Image from Flickr under Creative Commons by David H-W (Extrajection)

More statistics on places, and quality of life...

The 5th WORST CITY on the planet is apparently WOLVERHAMPTON, according to this Daily Mail article.

I've only been there once: to see Sigur Ros play at the Civic Hall and it looked OK to me...

Update: Saturday 2nd January's Times magazine has a feature from Powys, on being named the "happiest place in Britain" and the issues with using statistics to identify places in this way. Some interesting quotes from the RGS and Sheffield University on the wording of the original reports that were used to identify headlines such as the one above...


iGUESS is a scheme to support teachers using GIS.

It stands for Introducing GIS Use in Education in Several Subjects, and involves teachers from a range of countries.

Thanks to Karl Donert for introducing me to the site. Looks like they will be at BETT and also the GTE Conference in Cambridge at the end of January, so I'll meet up with them there hopefully and see what the GA can do to support the development of the project.

Update: Thanks to Pedro Damiao for getting in touch and telling me about GEO-RED

This site aims to provide teachers and schools information about GIS, examples of their use for educational activities, as well as software and literature to enable a context of such activities.
The GeoRed site result of a collaborative project between the Association of Geography Teachers and the Department of Geography Faculty of Humanities, University of Lisbon and is funded by the Directorate-General for Innovation and Curriculum Development, the portuguese Ministry of Education.

Users can download lots of exercises made by other teachers, aiming to use GIS in the classroom.

Best wishes and all the best.


Santa Tracker

The NORAD SANTA TRACKER was extremely popular according to the statistics that were released.

Over 13 million people apparently visited the website, from 231 countries....

See you in the New Year...

2009 in numbers...

A quick summary of some of what I've been up to this year... I promise no "round robins"...

Completed over 70 events...
Worked with well over 100 PGCE colleagues
Been to most counties in England (and a few in Wales and Scotland)
Visited 9 universities
Spoken at 1 Geography Teacher Educators' conference
Visited 8 GA branches
Spent 6 days at the RGS-IBG
Driven 25 000 miles
Written 2 online CPD courses & 6 articles for GA magazines, plus 2 for Ordnance Survey's Mapping News
Been featured in the TES 3 times
Been to one CPD event which had free 21 year old Single Malt whisky
Written over 1500 blog posts and sent around 4000 tweets
Had 2 books published, with another to come in 2010

Much more to come in 2010... Follow me down the right hand column...

A walk in the snow...

Took a Sunday morning stroll around the village this morning... Here's a few pictures...

Very flat, Norfolk

Just got my RGS-IBG Bulletin for Spring 2010.
Some good events coming up, and discovered that I'm featured on p. 20...
This is my lecture at the Norfolk GA branch in March, when I'm exploring ideas of PLACE in the context of Norfolk...

I'll be using a few articles from the Autumn 2008 issue of GEOGRAPHY.
Remember that if you're a GA member, you can download the last 5 years issues of the journal(s) you subscribe to.

I'll be trailing some elements of the lecture over at the LOOK AT LANDSCAPES blog in the next few months. Also plan to write the lecture up and produce a resource that other colleagues can use on the meaning of "place"...

Bring it to Life: Guinness

Thanks to Keir Clarke for the tip off to a site related to the new GUINNESS ad...
Landscapes being brought to life...

BRING IT TO LIFE allows you to create your own planets.

Not been working last few times I've visited though...

Fish and Chips: Cultural Geography

When I was teaching OCR Pilot GCSE, we did a unit on Cultural Geography.
One of the icons of the UK that we always focussed on was Fish and Chips...

A good BBC MAGAZINE feature on Fish and Chips has just been added.

Weather Widget

Thanks to Ian Usher for leading me to a useful Met Office weather widget...

You can see it in operation down the right hand column of this blog.

"The Road" movie in January

Mark Lynas, co-author of "The Age of Stupid" writing in The Independent yesterday, described the movie as "a movie that everyone has to see...."

AOSIS: No man is an island

With thanks to Indra Persaud for the tipoff...


