Money sent home by migrants...

With thanks to So-Shan Au for the tip-off...
Nice project...

EXIT - "Remittances, sending money home" Map... by FondationCartier

Mark Steel on the Teachers' Strike

Very amusing look at the idea that anyone can teach....
Spot on on the Royal Wedding day off...

Opponents of the strike also say the teachers are "taking out their grievance on our children". So it must be an extremely important day they'll be missing. Presumably Michael Gove was just as furious when schools were closed for the royal wedding, yelling: "How dare this ceremony condemn an entire generation to a life of miserable failure? Couldn't they have got married on a Saturday like normal people, for 20 minutes around tea-time so it didn't disturb their homework?"

Interestingly in Norfolk, tomorrow is an official day off for all Norfolk schools anyway, to coincide with the Royal Norfolk Show, which historically was an important event in the county.
Of course these days fewer people work in agriculture, or can afford the ticket prices (turn up in a car with a family of 4 and it'll cost you £65...)
And a few people we know have said they're taking their kids out of school so they can go today, because "tomorrow will be packed out with people as it's a day off school for everyone...."

Earlier today, Michael Gove was at the Royal Society and spoke about the forthcoming curriculum review...

City Population

Thanks once again to Keir Clarke for a tip-off to a useful map-related website.
This time it's CITY POPULATION: a German site which is populating the map with data.... population data on major cities and other areas...
Worth checking out if you are investigating population and related topics...

Ministry of Littlehampton

Further to my earlier blog posts about the Mass Observation project, which I really love....
A tweet led me to the Ministry of Littlehampton
I like the idea of the Primary School project on the town - may need to borrow that...
Some good questions for primary school pupils to think about, that could be adapted to your own home area.
  • What's your favourite building in Littlehampton or Arundel?
  • What does Littlehampton sound like?
  • What's your favourite place in Littlehampton?
  • What does Littlehampton taste like?
  • What's Rustington's or Littlehampton's best-kept secret?
  • If Littlehampton was a colour - what colour would it be?
  • What's the best thing to do at the weekend in Arun?
  • Can you describe Littlehampton in five words?
  • Why should somebody visit the Arun district?
  • What's missing from Arun?

Art of landscape...

Excellent book arrived today which features the landscape art of Carry Akroyd.
It's a gift for my wife's birthday (shush, don't tell her....)
There are some great images of locations as far away as the Scottish Highlands....
and as close as the Fenlands of Lincolnshire and Norfolk....
With a few places in between. Carry works in Northamptonshire...
Her style is in places reminiscent of Angie Lewin, another favourite of ours...


Good to see our friend Ben Handley in the Guardian at the weekend getting good reviews for the food at the Briarfields Hotel in Titchwell... Going to be staying there later in the year...

Dear Photograph...

This is a really nice idea, and one which I would like to use, but I'm trying to look for a suitable image, and a place that I am going to be getting to any time soon.
There are several similar projects involving postcards etc. but this has its own take on the genre...

One of the things about the project is that in some ways it 'rewards' those who are still in the same place as they were when they were younger, and have a 'connection' with those places.

Check out the examples already on the DEAR PHOTOGRAPH website. Some really poignant shots.

Running Alphabet

Thanks to @HodderGeography for the tip-off to this site...

Running Alphabet is a project of Joan Pons Moll.
Look forward to seeing the letters take shape... Up to 'B' so far...

This is an idea that could certainly be done in numerous other locations, or perhaps move on to numerals...
Nice work !

'Brave' preview : dodgy accent alert...

They sound a bit dodgy at the moment... A touch too Neil Oliver at the start of Coast but somehow... not...
Really looking forward to this, but the voices have to be spot on, especially with the effort that goes into the story lines and animation...
Follow the Disney Pixar twitter stream for more news as the film develops

Latitude Festival 2011 - now with added Mission:Explore goodness...

The Latitude festival is perhaps the most 'geographical' of festivals given its name.
The event, which begins in 3 weeks time in Suffolk has an extra touch of Mission Explore this year.

Tom Morgan Jones has produced a special map of the Children's Area which can be seen on the main Latitude website, or downloaded as a PDF (complete with some additional missions)

We also have a special booklet of missions to carry out on the way to the festival.

If you're coming along to the Festival come and say hello to us in the children's area...
We have some special deals if you want to get hold of the latest books. Lots of comedy, music, dance, poetry and other great stuff too...
Here's our billing in the Latitude guide:

Discover the Mission:Explore tent at Latitude this year to attempt absurd, radical and guerrilla challenges around the festival site. Search out this place of randomness to get your daily fill of missions, dares, scavenger hunts, wide games, mob challenges, friendly fights, adventure painting , high visibility hide and seek and sheep making (yes, we're making sheep). Led by the authors of the Mission:Explore children's books. Download your free and exclusive Mission: Explore Latitude guide here!

