Fair's Fair Resource Pack

I got a copy of this pack today in the post.
I've already blogged about the website with its game on an unfair factory....

It's about campaigning for a 'sweat free Olympics'.

The pack is nicely put together, and comes with photo cards, postcards to send to the CEOs of clothing companies, and a DVD and resource pack.

Well worth sending off for as we move into 2012, when sport is bound to feature strongly in geography curricula...

Materials can be downloaded from the link above, but it's always good to have the thud factor of the pack.
Check out the resources here too, and have a go at playing the game.

New Climate Change portal

From the World Bank
A new Climate Knowledge portal to explore...
Thanks to Karl Donert for the tipoff...


Final day of November, and #MOVEMBER

Our Tashtastic Geographers have raised over £800 but it would be great to get it over £1000

Donate HERE

This was all I could manage... I hope to reach puberty soon.... ;)

More about PGI

Jamie Oliver's programme last night on the food of Britain included a mention of PGI and Arbroath Smokies.

This led to a tweet from Derek Robertson saying that only that day he'd been to Arbroath and bought some Smokies....

This led to some resource-writing in this area for an Ordnance Survey project. Tasty stuff....

UN - Futures...

Working on a writing project which has taken FOR - EV - ER....
Just finishing it up with a mention of the Millennium Development Goals.

The UN is working on these goals through to 2015 to try to lift the world's poorest people out of poverty.

They are also working towards an event called RIO +20 which follows on twenty years after the Rio Earth Summit.
That used to be a staple of my teaching for some years after the event, and we used to hold our own mini student summits using a resource pack that I got from somewhere...

Follow @UN_Rioplus20 on Twitter for the news and build up to the conference

And finally, check out the site which looks at some FUTURES for the world.
Futures are an important element of geography, as they are related to the current geographies and the way that they are managed...
The FUTURE WE WANT provides a chance for students to talk about the future they would like to see, rather than the one which is perhaps 'expected' according to various commentators and predictions...


I saw Billy at Glastonbury in 2010 while on Mission:Explore duty with the Geography Collective.

I was an NASUWT union representative and health and safety representative for 18 years when teaching. This led to one former Headteacher I worked with who shall remain nameless pigeonholing me as a bit of a troublemaker when actually I was supporting colleagues on numerous occasions. I spent many hours in meetings with colleagues who had been unfairly accused of various things, and whose careers were threatened.
Teaching is one of the most important jobs there is. It is certainly one of the hardest. The range of challenges that face teachers every day are relentless - this is not a job where you can afford an off day. It is exhausting. Teachers don't stop work at 3, and they don't have August off. It can also, of course, be the most rewarding and positive job there is.
I have just over twenty years paid in to the teachers pension scheme. I trust that it will be protected and not raided for other purposes, as has apparently been the case in the past.
Teachers deserve their pensions because teaching is a stressful occupation, and after a lifetime in the classroom they deserve a long and relaxing retirement.

If you are in a union that has voted to strike, support your union. After all, the clue is in the name... Take a day to relax and spend time with family, or go for a walk and explore your local geography...
I'll carry on blogging on your behalf.


Feel free...

...to nominate this blog.
Almost 3200 posts and updated almost every day... unlike some of last year's winners ;)

100% Geography...

Alternatively nominate one of my 10 other blogs. They don't call me GeoBlogs for nothing...

Geography Camp II

Following the successful first Geography Camp, held a few weeks ago in Medway, plans are already underway for a second Geography Camp

This one will be held in North Yorkshire at Osmotherley Youth Hostel on the weekend of the 10th of March 2012

Visit the Geography Collective blog for more, and to tell us if you are planning to come along... Hope to see some of you there....

Curriculum making

Curriculum making is something that David Lambert has talked about for some time, and is an important part of out work at the GA.

The GA works to develop teachers as curriculum makers. There are plenty of textbooks and other materials on the GA website to provide more.

This blog post was an interesting starting point for some thoughts...

Birchfield Mobile

Keith Phipps is an award winning teacher who has done a lot of work in the area of technology in the classroom. I was just thinking about what he'd been up to recently when I came across this.
I had a chat with Keith at BETT a few years back now, when he was working on the Birchfield stand. Birchfield produce software for geographers (and other subjects...) I also reviewed Birchfield software some years ago now when I was doing reviews for The Guardian.

