OS Puzzle Book 2

This forthcoming book - due out in October-ish - has a slightly different format to the previous book, with puzzles set in the different regions and taking you on a tour of Britain.

Looking forward to seeing a copy, particularly the East of England section.


East London Geography Hub

On Twitter earlier: a new networking option for teachers in East London.

The Fate of Food

Latest book on the reading list is 'The Future of Food'.
The review mentions a product called Soylent, whch stirs memories of Soylent Green, although the ingredients of this product are rather different.

More to come on this...

Thought for the Day

"Nature has more time and energy than any government has time or money" 
Professor Denys Brunsden
GA President, 1986

Inside Air BnB

Inside Air BnB is a site which opens up some of the issues responding to the changes taking place in some neighbourhoods due to the increasing number of properties being listed with airbnb rather than being occupied by their owners, or made available for longer term rentals or sale. This is affecting property prices, and leading to neighbourhoods occupied by residents and short term 'visitors' who do not need to be mindful of annoying the residents as they are only there for one or two nights.

This is certainly an area to consider further for a unit connected with Sustainable Tourism.

Wendell Berry

This is an excellent piece on someone who has written a great deal of sense over the years, including pieces on our relationship with the land.
Check out his books.
Image result for wendell berry quotes

Waterbeach New Town

A few miles to the East of Cambridge, and with a station on the line to King's Lynn is the small settlement of Waterbeach.
A new town is proposed to be built here, and has been given permission by those who make those decisions locally.
It will involve thousands of new homes being constructed and even a new railway station.

Vision for proposed New Town

Planning documents can be downloaded here.

As I mentioned also involve relocating the railway station, which is currently too short a platform to allow the planned new trains to use it.

I will be following these developments for the next few years.

Bourdain on Cities

Anthony Bourdain was a chef who wrote about the secrets of restaurant kitchens in his book 'Kitchen Confidential'.
He later wrote a series of other books describing his travels around the world in search of exciting culinary adventures.
Latterly, he was an author and TV presenter, who travelled the world.

He died last year, and there was a recognition of how powerful his career had been from many people who talked about how he had influenced.
This article outlines some of his legacy with respect to his 'geographical' skills as a traveller, in exploring what made cities tick.

Image result for bourdain quotes

MS Roald Amundsen

The new Hurtigruten cruise ship is ready to take people to the South Atlantic.
There's a virtual tour around the ship available.
It has a number of features to make it a little more 'green'...

Cosmo Park - an amazing place

Came across this place some time ago, and the Guardian Cities column now has an excellent article on Cosmo Park. It's in Jakarta and is located, incredibly, on the roof of another building.
It is on the 10th storey of a shopping mall.

The image of Cosmo Park was apparently taken by Shahrir Bahar.

Known as parasitic architecture.

There are some good reasons why this might be a good idea.

The houses can be built at 40% below market price, he said, because there is no land to buy. Instead of exchanging money, he offers to improve other parts of the existing building during construction.

"Building on top of roofs is not only an ecological and economical solution, it’s working against the urban sprawl that kills the social link," he said.

In an earthquake zone, that might be less of a good idea.

Leading Primary Geography

If there's one thing you can guarantee, it's that the GA will publish books of quality, and I know that I would say that, but I've been using the GA's publications for longer than I've been writing them, or associated with the production of them.

One thing I'm proud of has been my association with the Primary colleagues who support the work of the GA through the Early Years and Primary Committee. I've attended their meetings, and worked with them in various ways since 2008, when I was involved with the creation of support for the Primary Geography Champions network.

There are many schools who have no geographer on the staff, and there is only a short geography input into many PGCE courses for Primary, so often people with different specialisms may be handed the job of geography coordinator.
This book aims to be a handbook for those who are asked to lead on Primary Geography.

Many of the examples are drawn from recent work on the Primary Geography Quality Mark, including student work and teacher planning. I have been involved with moderating these awards for many years, and recently completed the 2019 cohort. The people writing this book have a range of experiences in leading Primary geography themselves.

The book is split into 7 sections, each edited by a leading name in Primary Geography education, and focussing on one aspect of leading the subject. I liked the curriculum section, and also reading Leszek's section - we had previously worked together as one of the moderator pairs, and it was an excellent day of CPD for me to see how he explored the evidence for the quality of the geography, and the questions he asks... the new OFSTED inspection framework will be an interesting experience for teachers I think.

