Sunday, December 30, 2007

British Bulldogs ???

When I was at Primary School in the late 1960s/early 1970s (check out those kipper ties, flares and sideburns on the old school photos - and that was just the female staff...) we had a playground with a high brick wall, which was fine for playing "Spot" - whatever happened to Spot ? Can you get it for the DS ??
And also there was British Bulldogs...
Unfortunately, they're now all banned...

British Bulldogs is also a phrase often used to refer to people who are patriotic...
The British Bulldog is a symbol of England...

The British are "the bulldog breed"

More recently, issues of national identity have come to the fore with discussions on the newly multicultural / pluralist nature of the UK.

BBC BREAKFAST had a feature on national identity in 2004, and some interesting contents are still available.

Check the excellent BBC BORN ABROAD minisite: 7.5% of people living in the UK were born abroad. Translate that to the population of your school....
This rises to ONE IN THREE IN LONDON....

That then reminded me of the WORLD IN A CITY blog and article in the Guardian, which has a great interactive map and stuff...

How about an activity where you start with people and ask the question: "Born in the UK or not ?"

Here's a sample:


DIDIER DROGBA (specially for Miss Muncaster)

er... some more to come... Any suggestions for ones that students will recognise ?

Also came across this DAILY MAIL article on Rural UK, and Service Deserts and Yorkshire vineyards...

Multicultural UK

Image via Flickr (various users)

This is a bit of a hot potato to get to grips with. It's important to offer a balanced view of all the issues related to the contemporary nature of the UK.
There was also the recent story in the paper related to the change to a 'pluralist' balance of population in cities in the UK.

It was suggested that Leicester would be the first city to get to this point.

One slogan used in Leicester railway station to describe the place is a 'Diverse-city' of people.

The phrase "sleepwalking to segregation" has emerged...

Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail can usually be relied upon to say something that gets people talking... or ranting... Click the link for an interesting take on the Citizenship Guide.

There was also a survey carried out on the attitudes of people in the UK in November 2007, which was also reported in the Daily Mail
The findings are in the image above... Could make an interesting Have I got news for you style activity out of the results, or guess the percentage - that might make a good starter to the lesson.

One idea for you: making a cultural geography EASTER EGG using the DUMPR generator. Why not put an image from another culture on it ? (Idea via Flickr user charmante)

More soon...

Culture: High or Low ?

What are the cultural experiences of the students ?

This is an introduction to this idea, with a sort of quiz to get them thinking (hopefully) about the issue of culture and its relationship to groups within the population.

Culture is manifested in music, literature, painting and sculpture, theatre and film and other things. Although some people identify culture in terms of consumption and consumer goods (as in high culture, low culture, folk culture, or popular culture), anthropologists understand "culture" to refer not only to consumption goods, but to the general processes which produce such goods and give them meaning, and to the social relationships and practices in which such objects and processes become embedded. For them, culture thus includes technology, art, science, as well as moral systems.
If you want to

JAMENDO is a source for free music (thanks to Noel Jenkins for the tip-off)

Some interesting stuff in one of my Christmas presents too:


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Pick the Geography out of that...

Was just reminded of this video...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

English Folk Music

How much does it reflect English rural culture ?
Here's a Christmas dose of Kate Rusby for you, with Andy Cutting on accordion

Saturday, December 22, 2007

London the Capital of the World

Excellent Independent feature, which includes a chance to download spreadsheets of the data that was used in the analysis.
Click the front cover image for more details...There are already over 50 COMMENTS on the blog related to this story.. Would make a good example for Cultural Geography and also Global Branding...

Which cultural group are you in ?

Thanks to Tony for the tip off of this Daily Telegraph article, which suggests that we can be put into 4 groups: perfect for the Cultural Geography ideas that we will be exploring after Christmas.

Which group are you in ?
I'm a picky ominivore...

Monday, December 17, 2007

N - S Divide

This post on the STRANGEMAPS blog has an intriguing suggestion for where the North - South split in the UK might be.
Where would you have put the dividing line ?

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Simpsons and Geography

Today, with my Pilot GCSE group, we explored the cultural references that were included in the episode of the Simpsons where they visited the UK
We spotted about 40 or more cultural references to people, films, food, daily life, language (spelling color with a 'u')

We also discussed why it was called the Regina Monologues, but we won't go into that here, it's a family blog....
Don't forget WIKIPEDIA for more information too on this episode...

Also looked at the BBC NEWSROUND story from the time that the episode was first shown, where it was suggested that David Beckham was not famous enough. Would that change now that he plays for LA Galaxy ?

And if you want to make your own SIMPSONS AVATAR or CHARACTER, you can visit the SIMPSONS MOVIE site. Here is an image of me as a Simpsons character:
Why not make you ?
The SIMPSONS CRAZY site features a large selection of Screenshots (as they do for each Simpsons episode), which is a great resource for teachers who want to produce worksheets related to particular episodes that they might use.

Don't forget the Simpsons page of GEOGRAPHYPAGES too.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

How about making a film ?


The night before next year's GA Conference is the OUR WORLD FILM FESTIVAL.
This is being organised in association with the GIVE GEOGRAPHY ITS PLACE campaign.

A showcase of geographical filmmaking, Our World Film Festival is a visual adventure into our changing planet to promote our understanding of the geographies that we live.

Our World will be a wonderful mix of films made by both first-timers and professionals alike. If you haven't made a film before we have some support for you at the end of this page.

Booking: Tickets will go on sale from Sunday 24 February at the Odeon Box Office. You can book in person, by phone or on the web. Further details will be provided soon.

