A Sandwich course

I liked this image a lot, as it reminded me of a sandwich shop which I used to go to as a child, particularly the absence of packaging...

When I was younger, our family's sandwiches were purchased from Graftons bakers in Rotherham. They had half a dozen or so shops in different parts of the town, which grew over time to 16 outlets.
There was one in the village of Wickersley where I grew up, and we also used to visit the main one in the centre of Rotherham when I was younger, and one in Herringthorpe when I was older (often on the way to play pitch and putt in Valley Park)

The main shop had a long counter, with a huge choice of cakes and further down was the sandwich queue. They did the best parkin ever, and also custard tarts, curd tarts and cream slices. In the summer, they did strawberry tarts. All of those things remain the best I've tasted, and nothing quite matches up to them even now.
Sadly, they had to close the doors in 2005, with the loss of 200 jobs, many of whom were local women, who lived locally to the shops and part of the local community. They were a victim of the growth of supermarkets, and changing demographics, and were a sad loss to the local area.

I've started work on a new stand-alone resource which is on the theme of sandwiches. This is not for any particular publisher or organisation for a change, and I'll share it once it's completed.

Sandwiches contain an awful lot of geography (as well as egg mayo)

There is the idea of convenience, and where sandwiches fit into our routine (after all, it's not too much trouble to make a sandwich before leaving for work is it?)
There is the packaging which they inevitably come with - plastic and non-recyclable? Made using oil?
There are the cultural aspects of which fillings are most popular, and also the breads which are used, and their sourcing/food miles etc.

There is the aspect of food waste as well. I wrote about sandwiches as part of the CILT materials I wrote for the GA as well... There was a unit on Pret a Manger and how they reduce food waste...

More to come as the resource develops....


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#TMGeogIcons18 - Post #7 - Confluence: a group of geographers

Apologies for the delay - trying to play catch up with a number of events, and doing that today as the hot weather continues...

One of the ideas that I shared at my keynote presentation at TMGeogIcons is something that I've shared a few times before, but I have now developed the idea a little further, and it seemed to go down well with those who attended.

People often ask what the collective name for a group of geographers might be.

I've asked quite a few people, but have come up with the idea that a suitable word is a:


The idea here is that we geographers are stronger when we meet and flow together for a while, perhaps working on a project, or in a department. When we meet, we are collectively stronger, and we may flow together for a short time or for longer. We all bring something to the relationship.

Coincidentally - I also talked about the idea of serendipity in curriculum planning, and Eleanor Rawling's idea that it is a companion to rational thinking. The merging of waters, and the nature of flow connects with this idea.
A few more extensions of the analogy would be:

- sometimes we find ourselves at a low ebb, and need the help of others to regain our strength
- we vary in our energy through the year - there is a regime to our working year
- sometimes things seem like they are going very well, but we come up against some sort of barrier, but we find a way around it
- the thalweg is the line of fastest flow, and sometimes we get into a groove, and go with the flow

Sometimes we experience laminar flow: everything goes smoothly. When someone else joins our department, it can sometimes create turbulence for a while, but eventually we flow together and benefit from the presence of each other in collaborating and delegating...

Can you think of other analogies, or alternative phrases for a group of geography teachers?

The Eagles of the Desert

A good piece in the New York Times on an organisation which helps those who are trying to cross into the USA from South American countries, particularly with the final stage of the journey: the crossing from Mexico.

Águilas del Desierto is the name of the organisation, and they voluntarily head into the desert to try to find and recover the bodies of those who have died trying to cross.
Their Facebook page is here.

New town in Norfolk

North Elmham is about 15 minutes to the East of where I live... There are apparently plans, which were revealed today, to build a new town the size of the town of Thetford in the area. Will be interesting to see the range of local reactions and whether it ever comes to fruition...

Image: North Elmham, Alan Parkinson 

Get the London National Park City on your desktop

Seems like a good idea.

Mark Beaumont's latest cycling adventure - new book out now

Tom Kiefer's El Seuño Americano

Thanks to Darran Anderson @oniropolis on Twitter, and author of the excellent 'Imaginary Cities', for the tipoff to this exhibition of images by Tom Kiefer which show the belongings of migrants which have been confiscated by the authorities when they are apprehended.
The title means 'the American Dream' and for many this turns into a nightmare.
A useful review of the project here.

