Thursday, 31 May 2012


Just been proofing the final chapter of Mission:Explore Food, and it is looking fairly awesome...
Illustration copyright Tom Morgan-Jones

New on Making Geography Happen

Making Geography Happen is one of the projects which formed part of the Action Plan for Geography. It was led by Ruth Totterdell.

A new unit of work has just been added, which features work completed by Ian Dixson and students and colleagues at High Arcal School in Dudley: one of the GA's Centres of Excellence.
The unit is called VIOLENT EARTH.
As with the other units it includes plenty of examples of student work, as well as teacher commentary.

The Geography Collective's Spaceship....

Here's our awesome new Geography Collective Spaceship...
Coming to an event near you soon...
The spaceship is already at the HAY FESTIVAL this weekend along with the rest of the team. Look out for the Geography Collective at the HAY FEVER event for young people. Our awesome illustrator Tom Morgan-Jones produced the map...
Click for biggery...
Just noticed that the sticker on the front is on back to front though.... ;)

Google World Wonders launches....

Google World Wonders is a new site which I contributed some Educational materials for a while ago, and have been waiting for it to launch - that wait ended today. 

Thanks to Keir Clarke for the tip-off once again. 

The website offers the chance to explore a number of World Heritage sites. Here's the description from Google.

This new project from Google that allows you to take a virtual trip around 132 of the World's most famous historical and cultural sites. The sites includes historically important locations, such as Stonehenge and Pompeii and also natural wonders, such as the sandy dunes of Australia’s Shark Bay and the rock domes of Yosemite National Park. 
Google World Wonders uses Google Maps, Google Street View and Google Earth 3d models to explore these 132 historical locations. Each location also includes YouTube videos and photographs from Getty Images.

Information about each location is also provided by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

There is a cool spinning globe which shows the locations that are featured, and some of them also have additional educational resources which are available as downloadable zip files. There is a useful one on the Jurassic Coast, and the less familiar Ogasawara Islands.

 You can download a useful leaflet on how to use this for Primary and Secondary uses. This is the cover of the Secondary booklet, with 'stamps' showing some of the destinations. This design is used for the educational materials too...

The site offers the chance to explore a number of WORLD HERITAGE sites, and there are more to come (including the resources that I wrote for one of the destinations shown on the stamps....)

Wonder if this will feature in the Google GeoTeachers Institutes in June ?

Hurricane Season starts tomorrow - or does it ?

Get ready to start teaching about tropical revolving storms.

Hurricane season will start at the end of May... or has it already started ?

Tropical Storms Alberto and Beryl have already formed, but not developed any further...

Why does the hurricane season in the Atlantic start at this time of year and not earlier (or later ?)
Challenge your students to explain why...
Alberto and Beryl were the first in 2012's season - who is next ?
How are hurricanes named ?
Will there ever be another Hurricane Katrina ?

If you'd like a great activity using GIS and enquiry, you'll need to get yourself a copy of Bob Lang's 'GIS made Easy' book. This contains a full lesson activity and associated resources which teaches about some key GIS skills through the context of exploring hurricane paths.
You can have a sneak preview of the book by visiting the GA website.

Visit the NOAA site for all the latest information.

You also might want to catch up with a recent Twitter chat with the hashtag #hurrichat while it's still there: experts answering questions on hurricanes.
It's part of Hurricane Preparedness Week - lots of YouTube clips and other resources.
Get ready for the season ahead... Students should be in teams and briefed to keep an eye on a particular name and track it and report back...


Useful article on the accuracy of forecasts for the 2012 season and how many hurricanes will develop...

Exporting your iPad Apps List...

Thanks to Twitter again for the lead to this. An article by Kathy Schrock explained how to export the list of apps that are installed on an iPad as a list...
Here are mine, if you're bothered...
My iPad Apps

Gormley knit...

This is one of my usual profile images, and often used in presentations when introducing myself...

The Gormley figures made the news today, as some of them have new outfits.
Associated with a 'yarn-bombing' trend perhaps, which even hit the local town of Hunstanton, as reported here by Tina Richardson.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Tourism Visualisation idea...

I was directed to the Visualizing site by a Tweet a few days ago....
Check out this beauty which is on it...

I could see this 'collage style' idea working nicely with  a group looking at UK Tourism perhaps, or Cultural Geography. Create a themed map for the UK with examples of historical, physical, cultural etc. tourist attractions....

