Shackleton Whisky

One of my favourite presents for Christmas was an engraved bottle of Shackleton whisky. This is a recreation of a whisky which was taken by Sir Ernest Shackleton to Antarctica in 1907.


Will raise a glass of this later to say goodbye to 2017...

Quotidian Geographies

Starting TOMORROW.. a new blog for 2018 which will focus on the geography of the quotidian: the everyday geographies of our lives, and the importance of getting outside into the geography that lies beyond the four walls we spend a great deal of our time inside. I'll aim to add something each day, much of which will connect with events that happened on that particular day in the past, or where there is a particularly geographical event that takes place on that day. There'll be ideas for exploration and I'll draw on the 7600+ posts here on LivingGeography. It will also explore the idea that we should make the most of every day... and see as much of the world as we can.

As a favourite quote of mine goes:

"Little minds are interested in the extraordinary; great minds in the commonplace"
Elbert Hubbard

Christmas blogging break

I'll be taking my traditional annual blogging break for the next few weeks.

Unless something major happens which I feel the need to tell you about, I'll see you in 2018.
This has been an important year on the blog in terms of visitors. I had a bit of a lull during the summer period, but since then, I've averaged around 7 000 visitors a day, which means I've had more readers in 2017 then I had in the previous 4 years, and this last month has seen nearly 250 000 page views. There are plenty of things planned for 2018: some travelling, and some exciting new projects which I shall tell you about in January...
Thanks for reading and see you all for another year of blogging in a few week's time...
In the meantime, I'll be doing the odd tweet at @GeoBlogs, and also maintaining the tip a day for #125geotips on the @GA_SPC account.

Rest up and recharge everyone... Take part in #TheDarkisReading and catch up on your sleep...

Image: Ronald Lampitt

CPRE Local Food Guide

Currently planning my Lent Term topics for Year 7 and 8. For Year 7 it's "You are what you Eat" and geographies of food which will dominate. This CPRE guide to Local Food is a great little resource, as it offers a range of information and data on the importance of sourcing food locally...

Click the link to go to a page where you can download a copy as a PDF.

Also worth checking out the other CPRE activity, including any activity in your local area. I follow CPRE Norfolk.

London National Park City - a 500 word writing challenge

What would/will London be like as a National Park City?
You have a chance to share your vision in writing and have it added to the National Park City website.

You can write it in different formats, and have your imaginings shared widely...

You have until the end of March 2018 to send in your ideas.

Ice Flows Game

I spent some time in the last couple of weeks before half term, and also last week, exploring some of the resources that I wrote during the summer to accompany the Ice Flows Game, with some of my Year 8 students.
We were exploring the nature of ice as it flows, and the game, which I have blogged about previously, was developed by Anne le Brocq from Exeter University.

We used some of the activities from the pack which will be appearing soon,  and I got some useful feedback on them from students, who enjoyed the experience.

They were interested to hear that this sort of game is developed by a university, and were also keen to see if there were other versions of the game, or further changes in the pipeline. One of the things that we encountered were some of the new help options.
Here are some photos and screenshots from the lessons as a slideshow:

London Now, London Future

I'm surprised that this video has had less than 1000 views at the time of blogging.


Today is Midwinter's Eve: the 20th of December
It it today that the action starts in Susan Cooper's 'The Dark is Rising'.
This year, I will be re-reading the story in the company of thousands of others in a reading which has been orchestrated by Robert MacFarlane and Julia Bird. The hashtag #TheDarkisReading is trending on Twitter in the UK in the Top 5, so a lot of discussion around the book.

I've just read the action that takes place today, as Will Stanton prepares for his 11th birthday tomorrow, and the snow starts to fall, the rooks behave strangely, and "the Walker is abroad"...

If you have a copy, join the action, and if not then buy one or get it on Kindle Unlimited or some other way....

Classroom Geographer: memories from the 70s and 80s

Christmas holidays are a chance to catch up on the fun projects which have to be pushed to one side during term time. I've got quite a few lined up for the next few weeks to keep me active...