Southwold - the impact of tourism

What is the impact of holiday homes in a popular resort?

Southwold is a resort that I know very well, and is featured in the article linked to above.
There are plenty of issues which can be explored in the town, perhaps one reason why the Geography Fieldwork Academy bases itself there.

Image: Alan Parkinson

GIS in teaching Geography - help Sophie with some research


A request from Sophie Wilson, who is asking for help in answering one of her questionnaires for some research she is doing to investigate 'HOW' GIS can be used for teaching Geography.

The aim of the case-study is to explore 'to what extent using GIS enables Powerful Geographical Thinking' for her Masters Degree in Geography Education Dissertation at UCL. 

The questions are targeted at those who currently use GIS in Secondary Geography Education. 

Anonymity of the data collected will be ensured by storing it in line with the Data Protection Act 1998 and if you would like a copy of the final report - please let Sophie know. 

The survey is divided into 5 sections: 
1) Background information 
2) GIS and how you use it.
3) An example 
4) A self- evaluation of use 
5) Next Steps

Alternatively please contact Sophie via e-mail (sophie.wilson@stmarys.ac.uk), should you prefer to complete this as a telephone interview. 

If at any point you prefer not to answer any of the questions - then please enter an X as the answer. 

Many thanks for your help it is appreciated


If you had time to do this over the next few days, that would help Sophie greatly...

School's out for summer

My latest blog post for the OS Leisure blog as part of my work as a GetOutside Champion is now up.

It features some ideas for teachers (and non-teachers) to get outside this summer with a purpose.
Why not visit a key case study location, or revisit your commute through new ideas, or get out your camera...
Let me know if you use any of the ideas.

More thinking time...

Happy Planet Index

One of the latest Worldmapper Maps is of the Happy Planet Index.

We used this with Year 10 geographers to compare with the HDI.
Check it out here...

Insects - where have they gone?

At the start of the summer break, I had a large hire car for ten days (good service from Thrifty by the way). I drove it for 1200 miles, before taking it back. 
The night before, I hoovered the interior and washed the front to clear it of dead bugs. In the past, this would have taken a while, with bugs caking the front of the car and wing mirrors. This time round, there were hardly any insects to wash off the license plate...

This Guardian article on the disappearance of insects,  is another worrying sign of ecosystem change. Of course, when insects disappear, other things start to disappear as they are part of the food chain.

“Insects make up about two-thirds of all life on Earth [but] there has been some kind of horrific decline. We appear to be making vast tracts of land inhospitable to most forms of life, and are currently on course for ecological armageddon. If we lose the insects, then everything is going to collapse.”
Professor Dave Goulson of Sussex University

There is a tremendous link between insects and ecosystem change as one would expect.
This article describes some work to explore how many species are disappearing.

Image: Alan Parkinson

GI Learner - Gent Meeting and Conference Day 1 and 2

Playing catchup with the blog, as this was well over a month ago now....

In late June, I was up early to head down to London for the Eurostar train to Gent.
I always enjoy travelling on Eurostar. The train was full. The previous one had gone straight to Disneyland, Paris, and the departure lounge was a lot quieter once that one had boarded. I was heading for a final meeting of the GI Learner project.
The trip was funded by our ERASMUS grant, and has involved us exploring the use of GI and developing some resources and trialling them with students and academics from Austria, Belgium, Romania and Spain.

We had a useful meeting first of all.
The main part of the trip was to organise a conference for teachers. I had recruited a good group of teachers from the UK, who were able to claim their expenses for attending.
If you haven't seen the resources that we've put together it's worth visiting the GI Learner website, and also following us on Twitter.

GI Learner developed a complete learning line to effectively implement geospatial thinking in secondary education.
We develop – using the building blocks included in the learning line – a basic understanding and comprehension of geospatial thinking: what is it, what can I do with it, how do I learn to work with it.

All our course materials are here.
More to come on this in a future post...

Image: Alan Parkinson

Martin Zero - walking in the footsteps of history

Thanks to Elaine Owen for the lead to these videos. They are a sort of 'guerrilla history' as the presenter explores hidden things on old maps, and looks at how the areas have changed.
Here's a trip along a river's old route, for example.