Food Miles

You say tomato... I say tomato...
Which is best ? There's only one way to find out....
Fight !

Two dates for your diary...

Well, one perhaps as I doubt you'd come to both...
These are the first of the GA CPD events that I shall be doing in the new academic year that have so far been scheduled, and thanks to Lucy for sending me the flyer...
The events are NQT Conferences.

Look out for a mailing coming into schools shortly, and also inserts in GA journals....

If you'd like to secure your place, or find out more information about the events, there are several different prices depending on the status of your GA membership. Call Lucy Oxley at the GA on 01142960088 for more information.
I look forward to seeing some of you in November !
And I'll be mentioning this event once or twice between now and then....

GA Trustee vacancy

There's a vacancy on the Geographical Association's  Governing Body for a Trustee
Check the details on the GA website

Scholarship scheme for Teachers

DfE has just announced a £2 million scholarship scheme for teachers.

Round one of the new competitive national scholarships scheme for teachers was launched on 27 June 2011.
The Schools White Paper, ‘The Importance of Teaching’ published on 24th November 2010 announced that a ‘competitive national scholarship scheme would be introduced to support the professional development’ of teachers.  The scheme will be administered by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) and will give teachers ‘the opportunity to deepen their subject knowledge and renew the passion which brought them into the teaching profession.'
The aims of the scholarship scheme are to:
  • encourage serving teachers to pursue knowledge independently to Masters level and beyond making it easier for teachers to access Masters level CPD in their subject area or to access expert seminars
  • bring about a culture change to create expectations within the sector about the importance of scholarship throughout a teachers’ career
  • share learning, knowledge and expertise across the school system.
Details on the TDA website of the PD scheme
Sadly GEOGRAPHY is not one of the priority areas, but SEN is, so there is some potential perhaps for exploring the use of Geography to support SEN pupils...

English Baccalaureate - geography's place....

Spent some time this stifling morning preparing for a trip up to the NW later in the week, when I will be working with school leaders to explore the consequences for schools of delivering the English Baccalaureate on staffing, curriculum design etc. and taking a look at the geographical aspects of that of course...

I have been reading a lot of what has been said recently about the English Baccalaureate, and it occurred to me that a lot of readers of the blog may not have read the evidence statement that was prepared by John Hopkin and David Lambert for the Education Select Committee.

Download the document as a PDF by clicking this link....

I shall share the results of the day after the event....


Spent a few hours yesterday working on a writing project on FOOD and HEALTH. Learnt a lot about Malaria (some great infographics out there) and followed up some previous GA resources (of which more later)
One of the simplest presentations that I came across was related to the impact of Malnutrition on young children, and making the point that "it's not just a stomach thing..."

Urban Earth inspiration...

While reviewing comments on the Geography Collective blog earlier, came across this video, which was produced by Kevin as part of his Secondary PGCE course, and is a transect across Bristol

Here's the description of the walk:

As part of a University of Bristol PGCE Geography workshop I created this photo-video by walking from the rural outskirts of Bristol to the centre, taking a photo roughly every 15-20 steps.

It was carried out on Sunday 8th May 2011, between 5.30am - 10am which is why it's incredibly quiet.

Approximate route: Lawrence Weston - Henbury - Southmead - Henleaze - Clifton Downs - Whiteladies Road - Clifton Triangle - Park Street - City Centre - Bristol Temple Meads Railway Station.

The idea came from the Urban Earth project: and the Geographical Association

You're fired... (and some good free tools)

I am currently working on some guidance for doing a shopping centre survey, to accompany the materials in our forthcoming ICT toolkit book.

One of the key problems with this sort of data collection was highlighted nicely on 'The Apprentice' last week. The contestants were in France, and trying to do market research on what products would sell in the French market.
One of the products they were assessing the possibility of sales for was a child's car seat which transformed into a back pack. It turned out that the people they asked thought people mainly travelled by metro.... and where were they when they were asking  these questions ? 

One of the main issues when asking questionnaires is that the location is chosen so as to avoid skewing the result a particular way. Standing outside Tesco and asking which supermarket people shop at is probably going to affect the answers that you get....

If you are looking for tools to help with planning your fieldwork locations, and working out some spheres of influence etc. it's well worth checking out these FREE MAP TOOLS....

Food Cartoons

Too hot to go outside today, so spent some time working on a writing project on FOOD and HEALTH.