One project which has been staring at me for months now is the box of Classroom Geographer journals kindly donated by Neil Sealey.
This journal was the first to really offer a chance for teachers to read what other teachers were doing in their classrooms, as there were few opportunities to network in the 1970s and 1980s.
There was much talk of the 'New' Geography, and of traditional topics and approaches being replaced by the quantitative ideas of Central Place Theory, statistical models and early simulation games. It was published through the 1970s and 1980s, starting out at 20p per issue (including postage), with around 5 issues a year. It's been a good few hours now spent reading through the journals in date order, and finding interesting perspectives on Geography (so far from quite a male dominated perspective, and with more contributions from Geography masters, or university lecturers than classroom teachers...)
There have been a few familiar names cropping up so far, and I'm tweeting some things that appeal to me on my Twitter feed @GeoBlogs

I'd love to hear from anyone who has memories of this journal. I'm grateful to those people who have already shared their memories on how it influenced their practice, and introduced them to the work of other teachers at a time when few got to see what other teachers were doing beyond their own school.

The new nomads

Via the Harper's Magazine page...
In the August 2014 issue of Harper’s Magazine, Jessica Bruder chronicles the lives of several downwardly mobile seniors, members of the growing class of “workampers”—retirement-age Americans who travel the country in late-model RVs, seeking out low-paying physical labor. “Depending on the time of year, these geriatric migrants may be summoned to roadside stalls selling Christmas trees, Halloween pumpkins, or Fourth of July fireworks. They’re sought to pick raspberries in Vermont, apples in Washington, and blueberries in Kentucky,” she writes. In CamperForce, a documentary adapted from her new book Nomadland, Bruder and director Brett Story follow Barb and Chuck, an elderly couple who, after losing their savings in the stock market crash of 2008, find seasonal employment processing customer orders in Amazon fulfillment centers. “It was harder than I thought,” says Barb. “I didn’t think I would be in pain.”

Take a look at the Amazon Camperforce website.

Something I will be continuing in 2018

Fieldwork Conference at the RGS-IBG

Another opportunity for teachers to get to grips with ArcGIS Online at a bargain price.
March 2018 at the Royal Geographical Society...
Details here

Early Man... coming in 2018

Looks good, although as usual the trailer gives away half the good jokes...

Uniform Annual

Uniform Annual is a rather nice book of contributions with the usual theme of landscape and place... mixed with memories and local history...

"Alexa.... what is geography?"

My colleague in the IT room has an Alexa to use for teaching IT - and it is used in various ways.
There is also one installed in the school's learning support rooms to allow pupils to check spellings, and provide other help. Such devices are called 'home assistants' (but do they also have a place as 'classroom assistants'?)
I will be exploring this over the Christmas period, and will put together some ideas for using them in the (geography) classroom and share them here in the New Year...

Christmas Gift Ideas #3

I like the look of this Adventure Map.

It's created by a company called Strumpshaw, Tincleton and Giggleswick
It's available from the OS Shop and offers information on loads of adventures that can be done around the UK.

They produce a range of other novelty maps too, which are available flat for display.

GA Conference 2018

Over the weekend, I booked using the EARLY BIRD rate for the GA Conference 2018.
This is a highlight of the year for me, and I've been attending since 2004, and presenting every year since 2005.
I also booked a nice hotel next to the venue to retreat too, and to keep everything safe - this time round I'm going to try to remember my suitcase (long story)

Make sure you book in the next three weeks to get the lowest price...

3D printing

We've got a new 3D printer in the design technology department at school. I've been exploring some options for what to print. I asked around for people who might have some ideas for files to print, and there were some lovely ideas.
Thingiverse is an online warehouse of files which allow you to print out objects.
I'm going to have some of these printed out in the New Year. They are printed at 1: 50 000 scale and so sit on their own footprint on the OS map of the same scale... Cool...
Thanks to the Field Studies Council for sending details of these files.

Does anyone else have ideas for 'geographical' things to print out... I'm also thinking perhaps of jigsaws of country (or county) outlines for the UK perhaps...