I also enjoyed this investigation into an old house hidden in some Manchester woods.

 Martin makes good use of old Ordnance Survey mapping and imagery to do his investigation work, and these are worth exploring, and thinking about the hidden stories in your own neighbourhood...

Earth Time

Earth Time is a data experiment. It has produced a range of useful maps which help to tell stories with data.
The original buzz about the site was strong, and I had a quick look to find out more.
It wasn't immediately obvious what to do, but I had a play around, and found the STORIES which have been made using the tool.

There's one on Urban Fragility, for example.

Norfolk Day

Image result for norfolk day
It's just a few days now until the first Norfolk Day... it takes place this coming Friday.

I'm going to be heading out and exploring the county and making sure that I #GetOutside - despite the forecast heat...

Meet the Better World Detectives

For the last few months I've been working with Tui on some education resources.

This has involved some work at KS2 and KS3 level, but my focus has been on the KS2 materials.

These have now been made available as an updated suite of resources for KS2 pupils, which involves 6 fully resourced sessions. 

There is an accent on sustainability, which connects with the company's approach of promoting sustainable tourism.
An e-mail is required to download the resource pack, which you should know runs to 274Mb as it includes a range of assets including videos and multimedia, as well as teacher resources to print off. These are fun, and well packaged materials, with nods to social media use, and themes which will be familiar to many young people.
The lessons introduce students to a fictional island first, before exploring plastic in the oceans, coral reefs, and the impact of tourism on local communities and people.

Say hello to the Better World Detectives, and you may find a use for some of these resources within your KS2 curriculum. There are also ideas that are transferrable upwards into KS3.

VR in Fieldwork

I'm going to be talking about this later in the year: the role of technology in supporting outstanding teaching. Come along if you can.

Here is Shailey presenting the work that she completed, along with Ana from the Open University and Steve Tilling from UCL in Northern Ireland as part of a Seminar series on technology and education.

I worked with Shailey and Ana on a research project involving VR a couple of years ago, and we've kept in touch regularly since. I've since written quite a few lesson resources to accompany the Google Expeditions materials.

Fieldwork has a long tradition in geography, and in certain sciences, notably geology, biology and environmental sciences. Fieldwork involves leaving the classroom and engaging in learning and teaching through first-hand experience of phenomena in outdoor settings. Exploration in natural habitats introduces students to the complexity and unpredictability of the real world, stimulates their curiosity, and increases their interest in scientific inquiry. 
However, over the last decade, there has been a decline in field-study opportunities in schools. This presentation describes the first extensive user-centred research programme into the role of technology-enabled virtual field trips as a means for improving the effectiveness of the outdoor fieldwork experience. It draws on a year-long research project that investigated how Google Expeditions, a smartphone-driven mobile virtual reality application, bridges virtual fieldwork with physical field trips and facilitates inquiry-based fieldwork and experiential learning. 
It examines the role of Google Expeditions in primary and secondary school science and geography, outlining the opportunities and challenges of integrating mobile virtual reality in schools and the practical implications of our research for fieldwork education in further and higher education.

SW Coastal Observatory

This is a new site which shares a wealth of coastal data, I hope it is repeated for other stretches of coastline.

It has been put together by the Plymouth Coastal Observatory, but covers most of the SW of England.
It shows a range of data, which can be interrogated, and maps alongside them. They include data on coastal erosion rates.
A Twitter feed here provides some more context for the project.

Mapping resource catalogue here.

Having just come back from the SW (more on that to come in future posts...) this was an interesting site to refer to when visiting Chesil Beach and the Isle of Portland.

Painted stones

This is a thing...
There are various variants of the stones, which are often painted with POSCA or similar pens and sometimes varnished as well.
Not everyone is pleased with the 'trend' but others like the idea that they are encouraging (young) people to look closely, and explore an area.

A little like a stony low-tech version of Pokemon Go perhaps...

What are your views on this? A harmless bit of fun, or 'litholitter'? 

OS Picnic Rugs

I ordered a couple of these picnic rugs the other week for my department from the Ordnance Survey website.