There's also the VISUALISING 590 CITIES post as well which is great for geographers. This perhaps needs a separate blog post of its own and I will be looking at this for some Urban Environments work.

Once you visit the site, you will spot links to other visualisations...

Come to your Senses

I like the work of Come to your Senses
This has some merit for being adapted for other places which have empty shops... I like the mapping idea and the 'hand-drawn' aspect of it...

European Countries visited...

Make yours @
Make yours @

A reminder of the BIG HUGE LABS Mapping tool....
Just used it to make a map of the European countries that I've visited up to now...
If things go according to plan, I could be adding a few more before the end of the year....

Chemin Vert

Thanks to Anne at the GA for the tipoff to this excellent video earlier today.

CHEMIN VERT is the latest in a series of great videos which have been shared on VIMEO.

A trip on the road at supersonic speed spanning across five continents and four seasons.
Official video for "Chemin Vert" of electronic musician A Ghost Train. The video was made using panoramic frames from Google Street View from different parts of the world mapped as stereographic projections.
If you have a fast computer with a powerful graphic card, make sure to try also the immersive, interactive version

All points East...

Spent today in Lowestoft and the surrounding area working on a project for the Geography Collective.
As part of the trip, I visited the Eastern-most point of the UK: at Ness Point in Lowestoft. 
There was a bit of a fret on, so the wind turbine blades were looming in and out of the murk...
Parked up next to the point was a green vehicle, and it turned out that the drivers were doing an event to raise money for the Royal British Legion.

The two guys: John Pomeroy and John Poole are driving a full circuit around the UK: a journey of 3700 miles.

Their vehicle is a 1951 Austin Devon ( A40 Pick Up) registration NHY343 in a rather nice British Racing Green livery and a cream logo of " Wells & Warminster - M&P Garages ". This was not their original choice of vehicle, which you can read about on the website below.

They are travelling anti-clockwise around the UK, and started in Warminster, before heading for Poole to start their journey - a map of their route is shown below.

Visit the website which is recording their adventures HERE, and make sure that you download a sponsor form and support their efforts - I did :)

Good luck for the rest of the journey !

Photo: Alan Parkinson

Vital Teachshare with Richard Allaway

I'm grateful to Richard Allaway, creator of Geography all the Way for joining my VITAL CPD Teachshare last night.
There were two main websites referred to:

Richard's site: Geography all the Way
The blog post that Richard referred to while we were talking.

Thanks to Richard, you can get a free 48 hour trial of the site (from the morning of the 29th of May onwards) by entering the username: vital and the password: vital when prompted. Enough for you to see what good value the site is.

Finally, click this link to watch a repeat of the session, which lasted about 40 minutes.

I shall let you know when the next Teachshares are being held...

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The Geographical Times

Received my copy of Issue 1 of 'The Geographical Times' earlier in the week and finally had time to sit down and take a read.

It was put together by Paul Turner, who I first met when he was completing his PGCE at Homerton College, and Rose. It's a free newspaper, which is made up of contributions

The 2nd issue is going to be on the theme of the OCEANS, which is a splendid theme, and I shall perhaps try contributing something (whether it gets included or not is another matter...) based on my work with the Digital Explorer Oceans resources which I read today have been downloaded by 1 in 10 schools so far.

The newspaper is an actual physical object, which already makes it better than a lot of digital newsletters that you might receive. It's also a lovely opportunity for students to see their work in print, and being read by a large audience outside the school.

These contributions are eclectic, and add to the charm of the final newspaper. I liked the image of Antarctica, which was drawn by Camilla Makhmudi. There are also poems, images, and brief descriptions a little like 'blog posts', a description of a recent trip to Iceland, and website recommendations, such as the Clear about Carbon website.

The best way to ensure that you receive a copy of the next issue is to encourage your students to submit a contribution to this second issue. You'll also be in with a chance to win a camera. For details of how to do that, head for the Geographical Times website.
And finally, who can resist a letter which addresses you in this way... quite accurately of course...

The Olympic Side of London

This is the trailer for a new film describing the impact of the Olympics on the East End of London.
See HERE for more details.

On the eve of the 2012 Olympics, this critical portrait of East London explores the transformation of the area from a marginal, working class community to a vibrant cultural hotspot, about to take the world's centre stage. With a lyrical cinematic style that oscillates between compelling imagery and gripping interviews, it explores the conflicts and hopes of East Londoners in the midst of the Olympic Propaganda Campaign, asking: what happens after the Games?