1. Introduction  - Tessa Willy and Steve Rawlinson
2. Key Concepts - Simon Catling
3. Key Skills - Stephen Pickering
4. Teaching Approaches - Richard Hatwood
5. Geography in your Curriculum - Richard Greenwood
6. Integrating Geography - Leszek Iwaskow, Julia Tanner, Ben Ballin and Susan Pike
7. Effective Subject Leadership - Paula Owens

As with all recent GA publications, there are additional online materials available using a code printed in the book.
These include documents, examples of student work and school planning, and useful web links.

I will be handing a copy to my Primary colleagues in the new academic year.

Disclaimer: I am closely associated with the GA, but this is my honest opinion - it's an excellent resource for Primary (and Secondary) colleagues.

Binns and Kinder

Image result for a case for geography binnsTony Binns was President of the GA in 1994. One of the many contributions that he made to the GA was to co-author 'A Case for Geography' which was a response to the then Secretary of State for Education's Keith Joseph's challenge to the geography community to state a case for a place in the curriculum. They met with Kenneth Baker, Joseph's successor, and presented this case.

In 1991, following sustained lobbying and advisory activity by the GA over several years, geography won its ‘place in the sun’ as a foundation subject at key stages 1, 2 and 3 in the first National Curriculum for England.

He will have his own entry on my GA Presidents blog in due course as a result.
Check out the progress on the blog so far.

He has just published a new article with Alan Kinder, and it is currently open access.

You can currently view it FREE ACCESS here.

Check out 'A Case for Geography'.

The value of GIS

An excellent new video from ESRI

James Fairgrieve (1926)

Unearthed while writing my GA Presidents Blog.

Teachers need subject knowledge... and a rationale for why they teach what they do.

UN CC Accreditation - get yourself on the map

cover photo, Image may contain: textThere seems to be a growing consensus now about the importance of teaching climate change in schools.
And from my personal perspective, and Steve Brace of the RGS agrees, it's perhaps the geographers who are best placed to do that within the curriculum.

However, all curriculum subjects could bring their own perspectives to the issue: the scientists exploring the atmosphere, mathematicians exploring the data behind changing temperatures, the English teachers studying appropriate books, and Historians exploring the Little Ice Age and the widespread impacts of previous changes in climate over a short time period.

You may also have other ideas of how your subject can support the teaching of climate change.

Are you on the map of climate change teachers yet?

It may be that the summer is the perfect time to go through the accreditation, or perhaps you prefer to wait until the new school year?
The accreditation involves a range of quizzes, following working through a series of modules on climate change topics. I've blogged about the process previously.

The deadline to be part of phase 1 of the project is the end of September.
Don't delay...
Because climate change won't wait either.

I mentioned Greta Thunberg earlier and the author Melissa Harrison has been co-ordinating a crowdfunding project to get more copies of the book into schools. This has been very successful, and the amount raised is increasing.

If you would like to get some copies of the book for your own school, particularly if your budget would otherwise make it difficult for you to do this, then you need to request some copies.

Watch Alex Standish on Sunday Morning Live.

Watch from 18'35"

Alex talked about the need to provide a more optimistic vision of the future (as David Alcock has posted on his blog) 

'Ouses 'Ouses 'Ouses

Landscape and music... up on the old Chalk Downs... 
Perhaps these were the houses. (PDF download)
Currently reading up on music and landscape, more to come...

Video game cartography

"I wisely started with a map, and made the story fit."
J.R.R. Tolkien

Last year, I loved the academic keynote of Phil Jones at the first TMGeographyIcons event.
He was speaking about video gaming and the link with place.
This article, via Canadian Geographic, explores the fundamental importance of the map to these games. The early text based adventures were all about the map of course, as this dictated where places could and could not go and ultimately led to each action, and the development of any narrative.
Plotting alternative routes through choose your own adventure game books has also been done.

This video shows the potential for exploring landscapes, and the research that is done to bring them to life, although always with a bit of artistic license to fit the game dynamics one supposes.
More to come on this area...

Venture Thinking - AR resources

Thanks to Heather from Venture Thinking for sending me some samples of some of their AR (Augmented Reality) resources.
I had seen similar cards before, but not had a chance to have a play with them in detail. They have been very well received by all who have seen them.

I had previously contacted one company to suggest that there was an opportunity here to bring geographical processes to life: this would include the rock cycle, coastal erosion, volcanic eruptions, ecosystem change etc. They said they were concentrating on other areas, which is fair enough.

The first was a historical map of London, which comes to life when looked at through the camera on a smartphone with a historical timeline. Here is the city of London burning during the Great Fire as animated when looking through the phone camera at the map image.