The #uksnow Twitter snow map is back.
After last February's launch, the map is tracking the arrival of snow over the country.
It has been improved this time round, with a better key on the assessment of the score out of 10, and also a feed showing other tweets complete with avatar and more information...

New weather station

Thanks to Norfolk Coast blog @norfcoast


Live weather station to keep me up to date with the local weather...


Another Twitter find...
Allows you to mess around with images...
Here's a Pixuffled version of the Whitstable image on the earlier post from Kent....

Garden of England

Image by Alan Parkinson

My last major event of 2009 was a trip down to Kent. Down to Canterbury, with heavy traffic on the M25 a little annoying - long queues over QEII bridge.
Was staying overnight near Whitstable and took a quick trip into town to mooch around the clapboard houses near the harbour...

Also popped into the Duke of Cumberland hotel (excellent location at the end of the High Street) for a delicious pint of Shepherd Neame "Late Red"
Thanks to Colin Walker at Canterbury Christchurch University and colleagues for an enjoyable, if chilly, day...


Nice infographics are a favourite thing of mine...
This graphical retelling of the story of Red Riding Hood by Tomas Nilsson of Sweden is superb...

It's in the style of a Royksopp video called "Remind me", which can be viewed here, and features a range of geographical connections...


Just a reminder about this excellent website, which allows teachers to share presentations with colleagues and the wider world.
I have over 130 presentations shared on there...
One of them is on Grassland Biomes, and has now been viewed almost 16 000 times...

Why not join up and share one of your favourite presentations...

Hungry ?

Image by Alan Parkinson

A few recent articles on the theme of food paint a gloomy picture of future food supply.

Britain faces food shortages

Eat less meat and dairy to save the planet

Also an excellent series of videos, including Tim Lang on A DIET FOR A WARMING PLANET

With Christmas coming up, I wonder whether the message will be heard - certainly the TV schedules are creaking with so many food related shows...

Lesotho: Youth and Student Co-operatives

New Lesotho flag since 2006

This is a project I will be following during 2010.

Met with one of the teachers involved in the project recently. The project involves a range of schools in the Yorkshire area, and the Co-operative College in Manchester, and began in 2008.

The project involves students visiting and working with communities in Lesotho, and has had a transformative impact on the students involved when they return to their own communities.

Lesotho is a land-locked country, surrounded by the Republic of South Africa, and is the highest country in the world.

The City School, Sheffield has a link with a community in the Malealea Valley, working at grassroots level. It has led to a charity called Khokanyana-Phiri. There is also a connection with eco-tourism.

With thanks to Ken Dunn.

Guardian Country Diary

Image by Alan Parkinson

A great source of writing about the landscape and our relationship with it can be found daily in the Guardian's COUNTRY DIARY column, which has been going for over 100 years.
These are also available in an ONLINE ARCHIVE, which has over 3000 entries.

As a taster for how good these are, I read a small section of some recent entries at the Suffolk Literacy session I have blogged about earlier on this blog.
There are 2 recent entries: one on the Lake District by Tony Greenbank, and one on Wenlock Edge by Paul Evans, which were written at the time of the Cumbrian floods.
The Paul Evans diary entry has a wonderful description to start it off:

"It's raining.
There's a saturation point where the soil can't hold any more water and turns to gravy.
We're past that.
There's a point where boots and jackets that were once waterproof let you know they are no longer.
We're past that.
There's a kind of equilibrium, where the amount of water in the environment seems equal to the amount of water in your own body.
We're past that tipping point too....."

Wonderful writing...

Thought for the Day

"Why are men huddled together in unmanageable crowds in the sweltering hells we call big towns".

William Morris, 1884

Urban Tweet Day

Dan Raven Ellison has launched a new project URBAN TWEET DAY.

URBAN TWEET DAY is a side project of URBAN EARTH.

The idea is to record our perspective on our urban lives and habitat through an online stream of tweets that describe urban events and experiences as they happen.

By the end of the urban day we will have created a collaborative narrative - a descriptive portrait of urban life..

To take part all you need is:
1. The ability to Tweet (
2. To be in an urban area on Saturday 9th January 2010
3. To include
#utday in each of your related tweets

We'll then be able to search the tweets to reveal our story.