I then used them for an activity with Year 7s on their move-up morning, which got them working collaboratively to locate and label a number of cities. I've also packed them for my summer adventures to make full use of them. Other designs are also available, based on some of the UK's National Parks.

World Snail Racing Championship

The World Snail Racing Championships are held every year in Congham in Norfolk. This year, I went over, as my wife was involved in an art making stall at the event, making snail masks and snail hangings.
The Snail Master, Neil was in charge, and the world's media were there (well, at least three film crews, and other photographers, one from Germany...)
After a number of heats, the grand final was held and the winner was a snail called Hosta, owned by Jo, so named because that was the plant they were found on. This is the moment that the snail crossed the winning post...

What's the strangest event you've been to?
What other World Championships have you attended?

Images: Alan Parkinson

Palau Pledge wins awards

Great to see this wonderful campaign winning lots of awards. It's something I've blogged about before.
It has a connection with the idea of the sustainable nature of tourism, which I've been doing some work with TUI on.

Palau Pledge is worth another look if you haven't already seen it.

Visitors to Palau, a small nation in the Pacific (find it on a map now...) are being asked to do something special.
According to this Guardian article, visitors are asked to sign a pledge which is stamped into their passports on arrival: to 'declare something worthwhile at customs'.

Visit the Palau Pledge website to see (and sign) the pledge.
This was written along with children in Palau. There are various downloads from the website, including

The Mission:Explore philosophy was that we were inclusive and wanted everyone to be an explorer, and not feel they had to travel somewhere dramatically extreme or 'new' to do this - there was exploration on the doorstep if they looked in an appropriate way. Mission:Explore helped them 'see' the potential in their local environment, and we worked with National Geographic to produce a pack for exploring the local area, and with other organisations such as Discover the World Education.

Everybody flying to Palau will now see this inflight movie which shows the purpose behind the pledge. It's worth watching - I will be using this with all the students I teach in 2018 at some stage... I also have a Palau flag on order, which will be displayed in the classroom alongside work produced in response to this...

The Palau Pledge places an obligation on visitors to "explore lightly", so that's something that I've adopted as my motto for the year.

Images copyright: Palau Pledge website / Alan Parkinson

Migration Week

Several weeks ago was Migration Week but as always, migration is an issue every day of the year.

The Guardian did something remarkable on the Wednesday of that week: they put out a supplement which listed the names of over 36 000 migrants who had died trying to get to Europe (or when they arrived in Europe) Details of their names, place of origin etc. were all included, including the cause of death.

Here is the background:

Istanbul-based artist Banu Cennetoğlu, whose work explores the way knowledge is collated and distributed, and its subsequent effect on society, has worked with the List since 2002.

Among other places, she has put it on bus stops in Basel, Switzerland; billboards in Amsterdam; a wall in Los Angeles; advertising columns in Berlin; and a public screen on top of Istanbul’s Marmara Pera hotel.
This is the first time the List has appeared as a supplement in an English-language newspaper; it is also available from today as a downloadable PDF on the Guardian’s website.
The List is not an artwork in itself – the art lies in its dissemination. Cennetoğlu always ensures that the look of the list remains the same – a grid of data, showing the year, the name of the refugee, where he or she came from, the cause of the death and the source.
I had a fascinating talk at the school's Open morning a few weekend's ago with someone who was at the premier of Ai WeiWei's 'Human Flow' documentary.

I've got a copy of that, and will be using elements of it in my teaching next time I teach this topic.

The mapping and data in the Guardian supplement can also be found here.

Plastic Pollution - myths and reality

There is much written at the moment about Plastic Pollution, and David Attenborough has a great role to play in raising public consciousness of the issue in the Blue Planet II series.

Thanks to Grace Healy for the tipoff to this website which has a useful slant on the story.
Marine Litter has a look at 10 'myths and realities' surrounding ocean plastics.

It's been added to my Factfulness Scheme of Work too, as it's important to have several sides to the story, and more than one story...
Go here for the details of that...

Image: Alan Parkinson of Rob Woods artwork 'Legacy', made from cement, wood and plastic

On Chesil Beach

Taught about Chesil Beach for many years, onshore bar, and the tombolo of Portland, and also a big fan when my children were younger of the animation 'Portland Bill', which wasn't set in Portland...
I went over the causeway to the island last week for the first time.