21st Century Yokel

OK, I admit, I have a book problem.
I could easily have bought many more books over the last few weeks including one on the villages of the East Coast which have been lost to the sea...
I had a delivery of Nomadland last week, and then went on to devour the first part of it. I'd read a lot about the new book by Tom Cox, which came into being thanks to Unbound. It's about the landscape (one of my latest preoccupations) and also features SW Devon and Norfolk - two areas I know very well. Reading the first chapter, I could visualise the places Tom was describing having visited them, or driven past them many times.
The idea of exploring and getting to know your local area is something that will be a theme for some of my work in 2018, and this book has plenty to say about that...

London Essays

This looks good - thanks to Stephen Schwab for the tipoff.
London Essays is a journal and website offering a range of essays.... on London... as you might expect. Good reading and provocation and interesting infographics... Well worth a visit

Thought for the Day

“The Arctic has traditionally been the refrigerator to the planet, but the door of the refrigerator has been left open”
Jeremy Mathis

As featured in this Guardian article.


Floodcrowd is a citizen science project. It aims to crowdsource reports on flooding from around the country. Take part using the app...

International Migrants Day

A day to celebrate the people who we come into contact every day... And who we could well have become if our lives were not the way they are, and we faced the same circumstances...

Message by Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO

Millions of women and men are leaving their homes in the search of work and education. Millions are on the move, because they have no choice, to flee war and persecution, to escape the vicious circles of poverty, food insecurity and environmental degradation.

Migration is a global phenomenon driven by many forces. These start with aspirations for dignity, safety and peace. The decision to leave home is always extreme, and, too often, the beginning of a dangerous, sometimes fatal journey.

UNESCO is acting to advance the migration-related commitments of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

ESRI Disaster Reponse Mapping

These maps are created quickly as events happen, to share and host data and updates on natural disasters. There are terrible wildfires affecting the West Coast of the USA, and here is the ESRI map which has been produced:

Deep Pan, Crisp and even...

Which is how Good King Wenceslas likes his pizza...

Ben Newbury likes his pizza like this... I've used this from the TES Resources page that Ben has used to share his ideas. It went down very well. Recommended...


Thanks to a parent, Mr. Fordham, who has sent me some drone videos. I have uploaded them to Vimeo for sharing, and will be part of a resource I've just finished writing for the Royal Geographical Society (I'll let you know when it goes onto the website)
Hunstanton Cliffs from Alan Parkinson on Vimeo.

Last weekend I was in Loose's in Norwich, which is a large antique and collectables place, with hundreds of stalls and areas, and a plethora of 'stuff' that you never knew you needed.
I came across a great 1950s (ish) brochure for Hunstanton, with some great vintage images and ads from a time when the town had a pier, and a lot more of note than it does now...
The cliffs were still there and stripy...

Will share a few images from the booklet in the New Year, to go along with the launch of the resource on the website.

 Image: Copyright: Ian Ward - as seen in OCR Textbook materials

The end of the Storify...

Got an e-mail earlier in the week to say that Storify is ending early in May 2018, and there are no more new memberships being allowed.
There are several of my stories on the platform, which allows you to aggregate your social media posts so that things like tweets are captured which would otherwise drop off the radar, and be harder to identify. This means that the hashtagging of events may be more important as this is one way to make them identifiable from the millions of posts every day...

South Georgia

This is a picture of South Georgia taken by a friend, who was in South Georgia over the last two weekends, along with close to one million King Penguins. This is the area that was featured in the Blue Planet II programme last weekend. South Georgia is the final resting place of Sir Ernest Shackleton.
There is a GIS website which can be accessed by anyone.

This view is the home screen.

Image: Copyright Val Vannet

Top Tips... #125geotips

The Geographical Association's Secondary Phase Committee is tweeting out 125 geographical tips for the 125 days leading up to the start of the GA Conference in April 2018. We also have a special advent calendar (plus a few extra days)...
We are using the hashtag: #125geotips which allows you to follow and catch up with what has been mentioned so far, and also share your own tips using the hashtag.

The tips are organised into 5 groups:

a) Outside the classroom

b) Geographical skills

c) Leading and promoting geography

d) Subject Knowledge and Resources

e) Real Word geography

The first ten have been classified for you.