The latest Birchfield product is a set of resources that can be used with mobile devices across the school.

Birchfield Mobile

Has anyone used this, whether as a full or trial version. Interested to see how it works, and how it might improve teaching and learning...

Scribblenauts Remix remixed...

My son spends some time each day on the iPad in fact he's on it now...
It's something that he looks forward to, and is also a time when he unleashes his creativity.
One of the things that he does is play with the Scribblenauts
Here's a flavour of the game and how it works...

Looks great eh ?

However, my son doesn't usually press START at all....
Because even when you're just in the opening screen with Maxwell, you can still do lots of things. In fact you can do more because you're not solving the level that has been set for you, so my son creates his own stories using weird and wonderful objects that the game provides....
This area is called the playground..

New Flood Mapping

There is a new option for Global Flood Mapping available...

Thanks to Rollo Home for the tipoff...

British Newspaper Archive

This is going to be of great interest to historians, but also geographers I think...

Explore how the areas around you have changed over the years.

There is a fee to access the newspapers which varies depending on the time that you want to use it for, and the number of pages you want to access...

The Islay Taste Map

Thanks to @islayblog for the tipoff...
The Islay Taste Map combines some of my favourite things: maps and whisky...

I'm available Jamie...

I've been enjoying the new Jamie Oliver series where he looks at the multicultural influences that go toward making British food.
This is an area that was covered in the old Pilot GCSE Specificiation that I taught, and also permeates the recent work I've done on geographies of food for the GA website and beyond.
Jamie also did some much publicised work in my home town of Rotherham to work on changing people's diet.

Now it seems that Jamie is set to do even more work which impacts on school meals and the diet of students.
If you need to someone to help write some curriculum resources around the theme of food Jamie, I'm available for hire :)

GeoPacks Teaching Resources CD

For over a year now I've been getting regular e-mails from Rick Cope and Mark Hacklett at GeoPacks - creators of the excellent COASTAL MANAGER  software - to tell me about the latest free resource that they've shared.

If you want to catch up with the freebies that they've made available, there's now an excellent Resource CD which will get you right up to speed.
It's available for £12 from GeoPacks. Follow the link to find out more.

Make sure you SIGN UP to receive a regular free resource update too.

Follow the link to FREE STUFF from the home page.

50 words for....

The new Kate Bush album is called '50 words for snow'

The track of the same name has lyrics which start below...

1 drifting 
2 twisting 
3 whiteout 
4 blackbird braille 
5 Wenceslasaire 
6 avalanche 
7 swans-a-melting 
and end with....
44 bad for trains 
45 shovelcrusted 
46 anechoic 
47 blown from polar fur 
48 vanishing world 
49 mistraldespair 
50 snow

I thought this might make a suitable idea to develop.
Can you find your own 50 word for snow...or perhaps 50 words for something else ??

50 words for urban areas perhaps ?

A bit tenuous, but I've been busy....

Mission:Explore at Microsoft Partners in Learning

On Thursday, I was up early to head from M:EHQ near Ealing to the Microsoft HQ in Reading.
Dan Raven Ellison and I had been invited to speak at the event, and to run 4 workshops during the day on 'Guerrilla Teaching and Learning'.
We were housed in an open foyer area, which was a bit noisy from the Kinect demos downstairs, but a good space to be.

We were also there to support Emma Dawson, who had been shortlisted for an award for her work on Mission Explore clubs in her primary school.

We did 4 sessions which lasted between 45 and 50 minutes each and had a good turnout to each one.

We took it in turns to do a presentation on Guerrilla Teaching and Learning, and to explore the MISSION EXPLORE website.

We had made special latex head protection devices to keep the delegates safe.

There was some very good feedback on our session from the delegates, who came from a range of different subjects and backgrounds, and had some interesting chats with various people.
Comments on our work included:

"unbelievably engaging"
"essential viewing for all educators"
"truly awesome"
"has given the best teacher view so far today"
"loads of nice ideas which could be adapted for lessons"

Mission Explore has also been shortlisted for the 2011 Educational Writer's Award

‘A brave book which encourages children to explore the world around them, developing their curiosity, confidence..’