Please do spread the word around, the more of us the better.. and leading up to the day, add the
URBAN TWEET DAY Twibbon to your Twitter profile picture. If you don't already, you can follow us on Twitter here.

Any questions, thoughts or ideas?

A special Christmas message....

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Here's the Elf Yourself for 2009


Had an e-mail via one of my blogs to tell me about a project called ALIGN.


Rebuilding flood-hit homes "better"

Flood-hit homes should be rebuilt in a way that enables them to better withstand future flooding according to this article on the Environment Agency website.

This comes at the same time as a report on the BBC NEWS website warns that a lot of riverside homes in the Lakes may have to be demolished.

Also a week left to watch this REVEALED programme on the floods on iPLAYER.

Champion Work 2

The Geography Champions NING has now gone over the 600 member mark: great progress since it was established.

New on the NING is news of an exciting CPD course for teachers ( with the potential for Masters credits)
Sessions led by Jeff Stanfield , Hampshire County Geography Inspector and Sharon Witt , Senior Lecturer in Primary Education at the University of Winchester
Here are a few details, more can be obtained HERE.

Supporting young people in making sense of the world in which they live –

The magic of Geography

Foggy day...

A foggy day today in Norfolk today: fog hanging around for most of the morning.

Came across this article on the BBC WEBSITE about FOG HARVESTING.
Covers quite a few different topics...

Let's have a heated debate...

An article in today's TES is on the topic of Climate Change in the curriculum: very timely...
I get a mention towards the end.
Alan Parkinson, secondary curriculum development leader at the Geographical Association, says integrating issues around climate change is not difficult, but warns against seeing it as a separate subject.

“Ideally, it will be embedded in the curriculum to subjects where it has relevance, such as geography, science and ICT,” he says. “Teachers can be quite creative. For example, if they are doing a unit on tourism, they might ask their pupils to consider the implication on the environment of choosing a certain holiday destination over others.

“It helps to refer to climate change as something that will affect us into the future, as well as now, and connecting it to young people’s lives.”

With world leaders meeting hundreds of miles away, it helps to see how what they are learning is relevant to them.

100 places...

..to remember before they disappear..

A website and accompanying book, postcards etc.
Also a travelling exhibition of images.

OS Maps Survey: a reminder

The Ordnance Survey Free Maps for 11 Year Olds are arriving in schools - you may already have had yours...
When you get the maps, you will also find a couple of (much sought after) hard copies of a publication called "The Language of Landscape"
The booklet is supported by a series of downloads from the NATURAL ENGLAND website.

I have created a SURVEY MONKEY SURVEY for those who have got their maps, and have also made use of the "Language of Landscape" to help students use the maps: whether inside or outside the classroom (or ideally both...)

Click Here to take survey

If you have used the maps and the book, please fill in the survey.

All completed questionnaires by 1st of December will be entered into a Prize Draw to win a copy of the KS3 Teachers Toolkit title: "Look at it this Way", a copy of the Geography Collective's "Journey Journal" and a few other geographical goodies....

Thought for the Day

Never tire of the Road!
Never tire of the rolling wheels, Never tire of the ways of the world, way out yonder is calling me.
And the dark road leads me onward, and the highway is my code,
And that lonesome voice that I heard in my head said,
"Never tire of the road"

Andy Irvine

BBC: 2 essential views...

There were 2 programmes on last night which would be of instant value to geography teachers.

The first was presented by David Attenborough, and asked the question: "How many people can live on Planet Earth ?"
The second was presented by Iain Stewart and was called "HOT PLANET" It looked at the impact of the projected warming of the planet, and explored scenarios of a rise of 1, 2 and 3 degrees Celsius.

Catch them both on BBC iPLAYER while you can

Geography in "The Economist"

An interesting post by Robert Butler on the blog of the Economist.
Is Geography the new History ?

It describes the 'renaissance' of geography, and has a great quote from Robert MacFarlane, who has been mentioned several times here...