Time to catch up now, and watch out for the next 100 odd still to come...
Feel free to tweet us your own GeoTips...

Tokyo Bousai

I posted earlier in the week that I had received a copy of Tokyo Bousai which I had ordered as  part of a new curriculum artefact, to be used when teaching about the impact of earthquakes on large cities.

This was sent to households in Tokyo a few years ago, and at least one person decided to flog it on eBay rather than keep it on their own shelves for when the big one strikes. We discussed whether this was an individual, or larger scale mitigation method.
It's a really special thing, although the students didn't seem too impressed....

If you come to one of my events in 2018 you may see this in the flesh...

I want to tell you a story... and so does Joseph

Regular readers of the blog will know that I've been sharing a range of StoryMaps over the last couple of years, as the ESRI map-making technology has developed apace. They are a wonderful way of shaping a narrative from images, mapping and interactive elements.

If you want to take your use of StoryMaps to the next level, and have some of your CPD budget left to spend, you might want to check out a new course that is being offered by Joseph Kerski, who travels the world talking about the power of GIS. When it comes to mapping, Joseph is the man....  and one of my geo-heroes.
The course is being made available through eNetlearning, and costs $95 (or whatever that is in pounds these days)
Details of the course are here - it starts on the 4th of January 2018


This course will enable participants to understand why stories can be effectively told with today’s interactive, web-based story maps, learn how to teach and assess student work with story maps, and learn how to create story maps that incorporate sounds, video, photographs, narrative, and other multimedia. Through readings, videos, quizzes, discussion with your colleagues, and hands-on activities, you will learn how and why to create story maps using the ArcGIS Online platform and be confident that you can use these tools in your instruction.


For thousands of years, maps have been used to tell stories. These maps told which lands were “known” and which lands were “terra incognita”, coastlines and new political boundaries, and routes of famous explorers. As in the past, maps are used today to tell stories about the regions, places, and physical and cultural characteristics of our world.

Today’s maps are detailed, allowing exploration of the median age and income of a community’s neighborhoods and the chemical conditions of water in specific wells or soil in a specific field. Maps give information about data that is occurring in real time—such as current wildfire extents, weather, earthquakes, or the location of all of a city’s buses. Maps describe historical events from famous battles to land use changes over time in a rainforest. Maps can be in two dimensions, and three dimensions, and can be accessed on any device—smartphone, tablet, or laptop computer. They can be embedded in web pages and other multimedia and other tools, and can be updated instantly by citizen scientists using their smartphones. Maps cover thousands of relevant themes and phenomena and scales–from local to global scale.

Another key difference between modern maps versus those of the past is that modern maps are much more than reference documents. True, maps still show us where things are. But they are valued because they help us understand the “whys” of “where” – by allowing us to use spatial analytical tools to detect patterns, relationships, and trends. Thus, maps have become critical analytical tools that can help us solve the problems in our world that are growing more complex and increasingly affect our everyday lives. These include epidemics, biodiversity loss, natural hazards, agricultural viability, political instability, climate change, food security, energy, water quality and quantity, and many more.

Globally, you could make maps of any of the above themes. In your own community, you could tell stories about sports, community gardens, housing type, schools and libraries and other community resources, tree cover, litter and graffiti, zoning changes, historical settlement, how your community compares to others across your region or to those halfway around the world, and other aspects of your community through these live story maps. Students can use story maps to report on the results of their investigations. As a researcher, you or your students could use these maps to investigate pertinent issues in human health, sociology, political geography, public safety, or a host of other disciplines. As an instructor, you could use maps to tell stories to enhance your lessons in courses ranging from geography to biology to history to language arts to earth science to mathematics, and other disciplines. You can use story maps to assess student work and a method whereby students can communicate their investigations to you and to their peers.

Ship Map

This website has been featured before, but it's always worth flagging up again..

These ships are probably bringing elements of your Christmas to you right now, or delivered it to a container port a few weeks ago....

Details of the map provided by KILN, the creators:

What can I see?
You can see movements of the global merchant fleet over the course of 2012, overlaid on a bathymetric map. You can also see a few statistics such as a counter for emitted CO2 (in thousand tonnes) and maximum freight carried by represented vessels (varying units).

