Joseph Rowntree Foundation - a new report on poverty

Over the last few years, I've worked on quite a few writing projects related to the idea of social inequality.
One of the main organisations working in this area is the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and their latest report was published  earlier in the week. There were lots of newspaper reports following its release.

Here are some of the key points in the report:

It shows a dramatic change in who is most at risk of poverty compared to 10 years ago.  It highlights: 
  • A big rise in the proportion of adults under 25 in poverty, and a big fall among the over 75s (indicator 7A). 
  • More people in poverty living in working families - meaning as many are now in working families as workless ones (indicator 8A).
  • More people in poverty living in private rented housing - meaning as many are now in private as social rented accommodation (indicator 11A).
The labour market has changed significantly in the last ten years: there has been a vast increase in insecure work – zero hours contracts, part time work and low-paid self-employment, which means that getting a job does not necessarily mean getting out of poverty. The report shows:  
  • Two thirds of people who moved from unemployment into work in the last year are paid below the Living Wage (indicator 29B). 
  • The long term prospects for people in low paid work are not good either: only a fifth of low paid employees have left low paid work completely 10 years later (indicator 29B). 
  • The average self-employed person earns 13% less than they did five years ago (indicator 24A).
  • There are around 1.4m contracts not guaranteeing a minimum number of hours, and over half are in the lower-paying food, accommodation, retail and admin sectors (indicator 22B)
There is some welcome news: for example, there has been a vast reduction in pensioner poverty (which is now at the lowest on record) and the employment rate in the UK is close to its historic high. However: 
  • Incomes are lower on average than a decade ago and the worst off have seen the biggest falls – nearly 10% lower than a decade ago (indicator 1A).
  • Average wages for men working full time (in real terms) have dropped from £13.90 to £12.90 per hour between 2008 and 2013 (indicator 25B). 
  • For women (whose employment rate has never been higher) wages fell from £10.80 per hour to £10.30 in the same period (indicator 25B). 
  • For the lowest paid quarter of men, hourly pay fell by 70p per hour; for women, 40p per hour (indicator 25B).  
The report highlights the way the housing market has had a negative impact on people in poverty. There is not enough social housing, which means more people in poverty are living with insecure tenancies in the private rented sector. 
  • The number of private landlord repossessions is now higher than the number of mortgage repossessions (17,000 compared to 15,000 in 2013/14) (indicator 17A).
  • The end of a private rented sector tenancy is now the most common cause of homelessness (indicator 18B). The number of Housing Benefit claimants has risen by over a million in the last 10 years (indicator 12A), and despite an overall drop in the number of claimants in the last year, there was an increase in working people claiming Housing Benefit and the average amount they claim is rising

Thanks to Justin Woolliscroft for the tip-off to this.

Christmas Quiz 2014

For the last few years, Helen Young of GeographyGeek has provided a Christmas Quiz, and this year is no exception.
The quiz offers a number of rounds, complete with all the answers and other resources including candy canes this year (after Christmas lights last year)
Download the quiz and give it a go before the end of term.

New Global Learning Course

Coming later this week is a new course that I wrote for the Geographical Association as part of my work for the Global Learning programme.

It includes a range of activities and questions, underpinned by resources, and a final scheme of work, which is in draft (and editable on Google Drive)

Thanks to Milan at the GA for his work putting this course together online and formatting it very nicely...
I'll let you know when the course goes live and put a link up to the course....

World Aids Day

Tomorrow is World Aids Day.
It's an opportunity to draw attention to the unequal global distribution of people who are affected by HIV, and the changing nature of public perception of the disease with the recent emergence of Ebola and other health issues.

Plenty of resources on the World Aids Day site as always.

GeoCapabilities 2 - where do you go to for Geography Support ?

As teachers we all need to have support from time to time: with curriculum support or with assessment change.
Who do you go to for support ?

I would be very grateful if you could spend a few moments filling in this form.
Entries are particularly welcome from teachers outside the UK (but UK colleagues are also very welcome to provide some answers...)

Geography rather than STEM...

You may remember I posted something that Nicky Morgan wrote about the STEM subjects last week...

