Tuesday, January 8, 2019

UN Year of Indigenous Languages

United Nation has announced 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages. 
These are vital to indigenous communities.

I'm keen to connect with other teachers to do something around this in 2019, so reaching out to overseas colleagues, particularly those who might be in the Arctic area. 

I was particularly taken by Romesh Ranganathan's visit to Nunavut, which was shown over the Christmas period, and made a point of exploring the cultural strengths of the community, and the importance of the language and traditions such as singing and dancing.

I know that there is a real link between language and the landscape, and it is this I would be keen to pursue, partly based on my interest in the writings of Hugh Brody and Barry Lopez.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Brexit and the full English

An article in the Independent on the likely impact of Brexit on the full English breakfast.
One for our geography of food unit potentially...

Weddell Sea Expedition 2019

I've blogged about the Weddell Sea Expedition before, and it's now underway, and has been getting quite a lot of coverage as well. It was on today's ITV Local news.

The Agulhas II is the vessel which is heading for the Larsen C ice shelf to explore the huge berg which broke off last year, and carry out other research, with an additional aim of trying to get to the area where Shackleton's ship 'Endurance' sank.

Follow the expedition's Twitter feed here.

Visit the expedition's website.

The RGS has created some really excellent resources to accompany the exhibition. These include maps, lesson resources, videos and other media. An impressive effort.

I've also got some copies of the posters which are being sent to all schools by the RGS-IBG.

Image: copyright SPRI and other expedition partners - sourced from Facebook conversation

And if you're interested in this sort of thing, you need to visit the Ice Flows Game website, which explores the physics of ice shelves. Download my resources while you're there :)

Saturday, December 22, 2018

See you in 2019

I'm going to take my traditional Christmas blogging break, and be back in the New Year, unless there are some events that I can't avoid blogging about... I've just had four days on the coast - lovely to be one of the few occupied vans on the site this week - got some further time away organised, and also some writing time, and plenty of family stuff planned... and my birthday too.

As usual, here's a Christmas illustration from one of my favourite artists: Ronald Lampitt.
And here's an extra one this year... a very apt cartoon...

Have a good one!

Thanks everyone for reading the blog this year.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Golden Sands - new DME and other resources

Thanks to Anthony Bennett over at Internet Geography for the excellent images and drone footage of the Golden Sands resort near Withernsea which have been shared over the last few weeks.
I am familiar with Withernsea, as my first ever teaching experience was in the school there during my PGCE.

These are all worth exploring, and the students loved them in the last week of term, when we explored coastal erosion as part of the conclusion to our Adventure Landscapes unit.
Visit the website, or follow on Twitter to see more...

And to make the most of these images, you can now obtain a DME which provides a range of activities for AQA GCSE Geography in particular, including questions, images and activities.

Withernsea DME 1

There is a £5 discount until Christmas Eve. See it described here.

Finally, if you go to the shop you will see details of CPD / fieldwork events that Anthony is running early in the New Year.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Christian Marclay's 'The Clock'

A few weekends ago, I went down to an all-night showing of Christian Marclay's 'The Clock' at Tate Modern. It is a difficult thing to explain, and the reality is different from what you expect, but if you are ever in a place where it is showing, it is worth getting in to see some of the film, although you probably won't watch all of it in one go.

The film lasts 24 hours, and features scenes from hundreds of films where a clock is visible or the time is referenced in the dialogue.

Details of the Tate exhibition  are here.
Here's a PODCAST on the making of the film

And here's what you see when you go inside...

Audience watching The Clock

Friday, December 14, 2018

Kanji of the Year

A Kanji is an adopted Chinese visual character which is used in the Japanese writing system.
The Kanji of the Year for 2018 has been announced: šüŻ, pronounced wazawai or sai, meaning “disaster” or “misfortune.”
The Japan Kanji Aptitude Foundation each December announces a “kanji of the year,” selected by popular vote to encapsulate the year that was. Members of the public send in votes by postal mail, an official website, or voting boxes, selecting a single character and often appending an explanation for the choice. This year’s top pick, wazawai, referred to the multitude of natural disasters that afflicted the archipelago during 2018—serious earthquakes in Osaka, Hokkaid┼Ź, and Shimane Prefectures, a string of typhoons that battered the nation’s shores, torrential rains causing landslides and flooding, and the record-setting heat of summer. “As we look ahead to the coming year,” noted the JKAF press release, “many are hoping that the new imperial reign will bring with it a lower number of disasters to deal with.”
I think this looks like an erupting volcano, plus a flood or storm....
Source: Nippon.com

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Ice Flows Game Teacher Pack now available

A good day today, as we finally launch a resource that has been in the pipeline for over a year, and has been tweaked and improved over the last year or so. I've blogged about it here before.