Map Demo on iMovie

I was reading a magazine which gave some tips for iMovie.
I had a play and discovered the map animation tool which allows you to create maps and animated journeys between two locations on the Earth.
Within a few minutes I was able to produce this example, which has obviously been reduced in quality to appear on YouTube, but the original output is HD quality video.
A few years ago, this would have cost a lot of money and taken many hours to render something like this, and it's amazing to think this is now so easy to do. Could create a range of these to fly students to the locations of the video case studies that are used in the lessons...

Geographical Association Conference 2012

The programme for the GA conference 2012 is now available to download as a PDF from the GA website.
The conference runs from the 12th to the 14th of April 2012.

I will be attending on the 12th and 13th of April, so come and say hello if you see me.

As you'll see when you read it, I am featured on the 13th of April...

If you want the cheapest price, book your place in the next 5 weeks to make sure that you get the best rates. Some personal highlights for me, after a quick browse through the list...

12th April

Public Lecture
Free of charge
Novelist Marina Lewycka, author of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, Two Caravans, and We Are All Made of Glue, will present the free Public Lecture on 12 April.

13th April

Workshop (IT) 3
Instant computers: mobile devices in the classroom
Dr Andrew Lee, Head of Juniors, St Paul's School, London
The iPad and iPod offer a wide range of tools available for the geographer to conduct geographical enquiries and to record geographical phenomena during field expeditions, on their journeys to school or on holiday. What are these tools, how do they work and how might the be used?

Reporting Research
The residential fieldtrip experience: a sensory ethnography
Nick Gee, Associate Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of East Anglia

Workshop (IT) 9
Controlled assessment with AEGIS
Diana Freeman, Director, Advisory Unit and Helen Young, Teacher, The Friary School, Lichfield
This workshop will demonstrate methods and examples of using AEGIS, GIS for Schools, to
improve controlled assessment opportunities and outcomes for students: covering preparation, fieldwork, data gathering, presentation and analysis for successful portfolio submissions. Participants will receive a free CD with guidance to take away. Sponsored by the Advisory Unit

Lecture Plus 3
Learning 'live' online - the benefits
David Holmes, Education Consultant; John Lyon, Programme Director, Geographical Association; and Bob Digby, Consultant
Ths GA has launched a series of live online CPD sessions, run by expert tutors, bringing up-to-date interactive learning into your department meetings or home. Sdeveral people can share one terminal, bringing the costs of high-quality learning down. This session shows how you might experience it

Double Workshop (IT) 13
Investigating inequality using GIS
Bob Lang, Member, GA ICT Special Interest Group and Andy Newing, Member, GA ICT Special Interest Group
This workshop will use online GIS and visualisation packages to investigate inequality at a variety of scales.
Delegates will take ideas away to use in their teaching. No prior knowledge of GIS is required.
Presented by GA ICTSIG

Reporting Research
The uses of Twitter for geography teachers/students
Jennifer Watts, Postgraduate Researcher, University of Manchester
See separate Reporting Research document for full details

Lecture Plus 5
Geomedia in secondary education
Alan Parkinson, Consultant and John Lyon, Programme Director, Geographical Association and Dr Michael Solem, 
Educational Affairs Director, Association of American Geographers
This lecture will show the work of the digital-earth.eu project in promoting the use of geomedia, i.e. working with spatial information such as digital maps and photos, videos and texts. Geomedia plays a role in analysing and solving spatial problems so it is important that students become familiar with the technologies.
Sponsored by digital-earth.eu

Lecture 13
Five countries – all you need for IB Geography?
Richard Allaway, IB Geography Teacher, International School of Geneva
The IB Geography syllabus recommends that case studies should be 'chosen from a limited number of countries (between three and five) of contrasting levels of development'.  Can it be done? Should it be done? This lecture will outline how case studies from five countries could be used to teach the course, including three optional themes. Sponsored by International Baccalaureate Organisation

Pity this clashes with my lecture !

Workshop 18
Explore with guerrilla geography!
Ruth Potts, Geography and History Co-ordinator, Sacred Heart RC School, Blackburn  
Find out about practical ways to use the 'Mission Explore' books and see them come alive! Help your children
become involved with missions from the books or website in a fun and exciting way, and develop their
geography knowledge and team-building skills. Be prepared to join in!
In partnership with The Geography Collective

Pity this clashes with my lecture !