Heather sent me 2 packs of AR cards as well. I had a look at these with some KS2 pupils. They are on the theme of Space and Animals.
They are rather good. Each one comes to life with an animal or animation when placed within the camera and the app is running.

Would be a nice way to introduce or consolidate learning on topics that the cards relate to...
More to come in the new school year..

Which GA President?

I've been spending the last few days of damp weather working on some research for my GA Presidents Blog project.

Which GA President's work produced this image?

I started the blog back in April and launched it at the GA Conference Teachmeet. It hasn't had too many visitors yet. 

It will eventually have a biography of each GA President.

Will you go out with me?

National GetOutside Day is coming round again.
This time it will take place on September 29th 2019.
What are your plans?
Save the date.
I'm working on something creative that will involve exploring my local area in Norfolk.

South Georgia Heritage Trust - my latest project

South Georgia is an important and fascinating place, which is of global importance despite its remote location in the South Atlantic.

It was first approached closely by mariners taking part in Captain Cook's 2nd voyage around the world in January 1775, although it is thought that Portuguese sailors first saw it on the horizon, amongst the sea ice and the bad weather in the Southern Atlantic Ocean. Captain Cook went on shore to claim the land for the King.
At the time, he described it as a "terrible and savage place" and described seeing:
‘Seals, or sea-bears, were pretty numerous. Perhaps the most of those we saw were females, for the shores swarmed with young cubs’
This description caught the attention of some people when he returned, as sea-bears were otherwise known as fur seals, and had valuable pelts.
The sealers moved in, followed by whalers. They came on wooden ships overrun with rats and mice and these all came ashore eventually.

For centuries, the island was over run with rodents, the escapees from the ships which landed there to exploit the resources of fur seals, whales and sea lions. The whalers built a settlement at Grytviken, which is still the hub for visitors, and slaughtered millions of seals, whales and sea-lions. The rats bred, and made their homes in the burrows made by sea birds, whose eggs they consumed for food.
Shackleton made his way there in the 'James Caird' from Elephant Island, following the sinking of the 'Endurance'. Arriving on the wrong side of the island in King Haakon Bay, he made an incredible crossing of the island along with Frank Worsley and Tom Crean.

The thousands of tourists who visit annually, often paying their respects and take a dram at the grave of Sir Ernest Shackleton are entranced by the dramatic glacial landscape, precipitous peaks and valleys and the millions of penguins which can be seen in these panoramic views.
There are also people working there for the scientific season, for the British Antarctic Survey, or manning the museum run by the South Georgia Heritage Trust.

I have recently started work on a major new resource for the South Georgia Heritage Trust, which will be available in full early in the new year. 

I've created the structure for the resource, which is designed to tell the story of the SGHT's work, as well as introducing students to this amazing place. In this way, the resource will cover a whole range of different topics, relevant to National 5 Geography in Scotland, and KS3-5 in England and Wales (with some elements of iGCSE and IB Geography too for good measure).

This project will also involve my friend Val Vannet, who I have known for over 15 years. We are going to be doing a workshop at the Scottish Association of Geography Teachers' Conference in October, up near Stirling.

If you are coming to the SAGT conference, please sign up to our workshop.
We will also be putting in for a session at the GA Conference in 2020.
Here's a map of Grytiken, embedded using the Google Maps API.
Explore it...

I've also treated myself to a suitable map to plot my various work.
These are published by the British Antarctic Survey.

The resource is taking shape nicely, partly with the help of the South Georgia Association, 

Svalbard - coming soon...

"Climate change is a reality. Caused by us all, it is a cultural, social and economic problem and must move beyond scientific debate. Cape Farewell is committed to the notion that artists can engage the public in this issue, through creative insight and vision."
David Buckland, 2007

Welcome to Longyearbyen... the northernmost town on Earth.

Svalbard is a place which has been part of my teaching for many years, going back to the Cape Farewell pack, partly written by Fred Martin, and accompanying the long-running Cape Farewell project.
David Buckland is the Director of the Cape Farewell Project. This has taken many scientists and artists and musicians to the Arctic.
Also check out Ben Vidmar, who is growing food on Svalbard.  His website has a lot more information on the project which involves Polar Permaculture.

Check out this video as well.

I couldn't let an opportunity go by to make use of a personal connection.
My colleague Claire is visiting Svalbard this summer, and one outcome from that will be a new resource which I am fleshing out at the moment.

This will be available in the new school year.

Thanks to those who have already contributed ideas for a Svalbard word cloud, and some personal memories of having visited Svalbard. Svalbard was in the news for a sad reason a few days ago, with the discovery of hundreds of dead reindeer.