Here's some text from the official press-release.

The Ice Flows teacher resources pack provides a range of resources and suggested lesson plans built around playing Ice Flows game.   The learning outcomes relate to an understanding of the interactions between ice sheets and climate, and the resulting impact of changes in ice sheets on global sea level.  The resources include explainer videos, some skeleton PowerPoints to use as a basis for lessons, plus added extras such as a Spotify playlist.

The resources are aimed at pupils in KS3 in UK Schools, but the main resources are generic enough to be used with any curriculum or age. We also provide information on how the game could be used in line with the UK curriculum for older pupils.

The resources were created in partnership with the Geographical Association, written by Alan Parkinson, Consultant to the Geographical Association, and Anne Le Brocq, Senior Lecturer at the University of Exeter.  The game “Ice Flows” was developed by Dr. Anne Le Brocq at the University of Exeter in collaboration with Inhouse Visuals and Questionable Quality.  Funding was provided by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) through a research grant led by the British Antarctic Survey.

The 2nd version of the website has also been launched, and we've also added a series of instructional videos which help relate the game to the science that underpins it. If you haven't seen it before (or even if you have) head over to the Ice Flows Game website to take a look.

A new page has now been added to the website.
This includes the link for you to be able to download the teaching pack and associated resources.

Any feedback welcome.
Thanks to students from King's Ely Junior who have helped with their feedback when playing the game, and using some of the earlier versions of the resources.

Thanks also to those teachers who came along to the workshop that Anne and I ran at the GA Conference in April 2018

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Brexit Pop-up shop

Looks like we have reached another stage of the Brexit negotiations...

This weekend, a spoof pop-up shop opened up to connect with the Black Friday sales, and Danielle Majid kindly allowed me to use some of the photos she took. I love the creativity of this sort of 'shop' (you may remember the shop full of knitted products I blogged probably a year or so ago...)

Image credit: Danielle Majid

Sunday, November 18, 2018

TeachMeet GeographyIcons 2019

Good news - just announced on Twitter.
I was proud to have been asked to be the teacher keynote at the first event, and will hope to be there for the 2nd event too... but perhaps just with a short input.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

GA Presidential election bid - some details here

Instead of spending phone credit on voting for the X Factor favourites, I'd like you to consider whether you might want to support me for the role of GA President.
This starts with an election for the Junior Vice President, which would be from 2019-20.
This is followed by the position of Vice President from 2020-2021, President for 2021-2022, and Past President for 2022-2023.

I was asked to submit a 200 word statement as part of the process, which will be placed on the GA website, and the voting will open early in the New Year and close towards the end of February.
You have to be a GA member to have a vote.

Here's my statement:

I have been a GA member since PGCE days in 1986. In 2004, I joined the Secondary Committee and am currently Secretary.
Between 2008 and 2011 I worked as the GA’s Secondary Curriculum leader: part of the team delivering the Action Plan for Geography. I have led many GA CPD events and talks at GA branches across the country. I wrote a significant proportion of the GA website, worked as liaison with GA strategic partners, worked on the Young People’s Geographies project and authored several books for the GA.
I’ve written the GA’s Webwatch column for 12 years, contributed articles to all GA publications and worked with numerous publishers and companies.
I am a Primary Geography Champion, consultant to the GA, worked on European projects on behalf of the GA, and also for the Open University. 
My work during the Action Plan helped change the nature of the GA’s support for teachers , and my Presidential ams would be to revisit this powerful work, refresh connections with RGS-IBG, and promote geographical exploration in various guises.

