Friday, 29 April 2016

Preparing for AQA GEOG2 Geographical Skills paper - first of a few posts

We are now in revision period with Year 12s as the study leave approaches. We will use this to consider the benefits of particular types of diagram for the Geography Skills paper.

You can place an image in the middle and then fill in the boxes around it as you interpret it.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Inspiring… that's me… (ish)

Inspiring the future… Chris is a former pupil who's gone onto an exciting career… one of several that I've met in the last few years, including Ben the GIS expert, and Lucy the TV weather presenter… Less than 0.01% of all the students I've ever taught, but it's a start :) 

Check out Chris's books on Brutalist architecture and related matters...

Wednesday, 27 April 2016


There's a competition going on the Ordnance Survey's website to win a special t-shirt by sending a picture of a TRIG POINT with the hashtag #TrigPillar80

I've just entered an image of a trig point close to where I used to live on the Norfolk coast. Give it a go.

Sample materials from new OCR A and B GCSE textbooks

But first a message from our editor: David Rogers…

You can download a copy of OCR B Sample materials as a PDF… that's being printed as we speak and will be available within weeks…

OCR A book will be a few weeks after that as it's still being finalised. Digital materials will also be available, with answers to all the activities in the book.

Send off for an inspection copy or more details, and take note of the online discount on orders before the 31st of July...

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Infographic on earthquakes - an interactive map from CNBC

GA CILT Lecture - the playlist

Here's the Spotify playlist that I prepared for my lecture and had playing as people walked in and settled…
Can you suggest any other transport related songs?

Walk this May #Try20

Signed up for Living Streets #Try20 effort in May
Going to try to walk for 20 minutes each day. This will be possible during my lunch break at work I think, and then around the local area - perhaps taking a path I've never been down before (though that will be hard in my home village)

Saturday, 23 April 2016

British Red Cross resource on the Nepal Earthquake - coming soon...

As you can see below, I've been busy (again) and been working on a new resource. You can now sign up to be sent further information as soon as the resource has been properly completed.

In the meantime, have a sneak preview of a video interview with one of British Red Cross's volunteers in Nepal.

But make sure you sign up first :)

Keep the Grand Canyon Grand

Another new StoryMap - links to the campaign of the same name…

Locate that Landmark

Thanks to Rob Chambers for the link to this fun quiz.

Locate that Landmark would be useful for younger students to find well known places, which they could then investigate further.
Which of them are:
a) natural features
b) man-made
c) located in National Parks
d) World Heritage Sites

You could also do it as a competition, as speed is of the essence as well as accuracy.
On my first go on my phone I scored 10,750 on Level 1 - can you beat that?

Also useful for UK Geography introduction - UK is important in GCSE Geography under the new specifications. Those taking the UK Citizenship test also need to be aware of many of these places too.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Coastal Change

For those buying the Hodder GCSE books that I co-wrote, this will make a really useful additional example for one of the activities on coastal processes and change.

Hoping to get down to see this area in the summer and revisit some of the chapters for additional images and materials as people start buying the books….

Icons of England - work with Year 5 and 6

Year 5 and 6 Explorers (in the weekly activities slot) are starting the summer term of exploration with a look at Great Britain (as we run up to the Queen's 90th Birthday). Today, I went through 100 icons of England as voted for in a web poll some time ago (I used it as part of my Pilot GCSE unit on the representation of places). There are also connections to be made with this year's title for the 'Young Geographer of the Year' competition, which looks at changes in Britain (full details should appear in the next week or so)

Students were asked to identify the icons they'd heard of from the list, and those they hadn't. I did a quick whistle-stop tour of all those they hadn't... and they were then asked to identify their chosen Top 10. This is the collation of the whole group's choices.

We will be researching these next week, to produce a visual collage representing Britain, and then focussing on Ely...