Workshop (IT) 20
Making the most of Digimap for Schools
Ken Lacey, Assistant Education Manager, and Darren Bailey, Assistant Education Manager, Ordnance Survey
This workshop will give you hands-on experience of using Digimaps for Schools and show you how to get the most from this award-winning online resource. With a wide range of Ordnance Survey maps at your fingertips, it will enrich learning experiences in geography and many other subjects. In partnership Ordnance Survey

Double Workshop 19
Anything I can do, you can do better
Emma Johns, Head of Geography, Hitchin Girls' School
If you've ever thought 'there's a better way of doing this' then this workshop is for you!  You'll take part in
competing lessons to explore different ways of teaching the same content. Delegates will leave with a range of ideas ready to use in the classroom. Presented by GA SPC

And amazingly these two as well - it's as if they're saving the best sessions for the end of the day :)

Workshop (IT) 22
Multimedia geography through Google Earth
Paul Cornish, Head of Geography, Coopers Company & Coborn School, Upminster
This practical workshop will show you simple ways to transform your use of Google Earth through the
embedding of video, photographic and other multimedia resources in order to display data from fieldwork,
produce interactive lessons or design virtual fieldtrips.

There's plenty more on the 14th as well, but that's my daughter's birthday....

McDonalds leaves Rochdale

An interesting story about the withdrawal of McDonalds from Rochdale town centre.

This goes with other previous posts on the decline in the High Street.
This has been accelerated by recent announcements from retail chains.

TinTin Movie

Went to see the TinTin movie today. It's well worth seeing: some great visual effects and action sequences.

New Royal Meteorological Resources from Tony Cassidy

Head over to the Royal Meteorological Society's METLINK website to get the latest resources produced by Tony Cassidy.

They are on the theme of Weather and Climate and involve teachers' notes and resources. There are some interesting ideas for those about to teach about depressions and their impact on people.

While you are there, have a go at the new INTERACTIVE CLOUD KEY activity, or order a laminated cloud key for use in school.

Scale of Disasters

Information is Beautiful
The scale of some recent disasters...
A great infographic which shows the relative scale affected... The size of the UK is included for comparison and makes sobering viewing...

Also check the book. I've got a copy and it's excellent...

Mission:Explore Short-listed for an award (another one...)

2011 Educational Writers’ Award Shortlist Announced
The four non-fiction titles on the shortlist for the 2011 Educational Writers’ Award, announced today, all excel in bringing the natural world to life for young readers aged 5-11. 
MISSION: EXPLORE The Geography Collective Can of Worms Press
‘A brave book which encourages children to explore the world around them, developing their curiosity, confidence and courage along the way…’
The 2011 Award focused on books for 5-11 year olds, published in 2009 and 2010. This year’s judges were children’s  writer Nicola Davies; teacher Chris Freudenberg and librarian Fiona Kirk .
The winner of the 2011 Educational Writers’ Award will be announced at the All Party Writers Group (APWG) Winter Reception at the House of Commons on Tuesday 6thDecember. The winning author will receive a cheque for £2000.

This comes after we won a National Trust / Hay Festival Outdoors Book of the Year Prize earlier in the year.

It's always good to hear that your work is being enjoyed and appreciated by others.
Here's a very nice set of tweets from Drew Buddie from yesterday's Microsoft Partners in Learning event that we presented at:

New London 2012 section of the GA website

The Geographical Association's website has a new area dedicated to the Olympics and Paralympics in London 2012
Some nice resources and stimulus, with more to come in the run-up to the games themselves....

Mapping Show - still chance to get a free place...

There's still time to get a place booked for you and your 6th form students at this event which is taking place on the 1st of December at the Emirates Stadium, London.
A free event, it includes a range of keynotes and sessions on the theme of mapping.

There is a free session called THE POWER OF GEOGRAPHY with Dan Raven Ellison of the Geography Collective.

Olympics Park

Over to the Olympics Park on Wednesday ..... of which more later...
Here's a quick Photosynth I created while there...

You'll need Microsoft Silverlight to be able to view it....

Citizen of Nowhere Island

My certificate of citizenship to Nowhere Island arrived yesterday...
Check out the Nowhere Island site for more details...

Keri Smith

I'm a fan of Keri Smith's books and her approach to creativity....
I use 'How to be an Explorer of the World' in my CPD sessions with teachers.