"There was a great community spirit among all the Cockneys", Dennis Weaver says, as he drives past the brown brick flats of East London. "There are lots of parts of East London where it could still be the 50s or 60s; it hasn't changed", he continues. "What has changed is the Cockneys have moved out." This is the reality that exists already within East London, as the traditional society has been replaced by a new ethnically diverse one. As the Olympics descend on London the question lingers now whether regeneration will bring improvements to those living in the area, or start a new exodus.

"The Olympic site was a dump, I would never go there. Now they have completely re-generated it", Asif Karem, a local textile merchant tells us. For Asif the Olympic development represents the creation of jobs and infrastructure and will make Stratford a hub of the East. He sees only new opportunities created for him and those around him. Mark Hunter, an Olympic rower from the East End, sees something to inspire the residents sense of community: "I think it's a real good opportunity to show what the area has to offer and put it on the map."

But is this actually what the games bring to the table? "The Olympics was meant to benefit the people of Tower Hamlets, but it's not. They're being asked to move out." As Christine Ali points out, it is likely that the regeneration may bring improvements for others, while actually driving out the people who live in East London. And according to Iain Sinclair, the underpinning of the plan for re-generation is flawed. "All the dirty and dangerous industries of London were on the Olympic land. You cannot use these blocks for public housing because nobody is going to want to take that chance."

"I think the legacy of the Olympics is just going to leave East London with a massive shopping centre!" one resident moans. As the games approach, what the Olympic site will bring to London in the long-term is still uncertain. Will the dreams for regeneration ever become a reality?

Jubilee Maps

A new post on VIEWS OF THE WORLD in time for the Jubilee Weekend by Ben Hennig, containing maps of the different countries that make up the United Kingdom.
Here's a cartogram of a particular part of the UK as an example...
Click for biggery...

Image copyright: Ben Hennig, University of Sheffield - used with permission...

An essential teaching tool....

According to Nick Gibb.
He was speaking at the VOICE conference recently, and the text of his speech can be read on the DfE website.
Here's the relevant section for you to decide what you think...

One of my greatest concerns about the QCDA’s 2007 reforms was that they actively promoted a state of perpetual revolution, encouraging constant change by contextualising concepts against current events – which then become obsolete almost immediately.
This will not be true for the new curriculum.
Core knowledge, by its very definition, does not need to be repeatedly revised to reflect changing fashions, or new current affairs.
Instead, the new curriculum will focus on the fundamentals that will give children today (and tomorrow) the best possible start to their future.
And I will count it as a success when teachers are able actually to laminate their lesson plans and recycle them from September to September.
Of course, a leaner curriculum will also allow teachers far greater professional flexibility over how and what to teach.
It will not specify how teachers should contextualise these concepts and subjects for their students. No longer will we create a whole host of hostages to fortune, doomed to become out-of-date before the ink is even dry on the page.
Rather, we will leave it to teachers to decide how to bring these subjects and topics to life.

ArcGIS Explorer Online - more from Joseph Kerski

Here is the latest resource produced by the prolific Joseph.
This is a series of 7 videos which take you through the main features of the ArcGIS Explorer Online tool....
They form part of a huge archive of videos which Joseph has shared for many years...

Monday, 28 May 2012

SOLO: you don't have to do it by yourself...

SOLO Taxonomy has been gaining a lot of support and interest over the last few weeks. If you haven't heard of it, it's a way of discussing with students the way that their understanding of a concept or a topic is developing from knowing nothing about it, to be able to see it as part of a bigger picture. It's an easier version of Bloom's and also an alternative to the nonsense that is still perpetuated by many that suggests you can 'level' a piece of work.

A lot of discussions in my Twitter stream over the last few weeks on SOLO Taxonomy.
Just been catching up with them and collating them here with a few places to go to for more information.

Philip Anderson wrote a useful post on his work with SOLO.

VITAL CPD session that I did with John Sayers is still available to be viewed here.

Teachmeet Clevedon was also a place to find out about SOLO. David Didau's presentation is available to view HERE - catch Noel Jenkins too while you're at it.

Also check out Andy Knill's MISHMASH Learning blog for some more thoughts and links.

And finally head over to John Sayers' POSTEROUS Blog to see how he's mixed SOLO up with various other things to produce an idea for developing thinking skills and problem-based learning.