An Englishman's home.... is unaffordable for many

There's been a housing theme to many of the tweets and other social media in the last week or so.

I've just finished reading 'Homesick' by Catrina Davies. 

In the book, Catrina describes her move down to Cornwall to live in a shed owned by her father, and make it a home, fighting various battles along the way with finances, rats, the cold and planning authorities.

Danny Dorling is mentioned in the book, and listed several times in the Appendix of sources. His book from 2014: "All that is solid" is about the housing crisis.

"The perceived 'national' housing shortage is in fact a regional shortage, part of the growing north/south divide. Everywhere there is vacant housing that needs to be used better. But in certain areas there is a growth of empty housing stock that is partially disguised by very high rates of underoccupancy, rates made possible by how cheap housing away from jobs has become. Or, to put it better, cheap as far as people with 'good' jobs are concerned."

At the same time, tonight we had a George Clarke documentary, which he trailed on his Instagram page. He is looking back at the era when social housing was built.
It's 100 years ago today that the Addison Act was passed which kick-started council housing. Dr. Christopher Addison was Health Minister when he brought in the Act after WWI. They were also known as 'Homes for Heroes'. Many soldiers arriving on the front line were unfit to fight because of the slum housing they had come from.

Check out his petition - and watch the short video to introduce the context, and his plans to build a new estate next year.
Catch the repeat of the programme on 4OD. 

My grandparents lived in Council houses. My parents decided to push themselves to be owner occupiers. I have written about that previously.

I know that I am fortunate to be a houseowner. We bought our house back in the last century when a three bedroomed house was less than £100 000, and my mortgage is affordable. I would not be able to get a mortgage if I was buying a house now.

The availability of council houses goes back to 1919's Act
The loss of social housing, through decisions made by successive Tory governments (and the way that it led to 'unintended consequences') has robbed many of their chance to ever own propery and escape the rental market, which is open to abuse and excess.
Lynsey Hanley's 'Estates' is one of my favourite books - the story of the Cutteslowe Walls is still important today.
Almost 50% of the population used to live in a council house.

George was brought up in Washington New Town: providing space and security for families. I loved how he talked to Graham Bell, who helped plan the whole town. With the GA President for 1937 being Patrick Abercrombie, there is a geographical connection there too.

Permitted development rights are being used to split old buildings into much smaller accommodation. The Addison Act said minimum space was 75 square metres (some places are now less than 20 square metres).

We have millions living in poverty, or temporary accommodation which is of poor quality, although the Government has failed to spend some EU money to tackle that. We need to build 100 000 homes a year (at one stage we were building 150 000 a year).

Image of sold sign: Alan Parkinson, shared under CC license

Planet Dirt

This is a cracking little map made with Mapbox.

It shows the real etymology of the names of countries apparently.
Thanks, as with many of my map-related posts, to Keir Clarke for the original tipoff.

The map also has a layer showing the original name as well for comparison.

Got an idea for a Storm name?


You know what to do... 
Get in touch with the Met Office. I think Storm Alan sounds scary...

Cities and Music

"To be modern is to find ourselves in an environment that promises us adventure, power, joy, growth, transformation of ourselves and the world – and at the same time that threatens to destroy everything we have, everything we know, everything we are.” 
Marshall Berman

More on cities to follow up on the discussions around choice of cities.

I've been preparing some new updates for the 2nd edition of the new OCR A and B Geography books for Hodder, and deciding which city to use as the main case study. I've made my decision, and finished the resource.

Cultural Landscapes are one aspect of cities which I've explored a lot, thanks to the influence of Simon Oakes, Jo Norcup, Alex Schafran and a whole range of other culturally-inclined geographers.
I'm also excited to get properly stuck into one of my summer reads: 'Hit Factories'....

I need to explore this a little more and work it up into a unit of work on music and cities.
More musical urbanism also comes from this story from last month:
Jarvis Cocker got a mention on the recent AQA 'A' level Geography exam.

It's all part of my planned curriculum for Living Geography which is in the making at the moment as a longer term project. I'll be sharing it in the New Year.

Stacey Hill, head of curriculum for geography at AQA, said of the Jarvis Cocker piece:

“The question was on how external factors such as art can influence a person’s perception of a place, as opposed to how a local person – in this case someone from Sheffield – might feel about their surroundings. The reason we chose the Pulp lyrics was because they fit the purpose for this type of this question very well.”

Thanks to Jo Norcup for the following link as well, related to the links to music
A Black Sabbath exhibition is currently open.
Also Carl Lee mentioned quite a few extra things in his book 'Home' on Sheffield.
At the GA Conference in Sheffield, I made a Cultural Geography diagram using Mentimeter of Sheffield, and this was the outcome.