I’m a full time Head of Geography, blogger, author and tireless supporter of colleagues at all levels, promoting the value of Geography, and received the RSGS’s Tivy Medal in 2013.

I've done far more for the GA of course than can be put into a 200 word statement.

A few more additions for you to consider (not an exhaustive list):

I've presented sessions for the Princes' Teaching Institute Teacher Days.
I set up the GA Ning and GA Primary Champions Ning and supported Champions through their launch event, as well as working as a Champion since.
Took part in the Young People's Geographies project which was an early co-construction project, based around the OCR Pilot GCSE project partly, and which introduced me to Ian Cook and other academic geographers.
Supported the work of the Making Geography Happen project.
Introduced social media aspects to the GA: the Twitter feed now has around 18000 followers.
Served on working groups at previous times of curriculum change, including sessions with HMI OFSTED, SSAT, Awarding bodies and others to shape the GA offering for teachers, the development of the website, and changes to journals.
Member of OCR Geography Consultative Forum group, which meets in Cambridge and Coventry and helped inform specification change, and the support for teachers in the first few years of the new specifications.

Ran the Open University's Vital Portal between 2011 and 2013, producing resources for fellow teachers.
Worked for the GA, along with representatives of other subject associations, to develop courses and assessments for the Diplomas, which ended up not going ahead after a year of work - along with my work on BBC Jam, which never saw the light of day.
Contributed articles to 'The Guardian' and TES on technology in geography.
This was also connected with early work representing the association in the development of Functional Skills materials which were disseminated nationally.
Attended Geography Teacher Educators' Conference and presented four times.

Worked with Follow the Things, TUI, Google, BBC, Royal Geographical Society (numerous projects), Digimap for Schools, Digimap for Colleges, EDINA and other too numerous to list here...

Won a number of GA Silver Awards and Highly Commended Awards for Mission:Explore, Frozen Oceans, and other projects.

Helped judge the GA Publisher's Awards, and review publications for GA journals.
Attended the Association at Work Day on numerous occasions and contributed to Policy discussions.
Work in a school which has held the Secondary Geography Quality Mark, and Centre of Excellence
Mentored other schools to take part in the award - here we are receiving it from Iain Stewart.
Images: Bryan Ledgard

Chartered Geographer
Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society
Winner of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society's Tivy Education Medal - a rare honour

Working as an Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champion into 2019, working to encourage over a million people to become more physically active.
Visited and spoken to many of the GA's Branches, and was previously President of the Norfolk Branch of the Geographical Association.

Some contributions to the GA website:

CPD Units on Geographies of Food and others.
Numerous sections from the Resources page
Contributed to the Top Tips of the Secondary Phase Committee
CILT Resources on Transport and Logistics.
Regular contributor to the ISSIG's excellent 'Notes and Queries' newsletter

I've written articles for all 4 of the GA's journals, and presented well over 200 events on behalf of the GA in various locations including the Finnish Ministry of Education and numerous Universities.

I'm part of the group working to deliver the Critical Thinking for Achievement project to schools across the UK.

Also co-founded Mission:Explore along with Daniel Raven Ellison, and have co-created our books including the original National Trust award-winning book, Mission:Explore Food, Camping, On the Road, Water, Iceland and National Parks.
Blogging: LivingGeography has had over 5 million views, and one of 10 blogs I've written which have attracted a large readership.

I believe I'm fairly well known, and have contributed literally thousands of resources free of charge, and supported thousands of teachers in their professional development either face to face or virtually. I would hope to leverage my networks and hubness for the benefit of the Association.

I'm a full time Head of department, and have teaching experience in Primary / Secondary / FE settings in both State and Independent sector.
And my Presidential lecture will be unlike any you've seen before...
As it says in my statement...

My Presidential ams would be to revisit the powerful work we carried out as part of the Action Plan for Geography, refresh connections with RGS-IBG, and promote geographical exploration in various guises.

My current interests reflect my work on Mission:Explore, and the power of geographical stories to shape curriculum making. I aim to leverage my networks and connections to attract a diverse audience and some wonderful speakers to conference, and support teachers throughout the year, visiting GA branches and other relevant events.

But apart from that...