Folens geography@work film-making competition
11:00 - 12:00 £2.00
Student films: Do you really know where you live?
Teacher films: Extreme geography

An outstanding showcase of short films submitted for the 2008 geography@work film-making competition that test geography's boundaries.
Website: Folens

A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash
12:30 - 14:30 £3.00
Feature film & debate with special guests
'A Crude Awakening is an informative and unashamedly apocalyptic documentary about the world's obsession with oil that makes An Inconvenient Truth look positively chipper.' The Times
Website: A Crude Awakening
Website: Reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

An Alternative Guide to Our World
15:00 - 16:30 £5.00
A showcase of geographical shorts
A wide range of short films that exploit geographical thinking including In Passing, a film about the psychogeography of a blind woman's experiences of Manchester and entries from 'The Secret Geographer' competition on 'the Geography of...'

The Story of Stuff

We inhabit a material culture. We are surrounded by 'stuff'...
This stuff adds up to a huge cost. Every year, there is the latest 'must have' gadget

Thanks to Helen Nurton from SLN Forum for telling me about the STORY OF STUFF, which is the latest product of Free Range Studios (you may know them from such interactive web based resources as 'The Meatrix' and 'Store Wars'...)

The resource is immediately engaging (it was to me anyway, but then I'm easily pleased...) and follows the cycle from EXTRACTION to DISPOSAL before suggesting an alternative way.
Download the ANNOTATED script for loads of weblinks.
An excellent piece of work.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

High Rise

"Up in the highrise, watching the girls eyes. Waiting to hear you, I am alive. Up in the highrise, tonight where the fun lies. Waiting I fear too...the elements rise."
This Picture from the album "City of Sin"
Image of Park Hill Flats above Sheffield Midland Train Station in the 1960s, taken by Flickr user sparkgap's dad.

Let's play word association...

"Tower blocks..."

Try to avoid the following images: lifts smelling of urine, fear of crime, Ronan Point, concrete, demolition, windows, nowhere to play...

Why has this image developed ? 'Is' this the image you had ?

The development company URBAN SPLASH has some intriguing web resources.

Several of their developments would be a useful counterpoint to the more negative images that people might have...

I used to live in Huddersfield, and just up from the road in Newsome where I lived was an old textile mill with a huge chimney which was sat empty, but would perhaps now have been redeveloped.


Park Hill flats are an image I have seen regularly for the whole of my life: squatting on the hills on the approach to Sheffield. Have spent some time wandering and driving through them at intervals over the past few decades.

"Streets in the sky..." was the original plan.

This extract from an OPEN UNIVERSITY course document gives a good description of the plans (you can download this as a word file)

Each apartment had a front door which looked out onto a twelve-feet wide access deck ('street'), which ran from one side of the scheme to the other. Bridges carried the street through the entire scheme, allowing milk floats to trundle from door to door.

Jack Lynn was worried that the lobby space in other Modernist estates tended to become a no-man's land, serving neither public needs nor offering privacy to residents, and it was hoped that the 'streets' would solve this problem. He remarked enthusiastically on the different colours of linoleum at each doorstep as proof that residents' individuality was not being smothered by gargantuan surroundings.

But Park Hill's problems quickly became apparent. The streets allowed some of the worst aspects of urban life to remain (muggers found they made convenient getaway routes), whilst failing to preserve the better aspects.

They were never really streets in the real sense. Although the architects had included shops, a school, and a pub in order to create a distinctive community within the estate, the access decks were really just long walkways with none of the vibrancy, diversity, and organic feel of a city street which has grown and changed over decades or even centuries.

In the Unité d'Habitation in Marseilles, Le Corbusier had enclosed his streets within the building: in Sheffield they were left open on one side, and exposed to the less clement Yorkshire climate.

The idea was that the milkfloat would float along the streets

Read the text in the Urban Splash brochure to get a nice feeling for the importance of Park Hill flats.

Sheffield didn't just have Park Hill. There was also Kelvin Flats and Hyde Park Flats.

One of the best examples of a web resource which has the potential to be developed into the classroom is the website of Peter Jones, who lived in these flats.
His website, called 'STREETS IN THE SKY' is one that you must visit.

His story, which features his atmospheric photography and skilful line drawings can be viewed a the PARK HILL FLATS site. There are some rude words if that sort of thing offends you, but this is an absorbing read ! It has a lot of embedded geography.

Check out the WIKIPEDIA page, which suggests that Park Hill Flats are Europe's largest listed building...
Also check LEE GARLAND's photography page.

Plus FLICKR user Russel_photog's SET.

Urban Splash are now redeveloping PARK HILL. You can download the brochure I mentioned above (PDF download)

THE 3 TOWERS, Manchester

A great little site with sound effects and chunky music too has been produced by URBAN SPLASH.


Another of Urban Splash's projects.

Also don't forget the classic Geography Programme about Glasgow which features Basil Spence's designs, and the couple who live in them...

Noel Jenkins famously used audio powerpoint annotation to attach small WAV files to a powerpoint image of high rise buildings.

There are plenty of HIGH RISE and TOWER BLOCK resources on the web.

The site TOWERBLOCKS: covers the Sustainable Towerblocks initiative.

Also the PHOTO GALLERY here.

I think this idea has a lot of legs, and will be developing a unit on this for my new KS3 SoW, and adapting it for use with the new GCSE and also KS5 specifications.
Rebranding Places springs to mind...

Keep an eye out for something on this at the GA Conference... Potentially...

To be continued...