There is now a new Keri Smith book called 'Finish this Book' which provides a series of unfinished pages and sections and ideas for activities.
Given the changing nature of

Some of these ideas could certainly fit into our Guerrilla Education activities...
At the back of the book there's a trail for an app too, which I hadn't been aware of. Just downloaded 'Wreck this App' and it's cool....

Developing a personalised learning network (PLN)

How's your PLN ?

  • How do you use Twitter to connect with colleagues and inform your teaching and learning ?
  • Where do you turn for inspiration / information and that 'special' resource that you need ?
  • How do you use collaborative documents or blogs to 'crowdsource' ideas and develop pedagogy
  • How do you keep track of curriculum change - which is going to be on the way again...
  • Do you make use of apps for mobile devices, or web apps ?
  • Do you have a VLE ? (All schools should) - is it just a filing cabinet or is it used by students and staff ?
You will get the chance to see a range of resources, and explore all these areas, and take away a range of materials and ideas to take our network to the next level...

The course will be run by Dave Holmes and myself, and we will focus on sharing the sessions according to each other's personal experience and expertise.

Delegates will also have access to a Posterous blog which will be set up in advance of, and maintained after, the session. 

For more details on the course, and to book a place...
Developing a personalised learning network (PLN)

Olympics Park

Visited the Olympics Park earlier for a meeting in the area about a forthcoming project....

Thanks to Bob Digby for the maps and other information on the park that he kindly provided in advance. It was my first view of the Olympics Stadium, although we didn't have time to walk round as far as the View Tube to get a better view...

Interestingly enough there were quite a few Olympics related things in my Twitter stream over the last few days.
A nice image from @mrjmutton who was at the Olympics Park yesterday - looking a bit grey then - a lot brighter today.

A set of Google Sketch-Up models of Olympics buildings, thanks to Keir Clarke.

Next came an article in the Daily Mail on the security costs of the games - because the venues have been finished early there's now more to look after, especially given the possible terrorist threat. This is apparently costing £250 000 a day.

And then via @The_GA came a link to a Daily Telegraph article which looks at the way that shops in the area around the Olympics park are looking to cash in on the games. The giant new Westfield shopping centre: apparently the biggest in Europe, was certainly busy today.

After that there was the story about the new uniforms for the people who are going to be helping people. Each of the volunteers and other people will be getting a range of clothing and other items to wear during the games: apparently they will be swamping the city.

My question on that was to wonder where these uniforms were made. Did their manufacture support the British clothing industry ?

And finally there's the Playfair website, with its game, which is about having a sweat-free Olympics, and would be worth a look.

Photosynth: Alan Parkinson - will upload it to the Photosynth website when I get a moment....

Dangerous beauty....

Thanks to Hodder Geography for the tip-off to a lovely set of geological maps of Japanese volcanoes.
Check them out...

UN Water Resource

Planning is underway for a conference in Geneva in the New Year, when I am going to be doing some sessions on WATER....
It's well worth checking out this United Nations Water Resource.

Eclectic reading...

Postman just delivered new 'Anorak' magazine, and new Dylan Wiliam book.... mmm, which to read first...

New Digimap features..

A few days ago, another new feature was added to the Digimap for Schools site: the ability to save maps with or without annotations....

This makes the Digimap service even more useful for geography teachers....

Remember that Digimap uses OS mapping data, the most up to date mapping there is....

Accessible spaces

When I was fairly new to teaching I used a resource pack from the Pedestrians Association.
It helped students to see a familiar space that they used every day a little differently: as a space that was being affected by other people's carelessness....
This seems to have become LIVING STREETS.
They campaign about issues such as Pavement Parking.

I was reminded of this earlier today by a tweet from Anne Greaves.
It related to a diagram produced by the organisation Transport for All
Click for biggery...

The other related work we did was on our fieldtrip to Castleton in the Peak District.We had sticks cut to the width of a wheelchair, and assessed the accessibility of shops and services in this popular honeypot town.
This had a

The resource is still available to purchase from the GA Shop

New Gapminder Resource

Gapminder Resource (click to download as PDF)

A great new addition to the Gapminder canon...
A new classroom resource based on the 200 years in 4 minutes video...


A new app which lots of people seem to be recommending at the moment, and it does indeed seem to be rather good.
Free from the App store for iPhone and Android users...

Allows you to create and view a range of atlas-style maps on your i-device...

New for Christmas

Contains a preview of Ice Age 4: Continental Drift, which I've blogged about before...
Think this will be in Santa's sack for someone...