There's also an excellent article on the same blog by Johann Hari on the MELTING IN THE ARCTIC

2 new books

Have mentioned before that my desk is next to the shelves where the books come into the GA for review and featuring in magazines. My eye was caught this week by two new books:

The first is by Nick Middleton and is called "Deserts: a Very Short Introduction". It's published by Oxford University Press, who also published the very useful "Geography: a Very Short Introduction" by John Matthews and David Herbert.
Flicking through it, it would seem like a very useful resource for those people doing the Edexcel 'A' level course, or those doing OCR 'A' GCSE

The second book is "Understanding Cultural Geography: Places and Traces" by Jon Anderson
(not the singer with 'Yes')

Has a lovely clear introduction on the importance of culture in our lives, and a range of fascinating chapters. I wanted to sit there and read it rather than get on with what I was supposed to be doing. Available for just under £20 from Amazon. What's nice is the relationship between the cultural forms and PLACE.
The book begins by saying "We live in a world of cultural places... we contribute to it every day and night."

Context is vital of course with culture, and I use the word a lot when describing the work that teachers do...
Cultural geography tries to explore "the intersections of context and culture. It asks why cultural activities happen in particular ways in particular contexts."

Some really interesting sections looking at things like: Disneyfication, Belfast murals, Banksy and Graffiti and the Berlin Wall. Chapter 4 looks at the whole idea of Knowing (your) Place.

"Teacher no. 4 please..."

Image by Flickr user abooth202 under Creative Commons license

An interesting article in Friday's TES on a plan by Stephen Heppell to open up a school in Rotherham: my home town.
The school is, interestingly, going to be located in an empty department store in the town centre...

Stephen Heppell suggests that the layout of shops is more suited to modern teaching approaches than classrooms, and avoided the idea of "cells and bells". Similar schemes are already in operation in other countries, including the US and New Zealand.

A quote that struck a chord:
"Rotherham's a nice place, but when you walk through it, it's quite sad because whole streets are boarded up. When Burger King had gone there was a sign in the window saying 'Nothing of value left in these premises' - and I tried to imagine what had ever been there of value..."

This was suggested as being a useful use of the freehold for shops: if it's handed over for a few year's the building will be maintained and heated.

Another phrase that was used in the article is one I used at a few events recently: the 'Dick Turpin' model of teaching: "stand and deliver"....

I like the idea of changing the relationship between the former shop and the town centre, and locating a school in that place is going to offer lots of potential for the students to become urban explorers.
There is also another article here (with thanks to Twitter @Rothbiz) which mentions the "Meanwhile Project"
This sounds a little like the Empty Shops project in Worthing which my colleague David Rogers is involved with for Mission : Explore

Google Goggles....

Another good reason for me to get a Hero phone in the new year.
A visual search tool for mobile phones... GOOGLE GOGGLES.

Who do we think we are ? Grants available for 2010

Who do we think we are ? is a project run by a number of organisations, including our Action Plan partners: the Royal Geographical Society.

Who Do We Think We Are? Week 2010 - Grants for Schools Now Open

Grants of up to £500 are available for schools to develop activities linked to the ‘Who Do We Think We Are?’ Week programme for 2010 (www.wdwtwa.org.uk).

Who Do We Think We Are? is an annual programme of advice and curriculum support that helps schools explore the issues of identity, diversity and citizenship at the local and national scales through four key themes:

· School and community

· Relationships, belonging and faith

· History and settlement

· Britishness, national identity/values and the 2012 Games

The programme culminates in a national week of events and activities taking place in the week of 21st – 27th June 2010. During 2009, the project awarded 10 grants to maintained schools across the English regions to develop activities. Projects explored issues of identity, diversity and citizenship, involved students and people of all ages, across many diverse British communities and served to highlight the ties that bind us together in our local communities and nationally.

As part of ‘Who Do We Think We Are? Week’ 2010, schools are again being offered the opportunity to apply for grants of up to £500 to develop activities linked to the focus week. Further details of the application process can be obtained by visiting: http://www.wdwtwa.org.uk/news/1536/grants-for-schools-now-open.html. Applications will be accepted until 12th February and should be submitted to the Project Officer at wdwtwa@rgs.org.

Further information is available over on the GA NING

Geology rocks....

