New GA books

Up to Sunny Sheffield on Wednesday for a meeting at the GA HQ.
Plenty of buzz around the place, and I was there for an important meeting to discuss ideas relating to the new curriculum which will be appearing in 2012/13 and being taught from 2014 onwards.

We discussed a whole range of issues, and made some progress towards thinking about themes, knowledge, progression, assessment etc.
Discussed some ideas for KS1, 2a & b, 3 and 4.
All of this still waiting for the official confirmation about the place of Geography in the curriculum.
Like many people in various situations, we're waiting for some pronouncements from a minister, and hoping they don't cause quite the unexpected consequences of another recent bit of government advice...

Fortunately I have a full tank of fuel...

The books were written by Bob Lang and Paul Cornish, and designed as always by Bryan Ledgard. Ruth Totterdell and I worked on shaping them ready for publication, and they will be available in the GA Online store shortly. You should be able to see copies at the GA Conference in Manchester in a few weeks time.
A reminder that today is the final deadline for registering for the conference.

Image: Alan Parkinson

Tour of Britain returning to Norfolk in 2012

For the third year running, a stage of the Tour of Britain cycle race is coming through Norfolk.
This year's race will be visiting some of the same places as last year, but not coming through my village - I'll have to head a few miles into Dereham to see it this time round.

The race provides a boost to the region's economy according to this EDP article. The comments beg to differ though...

I also picked up this article via Paul Haigh which is about a bid by Yorkshire to stage the Grand Depart for the Tour de France in 2016. That would be awesome. Apparently they are 'pudding' in a bid...
30th June to 22nd of July for this year's tour. Coming soon to a TV set near me...

John Lyon: Marathon Man

John Lyon: the GA's Programme Director is running this year's London Marathon. He has completed the race several times.
He has been asked to run the race for MAP ACTION.
Map Action is a charity which helps people after natural disasters, when mapping is important.

Go to John's JUST GIVING page and dig deep...

Exxon Valdez

While looking for pictures of something else, I forget what, I came across a story about the Exxon Valdez.
Geography teachers of a certain age will remember when the Exxon Valdez ran aground in March 1989 in Prince William Sound in Alaska. I had recently started teaching, and this was perhaps one of the first real global stories that I taught - a good example of making room to teach topical issues.

The LA Times has a report on the final part of the story - as the ship has been sold for scrap....

EASYer to get to Iceland...

Easy Jet's flights from Luton to Keflavik airport on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday each week have started from this week...

Image: Alan Parkinson

Award winning... nearly... maybe.... partly...

I've won a few awards in my time, though I don't talk about them.... ;)
A resource that I contributed to was short listed for best secondary resource at an awards ceremony associated with the recent Education Show. It was the Frozen Oceans pack on the Digital Explorer website (as regular readers of the blog will know)

Sadly, it didn't win, but the good news is that the Twig Science resource that did win is something I've also contributed to, by writing the Geography and Earth Science video notes, questions and classroom activities.

Literacy in Geography

Over to Holt Hall last Friday for a conference on literacy in geography. Thanks to Rob Lodge for the invitation, and to Anne Marie Emmett for the morning session.

If you're looking for a place to stay then Holt Hall is a great base for exploring the Norfolk coast.

Here is the skeleton of my presentation, minus a few slides. Would normally have been on my Slideshare account, but it's too large as there's now a 10Mb limit for uploads..If you'd like to know more, especially if you were a delegate at the event, get in touch.

New Watercolours Map

Some excellent WATERCOLOURS map layers using Open Street Map. Produced by STAMEN.
Here's London.

Why not visit some places and create a quiz for people to try to identify them..

Farming in Norfolk and elsewhere

Some new materials for those studying agriculture and farming.

Farming in North Norfolk is a new set of KS2 resources, with various videos...

Pinterest sent me to this nice comparison between Farmville and real farming...


How to survive an Avalanche is part of a range of videos which have been used by me in the last few weeks when writing some materials for GCSE Geography. They form part of several GCSE specs as well...

New Geography page for Edexcel

A new page has been launched for those studying Edexcel Geography qualifications.

A video introduction by Jon Wolton takes you through the various new features, and it's good to hear the NINGs get a mention.

Follow Jon on Twitter @GeogAdvisor

What are the other awarding bodies doing along these lines ?

A year on from the Tsunami

A year ago, the earthquake and tsunami that continues to affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in Japan took place.
The tsunami has become familiar to us from the handheld videos that were taken by people, sometimes as they ran for their lives...
I have already tweeted about the places that I go to when looking for the latest information on what will be a long term
There's a nice interactive produced by SCHOOLS

Al Jazeera has a range of resources available on its SPOTLIGHT page.