The first Ice Age movie was my 'last week of Autumn term' DVD for some years back in the day...

Fukushima Fallout and Chinese Middle Class

Two very useful items in the latest National Geographic website.
This is well worth adding to your blog roll, or RSS feed.

Thanks to Geography Nerd on Twitter for tipoff...

An interactive map on the fallout from the Fukushima nuclear disaster...

There's also a useful illustrated feature on the impact of the growing affluence on the people of China Gilded Age, Gilded Cage....

YouTube Search Stories

Thanks to Tony Cassidy for posting the video below....

YouTube Search Stories is the tool that is used to make the video...


So of course I had to make my own...

  Update: a great one from Danny O' Callaghan...

Nice feedback from a conference session...

"My thanks to you for an inspiring and brilliantly delivered session. The evaluations were all very positive and teachers were very pleased to receive the range of resources and ideas."

Get in touch if you'd like me to do the same for you :)

Catchment Detox

Thanks to @geographynerd for the tip-off to this site which looks at river catchment management using a simulation / decision-making style game...


An Australian site which aims to explore the issues surrounding catchment management.

There's a tutorial that you can play, and also some supporting information...

Play Catchment Detox to see if you successfully manage a river catchment and create a sustainable and thriving economy.
It's an online game where you're in charge of the whole catchment. You get to decide what activities you undertake - whether to plant crops, log forests, build factories or set up national parks. The aim is to avoid environmental problems and provide food and wealth for the population.
Managing Australia's waterways is a huge challenge with climate change, increased demand for water and environmental problems putting our rivers under stress. Catchment Detox gives an idea of just how difficult it is to manage a river catchment.
Are you up for the challenge?


You may be familiar with a range of acronyms for groups of countries of varying levels of development...

A few years ago, it was the NICs or Asian Tigers.
Also the Pacific Rim countries.
We also had the BRICs: Brazil, Russia, India and China...

And now we have the CIVETs, with thanks to Danny O' Callaghan for the tipoff...

Can you guess which countries they might be before we start ?

They are:

South Africa

Prince Philip on wind farms

OK, so what's your opinion on WIND FARMS ?

If you're teaching about them, here's a new talking head opinion for you: from Prince Philip

Image: Alan Parkinson

Facebook page frozen ?

I have just finished writing a resource for the Royal Geographical Society: one of three resources that I have produced in the last few months.
This one was on the changing Arctic. It should appear as a new section of the award-winning 'Discovering the Arctic' website.

One of the changes that is taking place is the use that is being made of these extreme environments.

Facebook is a major company which has invested in countries for the location of data centres. These produce large quantities of heat, and need to be refrigerated to cool them down.

The Daily Mail article has some interesting information on the planned data centre in Northern Finland. This is a huge investment into a remote community.

Tin Tin

My son is into Tin Tin at the moment, and he asked for the iPad app for one of his birthday presents.
There's quite a geographical angle to many of the Tin Tin books.
He travelled a bit of course, and then there was the issue of stereotyping which was connected with his trip to the Congo, for example.

Check out the official website with details of the new merchandise and other things linked to the boy detective.

I was beaten to a post on this topic by Jennifer Watts, who did a much better job than I would have done anyway with her look at the geographical elements of Tin Tin comics.

She refers to the Frank Gardner programme, which my son has watched through several times now, and is soaking up lots of detail on Herge and the background to the creation of the stories.

Tubular Fells

I blogged about this tube map style map of the English Lake District when it first came out, and how several months later, sales of the map have raised thousands of pounds to support FIX THE FELLS.

Visit the TUBULAR FELLS website to buy your own copy.

John Sayer's NEWS blogs...

A great effort from John Sayers to start up a whole raft of new blogs for students to follow...


New Geography Resources site

I was contacted by Mark from EdComs earlier in the week to let me know about the newly launched resources website: EdComs Teachers.

There are only a few geography related resources listed there at the moment, so will be good to see the site as it grows.

Free teaching resources
To start with we’ve got about 40 free teaching resources – there are online activities, resources for IWB, worksheets, games and much more. New resources will be added monthly and we’re aiming for 100 resources, within 6 months.

All the resources (and the website) have been trialled and tested with teachers, and there’s something for all primary and secondary school pupils aged from 5 to 19, and all subjects, from Geography to Science. And of course they’re all free.