There's the old story about the fishermen or smugglers being able to tell where they are on the beach according to the size of the pebbles, because they get larger from one end of the beach to the other.

Also in the Visitor Centre was a longshore drift machine, which gave my son flashbacks to his recent GCSE revision.

Image: Alan Parkinson

Practical Pedagogies 2018

I came across Russel Tarr's work many years ago. It's been a while since that pint of London Pride though.
One of the best CPD events I attended in recent years was the 2nd running the Practical Pedagogies event, and I am now

There has been a move towards what is called a knowledge-based curriculum (as if other curricula have no knowledge involved...)

Professional repertoire




Swanage from the Air

This picture was taken some time ago, on a return flight to the UK.
You can see the town of Swanage, and the Foreland, at the end of which is Old Harry Rocks. Further along, just out of sight are Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door.
Last week, I was here with family, and it was interesting to visit a classic case study....

Why not visit a classic case study this summer, and share an image of it

Spending time on the Shiants

Adam Nicolson has written about the Shiants in his book 'Sea Room', which sits on my shelf. He inherited the islands, which lie in the Minch.
Fellow Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champion Katie Tunn was fortunate to spend some time on the islands recently, and you can read about it here...

'Twixt sea and pine

A day on the coast a few weeks ago with Year 10s... This is another catching-up blog post

We started with the minibus trip from school to Morston Quay, which takes about an hour and a half from Ely, and we arrived just in time to get Bean's boats to see the seals on Blakeney Point, and then a landing on the spit where we explored the dunes and salt marsh area.

Sheringham is a small town which has the motto named in the title of this blog post. It was a good day exploring the coast, and Sheringham was our next stop, for a look at sea defences and an ice cream. Had a chat to several of the other schools that were also taking advantage of the good weather to visit the coast.
Following that, it was out to Overstrand for a look at the plans to stabilise a moving land slip, and then the trip back to school to arrive in time for the end of the day.
Our booklet that we used will be shared over the summer.

Image: Alan Parkinson

Inside Government - an event to book into your CPD calendar

I'm very much looking forward to speaking at this event in November. It is being organised by Inside Government.
Here's the Policy Background to the day's event, courtesy of the organisers.

The number of pupils taking the Geography GCSE has increased significantly within the last eight years, from 26% in 2010 to 41% in 2016, following the introduction of the Ebacc. Now the eighth most popular GCSE subject, and the seventh most popular A Level subject, there is increasing focus on the geography curriculum and raising standards of teaching its content.

The new geography specifications were introduced in 2016 to improve the quality of geography teaching and encourage higher uptake. The Geography GCSE underwent a moderation of content, with an emphasis placed on the importance of fieldwork and UK geography. 
The impact of these changes also reach Key Stage 3, with a need to prepare students for entering Key Stage 4 by establishing the foundation for the skills and expectations required at GCSE level. The Geography A Level also underwent revision, with some significant changes.

It is imperative that geography departments deliver outstanding geography teaching, which not only prepares pupils to achieve excellent grades under the new curriculum, but maintains a high level of uptake by instilling a sense of engagement with and passion for the subject.

The onus now falls on geography teachers to ensure that their teaching meets the requirements of the new specifications, by optimising data skills and GIS technology within the curriculum and maximising the potential of fieldwork in order to deliver outstanding geography teaching and learning.

There's a rather fine line-up of speakers, who I am very much looking forward to hearing speak for the first time, or working with again.

I'm going to be visiting a number of areas in my contribution. This will draw on the chapter that I wrote for the two editions of 'Debates in Geography Education', published by Routledge. The chapter discussed the place of technology within the Geography classroom, and beyond. It will also have some inputs from a new edition of a fieldwork book called ‘Fieldwork through Enquiry’ which I am co-writing with John Widdowson.
Thanks to Professor Shailey Minocha from the Open University who I worked with on a VR research project which was reported in various journals. She is providing me with some of the latest thinking on the value of Virtual reality in Geography.