A useful set of short videos from Jamie Williams also introduces the idea of SAVED or LOST items...
New York Times section of resources is also rather useful.

I've also made a new video for the VITAL CPD portal.

Old Maps Online - a new interface

I blogged about a year ago about a service offering Old Maps.
The Old Maps Online service has now been developed in association with JISC and the University of Portsmouth and launched with a nice Google Maps like interface for searching for an area that you are interested in. Although geography has an interest in the future perhaps more than the past, there are certain topics, such as coastal erosion, urban development, landuse change etc. where old maps are a useful tool to refer to, so that students can explore the patterns and pace of change within their lifetimes and that of their parents.

Old Maps Online provides a range of mapping and is well worth a look if you haven't already. Be warned that you may be some time...

Tuesday, 30th June 1959

"O" & "A" Level Geography

I pulled out my old 'O' level certificates recently when looking for something else - I got a grade 'A' of course...
It reminded me of the changes that have taken place in the assessments that students have, and in particular the nature of the actual questions...

I took a quick look online and found a range of old exam papers that were available to view...

I wonder what current students would make of this one...

Click to enlarge

UK Stamps M-Z

While researching for some work I've been doing, I discovered that last week a new stamp issue came out which my son would have been interested in. We subscribe to the Dandy and there was a release of stamps with cartoon characters...

While looking for more details on the release date, I noticed that the 2nd set of British landmarks stamps is coming out on April the 10th.

I blogged about the letters A-L when they came out.
As the second set M-Z comes out, you might want to have a go at suggesting the places that are going to be represented on these stamps ?

Once you've done that, head to the Royal Mail store where you can see images of the stamps.

A reminder of what was on the A-L stamps...

A = Angel of the North                      
B = Blackpool Tower
C = Carrick-a-Rede
D = Downing Street
E = Edinburgh Castle
F = Forth Railway Bridge
G = Glastonbury Tor
H = Harlech Castle
I = Ironbridge
J = Jodrell Bank
K = Kursaal (Southend)
L = Lindisfarne Priory

As it happens, you can order the stamps and various other useful items, such as a sheet which has all the stamps from A-Z and also a set of postcards of the landmarks.

I headed over to the post office and managed to get a set of the comics stamps - as seen above.. I hope you agree it's a first class image...

Image: Alan Parkinson

Generation Emigration

That's the title of a blog on the website of the Irish Times.
The current financial woes in the Irish Republic are leading to large numbers of people moving to seek their fortunes elsewhere - a reminder that migration is not confined to the less developed parts of the world.

Useful stories for those exploring the implications of migration...

New Simon Jones Slideshare

A new presentation by Simon Jones. Follow him for regular moments of inspiration...

Earth Hour is this coming Friday

Turn your lights off for an hour on Saturday the 31st of March at 8.30pm....

Coming in May 2012


Out for a post-prandial stroll on the local common after lunch, and came across this box on the way in.
There was a box next to the entrance to the common and inside, under the lid, was a pile of questionnaires, a pencil on a bit of string and a pencil sharpener....

The questionnaire is shown on the second image, and there is also a link to the SURVEY MONKEY questionnaire which was being used.

The questions are related to the use of trails in Norfolk.

I haven't seen this sort of thing left so obviously 'out in the middle of nowhere' before.
I hope plenty of people respond to the questionnaire.

It's an example of what could be done to collect information from rural areas...

A Watery World

Writing all day today...
Coincidentally, after James Cameron's trip to the bottom of the Marianas Trench yesterday, the theme is the World's Oceans...

2 reminders...

1. Today is the deadline to register as a delegate for the GA Conference.

2. Just a week left to fill in my GCSE Revision questionnaire for a chance to win a copy of my KS3 Toolkit book 'Look at it this Way'.

Oh and 3... enjoy the sunshine :)

China's Ghost Cities

A fascinating little film...
China's Ghost Cities

It will feature in a range of resources that I am currently putting together on the theme of Urban Environments for IB Geography.

Fancy buying a flat in Daya Bay ?

Dixon of the Antarctic

An ex-colleague of mine has just returned from a rather splendid cruise to Antarctica, followed by a trip to Rio de Janeiro, Iguacu Falls and the Galapagos Islands.

He was on a cruise on this ship and cruise...
Thanks to some excellent images and stories I hope to put something together on Antarctic tourism.... and also potentially some other places...

Image: CJ Dixon