The thinking about Solo culminated in a major Twitter exchange over the weekend, involving a lot of people. Kudos to John Sayers for throwing up a whole range of Google Documents fairly quickly...
They can be seen here - feel free to add your own SOLO thoughts.

Also some excellent HEXAGON GRIDS from Amy at the GEOPHYTE BLOG.

Finally, as a result of this chat, there is going to be a special SOLO Chat on Twitter on the 16th of June at 12 midday - the time was chosen to accommodate a number of colleagues overseas who are based in various time zones and this worked the best for them.
I'll remind you of it nearer the time...
A search for #geogsolo will now bring up plenty of inspiration... a good collaborative effort...

Thunder and lightning - very very frightening...

The definition of a British summer: Three hot days and a thunderstorm

Life on Dandora Dump

A photostory on the BBC website follows the residents of Dandora near Nairobi, Kenya, and how they make a living...

VITAL Teachshare on Tuesday

Join Richard Allaway and myself tomorrow night (Tuesday the 29th of May) at 7pm for a VITAL Teachshare.
We shall talk about the development of Richard's Geography all the Way website, show some of the activities and how they developed, and share some plans for the future development of the site.

A chance to talk to the creator of one of the best geography websites out there... oh, and Richard too... ;)

You also have a few days left to order your very own GATW T-shirt or hoodie....

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Exploring for Dragons

One of the most satisfying things about my involvement with Mission:Explore has been the way that it is taken up by other teachers and used to introduce new thinking and experiences, particularly in Primary schools. That's why I really enjoyed reading about Emma Dawson's DRAGON Exploring unit in this post here.
As the sun comes out and the academic year comes to an end, this is a perfect time to try something different...

Olympic Breakfast is off...

I've been putting together a Google document providing a slightly more 'critical' list of suggestions for teaching about the Olympics as the event gets nearer.
I will embed it in a blog post again in the next few days, but there's a link below.

I am grateful to Keir Clarke for setting me thinking about this area with his earlier tweets.

There is a useful post here which shows maps around some of they key Olympics venues showing the brand exclusion zones. I have previously blogged about various aspects of the way that the usual 'rules' of urban living are put aside for the duration of the Olympics and Paralympics (and also before and after for security reasons) and put together my Londinium MMXII document.
Visit to read the information.
There are more maps here for the other venues.

For further information (if you want to find out more) visit the list of official partners...

You could perhaps work with students to train them up as Olympics Brand Police...
They could perhaps go around the school with official ID looking for examples where the brand has been transgressed and handing out 'fines'. A nice opportunity for some guerrilla geography.

There will be official enforcement teams looking for examples where the branding may have been used without permission: hence no 'Olympic breakfasts' in local cafes..

A Picture of London

One of the projects that I have pencilled in for the summer is some major writing for IB Geography, including a unit on Urban Environments. As a result I've been collecting a whole range of resources to provide inspiration for some creative tasks...

Last night I had an hour out in the middle of Eurovision to catch this wonderful programme on BBC2.
It was A Picture of London told through the eyes of taxi drivers, crane operators, Big Issue sellers, street cleaners etc. Some wonderful stories and archive films, and the odd John Martin painting...
Also great visualisations of how London might have looked if some of the architects' plans had actually been built...

You should try to catch the programme on iPlayer before it disappears.

From its early years until the present day, London has provided powerful, emotional inspiration to artists.
This documentary evokes the city as seen by painters, photographers, film-makers and writers through the ages; the perspectives of Dickens, Hogarth, Turner, Virginia Wolfe, Monet and Alfred Hitchcock alongside those of contemporary Londoners who tread the streets of the city every day.
All these people have found beauty and inspiration in London's dirt and grime.
Architects and social engineers have strived to organise London, but painters, writers and many more have revelled in its labyrinthine unruliness.
This is the story of a city that tried to impose order on its streets, but actually discovered time after time that its true character lay in an unplanned, chaotic nature.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Baku : to the future...

This weekend sees an annual cultural event: the Eurovision Song Contest.
It is being held in Baku: the capital of Azerbaijan

Richard Allaway and I saw this poster in the back streets of Geneva a couple of weeks ago while heading for some fondue... The main image shows the famous 'flame towers'. There's some great architecture in the city, although there are some people who are concerned about certain issues regarding democracy in the country.