Some of the other confirmed speakers include:

Alan Kinder – Chief Executive of the Geographical Association

Steve Brace – Head of Education and Outdoor Learning at the Royal Geographical Society

Paul Turner – Head of Geography at Bedales School

Shelley Monk – OCR Geography subject specialist

Along with the other speakers, some of whom are still to be confirmed, the intention is to explore what can be done in the short, medium and long term and also to provide resources and tools which can be used straight away, as well as providing areas to explore further as time permits. I will be mentioning some of the latest resources that I have been working on. I’m looking forward to seeing Paul Turner speak about the Bedales Assessed Courses (BACs) they offer instead of GCSE Geography. As the External moderator for these courses I have the privilege of seeing the student work that results from these courses, and have helped feed into the way that the curriculum has been developed by Paul and his colleague Jackie.

The booking form is here

There is currently a 10% Early Bird booking offer, which stays open until the 27th of July, and discounts for more than one colleague attending from the same school. 

It would be lovely to see some of you there, down in London, and you can get the event pencilled into your calendar before the end of the school year.

Flourish Visualisations

Flourish is a visualisation studio which creates interesting outputs. One of their latest visualisations gives you the chance to look at the popularity of your name (and the names of others)

Have a play, and then check out the other Flourish visualisations that have been produced.

The popularity of Alan seems to have peaked in the late 40s and early 50s...

Communicating the risk from volcanoes

Hat tip to Professor Iain Stewart for the lead to this excellent resource on the importance of communicating the risk from volcanic eruptions to the one billion people who live within 150km of an active volcano.

The World Bank Blog post has some interesting facts on volcanic activity, and the need for people to react to these appropriately if their impact is to be reduced to a minimum.
Which country has the most volcanoes?
Munich Re produce annual reports which have plenty of additional material for those exploring the nature of natural hazards - it is in their interests to analyse these risks of course, so that they can work out their best responses and reduce their own risks.

An excellent article on the reasons why people live near to Tectonic zones was written by
It was published in the Guardian ahead of the ongoing Hawaii eruption. It seems that affordability was one of the main reasons.
This would be a perfect article for those wanting to explore the benefits of living in tectonic regions.

Also worth following Janine Krippner on Twitter, as she does a good job of communicating the science behind eruptions.

Find a Hood

This is an variant on some of the other similar sites such as Zoopla... another way of visualising neighbourhood statistics. May be of use for someone's NEA somewhere...

Beach Live

This has started on BBC4 and will be on for the next couple of days.
Coincidentally, it is being presented from Charmouth, which is where I was last week on a family holiday.
We even saw some of it being filmed while in Lyme Regis last week, although we hadn't realised it, and also saw the beach being cordoned off so that the open air studio could be built.

Check out Anjana from the Jurassic Coast Trust here, who was also on the first episode. Looks like they will be visiting most of the locations we went to during our week.

Hunstanton Cliffs a new resource

A few resources which I worked on are hitting the internet now (or soon...) in time for the last part of the summer term, when hopefully there are some decisions being made about what to teach in the new academic year in terms of curriculum resources.

First up is a resource which I wrote a while back, and which has now been added to the RGS website (although there are a few final touches still to be added I think...) The resource has the context of the Hunstanton Cliffs, and their erosion and management,
It's turned out nicely, and may be of use for those preparing students for NEAs and other situations.

While we're on a coastal theme, check out this 170+ page report on erosion at Hemsby which contains a wealth of technical detail and images on this area of the coast which has been in the news for a while since the demolition of several beach side homes.

What's in a name...

Here's a challenge for you, which was suggested to me when I came across a chain of tweets...

Hellen Bach took a trip to Hellenbach (which is also quite a nice pun).
Can you go and visit a place which has your name (or an element of your name) during the summer...
Over to you....

#TMGeogIcons18 - Post #6 - The Water Diaries

Looking back again to the recent TMGeogIcons event, and one of the stand-out presentations was Fearghal Nuallain's talk on his Water Diaries project, and the work that he did with the Land Rover Going Beyond bursary.

At a time when we have had no rain for weeks, and rivers are showing very low levels of flow, water is a resource which is beginning to show signs of stress.

David Harvey takes you for a walk...

The Professor of Geography at Aarhus University (and where's Aarhus... it's in the middle of our street) has produced a rather good walk for the RGS-IBG's Discovering Britain website, which is a bit of a hidden secret, despite being around for several years.