While researching for some FOOD AID cartoons, I came across a great online archive of cartoons by BERGER AND WYSE that were used in the Guardian Weekend magazine.

There are loads that I really liked: the fish fingers finding a note from a comrade who was "just going out, and may be some time", and the order coming in to the kitchen from the Very Hungry Caterpillar, or the mum with the aeroplane of food on a spoon feeding her baby....

Have a look - there's a couple of hundred to get through...

Prezi for TeachMeet East 3: Mission:Explore

I am intending to get to TeachMeet 3 tomorrow in Norwich. I will certainly be late if I come...
Here is the presentation that I will use.
It talks about the act of curriculum-making, and the work of the Geographical Association and the Geography Collective.

River Stories

Imagine a river as a person...
What would your young life be like ?
How would you change as you 'grew up' ?
What would ultimately happen as you reached old age ?

Kenny O' Donnell explored these ideas with his group this week.
Check out the stories on this POSTEROUS blog and please add a comment to the students' work.

Thanks also to Ryan Lewin for getting in touch on the back of that, and telling me about his river models. Nice work...
Let's keep the river ideas flowing...

Image by Alan Parkinson - Humber from Flybe flight from Norwich to Edinburgh

Beach Live - water quality updates

If you are heading down to the South West over the summer, you might be interested in a new website, which shows a live update of water quality on beaches 

Interesting ways with EAL ...

Proud to have 'kicked off' the latest of Tom Barrett's "INTERESTING WAYS" series of presentations. These are collaborative Google docs, which are put together by a range of colleagues, and then shared under a Creative Commons license.

I've started a presentation on how to work with students for whom English is an additional (or second) language.
This will hopefully support (and be added to during) my trip to POLAND for a Bilingual Geography event.

For more of these presentations, visit Tom's WEBSITE where you will find plenty of  inspirational content, as well as links through to all the Interesting Ways presentations:

Use Google Tools

Use Google Docs in the Classroom

Use Devices

Use Audio / Visual

Support subjects and other class work


Online Tools

New Clustr Maps feature...

Noticed a new feature on the Clustr map on the blog earlier today.
Did my usual morning check of visitors the blog yesterday: 171 - not bad... a bit below the recent average...

The yellow dots are recent visitors, within the last hour, so as well as the totals, and the general geographic spread, you can also now see where recent visitors have arrived from. A good global spread on this blog.
You're all very welcome - if you see a post you like, please add a comment...

ESRI GIS "Roadshow" -free taster sessions...

Interested in GIS in school but not sure where to start ?
The folks at ESRI UK, with whom we've been working for the last year are putting on a range of FREE taster sessions over the next few weeks.
They are taking place in a range of venues, and there are 2 options.

1. Face to face taster sessions

Come along to one of our free GIS taster sessions and try out our GIS software, get some classroom ideas and find out what our GIS for Schools Programme has to offer. It only takes a minute to book a place. Just choose a location from the list below and click on the Book now link to register some brief details.
The sessions will take place in:


King Edward VI Five Ways School, Scotland Lane, Bartley Green, Birmingham, B32 4BT
Date              Wednesday 29 June 2011
Time              3:45pm - 6:00pm
Location map  |  Book now ›


THE-i CLC, Orchard School site, Filton Road, Horfield, Bristol, BS7 0XY
Date               Thursday 7 July 2011
Time              1:00pm - 4:00pm
Location map  |  Book now ›


Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), 1 Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AR
Date               Friday 1 July 2011
Time              4:00pm - 6:00pm
Location map  |  Book now ›
The Norwood School, Crown Dale, Lambeth, London, SE19 3NY
Date               Thursday 14 July 2011
Time              4:00pm - 6:00pm
Location map  |  Book now ›


Central Manchester City Learning Centre, Cambridge Street, Manchester, M15 6HP
Date               Friday 1 July 2011
Time              1:00pm - 4:00pm
Location map  |  Book now ›


Nottingham e-Learning Centres – North Centre, Top Valley Drive, Top Valley, Nottingham, NG5 9AZ
Date              Wednesday 13 July 2011
Time              1:00pm - 4:00pm


If you can’t make one of the hands-on GIS taster sessions, why not book a place on one of our live webinars? These online seminars allow you to see a demonstration of the software and find out about our programme without the need to travel.  During the webinar you can submit questions if you wish, or just sit back and watch.
To book a place, just click on one of the Book now links below and fill in some brief details. We will then email with all the information you’ll need to take part.
The live webinars will take place on:
Thursday 23 June4:00pm – 4:30pmBook now ›
Thursday 30 June4:00pm – 4:30pmBook now ›
Thursday 7 July4:00pm – 4:30pmBook now ›
Monday 11 July4:00pm – 4:30pmBook now ›
Tuesday 12 July4:00pm – 4:30pmBook now ›
Wednesday 20 July4:00pm – 4:30pmBook now ›

All links take you to ESRI UK website as these events are organised by ESRI UK.