Here's the running order - looks like we kick things off !

  10. ITALY
  12. NORWAY
  16. GREECE
  17. SWEDEN
  18. TURKEY
  19. SPAIN
  21. MALTA
  24. SERBIA
Perhaps time to dust off and update Tony Cassidy's classic Eurovision resources...

Here's the HUMP in action....

 or perhaps you prefer someone older...

Thanks for the nomination...

Someone nominated this blog for this award. If you've got nothing better to do feel free to head over and vote for me :) or alternatively get out in the sun while it lasts !

Portas Pilot Towns announced..

A series of posts related to the Mary Portas report have featured here.
Today was the announcement of the 10 towns which will get the first lot of funding to develop their projects. Apparently over 350 towns applied for the cash...

The winning bids announced are: 
Bedford, Bedfordshire
Croydon, Greater London
Dartford, Kent
Bedminster, Bristol
Liskeard, Cornwall
Margate, Kent
Market Rasen, Lincolnshire
Nelson. Lancashire
Newbiggin by the Sea, Northumberland
Stockport, Greater Manchester
Stockton on Tees, Teesside
Wolverhampton, West Midlands
No Norfolk winners unfortunately..
Perhaps students could be put in groups and allocated a town.
What has been suggested for each town ? Which one is closest to your home town ? Which ideas do you think would work in your home town ?

Friday, 25 May 2012

Flooding... on the road again...

I am booked in for several lectures in the new academic year to GA Branches.
It's an extension and update of the 'High and Dry' lecture that has been seen by over 1000 people now.
'Still High and Dry ? : Managing future flooding in the UK'

Here's something that is likely to feature...

Happy to come along to other venues - get in touch :)

Mission:Explore at Hay Festival

Members of the Geography Collective will be present at the Hay Festival next weekend. This is one of the highlights of the annual cultural circuit. We're doing various missions and activities, and also spreading the word about Mission:Explore FOOD.

We have also created the map for the Hay Fever area - illustrated by Tom Morgan Jones. Click for biggery....
This means being on the same bill as Andy Stanton author of my son's favourite Mr. Gum books....

And, here we are in today's copy of 'The Sun' newspaper...

...leading lights of guerrilla geography... boom....

If you're going to Hay Festival next weekend, come and find the guerrilla geographers and say hi !

Launch of Teachit Geography

One of the final jobs that I completed for the GA was to liaise with Katie and Chris at Teachit to prepare the materials for the launch of Teachit Geography.
It's great to see that the site is now LIVE and is ready for you to REGISTER or SUBSCRIBE to....

You can register to look at the FREE content.

There are currently over 450 pages of resources on the site, and that number grows daily...
I have worked with a list of wonderful people who have contributed resources so far, but you can join them by submitting your own resources.
Resources can be discovered using a simple search process with key words to help you find what you want quickly.

A year's personal subscription is just £15 (see later for a special GA offer...)

There are also some 'Whizzy things': interactives which can be used in the classroom, or in planning interesting resources with students. I particularly like the Decision Maker, which would help to visualise DME tasks.
An image bank, newsletter, a chance to save your favourite resources in a favourites area and a Wiki based list of Geography websites completes the package so far.

Here's the information on a special offer for GA members...

Finally, it's worth saying that TeachIt History launches in July...

New mug and coaster...

Souvenir of Southwold.. Would make a good task for students to do - produce some other map-related memorabilia....
Source the maps and mock-up the design...

Following things... and knowledge....

I liked this, and the sentiment expressed...


I shall be following this hashtag today.
Useful for those exploring town and city centres and their 'vital and viable' futures - or otherwise...
This event is going to explore a lot of things relevant to town centres.
I was led here via the Twitter feed of @juliandobson who writes on such things and others.

A very useful SLIDESHARE to get you started today... Mission:Explore obviously has a potential use here too....

Mary Portas was blogged about a while back, and there are hopes that town centres can get a new lease of life.

I was out and about in Lowestoft Town Centre yesterday, and it seemed to be fairly busy - there was a good indoor market setting up, and a lot of folks out and about... the haddock and chips was fairly top notch too.... I also walked through Southwold too, a lot of tourists out, and a plant sale in the centre...

New O2 walkway...

This popped into my inbox just now...
A new London tourist attraction.

A walkway over the top of the O2....
Looks good, although there's no mention of ticket prices, and the terms and conditions make for interesting reading...