This is Rita Gardner's response, which you may be interested in reading. With thanks to Steve Brace. Published in the TES.
In promoting the role of science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) subjects, education secretary Nicky Morgan suggests that other subjects – the humanities, arts and, by implication, social sciences – will not open up a wide range of careers for young people (“Nicky Morgan tells pupils: study Stem subjects to keep your options open”,).
This assertion is not supported by evidence on graduate employability, nor by the Russell Group’s Informed Choices report on preferred “facilitating subjects”, which include geography. This last subject experiences some of the lowest levels of graduate unemployment, and geographers include leading figures such as home secretary Theresa May.
Science and maths have rightly experienced significant rises in uptake in recent years, but it is time for greater balance in representing the contribution of many other facilitating subjects – including geography – to education and employability.
Dr Rita Gardner
Director, Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers


Spending another day today preparing for a meeting for this project which I'm currently involved with. It's later in the week in Brussels, which is a little way from home.... I'm helping with some of the outputs from the project with respect to teaching materials, through the Institute of Education.

It involves geography educators from across Europe, and the USA.

Geo-capabilities 2: teachers as curriculum leaders [“GeoCap2”]

Background: “in providing high quality teaching about complex issues in Europe, it is critically important for teachers to have sound content knowledge, pedagogic awareness, pedagogic content knowledge, curricular knowledge, and knowledge of learners to be effective in the classroom”.
[In short: the need for teachers to be effective ‘curriculum makers’]

Objective: “to create a teacher training course to develop teachers as curriculum leaders … through a ‘capabilities’ approach
Embracing: Diversity – culture, language; and Citizenship – democracy
Stressing: Innovation and performance, or ‘curriculum making’
[In short: how can the ‘capabilities approach’ help strengthen curriculum making?]

Outputs:to develop and pilot an online professional development communications platform for teacher preparation in geography.”
Resources (teaching materials and communications tools)
Trans-European collaborations
Online teacher exchanges
[NB: ‘powerful geographical knowledge’ is the baseline, the context and the content. 
We stress the ‘Geo’ in the Geo-Capabilities approach]

Impact: We will produce materials and a conceptual framework for curriculum thinking that will be complimentary to ‘competence-based’ curricula. The latter may stress learning outcomes rather than educational aims. We say both are important. Curriculum leadership is the key.

Check out the website, or follow on Twitter @geocapabilities

Wild Weather

Richard Hammond ?
Order your free poster, and find information about the series, which starts next week on the BBC, on the Open University page for the series.

I like the look of the extra kitchen experiments that are provided on the site as well. A chance for some geography experimentation and practicals perhaps...

New Geography blog

Always good to see more Geography blogs, and the latest one to be started off is from Jodie Chambers.
Check out For the love of Geog 

Thought for the Day

“Good teaching depends on good subject knowledge and excellent pedagogical skills. You can’t do it without being in possession of both.”
Sir John Holman

From here

Gold disc....

Just caught up with episode 3 of Brian Cox's new series: 'Human Universe'.

It starts with a rather splendid analogy of the Earth's potential isolation in the Solar System using the example of Easter Island, which also showed the importance of the lifespan of any civilisation, and the fact that any contact needs to be within a timeframe when it is capable of responding and communicating.
It included a mention of the Voyager probe, which was launched into the Solar system as part of an effort to communicate with other civilisations, in the most 'likely' direction that we thought we would find other earth-like planets. Attached to the side of Voyager was a gold disc, part of which is shown on the image below:

One element of the golden disc was that it contained a range of images and sounds of the Earth.

I used this as the basis for an activity which I wrote during the summer for the GA's Global Learning Programme.

The full Global Learning Programme CPD course with this activity will be going 'live' on the GA website soon as part of the update to the whole site.

If you have chance to catch the programme before it disappears off iPlayer I would recommend it....
There is also a book of the series out... just in time for Christmas...

Rude place names...

If you're easily offended don't read on...




OK, it's safe to carry on.
Metro has featured a map which is for sale, which features the country's rudest place names.

Those of you who subscribe to Digimap for Schools will be able to access a gazetteer with thousands of place names within the UK... this enables searches for words related to any theme you want - how about a Christmas themed map, or one based on food ?

Here's a place I used to pass through every day for many years on the way to work...

Geographical Magazine

Reading the latest issue of the Geographical magazine, and it is a cracker.
It features articles on the Middle East and the search for Franklin's ships.
There is also a great article on the Information Capital book, and finally a nice piece by Felicity Aston on the Pole of Cold.
Available in print and digital format...