Just finished the book.

Geography Hacks

Victoria Fowell is the new Geography Subject Advisor at Pearson, replacing Jon Wolton.

She has recorded several short videos where she shares some Geography Hacks.

Take a look here.

GeoCapabilities in print

One of the many projects I've been involved with over the years was GeoCapabilities.

It was also one of the most fulfilling, and with the greatest legacy value.

It involved some excellent trips and meetings to Helsinki, Brussels and other locations, and working with some fine folks including David Lambert, Sirpa Tani, Michael Solem of the AAG and Richard Bustin.

The full project website offers a full course for teachers, with resources and video materials.
Richard used the GeoCapabilities project as the basis for his PhD.

I was delighted to hear that Richard has now written a book on the potential of this type of approach, which will be available later in the year from Palgrave Macmillan. I'm hoping to get hold of a review copy so that I can explore how Richard has developed the original ideas that we had, and which I helped to shape and then communicate.

Another reminder as well of the vital importance of the ERASMUS+ projects.

Deforestation Visualisation

The Amazon Rainforest is under greater threat than ever with the current political situation in Brazil reducing protections, and threatening the land of indigenous peoples.
This visualisation is excellent and sobering. Select your home area and see how quickly it disappears.

Love Lock resource

Not related to this legend, who is now 100 years old...

But instead to this practice - which is affecting bridges in cities around Europe.

There's a whole host of resources linked to from this story, and I've made a start on linking them together into a single resource with themes of changing places, sustainable tourism, and all based around a DME.
Will be freely available when it's completed as always.

Image copyright: Alan Parkinson - shared under CC license

Living Wales - Earth Online

An attempt to capture the changing landscape of Wales

Read more about the project here. (PDF download)

It is using a range of images and data sets to capture the landscape.

Fame at last... again :)

Pleased to see that I was featured as the lead story on the Independent Education Today website, which mentioned by accreditation as a UN Climate Change Teacher.
I am pleased to see that it also mentions the work I'm currently doing with the South Georgia Heritage Trust, of which more to come later... and my forthcoming role with the Geographical Association.

Humanities 20:20 Podcast

I've blogged previously about the Humanities 20:20 project.

This podcast features an interview with Simon Catling talking about the background to the project, which aims to promote the importance of the humanities in Primary geography.


Earlier in the week, I met up with Anthony Bennett from InternetGeography.
He has created an excellent subscription website, which costs £20 for access to a whole host of resources, which Anthony is adding to all the time. He has also created stand alone resources, such as a DME which I use, and is just a few pounds to purchase.

The reason we met up in a beer garden in Holme-next-the-Sea was that Anthony was down in Norfolk to collect imagery and fly his drone to develop some new materials.

We talked all things geography and discovered, amazingly, that Anthony would have been a pupil at the time when I was doing my PGCE teaching practice at Bransholme School in Hull, back in 1986/7.

Which makes me surprisingly old, and him surprisingly young.

Anthony headed round the coast and has started to share some of the images he took... Watch out for the results over on his website in the weeks to come.

Other geographers are very welcome to meet up for a beer on the Norfolk coast this summer.

Anthony has been quick off the mark on his return, and has added a Happisburgh Case Study to the website.

Winners... and losers...

These shirts were made to celebrate the championship win of Manchester City.
They cost over £100, but the people who make them are paid just a fraction of that.
Who are the winners and losers in this situation?

An interesting point was made here by one of the readers who commented below - one to discuss.

This seems to be a perfectly valid point.

Going hungry for summer

Earlier this week, the last schools in England which have been holding out for the summer holidays will finally come to the end of the summer term, my wife's among them.

This will not be welcome news for some parents, not just because they now have to look after their children instead of dropping them off at school, but because their children will not have their school meals.

Many families are in receipt of free school meals for their children, and for some children, the breakfast or lunch their children get may be their only cooked meal of the day.

This summer, a record number of families will find themselves struggling to feed themselves.

Food banks are being used in record numbers, driven up by austerity which has led to freezes in pay at the same time as rising costs, growing number of zero-hours contracts which reduce the unemployment rate but don't guarantee high levels of pay, and changes to the benefit system leading to delays.

Some schools are staying open partially in order to continue to provide some sort of meal. This is fairly shameful that millions of children are living in poverty.

Find your nearest Food Bank to support here.

If you have a chance, drop a few tins and other items into the food bank collection point which is likely to be in your local supermarket if you can...

Image: Alan Parkinson, shared under CC license.