What can I do? You can pan and zoom in the usual ways, and skip back and forward in time using the timeline at the bottom of the screen. The controls at the top right let you show and hide different map layers: port names, the background map, routes (a plot of all recorded vessel positions), and the animated ships view. There are also controls for filtering and colouring by vessel type.

What are the types of ships shown? The merchant fleet is divided into five categories, each of which has a filter and a CO2 and freight counter for the hour shown on the clock. The ship types and units are as follows:
  • Container (e.g. manufactured goods): number of container slots equivalent to 20 feet (i.e. a 40-foot container takes two slots) 
  • Dry bulk (e.g. coal, aggregates): combined weight of cargo, fuel, water, provisions, passengers and crew a vessel can carry, measured in thousand tonnes 
  • Tanker (e.g. oil, chemicals): same as dry bulk 
  • Gas bulk (e.g. liquified natural gas): capacity for gases, measured in cubic metres 
  • Vehicles (e.g. cars): same as dry bulk

New GA website now live

After a long period of development, testing and reviews, the new GA website is now live, and looking good in your browser of choice... Check it out...

Highlights include:
  • the latest news about the GA’s Annual Conference 2018 and celebrations for 125 years of the GA
  • the reorganised Shop where you will easily find what you want by key stage, product type or series
  • brand new sections on primary and secondary subject leadership which provide extensive support for subject leaders to help them be effective. This includes defining the role; understanding geography’s place in the curriculum; managing change; leading professional development; knowing what good teaching and learning are and leading staff and managing resources. All this is linked to the wider GA website and its excellent CPD programmes, publications, teacher networks and on-line support
  •  a fully reworked and updated ITE section with extensively cross-referenced support for teacher trainers and mentors, and for trainees providing a ‘one-stop shop’ for geography ITE and offering a wealth of material covering all aspects of geography subject training. In addition, there are pages of advice for those intending to become geography teachers and links for ITE trainers to information on the Geography Teacher Educators’ (GTE) conferences, education research and the teacher training and supply policy debate.  
  • a new section providing support and guidance on GIS. New pages give an overview of what GIS actually is and provide some practical ideas on how to embed it as part of a departmental geography curriculum. The new GA GIS webpages aim to help teachers with where to start as they seek to discover more about this powerful technology which can boost students’ geographical knowledge and data analysis skills. 

In addition, you’ll find the Journals and much of the familiar content that you are used to seeing from the GA in a reorganised and streamlined navigation so that you can quickly find what you’re looking for. 
There is a personalised members’ homepage, dedicated teaching resource and journal searches, clearer information on how to get involved with the GA, and much more.

Seismic Illumination StoryMap


An interesting article in the Guardian came into my Twitter feed last week.

This describes a book written by Jessica Bruder. She follows the new nomads: the "houseless" who live a life on the road in a range of vehicles, moving from one gig to another...

My copy of the book arrived earlier in the week and I've been devouring it whenever I can. 
I will be including this in a new geography resource in 2018.

#TheDarksisReading - the details

I've blogged about this previously, and will be following over the Christmas period...

Inspirational Places, Changing Places

A reminder of this project, which is being developed along with ideas from Peter Knight of Keele University.
This is going to be a Christmas project.

The website is here.
Check it out

Less ice, more fire

A fascinating Economist rticle on the possible relationship between volcanoes and glaciers. As glaciers melt, are volcanic eruptions going to be on the rise?
Here's a picture of a glacier I took earlier... quite a lot earlier actually...

Image: Alan Parkinson, Bosson Glacier on the slopes of Mont Blanc.

Christmas Gift Ideas #2

If you want to buy a gift for someone without cluttering up their home, why not get them a digital subscription?

There are quite a few of these that would be of interest to geographers. One is the Ordnance Survey's Digital Maps subscription.
This offers a chance to use the Aerial 3D imagery which I've shown here, based on the area around Thirlmere (that's the answer to the question I posed a few days ago by the way).