Which other London buildings could a similar attraction be added to ? Why not design one ?

Hans Rosling rocks...

As seen at the GA Conference 2010 - Hans Rosling excels in explaining important concepts in interesting ways...

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

New GA Chief Executive announced

Last week, interviews were held for perhaps the most important job in geography education.
Professor David Lambert is standing down as Chief Executive of the Geographical Association after ten years, and his replacement was announced today as Alan Kinder.

This is great news for geography education, and also for the GA.

I've known Alan since I joined the Secondary Phase Committee of the GA in 2004, and worked with him on a range of projects including the KS3 Toolkit series which he co-edited.
I wish him all the very best for what will be certainly be an 'interesting' and fascinating job.

Image copyright: Bryan Ledgard/Geographical Association

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Historic Maps API

Via Twitter...


University Geography tables...

Are you, or do you know, students who are considering taking geography at undergraduate level ?

If so, they may be interested in the very latest 2013 league tables for university departments of Geography and Environmental Studies...
Here's the top 10, via The Guardian...

Good to see the local gang at UEA doing so well...


Arriving soon in a school near you...
John 11:35

Monday, 21 May 2012

Send my Friend to School 2012

Thanks to Karen from Action Aid for getting in touch to tell me about the latest incarnation of Send my Friend to School.

The Global Campaign for Education are offering free resources as part of the Send My Friend to School campaign, which are suitable for pupils at KS2 & KS3. Every school that signs up will receive a free resource pack including a DVD, set of posters and stickers by post and more lesson plans, films, background information and resources on the website at   

There are already over 5600 schools signed up

To view the campaign DVD go to:

Each year the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) invites parents, teachers, children and young people from around the world to call on governments to work to keep their promise to provide education for all by 2015. Most years about 6,000 UK schools take part in the campaign. Time is running out to get universal primary education by 2015, so we hope more schools will take part than ever before!

This year UK schoolchildren are being invited to add their voice to the Olympic-inspired Send My Friend to School campaign and urge world leaders to ‘go for gold’ and get the 67 million children worldwide who are missing out on school a quality primary education by 2015. With athletes flocking to London this year to test their abilities in hundreds of sporting events, this is an opportunity to reflect on another important race, the Great Global Education Race 2000 - 2015. 

In 2000 world leaders promised – as part of the Millennium Development Goals - that every child would complete a quality primary education by 2015. Since then millions of children in Africa, Asia and Latin America went to school, for the firsttime. But like a marathon runner, the Great Global Education Race has hit a wall. The number of children out of school has stayed stubbornly at 67 million for 2 years now, with only 3 years to the finishing line.

This year the Send My Friend to School campaign is asking UK pupils to:

·       Explore the issues of the great global education race: watch the DVD and animation, play the on-line game and use the story bank to learn about of the lives of children who miss out on school

·       Create a message: use the templates to make a medal and add messages to urge world leaders to ‘go for gold’ and keep their promise of education for all by 2015

·       Spread the word: hold assemblies and events, invite your MP in and tell your local media what you have been doing

·       Make it count: Send your messages to your MP before the end of June and add the number of people who took part at your school to our online totaliser at

Every year we are so impressed with the huge numbers of schools that take part in the campaign, but also the level of their involvement and the obvious passion that pupils here feel about their peers overseas who miss out on school. We hope that thousands of schools will take part in our Olympic-themed campaign this year and use the range of creative learning, campaigning and fun activities designed for the whole school to use and become global active citizens this summer term of 2012.

Farming in North Norfolk

Thanks to Moya from FACE for sending my hard copy of the materials in the 'Farming in North Norfolk' resource.

There are various videos and teaching resources as part of the pack, which can be ordered as a hard copy. The videos can also be viewed online, and the accompanying activities can be downloaded as PDF files.

Some useful videos...
Here's the one on the link between farming and tourism, which features Burnham Deepdale.
The resources are designed for KS2 PUPILS.

More on Water Scarcity

A reminder once again that there are many topics which are impossible to teach in isolation, and then stop teaching and move on to the next one...
The more I develop resources, the more it becomes clear that there are connections to be made, and the need for a holistic approach across a particular programme of study...
Last weekend I was in Geneva working with IB students who were preparing for their unit on Water Scarcity.
This morning, an article popped into my Twitter feed relating to water supply, and making a connection with sea level change.
I am not so sure that the amount of water that has been pumped up from groundwater could have much of an impact on global sea levels, but the amounts involved are fairly huge, and this water would otherwise have stayed within the rocks for a LONG time...