Grab a bit of free CPD in the final weeks of the SUMMER TERM....

Weather Supermarket

Thanks to Dan Ellison for the tipoff to Weather Supermarket.
It's a bit like those price comparison websites, but it compares weather forecasts...
Here's the one for Glastonbury for the next few days. Looks a bit muddy already judging by the pictures I've seen...

Mission Explore On the Road

This is now available from various bookshops, including STANFORD'S: my favourite geography related shop....

I just heard that we will also be stocked shortly in the rather wonderful LONDON TRANSPORT MUSEUM shop in Covent Garden.
Great news.


Those of you who have attended my CPD sessions will know that I frequently use quotes from the Pixar twitter feed, and the desk of John Lasseter.
There are also references to the films used in my sessions, sometimes hidden...

Cars 2 opens soon: I like the global theme of the poster and storyline. Could be good for alternative images of Japan, for example. Those who go to see the film (and who won't) will find it also offers the chance to see a trailer of the Pixar film scheduled for 2012: it looks to be a great new departure for Pixar into fantasy and the world of fairy tales. Very much looking forward to BRAVE.

New on Geography Collective blog

A post by me on the Geography Collective blog. Other members of the Geography Collective are currently in Somerset preparing to take Mission:Explore to the Glastonbury masses.
I'm hoping to keep up to date with what they're up to via Twitter...
The weather forecast is changeable, but I know they'll have a great time.
Best of luck to Daniel, Menah, Seb, Helen and Pete...

Image: Alan Parkinson

Make your own Hazard map

I am spending today finishing off the manuscript of one of the GA's two forthcoming ICT TOOLKITS. After the very successful KS3 toolkit which launched the format (you can still get yourself a copy of LOOK AT IT THIS WAY if you haven't got one), we had the GCSE toolkits (the latest issues in that series are due out shortly...) and the Primary toolkits.
I'm nearly there: just snagging Lesson 7 out of 9, which looks at global patterns of earthquake and volcanoes
While looking for a final addition to make, I discovered that ESRI have added to their list of free mapping tools (of which there are many....)

The ESRI Hazard Map website allows users to produce an embedded version of the map like the one below....

You can also create a custom map which gets its own URL for people to visit.

Food banks

In 2010 I spent quite a bit of time working on a resource to help teach about the issue of FOOD.
FOOD is perhaps the most important "living geography" topic, and I am currently working on a project to write some materials for the IB Geography specification - take a look if you haven't done already at Rich Allaway's Geography all the Way website to see what he's doing in the way of resources.

As part of the unit that I wrote on Food Security, I included a section on food banks in the UK, and the work of the Trussell Trust.

The unit started with the resource above....

The idea is that students might expect the description to refer to a family living in certain parts of the world, but would not naturally expect it to be a family in the UK. Now, it looks like food banks are going to become even more important, and the work of the Trussell Trust even more so....

This BBC News article describes one family's problems with the rising cost of living. As a result of this they had to turn to a food bank for support.
There are also more stories on the Trussell Trust website, as well as advice for how to help.

The newspapers are always using stories on the issue of food prices and the impact they are having, and it would be well worth starting a collection of those for the time when you teach about food.
This is also an issue which needs teaching with sensitivity, and the knowledge that there may well be students in the classes that you teach that go to bed hungry....

Made in Britain

Evan Davis' new series: "Made in Britain" looks at the current state of UK industry.

There is a supporting page on the OPEN UNIVERSITY website.

There's a VISIBLE TRADE tool which allows users to explore 20 years of trade data: imports and exports can be explored, to get a sense for what we have been buying and selling to and from the rest of the world.
Here's a map, that I made in a few seconds, showing the Top 10 countries from which vegetables were imported into the UK for example. Spot those Kenyan beans ?:

Episode 1 is available on iPlayer

Who says we don't make anything any more? In the first of a three-part series on how Britain pays its way in the world, Evan Davis busts the myths that we were wrong to let so much of our manufacturing go abroad, and that we have become a nation of shopkeepers, bankers and estate agents.
As he flies in the world's most revolutionary jet and drives one of the world's fastest supercars, he discovers Britain still makes a lot it can be proud of. But post crash, he asks is it enough to meet the country's bills.