A subscription also connects to the OS Maps App which allows you to use the AR technology. This shows the features in the local area, overlaid on a view through the camera...
Use it to help you #GetOutside in 2018

Detectorists... the final chapter

“See, archaeologists, they gather up the facts, piece the jigsaw together, work out how we lived and find the buildings we lived in. But what we do … that’s different. We unearth the scattered memories. Mine for stories. Fill in the personality … We’re time travellers.”

Lance, 'Detectorists'

Via this article link
The end of an era on Wednesday with the last episode... 


The IAATO is the organisation that monitors tourism in Antarctica.
It has released a new app this year, which allows users to access information relating to tourism in the continent.
It is designed to work without wifi, which is not always available on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet apparently...

Worth checking out...

Travel to Work areas...

Travel to Work areas map produced by Luminocity 3D

A geographical mystery

Uncovered by Rich Pepperell...

Practical Pedagogies 2018 - it's a go...

I rather loved the Practical Pedagogies event last year. Russel Tarr announced a few weeks ago that it would not be taking place again. One issue was with the venue, but he announced yesterday that the event will be returning in November 2018, and will be hosted at the St. George's English International School in Cologne, Germany.

I very much hope to be there, and will be putting in a proposal for a workshop when the call for workshops opens in the New Year.
See some of you there I hope.
To get a flavour of what you might have missed from last year, check out the Pedagogies event from 2016.

Robert MacFarlane on the importance of Getting Outside

Robert MacFarlane is an important writer on our relationship with landscapes: mountains, footpaths and children's worlds. He is the author of 'The Lost Words', and has also provided a word hoard, and a daily word on his Twitter feed.

Watch this important film...

Guess the Place

With thanks to Val Vannet for this picture of one of the most significant locations in Polar history....

Image: Copyright Val Vannet

How Cities Work

Shown on Quest TV - channel 37 on Freeview

You can catch up on the Quest TV website, along with other shows from this satellite channel.
The first episode was called Power Games.
The second was about FOOD...

It strays away from the focus on cities a little at times, but has some interesting content and ideas. 

Mapskills StoryMap

Thanks to Jason Sawle for the link to this useful resource, whether you teach AQA Geography or not...

Bare Earth StoryMap

Another one from Bob Lang.

Teachmeet at the RGS - 2 of 2

Here's my write-up of the recent RGS Teachmeet, which has been a few weeks coming. It's shorter than planned as I've not got the time to do a full write-up, but has a few ideas in there.

I visited a few places on the way down, and went in early to catch up with people who I've worked and shared resources with for many years. It was good to catch up with Steve Brace, who has been very supportive over the years since I joined the GA. David Rogers compered the event. I stood in for him last year due to illness, so it was good to be able to relax and listen to the others.

I've already blogged about Kate Stockings' resources produced for the Museum of London to accompany their excellent video.

There were some nice ideas from Ali Murray @nlgeography on acronyms that he uses as shorthand in the lesson.
I enjoyed the passion of Jason Sawle, as he talked about the importance of GIS, and the responsibility of Geography teachers for making GIS their own, and claiming it for Geography and being advocates for it across their school.
I was trying to remember the first time I met Jason. It must have been around the year 2005 (or even earlier), when he was working with DigitalWorlds.
I managed to 'photobomb' the final session that I saw, which was by Andrew Boardman.
He used Mentimeter to capture people's ideas on what made an Expert Geography Teacher - see if you can spot my input...

I enjoyed the presentations of others. I had to leave before the end of the evening and so missed the last one or two - apologies...
Missed David Rogers here too.

Looking forward to next year's event, which I hope will happen, next year....

Ten years of Stuff

It's apparently ten years ago that Annie Leonard launched the first of her Story of Stuff videos, exploring the issues of our consumerism, and how we have been encouraged to buy more than we need.
The videos are available from the project website, and also on YouTube of course.
Since the first film, a number of others have been launched, including the Story of Electronics, which we also use as part of our Geography of my Stuff unit. It is described as follows:

The Story of Electronics, released in November 2011, employs the Story of Stuff style to explore the high-tech revolution’s collateral damage—25 million tons of e-waste and counting, poisoned workers and a public left holding the bill. Host Annie Leonard takes viewers from the mines and factories where our gadgets begin to the horrific backyard recycling shops in China where many end up. The film concludes with a call for a green ‘race to the top’ where designers compete to make long-lasting, toxic-free products that are fully and easily recyclable.

