Monday, 2 May 2016

Teachmeet in the Weald

Head to the Teachmeet Wiki to sign up….

New British Red Cross resource coming soon

I'm spending my Bank Holiday in traditional fashion… writing to meet a deadline…

As you can see below, I've been busy (again) and been working on a new resource. You can now sign up to be sent further information as soon as the resource has been properly completed.

Just finished going through all the new GCSE and 'A' level specifications and they all contain some opportunity to use this resource to help teach the idea of hazards.

In the meantime, have a sneak preview of a video interview with one of British Red Cross's volunteers in Nepal.

But make sure you sign up first :)

RSGS Journals - now available to view

As an honorary fellow of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, as part of my Tivy Educatin medal (which I don't mention), I receive their excellent journal 'Geographer' periodically.

It's now possible to read the journals online here and also download as a PDF

GA Conference 2016 - Bob Digby Eduqas Session on Decision Making

I've just finished my review of the GA Conference 2016 - search using #gaconf16 top left for all the relevant posts.
One of the sessions I went to was by Bob Digby, and looked at Decision Making and the DME, and how to approach it, or produce it…

You can watch a video recording of the session below now.

Latest Opal Survey now launched - Polli:nation

Do a search on OPAL to find the other Open Air Labs surveys over the years. All resources can be downloaded. 

6400 posts

And fast approaching 2 million views... Thanks for reading! I hope you're finding the content and ideas useful...

Euro 2016 - a context for learning… or a guarantee of exam distractions?

The Euro 2016 football tournament is held in France this year, and takes place between the 10th of June and 10th of July.
It is said that in a World Cup year, the exam performance of boys is affected.
Tournaments like this are also used by geographers as a context for exploring places, linking with Geography of Sport units. I've used the African Cup of Nations before to introduce students to the variety of African nations and cultures, but there is less of a focus these days on the EU, and it is missing from the National curriculum to a large extent.
The timing also clashes with other things that I'd rather be doing in the summer term, such as fieldwork.

I'm not intending making much of the competition, but there'll no doubt be a wall chart up, and will watch the odd game. I'm going to be supporting Iceland this time round.

Anyone else going to be going to town on this as a context for learning?
Interesting that the BREXIT referendum falls in the middle of the tournament... So we could be out of Europe after the first few weeks in more than one way...

Young Geographer of the Year competition now open

The Royal Geographical Society's Young Geographer of the Year competition is now open, and full details are on the website, and also embedded below for your convenience, as in previous years.
The title is "How is Britain Changing".
There are different formats for different age groups, and we shall certainly be entering as in previous years.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

GA Conference 2016 - post 13 of 13

So, it was the end of the conference.

I left the venue, and made my way back to the train station having said my goodbyes to people and thanked Lucy and the rest of the GA team. I walked back through the city and waited around the railway station, thankfully missing the torrential rainfall. My journey back was uneventful, and I was again in First Class thanks to my careful booking and price comparison. Unfortunately the weekend menus were less than interesting...

Next year's conference is going to be at the University of Guildford, and will be on the 20th - 22nd of April.

Resources from the conference are going up on the conference page.

They include a fully resourced 10 lesson scheme on a city in an LIDC based on the city of Kampala in Uganda. This was written by Catherine Owen and Sebastian Witt from The King Alfred School in Somerset.

Thanks for reading this far… Feel free to work back through the previous posts for a full overview of the conference, and use the hashtag #gaconf16 to find other social media etc. while stocks last...

GA Conference 2016 - post 12 of 13

It was now time for the final input of mine to the conference. I set up the room for my Only GeoConnect session which was a bit of an experiment. There were a number of rounds and originally it was going to be a little more sophisticated, but instead I had the one projector as there was no wall to project the spare one against, and Richard Allaway gave me a hand with the timings of the rounds.

It was a version of the BBC quiz, which is presented by Victoria Coren-Mitchell
Here's a picture of the quiz in action.