Discover the World Inspection Visit in April 2015

An excellent opportunity for anyone who wants to see the impact of a volcanic eruption close-up and also get a chance to see areas of Iceland which most tours don't visit.
Discover the World has put together a really impressive looking tour which explores parts of Iceland that tours with schools don't normally get to... it takes place in April 2015, and there are discounts for GA members.

The lava field is now the size of Manhattan apparently...

Details here

Experts say that the Holuhraun fissure eruption at Bardarbunga could last for several years or stop any moment. As no one knows for sure, we have developed a new suggested itinerary which could enable your students to experience first-hand one of the most geographically awe inspiring events on the planet – a volcanic eruption. By travelling with Discover the World we will do everything we can to get your students to see the eruption from a safe distance allowing them to relate what they have learned in the classroom to a live case study. However, in the event that the volcanic activity ceases, then your students will still be able to explore the magnificent North Iceland whilst learning about the affects the recent volcanic activity has had on the local area. The suggested itinerary also includes visits to Dettifoss, (Europe’s most powerful waterfall) the stunning volcanic region of Lake Myvatn, the Blue Lagoon of the North as well as many of South Iceland’s top attractions.

The trip includes a rather splendid chance to visit a brand new tourist attraction which opens the following month: a tunnel through a glacier....

More on Digimap for Colleges

I posted yesterday about the launch of Digimap for Colleges, which I'd worked on creating resources for.
There's a really useful post by Anne Robertson of Edina over on their blog.
It includes details of the launch of the service, and how it was designed to be as effective as possible for the target market.
There's a YouTube channel of how-to videos as well, which are very useful for new users.

Bought some of these a while back...

Crowdfunding already secured...
Now thinking of ways to use them :)

Digimap for Colleges goes live...

For the last few years, I have been working with Edina at the University of Edinburgh on resources to support their map streaming services in association with Ordnance Survey (and latterly Jisc).

Digimap for Colleges is now live, and the latest set of resources that I've written are live along with it. Details of the service are below...

How do I use Digimap for Colleges?

To use Digimap for Colleges, your FE institution must be subscribed to the service. A list of currently subscribed FE institutions can be viewed here. If your FE institution is not listed, then please speak to the elearning resource manager or librarian at your FE institution. The service is free, but someone responsible for subscribing to services via the Jisc Collections catalogue must request the subscription. Only those FE institutions on theJisc FE Banding list are eligible to subscribe. If your FE institution does not appear on the list please contact the Jisc Collections Helpdesk.
Digimap for Colleges authentication is IP based, which means if you are on campus you will be able to go directly to the service and start using it. If you are off campus (at home or elsewhere) you will need to remotely connect to your college network using something like EZProxy or a VPN. If your FE institution does not use a VPN or EZProxy, you will only be able to access Digimap for Colleges while on campus.
Web browser
Digimap for Colleges is designed to work on the most up date web browsers. Please ensure you are using the most up to date version of Internet Explorer, Chrome, FireFox or Safari. Digimap for Colleges is also touch enabled to work on Safari on iPads running the latest iOS.
Getting started
For help getting started with Digimap for Colleges, please watch our How to..... videos.

What can you do with Digimap for Colleges?

Digimap for Colleges can be used in a range of subjects and courses for any task that requires a map. You can use Digimap for Colleges to create land use surveys of your local high street. Use the Annotation Tools to add coloured areas to map to represent different types of land use and building type. Plot transport routes to work out the safest and most efficient way to travel to a venue, walk to college, plan sustainable transport networks or create an orienteering route. The range of maps can also be used to help decide where to locate a new business like a hairdressers, beauty salon or cake shop.
For more examples and ideas for using Digimap for Colleges, please take a look at the Resources page.
A range of Ordnance Survey digital maps are provided in Digimap for Colleges, covering the whole of GB. Included are the most detailed maps OS make which show building outlines. These maps are suited to being used for local area studies, studying land use on the high street, locating businesses or planning a new construction site. You will also find digital versions of traditional OS maps that are commonly used for hill walking and outdoor activities, as well as street-level, road-atlas style and regional maps.
The maps are complemented by a range of tools that allow you to enhance the maps.
Measurement tools – use the measurement tools to measure distances and areas. Distances can be measured in KM or Miles.
Annotation Tools – a comprehensive set of annotation tools that you can use to add points, lines, areas, text, photos and graphs to your map. The Buffer Tool allows you to show on the map areas that are a fixed distance from a point or a long a line. This is great for looking at the proximity of a new building, windfarm, road or investigating the impact of flooding.
Save – save any maps that you create to come back to later.
Print – create printable PDF or JPG maps. Printable maps can be printed to make hard copies, saved to a computer drive or dropped into a presentation or report.