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Thought for the Day

If the future's looking dark
We're the ones who have to shine
If there's no one in control
We're the ones who draw the line
Though we live in trying times
We're the ones who have to try
Though we know that time has wings
We're the ones who have to fly…

From 'Everyday Glory' by Rush
Lyrics: Neil Peart
Published by Core Music Publishing

The Queen's 90th Birthday

I'm putting together some ideas for a one-off lesson on 'The Geography of the Queen' for this Thursday, the Queen's 90th birthday, which we're celebrating at the school, and also having a red, white and blue day...
Started to organise a few infographics and information on where she has travelled, and her global significance...

There's a very nice ESRI map showing the countries she has visited.

Next - The Queen in Numbers

From Visually.

GIS Day 2016 - FREE course at my school...

Get in touch if you'd like to book a place. One teacher per school if that's OK.
Details on the poster below...

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Coming soon: Mission:Explore National Parks

One of our previous projects has proved rather popular…

I'll share news of where and when you can get our new book, in association with the National Parks Authority , in a week or two's time… exciting times!!

British Red Cross - Nepal Earthquake

British Red Cross - Nepal Earthquake

Spending today getting resources ready to upload to the editors at the British Red Cross who have designers ready to work on producing the finished resource that I am working on, as we approach the anniversary of the 2015 Nepal Earthquake.
I have been given a lot of guidance from Rachel Hay, who experienced the earthquake in person.

I have been looking at some of the new video material that has been produced as part of the resource, and it's looking really good.

There is also a Flickr page of images from the earthquake that I've linked to, which can be viewed below. It will be interesting to see reports from Nepal a year on to assess the nature of the recovery, and whether it is happening in all parts of the country.

There will shortly be a page where you can sign up to be told when the resource is available. I've produced a range of interesting activities, and the resources are relevant to the new specs that people are teaching from September.

GA Conference 2016 - post 11 of 13

The afternoon of Saturday was as busy as the rest of the conference. There were several sessions relating to GeoCapabilities at this time. It was a pity that they were clashing a little. My colleague Elina Sarkella had come over from Helsinki to do a session alongside Richard Bustin talking about his PhD research, and Kelly and Duncan from the GeoCapabilities team were also doing a session on what GeoCapabilities means.

The new GeoCapabilities website is being worked on at the moment.
It makes use of story maps to hold a number of curriculum vignettes which have been put together by teachers to show how they are using particular objects in their teaching.

Another useful session that I didn't get to as it clashed with one of mine was given by the OCR Geography team. They had made use of some interesting contexts and activities to explore the city of Liverpool, including the creation of an ESRI StoryMap.

They also used a really useful hexagon diagram which showed the use of this tool to explore the stories of housing and the idea of making connections.

More on the OCR GCSE over the next few months as the books are nearing publication….

In a different league...

As I work today, I've got BT Sport open in a window on one of my screens. It's showing my local team: Norwich City playing Sunderland.

It is important that Norwich win to help their chances of avoiding relegation. There are many financial benefits of remaining in the Premiership of course, and not just for the club themselves, but also for the city of Norwich.

Ernst and Young published a very useful report in 2015 showing the benefits of the Premiership. It would make a useful document for investigating various factors which influence the fortunes of a city. Football contributes to placemaking.

Read the report and download it from here.

On the ball city!

GA Conference 2016 - post 10 of 13

After a break, I went to see the Rex Walford Memorial Lecture by Liz Taylor from Homerton College. PGCE students from Homerton used to come to my former school for their placement, and we hosted many over the years who brought their enthusiasm and ideas. We even employed 2 of them for a while: Laura and Guy, and this was a great time in the department, as they were always up for my mad ideas, as well as being strong teachers.
Rex used to come to visit the students, and we also had visits from Liz, at the time when she joined, and was putting together ideas which ended up in her excellent (Re)presenting Geography, which were trialled with students.
Liz was also very supportive of the first step that I took into research, which ended up with me having various interesting career changes in the last 10 years. I will be blogging about that in a few weeks time.

Claire shared some of Rex's book on the history of school geography, which I have a copy of, and also the way that places were represented in some of those old textbooks, and the absence of children from the old Key Geography books, which was an interesting perspective on the importance of children and their agency in the classroom at the time.

3rd issue of Weapons of Reason

I've got this on pre-order, as the first two issues on the Arctic and Megacities were amongst the most useful resources that I've bought for the last few years.
Read more about it HERE.