Thanks to those colleagues who were brave enough to volunteer to take part rather than just watch, and also those 40 or 50 colleagues who stayed until the end to finish their conference with this session. I think I got away with it...

We used PUZZ GRID to create the connecting puzzle walls.
See previous posts for some more of the questions, or get in touch and I'll send you a Dropbox link.

Homework - ideas needed for the next issue of GA Magazine

The Summer 2016 issue of the GA Magazine will be published in the next week or so, and be available online to subscribers.
In my Webwatch column, there's a request for some help with suggestions for apps and websites which are helping you with HOMEWORK in particular.
All contributions welcome.

Next issue: We would welcome your ideas for apps and websites which could be used to provide interesting homework tasks. There is some debate about the value of setting homework – how have you tried to change the nature of homework tasks, perhaps to ‘flip’ the classroom? Or perhaps you’ve done away with it altogether. Let me know what you do, but don't be too late telling me or you’ll get a detention…

High Street stores that disappeared

1976 was a long time ago... but at the time, I was in Year 7 of secondary school.

This BBC story has details on a range of shops which were on the High Street at that time, but have since disappeared from our High Street.
They include Woolworths, Freeman Hardy and Willis and Radio Rentals.

Image: Woolworths in Hunstanton, image by Alan Parkinson

We actually have 5 of those letters including a big red 'W' that were saved from the skip

I follow a really useful Facebook page which is called Pictures of how Rotherham used to be.
This shows hundreds of pictures of the town through the ages, and charts the disappearance of these chains through the decades, and also some more local independent shops. I remember Suggs sports on Wellgate, and Coopers toyshop on Doncaster Gate, where I would get my Subbuteo teams from, for example. There was the snooker hall on the corner of the High Street, where I played, including an impromptu trip down on the bus when the final was delayed by the SAS siege of the Iranian embassy in 1980.

Rotherham was my home town in 1976, although I lived about 4 miles to the east in a smaller village.

I also set up a Flickr group called The Disappearing High Street some years ago.

What shops do you remember from your own home town which have now disappeared?
There are often stories in local newspapers of local chains and shops which have been there for decades, or over a century, which are now closing down...

Ice Station Antarctica - and a StoryMap

Ice Station Antarctica 

You'll remember earlier in the year that I was blogging about the visit being made to the Halley Base in Antarctica by Peter Gibbs (who had spent time on the continent earlier in his career)
The visit has now been made into a programme which would make good reading for anyone interested in Antarctica.

An excellent StoryMap was put together by Brendan Conway from Notre Dame Cobham. You can see it below, or click the link to see it full screen.

This was produced during the journey, which lasted for several weeks, but has been updated, including new images from the Halley VI Winter team plus links to the associated programmes and articles. There was a previous Radio 4 about the journey (e.g. Costing the Earth). The story map provides a useful companion resource.

Take a look at the programme, and check out the StoryMap too.

Cheerful reading...

A Global catastrophic risk is one which has the potential to result in the deaths of at least a tenth of the world's population… can you work out what those would be before reading the report?

(Click the link for a PDF download of the executive summary)

Friday, 29 April 2016

Preparing for AQA GEOG2 Geographical Skills paper - first of a few posts

We are now in revision period with Year 12s as the study leave approaches. We will use this to consider the benefits of particular types of diagram for the Geography Skills paper.

You can place an image in the middle and then fill in the boxes around it as you interpret it.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Inspiring… that's me… (ish)

Inspiring the future… Chris is a former pupil who's gone onto an exciting career… one of several that I've met in the last few years, including Ben the GIS expert, and Lucy the TV weather presenter… Less than 0.01% of all the students I've ever taught, but it's a start :) 

Check out Chris's books on Brutalist architecture and related matters...

Wednesday, 27 April 2016


There's a competition going on the Ordnance Survey's website to win a special t-shirt by sending a picture of a TRIG POINT with the hashtag #TrigPillar80

I've just entered an image of a trig point close to where I used to live on the Norfolk coast. Give it a go.