Just call me an icon... or GeoBlogs...

For the last couple of years, there has been a teacher-led CPD event called Teachmeet HistoryIcons. It was developed by a group of history teachers, and runs very successfully with some sponsorship and support from companies and individuals, which mean the event is free to delegates. The next event is taking place in March 2018.

A group of geography teachers has been working on developing a Geography-related event which, with the backing of our History colleagues has now been organised by a rather fine group of  teachers, with a similar logo, and which will be hosted by the lovely folks at the University of Birmingham.
It will take place in June 2018.

Tickets are FREE, but SOLD OUT.

The event has a keynote from a teacher and an academic, although Teachmeets don't traditionally have a keynote, this one does... and for some reason the very lovely and generous Mrs. Humanities, who is on the organising team, asked me to do the teacher highlight talk, and I was delighted to say yes.... There have been some very kind comments on Twitter as a result of this news going out yesterday...

To follow the developments as the event gets closer, particularly any possibility of further tickets, you'd be best to follow @TMGeogIcons on Twitter.
And of course you can follow me. There has been a flurry of new followers over the last 24 hours.

I look forward to seeing some of you in June. I'm starting to think about how I can make my talk memorable, useful and profoundly geographical... I've got a few ideas...

Protecting communities against Tsunamis

Another excellent StoryMap. Thanks to Bob Lang for the tipoff to this one...

Death in the Ice

Going to book to see this exhibition before it ends in early January 2018. With the interest following the discovery of the wrecks of 'Erebus' and 'Terror', it is an important chapter in Arctic history, and one we will be exploring in 2018 with Year 8 students.

Also a chance to visit a World Heritage Site.


When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back; three from the circle, three from the track...

On Midwinters Eve, a reading group begins, organised by author Robert MacFarlane and Julia Bird. It will invite people to read the Susan Cooper classic 'The Dark is Rising'. I've got a copy on the bookshelf by my desk, and have reread the story regularly since first reading it over 30 years ago. It's got a wonderful eerie atmosphere as the familiar becomes dangerous and threatening... eldritch...

To get in the mood, read this piece by Robert MacFarlane 

Join in on the #TheDarkIsReading hashtag.

Wood, bronze, iron; water, fire, stone; Five will return and one go alone.

Zip wires over Thirlmere

Developing a new piece of work: a Year 7 Decision Making Exercise, on this proposal by a firm to create an activity hub on the shores of Thirlmere in the Lake District.

It's the 'follow-up' to the proposals for the cable cars across Cheddar Gorge, which was a staple of our Year 7 work for the last two or three years, but didn't end up happening...

Source: Westmoreland Gazette

Here is the story on ITN News in July of this year.
There are now some images with representations of how it might look on the Westmoreland Gazette's page.

The Lake District is a World Heritage Site, and there are some objections on this basis.
However, the company behind the scheme has provided a great deal of supportive material, including strong socio-economic benefits (PDF download) and favourable investigations into noise and visual impact.
There are stakeholders on either side, all of which will be preparing for the next stage of the planning application in January 2018.
Similar schemes have been successful in other locations, such as Wales (which Year 7 were shown a few weeks ago) and Brockholes.
Will share when ready as usual of course...

#125geotips - the start of a new project

As a member of the Geographical Association's Secondary Phase Committee for the last 13 years (with a short break while I worked for the GA), I've presented many times at the GA Conference since, and also been involved in national curriculum change discussions, awarding body consultations for new GCSEs, consultative groups, book reviewing and many other contributions to the work of the GA.
Follow us on Twitter too please @GA_SPC

This year we are tweeting out 125 Top Tips.
We've produced a series of Top Tips before, and you can access or download them all from our SPC page on the GA website.

Here's the Advent Calendar that I put together to get the project off to a good start too...
Keep following for the next 125 days, which are also a countdown (or count up) to the GA Conference in Sheffield.
2018 marks the 125th anniversary of the GA, hence the 125 tips

Follow us on #125geotips and please feel free to send us any suggestions of your own to get involved in the project please. We'll happily RT your own geographical toptips with the hashtag...