Check out my other projects:
- Digimap for Schools resources - now with 2000 subscribers...
- MapStream resources

Further details on the Digimap for Colleges blog....

“This innovative online tool will bring mapping to life for FE students. Technology is set to transform education over the next decade and I am delighted to see Ordinance Survey and Jisc developing new online tools that will benefit learners of all ages.”
Skills Minister Nick Boles MP

Buffalo Snowstorm... epic snow...

Up to 9 feet of snow are going to fall in this area apparently - about 6 feet have already fallen...

Here's a drone video which Angus Willson posted a link to...

Digimap for Schools reaches 2000 subscribers

This is great news...
There are some great free resources remember, that can be used with or without the tool... And coming soon is Digimap for Colleges... (also with some great free resources)

UK Airspace

This video has been getting a lot of mentions over the last few days...

UK 24 from NATS on Vimeo.

New eBook for AQA Geographers

Written by Katharine Hutchinson from Chesterton College, Cambridge

EU in a box...

Always pleased to see what schools do with my 'Landscape in a Box' idea...

Here's some fantastic work from students at Malton School, shared by Helen Wilson, Head of Geography....

New from Public Service Broadcasting...

Out of this world...

World Toilet Day

This is a busy week geographically speaking...

Today is World GIS Day (we've done our bit at school by joining the World Record GIS attempt)

It's also World Toilet Day
As a school we've voted for Water Aid as our school charity for the coming year, and Water Aid are campaigning to have a specific Millennium Development Goal related to toilets.

There's a Guardian Quiz...

And this set of photos.

Mission:Explore Food - up for an award...

A few years ago, our Mission:Explore book was short-listed for the ALCS Educational Writer's Award. We were runners-up in a ceremony at the House of Commons.

ALCS and The Society of Authors are delighted to announce the shortlist for the 2014 Educational Writers’ Award – the UK's only award for educational writing. This year, the award focused on non-fiction books aimed at readers aged between 11 and 18 years. 
Of the 4 short-listed awards.... we feature again... for 2014
This time for Mission:Explore Food
Second time lucky we hope...
Previous winners include Bill Bryson, so this is very exciting news...

Music as Geography...

A topic I've explored at intervals for some years now...

Jan Garbarek talked about the way that he collaborated with the Hilliard Ensemble. I had the great fortune to see them last night on their farewell tour and it was fairly astonishing...

Radio 4: Front Row
Miles Davis and John Coltrane

"For me, music is very often a matter of space with an emotion in it... it can be a large space with a cold feeling or a small space ... I just listen to the sound in the room and try to blend in..."

What was particularly great was to watch Jan prowling around the Octagon with his sax, trying the acoustics in various locations as well as improvising over the Ensemble... The end of a musical era... and I was so pleased to have the chance to thank them in person as I left through the side door...

What Sundays are for

Out to the Anchor Inn at Morston today for Sunday lunch....
Fish caught and landed at Sheringham the same morning, Woodforde's Wherry from Woodbastwick near Norwich and there was also Norfolk Sirloin on the menu.
Then a wander along the causeway to Blakeney... to sit in front of a wood burner and eat chocolate and doze off...
Now that's a Sunday...

Image: Alan Parkinson

Thought for the Day

“The ultimate strength of cities is in their diversity. If you don’t support the diversity of people, places and industries you really are undermining the whole point of what makes cities great.”
Alicia Glen, New York Deputy Mayor

Out to this later...

Seen Jan many times, but never in such fabulous and familiar surroundings...
Front row seat too :)

Ice Man feedback

Thanks to Matt Podbury for posting about the unit of work that he has been developing with Russel Tarr based on my Ice Man book.
Details of the unit are on Matt's GeographyPods website.

Also a reflection from Russel Tarr on Active History.

Also watch out for a Teaching Geography article in 2015 on this collaboration....

Band Aid 30

30 years ago, Bob Geldof and Midge Ure gathered some of the most popular musicians at the time to collaborate on a charity single to raise money to support those suffering from a famine in Ethiopia, and other anti-poverty projects.
This weekend, a new generation of musicians (and some of those from the original Band Aid single) gathered in the same studio to record a new version of the song, to fund efforts to support those affected by Ebola
The lyrics were released and variously tweeted out in advance of the recording.