Earthquake in Northern Italy

News reports and images have been developing around the earthquake in Northern Italy.

It's a reminder that earthquakes happen relatively close to the UK. This was a magnitude 6 earthquake, and damaged many historic buildings.
Lots of images of the damaged clock tower in Finale Emilia in particular...

Vox pop video from GA Conference

A nice video made by Anthony Barlow at the GA Conference in April

Good to see some familiar faces....

 See you in Derby in 2013

Saturday, 19 May 2012

My Farm update

I blogged about the National Trust's My Farm project when it launched.
It is continuing and, according to the latest NT Magazine, will have no membership fee.
Why not join in and take some decisions with your class...

Embedding UK Geology and Earthquake Maps

I've been following the #FSCHackDay on Twitter today - Slapton was a bit too far to get to, and I'm not able to go anywhere this weekend... also missing out on a GA Cutting Edge Geography event in Yorkshire.
This tip is a new feature on the BGS website, which allows the embedding of a Geology or Earthquake Map.
Details are HERE if you want to make your own...
Here's a GEOLOGY map - click on it to show the surface geology...

Mission:Explore Food

I have just spent a happy hour reading through some draft proofs for the forthcoming Mission:Explore FOOD, and adding some amendments and ideas...

It's looking great, with Tom's illustrations bringing some great new mission ideas to life...

Friday, 18 May 2012

Highest heights...

At the weekend, I stood at the highest spot I've ever reached without boarding a plane. Richard Allaway and I took the cable car up to L'Aiguille du Midi.
The construction of this route was an amazing achievement, and took many years.
It's still the highest vertical ascent cable car in the world.
It involved the conquering of the peak, which stands at 12, 600 feet high... (although still well below the height of Mont Blanc)
Mont Blanc pictured - main summit in the centre... There are various other peaks that form part of the massif - we saw people doing some of the 'easier' aretes.

When we visited the upper most area was being developed.
It is going to have a SKY WALK a little like at the Grand Canyon, where there is a glass floor. That will be fairly awesome...

On the way up, Richard was videoing the trip on his iPhone and has speeded it up, so that the 20 ish minute trip is now just one minute and twenty seconds long.

The moment when the cable car finally broke through the clouds is one of those special ones that I'll always remember...

2 school things...

Here's a book review that my daughter had published in her school newsletter... nice work !

And here's a social event that's coming up at the school... a bit random !

National Sandwich Week

As you probably know, this is National Sandwich Week. Inspired by a feature in today's 'i paper', I thought it would be a nice idea to collect together some ideas for 'geographical' sandwich fillings.

We could start with some of the foods that have PGI status perhaps...

A few slices of Newmarket Sausage with some Dorset Blue Cheese...
Or some thin slices of West Country beef...
Or an open sandwich with some wild Scottish salmon ?

What's your favourite geographical sandwich ?

Image Alan Parkinson: taken in Weybourne, Norfolk

Geography Monitoring Report

Head over to the GA website to download a PDF copy of the first Annual Monitoring Report, compiled by the Geographical Association...

The report was originated by David Gardner. The report focuses on the overall condition of geography in England and includes detailed examination results and a round up of the GA's policy work over the last twelve months

Just updated...

My About.Me page with a nice image from the Alps. Visit to find more About Me, or get your own page...

OFQUAL report on 'A' level Geography

A new REPORT BY OFQUAL has been released on the standards in 'A' level Geography...
Worth a read if you teach to this level...

Mont St Michel

There is often a need to find contemporary stories in geography.
I am always keen to find a story which 'updates' an existing theme...

This Guardian article  has a lead in to an interesting story on a place which I visited over 30 years ago, and have always wanted to return to: Mont St. Michel.

Start by finding the location of Mont St Michel, and using the aerial images on Google Earth to identify a potential problem... Use this map before you read the article, or allow students to see the article, and let them list the potential issues for people who live in this place.

What is this place like ?
Notice that the Google Street View doesn't extend into the streets of Mont St. Michel - why is that ? Use some FLICKR searches to find out what the place is like.

Next, create a brief Fact File using the official site of MSM

You can also listen to this Mike Oldfield track while you work if you have SPOTIFY

View Larger Map

Mont St. Michel has a causeway to connect it to the mainland.