Two great resources from the British Geological Survey

1. The Climate through Time poster and associated worksheets

This is a large format poster, which is accompanied by a series of activity sheets.
The geology underlying parts of the UK is colour coded with reference to the climatic (or other) conditions which led to its creation.

Free Open GeoScience materials

Here's the full press release we got at the Geographical Association...

What’s under your street?

Discover if you live on rocks from an extinct volcano, in the middle of an ancient river or deep under a Caribbean-like sea teeming with exotic creatures. This is now possible with the British Geological Survey’s (BGS) release of OpenGeoscience.

OpenGeoscience is a new web service that provides geological maps for the whole of Great Britain, images from its extensive collection of photographs and a wide range of other digital information – all for free.

The BGS has been making geological maps of the UK for 175 years and this is the first time maps of such detail will be made freely available using the internet. These maps are based on the standard BGS geological map at a scale of 1:50,000. This enables resolution of geological details to about 50 metres on the ground – essentially street-level - a world first in terms of releasing country-wide information at street-level scale.

Since 1891 the BGS have been collecting images of geological interest from around the UK and further afield. Up to 50,000 of these images, now part of the BGS National Geological Photographic Database, will be freely available to download via the GeoScenic web portal as part of OpenGeoscience.

These include photographs of recent floods in Britain, erupting volcanoes overseas, cave exploration in Yorkshire in the 1930s and the British Science Association’s major historical collection of earth science photographs, as well as many pictures of classic geological localities and landscapes.

Dr Keith Westhead, Head of Information Delivery, BGS said “OpenGeoscience provides the public with a wealth of geological information including maps, photos and digital data, which they can combine with other environmental information to help understand the world around them.”

OpenGeoscience is free for teaching, research and other non-commercial activities. Dr Steve Drury, Senior Lecturer in Remote Sensing at the Open University said “It is a world first and, in my opinion, a development of major public interest by literally putting geosciences 'on the map'. It will become a kind of 'GoogleRock' for a great many people.”

Search for your own local area to find out more:

  • Edinburgh lies on an extinct volcano
  • Luton and Stevenage sit on the same rocks as the White Cliffs of Dover. These formed when much of Britain was covered by a shallow sea that was full of tiny animals which accumulated on the sea floor to form chalk
  • Spectacular examples of rocks which formed when lava entered the ocean can be seen on the tidal island of Llanddwyn
  • Glasgow is built on the remains of an ancient tropical forest
  • Nottingham’s Castle Rock was formed on a wide plain with seasonal rivers much like the Colorado River basin today
  • The Lizard peninsula in Cornwall is made of a slice of ancient ocean floor

In its first release, OpenGeoscience includes the release of the BGS Digital Geological Map of Great Britain at the 1:50,000 scale (DiGMapGB-50) for free viewing and access via a web map service (WMS). It also includes the free provision of 1:625,000 scale geological map for the UK onshore and offshore, earthquake location information and samples of ground stability hazard maps. Not only this but OpenGeoscience provides software downloads to help geological mapping, free educational resources and access to the wealth of digital geological information and reports held by the BGS.

Professor Paul Smith, Head of School, Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences at Birmingham University, says, “The amount of online material provided for educational purposes by BGS has increased very considerably over a short time-scale, and has the capacity to transform the way in which geosciences are taught in universities.”


For GeoScenic sample images go to:


It includes a very useful set of Google Earth KML files...

Are you sitting comfortably ?

... then I'll begin this post...

One dark morning, a middle aged man got up at 6am so that he could set off to drive 80 miles south to the Suffolk coast and arrive in plenty of time to work with some teachers from the county. He was going to spend the first 90 minutes of a Geography conference to talk to 40 colleagues about Literacy in Geography and Geography through Literacy...."

Was there a happy ending ? Read on to find out...

The presentation that I used on the day is available from SLIDESHARE, and is embedded below...
View more presentations from GeoBlogs.
Thanks to James Woolven for adding the various resources to the Suffolk Geography page of the Suffolk Learning Hub....

On the day, I also gave an update on GA projects. There was a range of other sessions: Colin Breeze presented a session on the work he had been doing on the flooding of 2007, and shared a comprehensive range of activities on the theme of flooding.
Also heard a useful phrase from the Suffolk Advisor for Humanities: Dale Banham.
He used the phrase "iceberg questions" - will come back to those in a later post...