Whatever happened to me...

Although I'd never been to Newcastle when I was in my teens, I knew about it, and the areas that had been cleared for new development, and the working class life which was giving way to those who were 'improving their lives', the growth in home ownership, urban redevelopment and other issues.
This was via the lives of Bob and Terry, and Bob's fiancee Thelma, and Bob's sister Audrey.

I 'knew' about Newcastle via 'Whatever happened to the Likely Lads'...

These are some of the most memorable characters and episodes of TV comedy that have been broadcast. Remember Bob and Terry trying to avoid Brian Glover telling them the result of the England match, the Fancy Dress party and Bob in the dock for fighting.

Sad news from a few days ago with the death of Rodney Bewes.

Thanksgiving StoryMap

Christmas Gift Ideas #1

I know that you'll probably want some gift ideas for the geographer in your life (or perhaps you're doing a Secret Santa at work, or within your department), or perhaps you're planning on sending me a small gift in appreciation of the 1000+ resources and ideas I've given you this year via this blog...

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to post some suggestions for geographical Christmas gifts for the geographer in your life...

Here's the first. A pop up book by James Gulliver Hancock explaining 'How Cities Work'...

Infographics CPD session

This year, staff have been given a large booklet of training courses which are a mix of external and internally offered courses, from which teachers have to choose four during the year.
I've been asked to run some of these courses, and did the first one earlier today. I asked earlier in the month for any comments, and am grateful to a few colleagues who responded.
The session was on how to create an infographic using Piktochart.

Here's the presentation that I used...

I started the session with a bag of Skittles tipped out onto the desk - I've also used mini-boxes of Smarties for this too.
Each sweet was a data point, and had some attributes: colour, flavour etc.
These could be used to group the data, produce graphs, look at distribution etc.
With locational attributes known, they could be plotted onto maps or GIS and the patterns analysed, and reasons for these patterns explored.
The purpose of an infographic is to 'tell the story' of data in a visual way.
We talked about the growing use of infographics on TV news, and in newspapers.

To reinforce this, I have a copy of the book below: 'Dear Data', which tells the story of a year-long correspondence between two friends, with 52 projects exploring personal data. I showed some of the methods that they used to illustrate particular data, such as how often they picked up their mobile phone and why....

There was also a hand-out, which has some basic details on how to set up Piktochart and make a start on using it.
The whole session lasted around an hour.
Thanks to the colleagues who came along...

Lost ice and lost meaning...

A New York Times article which has a relevance for the work I am doing on Polar regions at the moment, but also a tremendous resonance about the connection between people and ice.
I will be adding this to some articles from the 'Earth' magazine, which explore the changing lives of Inuit hunters, and the changing landscapes they now need to navigate.

“Inuit are people of the sea ice. If there is no more sea ice, how can we be people of the sea ice?”

Tokyo Bousai

Tokyo Bousai is an emergency guide which was issued to households in Tokyo in 2015 to help them prepare for the likelihood of a large earthquake.
The whole thing can be downloaded, and is also available in English, as there are a significant number of overseas residents in the city, who speak English as a first language. The guide includes a full set of illustrated guidance and checklists, and a manga style comic visualising a large earthquake. It also includes maps, planning cards and other elements.

Bousai is Japanese for "disaster preparedness". 

The whole thing is printed in bright yellow covers, so you can't miss it when it's on the shelf...

Check out the Disaster Preparedness Map too...

I've been using this with Year 10 this year to explore primary and secondary effects and the importance of individual responses as well as the larger scale migitation which cities need. The issuing of Bousai is a city-wide response to the earthquake threat facing the city...

Teaching OCR B GCSE Geography?

Don't forget my OCR 'B' GCSE Geography Blog, which I started in time for September this year, when I started teaching Year 10 using the textbook that I helped to write (and contributions from other people too)

I'm currently teaching Global Hazards, so most of the content there at the moment is connected to that unit. It will develop over the next year and a half as I teach the rest of the course...