This has tended to be clogged with cars, and there are now plans to change the way that the surrounding area is managed. These include the tidal area surrounding the Mount.
Do some reading to find about the problems facing this interesting place, and the implications of changing things.

There are new shuttle buses to take visitors to the mount. These are currently being tested.
It is also a World Heritage Site. What does this mean ? 

Check this site too for more details.

Produce a summary of the issues facing the mount. What are the advantages and disadvantages of tourists for people living on the Mount. How many people actually live there ?

Finish by visiting our own 'version' of this place: St. Michael's Mount in Cornwall....

Image of Mont St. Michel by Paul Stephenson and shared on Flickr under CC Attribution license.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

The geography of Moshi...

One of my daughters interests is Moshi Monsters.
She has a fairly extensive range of merchandise, although there is far more than would fit into her bedroom if she had it all....
I read recently about the founder of the Moshi empire who, it turns out, is a geography graduate.

I wondered whether there was a chance to explore the geographical potential of this very popular creation. It could even be an opportunity to explore the geography of Moshi world, the particular ways that Moshi creatures deal with extremes of climate, the cities that they live in, the demographics of Moshi World etc...

Given the popularity of MOSHI MONSTERS (found at the weekend that they actually put the boxes in a special security box at a local shop as people were opening up the boxes in order to get the particular ones they wanted)

Saw a Moshi Monsters egg the other month in Covent Garden too - pictured....

There was also the fairly recent mention of MOSHI MONSTERS at a technology event in Edinburgh as reported in the TESS.

What are the other geographical connections that can be made with these popular creatures ?

Close, but no sausage....

I have blogged previously about PGI foods...
I cooked some last night: Parma Ham to go with pasta and courgettes....

Today, on BBC website is the news that the bid to have Lincolnshire sausages added to the list has failed...

Dont risk missing this issue of 'Teaching Geography'

The Summer 2012 issue of 'Teaching Geography' has a focus on RISK.
There are some great articles in it, and also some very useful additional online content.
I particularly liked the article on Risky Fieldwork, and Ian Selmes' article on the risk in excellent teaching, which had some very useful grids.
Steve Puttick's card sort on the various sources of information was also useful.
Also good to see Will Tuft's report from the Brisbane floods.
Finally, Mission:Explore's GA Silver Award was also mentioned, and there was a good full page for the two new ICT toolkits that I edited...

You can add a TG subscription to your GA membership easily. Ring the GA on 01142960088

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Ecolint Geography Conference: Follow up 4 of 4

After the excitement of the conference, it was a weekend of R&R, with a bit of work thrown in... watch out for some joint co-productions in 2013.
A reminder that if you have need of some top-quality CPD, Richard Allaway and myself are available via the Geography Training website.

The weather was baking on the day of the conference, so that night it was a BBQ, and local ales and fizz. We watched the night fall across the valley, with the sound of crickets and cow bells. I could get used to it...
Saturday was a cave ouverte. This is a day when vineyards open up, and offer their stock at reduced prices to make room for the new year's vintage that will come in a few months time, and also to make money. There was some serious food eating going on, and we had a chance to taste quite a few wines.
Another reminder of the link between geography and wine, with the nature of terroir.

The big event was on Sunday, with a favourable weather report. We headed back from the Jura, and into the Alps. We followed the autoroute to Chamonix, where we parked up, and headed up the cable car to L'Aiguille du Midi.

It was a reminder of the power of lapse rates. The Aiguille is over 2000 feet above the valley floor, and the temperature was correspondingly about 20 degrees less at the top...

Here are some of the many pictures that I took while at the top. Would have been great to transfer onto the smaller gondolas and head over to the Helbronner, but that route was closed for the season. I'll have to come back...

It was then a quick tour of Chamonix before heading for the airport, and my flight back to London.

I am grateful to the Allaway family for their hospitality.

Also found this useful video which explores the growing numbers of Chinese visitors to the area, and the people who have found a growing business providing for their needs. When we went up the cable car there was a large group of Asians who came up with us (and we were accompanied by a large group of Americans on the way back down). I also had a good chat with a lady and her daughter from Australia.

And a final reference for the Water Scarcity work...
This excellent book by Rupert Wright was on my book shelf the whole time and I completely forgot about it. It has some excellent passages on the importance of water...