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Angie Downes- Weather Reports

Angie Downes teaches at Lincoln Minster School and is always on the lookout for ways to stimulate and engage her class. TV broadcasts of all kinds can provide a rich repository of material, even those which are not specifically aimed at children’s education.

Angie likes to make maximum use of the interactive whiteboard in her classroom so that the children can create and present their own work to the rest of the group.

“I was about to begin a Weather topic with my Year 2 class, and I was sitting watching the weather forecast on the television,” Angie writes.

“It suddenly occurred to me that I could create a weather map using ACTIVstudio 2 that would allow my six and seven year olds to become ‘real’ weather people.”

I created a flipchart combining the date and weather which proved so successful I continued to use it daily throughout the year.

Angie’s class watched TV weather reports at home and recordings of them at school as a refresher so that they could compare different versions and see how forecasts were presented. The children spent about six weeks on the topic and visited an RAF meteorological station as well as setting up their own weather station in the school grounds.

This allowed them to measure changes in the weather such as levels of rainfall, and enabled a wide range of topic-based learning to take place. Pupils made graphs, used thermometers and rain gauges, calculated wind speed and did scientific experiments with water, sometimes working on their own and sometimes as a team. They learned new vocabulary and grew in confidence as they presented weather forecasts to the rest of the class using the whiteboard. They also thought it was great fun!

Testing captions

Angie found that “their performances as weather people became increasingly more competent and confident as they watched and listened to weather forecasts and then presented their own versions to their peers. Their fluency improved greatly, as did the content of the forecasts. By the end of a three-week period, the children were able to talk about the weather map without the cities and countries being labelled. Used daily over a longer period, the names and locations of other cities, counties, rivers and places of interest were identified and learned.”

The TV weather reports were used as a springboard for a programme of stimulating and creative learning which enabled the children to acquire new skills and knowledge and gain in confidence, whilst enjoying themselves enormously. Angie found that the children gained so much from the topic and the approach used that she feels she will definitely repeat it in the future.