Win a ticket to Learning without Frontiers, worth up to £995.
There's a prize draw on the website every month for new registered members. To celebrate our launch, we’re thrilled to be able to offer you in our prize draw the chance to win a free ticket to the Learning Without Frontiers Festival on 25/26 January 2012 if you register before 15 December 2011.

So please visit the site, have a look, register for free and of course, let us know what you think. 

Iceland Resource Pack from Discover the World

I've just been browsing a new resource that has been shared by Discover the World.
It explores the landscape of Iceland around the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, and its eruption in 2010.

There were some useful links to documents that I hadn't seen before, notably this report on the impact on tourism. (Download as PDF)

Please note that these links will only work if you've registered for the site. This is free and takes a minute or so - you will be contacted with a user name and password, and the time that it takes for this to happen is outside my control, but should be very promptly if my experience was anything to go by...

There are 6 lessons for Key Stage 3, with a nice range of activities for different abilities. A useful set of GCSE ideas, as well as some links for particular 'A' level topics.

Of course the best way to really appreciate Iceland is to go there, which has to be a place on most geographers' wish list...
Here's a sample of the 1000+ images that I took when I visited in 2010....

Read about David Rogers' involvement in the project on his blog. He travelled to Iceland to research and write the KS3 materials.

World Toilet Day

Each time you flush today, think of the millions of people who don't have that luxury on this day: WORLD TOILET DAY and every other day.

Maybe this would be a good day to try out one of our more controversial missions: Draw / find / photograph the most beautiful poo...

Flooding (cont...)

I need to get around updating my HIGH and DRY presentation, as I am going to be using it once again at the GA Black Country Branch in two weeks time.

This weekend, two years ago, the town of Cockermouth was largely underwater as the River Cocker rose following record rainfall.
It was recently announced that the flooding had a return period of 2000 years. In other words, one would only expect to have a flood of that size once every 2000 years !
Follow FloodGroupUK on Facebook for more flooding goodness...

A recent find was a Google Map which showed (apparently) the flood risk facing some of our favourite soaps. One to discuss....

I will perhaps see some of you at the GA Black Country branch on the 1st of December.

NQT Conference

"I’ve huge respect for the many outstanding state schools in this country and the brilliant new generation of teachers coming to work in them."
David Cameron
November 2011
On Thursday this week, I caught the early train down to London for the GA's NQT Conference.
This was one of two proposed events, of which only one ran in the end, which was a pity, as I'm sure the delegates who attended would confirm that it was a really positive day. We were at the MIC near Euston, and talked about tales from the classroom, Mission:Explore, classroom resources, assessments and other current developments in curriculum and pedagogy.
Spent a while exploring the area.
A reminder to the delegates about the new NQT GEOGRAPHY blog, which was set up for you, and that you have all been added as contributors. There have already been some additions. Feel free to add posts, attach resources and comment on existing posts.
Thanks once again to all the delegates for their contributions on the day.

Would be good to see some student work on there too...

Image: Alan Parkinson

Mystery Maps on Digimap

Mystery Map for November is now up on the Digimap website.

Can you identify this location, which has had some clues removed ?

The Digimap service was awarded the Geographical Association Gold Award in 2011.

Teachshare: Google Earth Placemarks

My next VITAL Teachshare will be on Wednesday the 16th of November (that's tomorrow if you're reading this today) at 7pm.
It's on ways of customising Google Earth Placemarks...

Click THIS LINK just before 7 to join me. You'll need to allow the download of the plug-in to handle the Elluminate session, which will then allow you to see and hear me, and to take part.

Don't forget to check the KEYHOLE BULLETIN BOARD to get the full range of layers and files shared by  Google Earth users. Use the SEARCH function to unearth the goodness....

This will be my little contribution to WORLD GIS DAY, which is taking place tomorrow, as part of GEOGRAPHY AWARENESS WEEK.

What are you doing for World GIS Day ? 
Why not add a touch of GIS to your teaching tomorrow...

Twitter Maps

Eric Fischer has produced some great maps, that have already featured on this blog previously.

Thanks to a tip off to his latest project which shows Tweets and the language in which they were tweeted.