This could make a task for students to rewrite the original lyrics, with the message of supporting those affected by the spread of the disease. Or perhaps another theme altogether...

London National Park idea going down under...

Dan Raven Ellison's Greater London National Parks concept keeps gaining momentum...
Here's the latest news from this morning.

About to depart for Sydney to present @LondonNP at the @WPCSydney #WorldParksCongress #GLNP #NationalParks
— Daniel Raven-Ellison (@DanRavenEllison) November 13, 2014

New Ebola resources on the GA website

Following the release of Mt. Ontake resources a few weeks ago, the Geographical Association have now added a further section of topical resources and links for a global story: one with an even wider impact.
The new EBOLA resources, written by Stephen Schwab have now started to go live on the GA website.
They include additional materials for GA members to download.
The first unit is now up on the site, with more to come...

Palm Oil

A new Palm Oil interactive from the Guardian..
A series of videos and infographics relating to a substance which is found in half of what most people eat and use in the home. Its production results in habitat loss in other parts of the world from our own...
Palm oil is not always marked as 'Palm oil' on the ingredients list.

Everything is connected...

Carl Lee's new eBook is now available: download for free (get the whole book or separate chapters / sections) or buy (store coming soon...)
Over 200 pages of ideas and diagrams to savour... a real labour of love... and geography...

A mention for the blog...

WTS Travel, who offer a range of options for people travelling to destinations with school groups have just created a list of useful blogs for Geographers, and it's good to see that LivingGeography gets a mention.

Breaking New Ground

Breaking New Ground is a new project website related to an area called Breckland.

I live in Breckland.

The Brecks is a little known pocket of East Anglia; a unique and distinctive landscape just waiting to be explored. For many people, however, it remains an area to be viewed from their car window as they pass through on their way to the coast.  Stretching across the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, it spans an area of 393sq.miles/1019 sq.kilometers.
"Of all the 'wild' parts of Norfolk, it is the most enigmatic and the hardest to get to grips with"
Simon Harrap
The Brecks story begins with ice; a series of glaciations which planed the surface of the land down. By the end of the last ice age the area was a sandy windswept tundra, with thin, poor soils. As the climate warmed, the area gradually filled out with woodland. During the Bronze Age, man began to clear areas for grazing and cultivation, but the poor soils weren't good for much, infact they were only suited to sheep and rabbit grazing. 
"So for hundreds and hundreds of years The Brecks was nothing but sand and bunnies".
Nick Acheson, NWT

The website is a one-stop hub for all 37 projects to be delivered through the Breaking New Ground (BNG) scheme. From the restoration of pingo ponds and wildlife recording, to enchanted forest and craft skills events, it’s going to be a busy three years in the Brecks!
Visitors to the website will find a wealth of information, regular news items and useful links, as well as competitions, stunning images, and plenty of ways to get involved. Why not learn something exciting and new on one of many ‘have-a-go activities, courses or day-schools; come to our exciting events; or get ‘stuck in’ with a choice of volunteering opportunities? The website will also feature video-clips, downloadable resources and trails, links to research data and augmented reality apps, all celebrating the history and natural riches of the Brecks.

Check it out...
Is there something like this for the area where you live ? 
Could you and your students create it perhaps ?

The Electronic Afterlife

The Electronic Afterlife from Gizmogul on Vimeo.

Via Simon Jones

Our Education Secretary...

“If you wanted to do something, or even if you didn’t know what you wanted to do, then the arts and humanities were what you chose because they were useful for all kinds of jobs.
Of course, we know now that couldn’t be further from the truth – that the subjects that keep young people’s options open and unlock the door to all sorts of careers are the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths)”

I think there may be quite a few people who disagree...

New iVisualiser app for iPad

I may not be able to get this for my iPad as it's a creaky first generation one, but it looks like a must-get for the school iPads

New from Alan Peat.
It creates the effect of a visualiser with a range of tools

Review and Tutorial of Alan Peat's iVisualiser from Learn 4 Life on Vimeo.

Here's a review of the app so that you can read about it.
New on the App store this weekend...

War Memorial in the village earlier... moment to reflect...

Image: Alan Parkinson
Music: Philip Glass

Tablet Academy Events

Microsoft have been planning a range of events for their Tablet Academy.

