Monthly Archives: December 2012

Geographic Skills and SOLO (Functional Knowledge)

One of the realisations I had earlier in the year was that I could better help my students in their use of Geographic Skills to show their understandings. They were not seeing a pathway for improvement. Solution: Create visual rubrics. My experience with previous rubrics has been that the more words in them, the less they are read. I am a huge fan of Pam Hook’s visual rubrics and my creations are really adaptions of her work but specifically for a Geographic context.

The first was for drawing a Precis Sketch or Map. I was sick of students saying “I can’t draw” and thinking that was the end of it. What they were really saying I think was “I do not have any effective strategies for improving and I need your help Mr Perry). Enter, the Rubric:


My vision is that next year, I have these as Posters around our Geography rooms as visual reminders to students and staff of pathways for improving.

The second example came from marking yr13 student work and realising that they were not understanding how to apply a visual diagram to their written work. This was frustrating to me as I had spent heaps of time talking through the assessment¬† specifications which all say “your answer may be supported or enhanced by maps,diagrams or visual”. Again,¬† my failing, the skill of doing this hadn’t been made visible enough. Rubric time:Image

This one was really gratifying as when I talked it through with students they clicked and immediately saw how to improve for themselves. The quality of work in following assessments dramatically improved. Talking with one of my yr13 students who has just sat his Scholarship exam, this was super useful as there is always a modify or create your own diagram questions – extended abstract diagram skills.

Right, what i should really be doing is putting these ideas together for my ICOT presentation PowerPoint. More to come.

Feedback Welcome


Scheme Planning with SOLO – Critical alignment

I think the correct term is Critial Alignment but in essence it is about planning a scheme or unit of learning using SOLO as a framework to identify effective stategies that are visible to students in their learning.

These are some quick thoughts I added to davidfawcett27 Blog at

Re:Planning schemes. In NZ, we have been going thourgh a “standards alignment process” where all of our Snr courses have been tweaked (we have a standards based assessment system that chunks a course – for example, within Geography we have a standard called “Analyse a Geographic issue at a Global scale”). I have been fortunate that this process (in the third and final year now) has coincided with our school having significant input from Pam Hook. Using a SOLO framework has allowed me to look at a new standard or topic and as a starting point, think holisically – given this standard, what needs to be defined, what can be compared, what needs to be sequenced and so on. While doing this, I am also being mindful of the wording of the standard. Our standards are based on a not achieved, achieved, achieved with merit and achieved with excellence scale – this pretty much follows SOLO (and I think we can thank Pam for her influence in NZ). Anyway, what I am looking for in this process is the important verbs (as these are essentially the SOLO indicators). So if I am confronted with the word Analyse, i know that I need to use some effective stategies that will allow my students to connect with what it is to analyse (parts whole, SOLO hexagons -which i only just discovoured or my favourite, the Describe ++ thiking map – see HookED). Anyway, a bit of a ramble – I am very new to the world of blogs and twitter.