The maps are excellent and provide a nice alternative view on familiar places. There's a set of Flickr images that Eric has kindly shared under a Creative Commons attribution license...
Image: Eric Fischer - CC Attribution license - many thanks

Street stories

Geography is about having 'a different view' on some familiar and unfamiliar places.

Just preparing some activities for NQT Conference on Thursday, and came across a useful resource from DirectGov.

It allows you to check the council tax band of housing (this might be an additional way to compare housing in different areas of a town) and also the VALUATION OFFICE AGENCY allows you to find the rateable values of properties.
This could help with the plotting of stores, and changes in a town centre, or along roads that radiate out from the town centre. Where are the highest rateable values and how do they relate to other elements.

You'll need postcodes but you can get those from the store websites. Could tackle some clone chains vs. independent shops, or look at the difference when businesses take first floor premises rather than ground floor ones.

So for example, the large Marks and Spencers store on the High Street in King's Lynn has a rateable value of £ 380,000
That's a lot of pants to have to sell....

Keep calm

A festive reminder of the KEEP CALM O MATIC tool...

Thought for the Day 2

''If you are a kid and you come into the same classroom, sit in the same seat, face in the same direction, have the same lesson for the year, just imagine how engaging that isn't. If the classroom keeps surprising children, typically children will surprise the teacher.'
Stephen Heppell


A lovely Autumn morning, so had a screen break, and went for a walk on the common. Lovely sunshine, Dartmoor ponies grazing, guard geese squawking, and loads of mushrooms of all shapes and sizes...

Thought for the Day

Author James Michener on Geography, thanks to Matt Rosenberg...

"If I were a young man with any talent for expressing myself, and if I wanted to make myself indispensable to my society, I would devote eight to ten years to the real mastery of one of the earth's major regions. I would learn languages, the religions, the customs, the value systems, the history, the nationalisms, and above all the geography, and when that was completed I would be in position to write about that region, and I would be invaluable to my nation..."

BETT Learn Live

Got the details through yesterday of confirmation of my BETT 2012 LEARN LIVE SEMINAR...

I shall be joined by the wonderful Dan Raven Ellison for the session.

It is going to take place on Saturday the 14th of January 2012 between 11.30 and 12.15 in Gallery Room 2 - don't worry, I'll remind you again before the day...

Title: Mission Explore - creative curriculum design through fieldwork


Explore ideas for playful learning inside and outside the classroom using the Mission:Explore resource. This is a cross-curricular approach, which involves exploration, creativity and learning using quirky 'missions'. Mobile learning will be explored and demonstrated.

The 'Mission:Explore' books and apps are an approach to learning called 'guerrilla geography'. They were designed for young people to carry out 'playful research' to investigate their local area. This approach has developed to embrace other areas including fieldwork, curriculum development, literacy, collaborative work and practical action. The workshop will be a 'training session' in the approach and an introduction to the missions in the books and apps. A free website offers over 10,000 missions across the UK. The Geography collective are also working with the Cultural Olympiad and have worked with school and university students in many locations around the UK. Come and have your eyes opened to the geography around you.

Lots of other familiar names from my Twitter stream will also be leading seminars over the course of the BETT show (the final one at Olympia) and I hope to bump into lots of friends old and new.
I'll also be popping in to the OS and ESRI stands on the day, possibly doing some sort of presentation ont the latter (and maybe the former, as a project I'm working on might be ready by then...)
Let me know if you're going to be at BETT and you want to talk about anything, or talk about me possibly working with you in some way...

The Geography Collective and Mission Explore will also be at the OUTDOORS SHOW that weekend, and I'll be doing something there too...

Nice advertising...

Image: Alan Parkinson

In my paper today, there was an ad for a new car: the SsangYong Korando... not a car I'd heard of before, but then I'd never heard of the Chevrolet Kalos before I bought one...

The ad is a series of landscapes which comes with a set of stickers of the car of various sizes and angles - the message being that this car can go wherever you want it to...
I like this idea, and can see how it might be ripped off in some way for the classroom...

Can anyone think of how they might use this idea as a geography context ?
Going to investigate this next week as a small element of the NQT Conference that I am leading for the GA in London next Thursday...

This ad, which appeared yesterday puts the odd sheet of stickers to shame

21st Century Challenges

Thanks to David Over from the RGS for telling me about an event on the 6th December as part of the 21st Century Challenges series.

Click the link for more details of the event.

Tickets cost £10 (£7 for RGS-IBG members)