The Discovering Britain website now has a walk which was developed by David Harvey, and which will introduce you to a place that he knows well: the area around Tarr Steps on Exmoor.

Why not challenge students to plan their own walk, and this would make a useful summer project for a group of students perhaps, and help them "discover Britain through walks". They can source (or take) some images and research the background. Follow on Facebook for more details.

Ötzi in the news again

There are regular stories of the latest news on the Ice Man, despite it being over 25 years since his body was discovered.
The Guardian reported yesterday on some research on his last meal.

For more on this, you can still get a copy of the Collins book that I wrote a few years ago now.

Shackleton's Carpenter

Saw a poster for this play in Dorset.

Unfortunately it's not coming to the East any time soon, but it looks like exactly my sort of thing.

Here's some more information about it.

Shackleton’s ship, Endurance, sank in Antarctica, leaving him and his crew of 27 stranded. Harry McNish, Shackleton’s carpenter and brilliant shipwright, challenged The Boss, but went all the way with him, ensuring all lives were saved after a journey universally agreed to be the most astonishing voyage of survival in history What was it that caused this man to antagonise the hero of Antarctica? How does he come to terms with it now, alone and destitute on the wharfs of Wellington, New Zealand.

Field Notes: the Coastal series

Field Notes is a brand which I've used for quite a few years now for stationery. They make awesome little notebooks so that you can remember things now as well as later...

There are some excellent previous editions, but they have now launched a Missions edition, which comes with space craft, and the Coasts edition, which you can see an image of below. This has two sets: East and West of USA.

Notebooks are beautifully made. You can read about the cartography on these editions here.

I've secured mine on order, so I can tell you about them now. Here's a short film. They are perfect for recording your summer adventures, when you have the chance to #GetOutside.

Follow them on Twitter too to find out about new notebook series.


A new app which I've downloaded to explore for the days when I head to the coast over the summer.

Follow the associated Twitter feed too, which has more information on the development of the app and the way that it can be helpful for your teaching of coastal regions perhaps.

Visit the coast, and open the app and you will be prompted to add your location, and an image. You can then fill in a questionnaire on how people around you are using the coastline, and the immediate offshore waters. What are they doing, and how many people are involved in each of the activities?

I used it yesterday in West Bay in Dorset, and found it very easy to use.

This is another opportunity to participate in some Citizen science work, and I always try to do that if I possibly can, and involve students as well.

Geography's coming home...

Download these from Simon Jones (small donation welcome), print them off, stick them in your window.... job done :)

Trump visit

Friends of the Earth have made an Action Pack available to coincide with President Trump's visit to London next week. I liked this resistance bingo card which is part of the pack.

The context is President Trump's denial of climate change, and continued support for oil drilling and consumption. I guess there will be quite a turnout in London.

Dramatic Attention Filter

Image result for factfulness

New in on the Factfulness website...

A growing number of people have asked to join the Factfulness Scheme of Work document that is on the Google Drive. This is one of my summer jobs to start to put together.

Adapting to conditions...

WIND from robert loebel on Vimeo.

Velogames Fantasy Tour de France

Thanks to my colleague Dan for setting up a school league for the forthcoming Tour de France.
You can choose a fantasy cycling team, a little the Fantasy football leagues which get points for how they perform each stage. You have points to allocate your team and can make certain changes as the race progresses.
My team is called the Crank Callers.

Unfortunately, the league has had to be suspended due to legal action, which is a real shame.

Earth in Vision

A few years ago, I was invited to be involved with the Earth in Vision project as a teacher advisor of some kind (my memory is hazy) but was unable to get involved due to my teaching commitments. The project has been developing throughout that time, with assistance from other teachers such as Lauren Otoo, and earlier this week the website went live.
It was one of a number of projects involving Joe Smith, the new director of the RGS-IBG.

The project explores content from the BBC Archive, and collects that which has an environmental relevance for educators.
There are three special eBooks which have been (or are being) produced as part of the project.

One of them is of particular interest: a book by George Revill which explores how BBC programming has helped shape how people see the landscape in the way that it is (re)presented.
This can be downloaded in various formats from this page.