Tablet Academy UK events include venues such as the Eden Project, IWM Duxford, the Centre for Alternative Technology and Blackpool Zoo...
I've booked in for an event in June next year, but there are other events which are taking place before the end of the year. Each half day event involves the use of a Windows 8.1 Pro 8" tablet, which is actually included for delegates to take away with them at the end of the day...

Follow the link here to see the dates and venues...

Everything is connected to everything else...

Carl Lee's new project which I've mentioned before, is going to be published later this week.

Here's something Carl made a few years ago with Danny Dorling and Ben Hennig...


For The Fallen - Laurence Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

My World War One collaborative document has been updated with some new additions from the last few days too - ready for some thinking time with students next week perhaps.
It includes this map from the Quakers...

It shows the space that would be needed if the other war dead were shown in the same way as the poppies in the moat of the Tower of London.

And also this article which explores whether the tourist trade is exploiting the memory of the fallen.

I'm heading out now to the village war memorial....

GA Webwatch - special crowdsourced issue

I have been writing the Webwatch Column for the GA Magazine since Issue 3, in the Summer of 2006. Here's a flashback to the first issue that I edited... I haven't changed a bit ...

Each issue since then, I've provided a range of web based ideas and resources.

These have included:
  • website suggestions, along with reviews on their usefulness
  • apps for smartphone and tablets
  • details on GIS software, data and other fieldwork related resources
  • CPD events and associated resources linked to the internet and training
  • links to TV programme and other support material
  • ideas on the use of social media
  • Twitter accounts which are relevant to geography and education
  • details of projects that are of interest (particularly ones I'm interested in)
  • suggestions for blogs to read

The most recent issue featured a review of Illustreets and LondonMapper websites and information on the School on Cloud project, details on ArcGIS Online, StoryMaps and the Internet of Things, a selection of Twitter accounts that are relevant, ideas for teaching about soils, and finally details on a World War One collaborative document.

In the spirit of crowdsourcing, the Summer 2015 issue of Webwatch is going to be thrown open to anyone to suggest some content.

I'm really after suggestions for resources like the ones above. They shouldn't have been featured before in Webwatch, and be of general interest to geography teachers, and ideally have been used in your classroom - perhaps with some pictures showing some student outcomes.
All suggestions that are included in the final piece will be given a full credit to you and your school (plus Twitter link if you have one)

Details of this opportunity will also be included in the Spring 2015 edition of GA Magazine, but because of the lead in time needed for submitting copy to the editors, there won't be very long between the arrival of that issue, and the deadline for suggestions, so I'll be reminding you here a few times between now and then...

All suggestions can be sent to my e-mail - add a comment below or contact me via Twitter...

Over to you ...

60-100 words, URL and a picture if you have one would be fine...

UKEdChat Geography Special

The weekly #ukedchat session goes geographical this week.

The session starts at 8pm on Thursday.
Hosted by @GeoDebs and @LCreanGeog

Follow using the #ukedchat tag on Twitter from just before 8pm....

La Bestia

This post took forever to write and add for some reason...

Thanks to Claire Kyndt for the tipoff to this story, which takes a bit of unpicking and has attracted my attention over the last few weeks either side of the summer break and now have had a few minutes to finish if off over half term. This features as part of our Walls unit - coming soon to a 'Teaching Geography' article.

It relates to 'La Bestia', which is the name given to a train service running at the US-Mexican border.
It is notorious for being dangerous but being used as a vehicle by migrants during their efforts to cross the border.
There is a newspaper article in 'The Independent' which sparked my interest as it mentioned a song that had been released by the US Border authorities to try to dissuade migrants from attempting the crossing.

Image by Peter Haden, shared on Flickr under Creative Commons license

This requires a bit of analysis, and there are lots of different sources of information that can be viewed, some of which are shocking and may need some mediation.
The song is apparently part of a campaign which aims to change perception of the ease of crossing the border and what happens afterwards.
The Huffington Post had a useful article fleshing out this aspect.

Let's adopt an approach to finding out more about this issue.
A follow up to this is a story of a group of women who have been feeding the people on the train.

What about this video too, which was designed to be shown in El Salvador apparently, and shows the relationship with the coyotes (guides) and pollos (people who pay to be guided)

The El Paso Times has an interview with passengers sharing their experiences.

Time magazine article on Michael's journey is a reminder of the many thousands of people who risk their lives every year to make their way to a new life.
This also connects with recent decisions on the way that migrants attempting to enter via the Mediterranean and Lampedusa may be treated.

More to come on this as the term progresses...