If you felt you could give me your vote I'd be grateful for the validation of three decades of work in geography education.
Don't worry, I'll give you some more reminders nearer the time, and during the voting period which starts early in the New Year...

I've been blown away by the support shown on Twitter particularly... so many kind comments and people promising their support. I won't let you down if elected, and have already jotted down some of the people I've worked with over the years who I hope I can persuade to join us for conference....

Friday, November 9, 2018

Iceland Christmas ad - it was banned....

Interesting tweet this morning...
Advertising wasteful commercialism is fine, but alerting people to the environmental impact of their consumer choices isn't. This Guardian piece explores the reasons why it deserves to be shown, and why we need to stop using palm oil.
Take a look

Monday, October 8, 2018

Aral Sea: Fast Fashion

When I first started teaching back in the 1980s (I know), a key case study for environmental change, and also the management of water resources, was the decline in the Aral Sea. I had an old VHS tape which followed the tale of the sea's shrinking, with details of the canning factories which were closed, and the ships which were left stranded in the desert that consumed the area. Nick Middleton later visited during his 'Going to Extremes' series, which we also used to show (and there is a matching book also)
He visits Voz Island, which is contaminated due to its location where salt has been exposed at the surface as the sea evaporated....

A Global Oneness project resource explores the latest ideas relating to the Aral Sea too, and there are some useful resources here.
Images by Taylor Weidman are used in this resource.

The tourism aspects of the Aral Sea were picked up in a recent Guardian article too, which shows the possible rehabilitation of this environment, which also could be used as a venue for a music festival. This sounds like an interesting opportunity for the region, and moves away from the idea of dark or disaster tourism.
Interesting description of the area though:
Visitors to Moynaq, a forlorn Uzbek town, are usually disaster tourists coming to gawk at the desolation of the apocalyptic landscape, where the carcasses of ships rot on sand once covered by the world’s fourth-largest lake.

You can see the changing Aral in NASA images from the Earthshots website.
A quick check on ESRI StoryMaps library reveals this map too.

Also in the recent (and rather wonderful) William Atkins book on deserts, there are some alternative perspectives on the area, with a fantastic chapter on the Aral Sea, which is really worth reading.
The area could be turning round, and there are hopes that the sea may begin to grow again in the future.

And the Aral Sea came back to TV tonight with its inclusion in Stacy Dooley's Fast Fashion documentary.

Stacey Dooley travels the world to uncover the hidden costs of the addiction to fast fashion. She sees for herself how toxic chemicals released by the garment industry pollute waterways that millions of people rely on. She witnesses the former Aral Sea, once one of the largest bodies of fresh water, now reduced almost entirely to dust.
These are shocking discoveries likely to make you think twice about whether you really need those new clothes.

A lot of people on Twitter were amazed that an entire sea could disappear just to provide cotton. Just ask a geographer if you want to know more...

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

New poetry from Rob Hindle

My good friend and poet Rob Hindle is back with a new collection, and this time he has turned his attention to the Great War, as we approach the centenary of the Armistice.
The book is called 'The Grail Roads'
Some details on the poems, with a mention for Edward Thomas are included

I've been in the footsteps of Edward Thomas several times, when heading down to Bedales School for my annual visit.

Via Longbarrow Press.

The ribbon of land that runs through north-west France and into Flanders is always being turned over. Each year, the ploughs of French and Belgian farmers uncover shrapnel, bullets, barbed wire and artillery shells; an ‘iron harvest’ that takes in the jumbled debris of the Hundred Years’ War, the Napoleonic Wars, and, in particular, the First World War.

The Grail Roads digs deep into the cultural strata of these conflicts, and is haunted by their correspondences and echoes, from Agincourt to Arras. The poems reimagine the ‘quest’ of Galahad, Gawain, and other knights of Arthurian legend, displaced from their familiar mythology and recast as British soldiers on the Western Front. As the war turns attritional, the vision of the Grail darkens; one by one, the men are gathered into a dream of ‘a first and final home’ beyond the wrecked landscapes.

The Grail Roads is a story of loss and reclamation, estrangement and fellowship, in which we read the human cost, and human scale, of every journey and battle.