8 grid references.

Blind Night hike:

This was the ultimate test for the SPA Ambassadors on the Saturday night before the campfire. Each team had to use the art of communication and rely on their senses of touch and sound to navigate their environment and make it around the course. 

Military Assault Course (which featured on The Apprentice in 2016):

 The aim of the assault course - which was an integral part of the team-work challenge - was to navigate the course with a bucket of water and not spill a large amount. The ambassadors working proficiently and were successful in getting around the obstacles. The students then had to navigate the water obstacles [about 6 ft of smelly water below]. Some were more successful than others! Have a look at the photos.

#Where is your next Geography classroom?