You can also read a sample on the importance of the world's ageing population HERE.

Twitter CPD

A few weeks ago, I asked people on various networks to let me know what the single best thing about being on Twitter was. This was in advance of a session that I was doing for a CPD day at school on Twitter. That day was today, and I had 2, 45 minute workshops with groups of colleagues to share how I use Twitter, as part of a wider INSET day.

Here's the document which collates the suggestions from colleagues and contacts from my PLN first.

I suggested 10 ideas for engaging with Twitter, starting with joining and setting up an account.

The presentation is HERE.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Photography by Simon Roberts

Some lovely images here, which are the work of Simon Roberts.

Photography is an area we're developing in my department as the summer term arrives. Watch this space for more. One competition that we're hoping to have students enter into is the University of Birmingham's competition....

We are inviting Young Geographers (studying GCSE, A-Level or equivalent Geography course) to enter our photography competition, addressing the theme Geography on my doorstep.’ This Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (GEES) photography competition is open to all interpretations of geography, spanning human and physical environments.

Paul Turner's QGIS Lecture

Film of Paul Turner and Adam Dennett's lecture at the GA Conference. You can also see the slides HERE.
This was one of two projects funded by the RGS-IBG's Innovative Geography Teaching grants last year, and the other one was this one (which was me and Ben Hennig's 'take' on Census exploration)

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Paul Berry's session at the GA on maps

Last year, Paul Berry's final session at the GA Teachmeet was a highlight of the conference for a lot of people. This year, he was up next to last, but I loved his exploration of a year spent away from home on fieldwork through his career, told through the medium of beer… See my Teachmeet post from a few posts back for the link to the clip where you can find out about scree cuddling and gryke snorkelling. I have to admit to some erratic rolling in my time as well... the bloke from the National Park authority was not impressed when he saw our video footage though...

I missed Paul's main workshop session which was titled, "Might as well face it, you're addicted to maps", and I made an appearance as one of Robert Palmer's backing musicians...
You can see Paul's presentation below.

I liked the idea that a quarter of people in the UK had booked a holiday without knowing where they were going on the map - I would suggest it might actually be more than that - and even within the UK.

You can read about the session on his blog post here: DEVON GEOGRAPHY is his blog.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Hay... it's Carl and Danny

Go and see Danny Dorling and Carl Lee at the Hay Festival talking about their excellent new book which I reviewed in an earlier blog post. The end of May...

Panopticon - new from Ollie O' Brien

A useful addition for those exploring my CILT resource, particularly the chapter following the route of a London Routemaster bus.
This is new from Ollie O' Brien, who is a regular feature in my teaching with his data tools and visualisations…
He's called it the PANOPTICON, and you can use it to keep an eye on traffic flow in various London locations, and the all important Routemaster buses of course.
Use it for a transport Census, or to see which companies are delivering to city locations.

Coverage in the Standard here.

The CILT materials have been launched 'officially' at the GA conference, and I appeared in Transport news in Fact Magazine and also in CILT news.

GA South London Branch

A new GA South London branch has launched, and has a special event to kick-off, linked to the new OCR B GCSE specification for which I've been co-writing the textbooks.

We are delighted to launch the Geographical Association's South London Branch, held at Harris City Academy Crystal Palace. Joining us at the event will be representatives from OCR who will be leading a session on getting ready to teach the new OCR B specification. We welcome all teachers considering OCR B at GCSE, from both within and outside of the Harris Federation. 
The evening will also provide an excellent opportunity for networking amongst likeminded geography teachers, and to develop stronger links with the exam board. 
We hope to see you there! 

I chatted with Richard Maurice from the Harris Federation at the Teachmeet at the GA Conference, where he talked about the ideas that we have been developing in the GeoCapabilities project.

They are holding an event on the 22nd of June.

You can register for a FREE ticket HERE.

The missing Only GeoConnect round

I couldn't get this music round to work on Friday at the GA, so here's the music now. 90 seconds to work out the connection between the music. It's easy to do now of course because you can see the titles, but test it out on somebody else.