For the same session, I asked my Twitter network to tell me about a book which they thought had excellent descriptions of LANDSCAPE. These were the results of the consultation....
Tynemouth – Thomas Hardy's "Return of the Native" – Egdon Heath

Isle of Islay – Iain Banks' "Espedair Street", Ferguslie Park, Paisley

London – "Bone People" – Kerry Hulme

Bedfordshire – "Waterland" – Graham Swift - description of the Fens

Newcastle – Wainwright’s Guides to SW Lakes

Portsmouth – "Touching the Void" – Joe Simpson – mountain landscapes

Sheffield – "Jamaica Inn" – Daphne du Maurier – moorland in Cornwall

W. Midlands – "Sunset Song" – Lewis Grassic Gibbon

Brighton – Sebastian Faulks – "Birdsong" and "Charlotte Gray"

Ipswich – "Around Ireland with a Fridge"

Ashford, Kent – Paul Theroux – "The Great Railway Bazaar"

Scotland - "The Lord of the Rings"

On the same morning, David Rogers was using John Davitt's Learning Event Generator to work with students on the Copenhagen Climage change conference, and challenged them to create some Army chats, which he then shared through Twitpic...

Thanks to Dale Banham and all the delegates and presenters for their work on the day.

Copenhagen's here...

A useful interactive guide by 'The Guardian" on the issues being debated in Copenhagen.
Via Twitter with thanks to Anne Greaves

In a similar vein was news from the Met Office, which confirmed the last decade as the warmest in recorded history.

Maths Maps

An excellent idea by Tom Barrett

Maths Maps uses the GOOGLE EARTH interface to identify opportunities for counting, measuring or otherwise developing numeracy skills....
Also develops an awareness of MAPPING at the same time of course, and a chance to explore familiar and/or unfamiliar places...

Check out the MATHS MAPS page for more...

Update: well done to Tom on his new post...

Countdown to Copenhagen 2

The Met Office announced today that they would be releasing a huge data set from hundreds of locations around the world.

There has been a lot in the news on the leak of e-mails relating to climate change data from the CRU at the University of East Anglia.

This weekend was also marked by a major climate change called the WAVE. Apparently around 50 000 people marched through London earlier today.

Wonder what the carbon footprint of a delegate is ?

Teachmeet BETT 2010

Am going to be down at BETT again this year, for the 6th year running.

I will be on the Geographical Association's Stand in the Subject Association area, along with David Rayner (to be confirmed) on Friday the 15th of January.

Once the show closes, I will then be making my way to Teachmeet at BETT

Update: there's also going to be a Yorkshire and Humberside Teachmeet in March 2010

Christmas Reading

Christmas is going to be my first extended break of more than 3 days since the middle of August.
I plan to work on a few projects that are related to geography (of course), but also take the time to catch up with a bit of reading. This is the book I plan to read first: Sara Wheeler's "The Magnetic North".

Already sneaked the first chapter in, and some great passages on Chukotka, and the ecological impacts being felt in this hugely remote area.

What is your Christmas reading ??

At the Suffolk Geography Conference this week, I asked the delegates "what book would you buy the Geography teacher in your life for Christmas ?"
Here are some of the suggestions that I received...

"The Lore of the Land" - English legends by county
The Suffolk Magazine
"Shackleton" by Roland Huntford
A Thousand Splendid Suns
"Life" Box Set DVD
Wild China
Ray Mears' Northern Wilderness
Uneasy Rider
Good Beer Guide 2010
Iceland: its scenes and Sagas - Sabine Baring Gould
The Shipping Forecast
The Crofter's Trail
'Mountain' - Griff Rhys Jones

World Cup 2010 Draw

Many schools have introduced a GEOGRAPHY OF SPORT unit into their KS3 schemes.
The draw has been held for the WORLD CUP 2010 in South Africa.
Resources are starting to appear in various places, and there are bound to be many more as the tournament gets closer. I remember using the Africa Cup of Nations a while back (the resources are still on my Slideshare area)

The BBC NEWS site includes a useful INTERACTIVE MAP of the venues.