Sample materials from new OCR A and B GCSE textbooks

But first a message from our editor: David Rogers…

You can download a copy of OCR B Sample materials as a PDF… that's being printed as we speak and will be available within weeks…

OCR A book will be a few weeks after that as it's still being finalised. Digital materials will also be available, with answers to all the activities in the book.

Send off for an inspection copy or more details, and take note of the online discount on orders before the 31st of July...

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Infographic on earthquakes - an interactive map from CNBC

GA CILT Lecture - the playlist

Here's the Spotify playlist that I prepared for my lecture and had playing as people walked in and settled…
Can you suggest any other transport related songs?

Walk this May #Try20

Signed up for Living Streets #Try20 effort in May
Going to try to walk for 20 minutes each day. This will be possible during my lunch break at work I think, and then around the local area - perhaps taking a path I've never been down before (though that will be hard in my home village)

Saturday, 23 April 2016

British Red Cross resource on the Nepal Earthquake - coming soon...

As you can see below, I've been busy (again) and been working on a new resource. You can now sign up to be sent further information as soon as the resource has been properly completed.

In the meantime, have a sneak preview of a video interview with one of British Red Cross's volunteers in Nepal.

But make sure you sign up first :)

Keep the Grand Canyon Grand

Another new StoryMap - links to the campaign of the same name…

Locate that Landmark

Thanks to Rob Chambers for the link to this fun quiz.

Locate that Landmark would be useful for younger students to find well known places, which they could then investigate further.
Which of them are:
a) natural features
b) man-made
c) located in National Parks
d) World Heritage Sites

You could also do it as a competition, as speed is of the essence as well as accuracy.
On my first go on my phone I scored 10,750 on Level 1 - can you beat that?

Also useful for UK Geography introduction - UK is important in GCSE Geography under the new specifications. Those taking the UK Citizenship test also need to be aware of many of these places too.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Coastal Change

For those buying the Hodder GCSE books that I co-wrote, this will make a really useful additional example for one of the activities on coastal processes and change.

Hoping to get down to see this area in the summer and revisit some of the chapters for additional images and materials as people start buying the books….

Icons of England - work with Year 5 and 6

Year 5 and 6 Explorers (in the weekly activities slot) are starting the summer term of exploration with a look at Great Britain (as we run up to the Queen's 90th Birthday). Today, I went through 100 icons of England as voted for in a web poll some time ago (I used it as part of my Pilot GCSE unit on the representation of places). There are also connections to be made with this year's title for the 'Young Geographer of the Year' competition, which looks at changes in Britain (full details should appear in the next week or so)

Students were asked to identify the icons they'd heard of from the list, and those they hadn't. I did a quick whistle-stop tour of all those they hadn't... and they were then asked to identify their chosen Top 10. This is the collation of the whole group's choices.

We will be researching these next week, to produce a visual collage representing Britain, and then focussing on Ely...

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Thought for the Day

If the future's looking dark
We're the ones who have to shine
If there's no one in control
We're the ones who draw the line
Though we live in trying times
We're the ones who have to try
Though we know that time has wings
We're the ones who have to fly…

From 'Everyday Glory' by Rush
Lyrics: Neil Peart
Published by Core Music Publishing

The Queen's 90th Birthday

I'm putting together some ideas for a one-off lesson on 'The Geography of the Queen' for this Thursday, the Queen's 90th birthday, which we're celebrating at the school, and also having a red, white and blue day...
Started to organise a few infographics and information on where she has travelled, and her global significance...

There's a very nice ESRI map showing the countries she has visited.

Next - The Queen in Numbers

From Visually.

GIS Day 2016 - FREE course at my school...

Get in touch if you'd like to book a place. One teacher per school if that's OK.
Details on the poster below...

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Coming soon: Mission:Explore National Parks

One of our previous projects has proved rather popular…

I'll share news of where and when you can get our new book, in association with the National Parks Authority , in a week or two's time… exciting times!!