The FIFA site is now live too.

A report in The Times (and many other newspapers no doubt) talked about the economic benefits of England qualifying, and suggested that it would give a boost to the economy, and also have a positive impact in particular sectors:
  • merchandise (those daft car flags will presumably be back soon....)
  • flags
  • beer
  • pubs
  • flat screen TVs (particularly HD equipment...)

For previous resources on SPORT, check out the GA's PLANET SPORT resource area on the website.


I have used Posterous for a couple of years now as a great way to quickly get content online. All you need is an e-mail address, and you can begin to create a "blog" like site...
Send an e-mail containing what you want to upload to post@posterous.com and you can start a new online presence...

A recent CPD session on GIS was side-tracked for a while into a description of the benefits of this tool for sharing content...

A great recent example of how POSTEROUS can be used to create a compelling resource is over at the URBANITY blog, describing a "psychogeographical" series of expeditions.

Changing Landscapes

William Least Heat Moon is the author of a number of travel books. One of those: Prairyerth is described as a "deep geography", and is a resource I've used many times.

This CNN INTERVIEW provides a range of nice insights on how the landscape of the United States has changed during the time that he has been travelling.
I have ordered his latest book as part of my Christmas treat.

Owning the Weather

Thanks to @bldgblog on Twitter for this tip off....

OWNING THE WEATHER is a new film on Weather Modification

The trailer is well worth watching....

Countdown to Copenhagen 1

The BBC have added a nice interactive page, with audio commentary which sums up the Earth's Climate History (well, some of it anyway) in advance of Copenhagen Climate Conference.

Thanks Paul Cornish for tip-off
Paul also led me to a range of BBC videos on the ROCKHOPPER TV website. This has a series called HOT CITIES, which can be embedded into blogs (as below)

My name is... My name is....

This story gave me something to think about. It was featured in the Telegraph today...

It's about a man who was called Chris Hunt.

Now he's called Mr. Monster Munch after his favourite snack: Quavers... no, not really...

If you could change your name to a geographical favourite what would it be ?

What do you think of it so far ?

Rubbish... as Eric Morecambe used to say...

Have been preparing a session on ASSESSMENT at KS3 for a CfBT event in Norfolk Heritage Park in Sheffield.
A timely report in the newspapers laments the "poor quality of exams" in the UK compared to other locations. At least at KS3, students should be having a more positive experience, so that they don't equate assessments with 'TESTS' and lots of writing...

The Telegraph article has more detail...

Below is an edited version of the presentation I am using..

Update: Many thanks to John Lyon for stepping in to run the session for me at the last minute

Joe Blogs.... this makes Joe a better writer...

A report by the National Literacy Trust has been making the news today.

As reported on the BBC NEWS website, technology helps to make the children who use it "better writers"..
This is perhaps because they spend longer actually writing, and thinking about audience and purpose.

When I was younger, I used to keep a daily diary, and kept it up for years. If I'd had blogs back then I would certainly have used them. This meant that I had a daily opportunity to write a few hundred carefully chosen words, and construct narratives, select which of the day's events to record, and how; I even had the text version of "widgets" - I used to record additional detail some years, such as what I'd eaten, favourite songs, lessons I'd had at school. I wrote and read voraciously and still try to do that now. I'm sure that means that I find writing relatively easy, and (hopefully) produce text that is easy to read and understand, as well as being sophisticated when I need to be...

The report featured in the article was based on consultations with over 3000 children.

Urban Story: West Midlands

Image from the Manchester Urban Earth Walk 2009 by Phil D Thomas

URBAN STORY walks follow a social, economic or environmental issue that can seen easily on mapping but is often subtle in the urban landscape such as levels of crime or a specific aspect of health.

The next Urban Story walk will be in May 2010, and will be a 2 day walk across the West Midlands, led by Daniel Raven Ellison.

Want to join us ?

Sign up here on the DOODLE POLL to say which weekends you are available.

For more see the URBAN EARTH NING.

GA Annual Report 2008-9

The latest report is now available to download from the GA WEBSITE.