Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year - see you in 2014

Or Happy Holidays, as Google has it...

Image: Ice floes near Helsinki, by Alan Parkinson

Monday, 23 December 2013

2014... what's to come...

I hope you enjoyed reading about 2013 earlier today. It was an interesting and at times challenging year that took in eight different countries, over one thousand teachers, tens of thousands of miles of travelling, a number of awards, and a career swerve.
As I prepare to take a blogging break and celebrate my 50th birthday (!) here's a look forward to some of the things I've got planned for next year already. There's room for plenty more of course, so if you're reading this and you'd like to get in touch to find out about working with me, you can do it via the About.Me link down the right hand side of the page.

So what's already on the calendar ?


Well, priority goes to my teaching. Three and a half days teaching Geography at King's Ely. If you want to see some of the awesome students that I teach, head over to iPlayer and watch from 33 minutes in...

I'm also involved in a range of projects with Explorer HQ, and we've got some big plans for 2014. We're going to be finishing off our work on DISTANCE by working with a range of schools exploring new ideas, and also launching our Mission:Explore Water resource, as well as continuing into the next stage of the KNEE HIGH project. We have several other planned projects, which is inevitable with Daniel Raven Ellison's restless creativity and energy... and hope to continue with a few things which we started in 2013.... watch this space...

I'm then going to be hitting the road (and the rails) as always working with teachers in a range of cities, which currently include Cambridge, Norwich, Leicester, Birmingham, London, Durham, Newcastle, Worcester, Leeds, Wakefield, Sheffield and Perth.

I'll be involved in the GA Conference, participating in the Idea Zone, SPC workshops and the I-USE meeting which is taking place at the same time. I'll also be running Google Earth and Post-16 Fieldwork courses as well as running some NQT conferences for the GA.
I'll be leading some training with Primary colleagues in various venues, working with several groups of PGCE colleagues, and also getting involved in the Global Learning Project which (had things turned out differently) I'd be involved with as a GA employee...
I'm heading up to Leeds for Northern Rocks.

I'm also part of a team which will be kicking off WOW GEOGRAPHY. Watch out for some exciting names who are going to be joining me for that.

I'm going to be heading for Portugal to hopefully kick off a European project which will take me to four or five countries I've never visited before, and also running workshops on digital technology at an event in Athens as part of another new European project.

My 2nd children's book 'Extreme Survival' will be published by Collins, and I'm already working on a couple of other books, including a proposal for an exciting book to come out in 2015/16....
I'll be working with a number of teachers, headed up by David Rogers, on a new GCSE textbook too.

I'll hopefully be passing the 5000th post milestone, and also one million views of LivingGeography, which is remarkable..

I still have a good tranche of days that are unaccounted for, so if you'd like to involve me in something that you have planned, get in touch - there are a few towns and cities in the UK I haven't visited yet, a good chunk of Ireland and quite a few EU countries... as well as the rest of the world....

Of course I'm not the only one who's going to be busy next year.... any teacher working full time is going to be working harder than I am... 

Thanks to all who've supported me in any way this year in my freelance work... there are too many people to thank, but (I hope) you know who you are...
I'm heading to 'God's own country' in a few days to commemorate my arrival into this world 50 years ago in the same county.... although I've now lived for more than half of my life in Norfolk.
See you in 2014, and thanks for reading !!

Beautiful Barra's Sea Stories...

Last night I watched an old classic on BBC4: Whisky Galore. It features the beautiful landscape of the isle of Barra...


The film ends with Joan Greenwood and her fiancee wandering through the machair and the beautiful sands of Barra's beaches. It's about the sinking of a ship filled with whisky, and the sea is an important part of the lives of all Hebridean islanders.

Thanks to Keir Clarke (once again) for the tip-off to a beautifully produced story map which launched last month.

It features a range of media, and will grow over time to collect a range of stories, images, songs and other media telling the story of the sea.

This could form a great model for a project (which could be done in a non-digital way) for Primary colleagues, where the lives of islanders on places like Colonsay (Struay) are often a focus for study.

Here's the details of the project, take from the project website.

Background to Sgeulachdan na Mara - Sea Stories
Sgeulachdan na Mara - Sea Stories grew out of collaborative research undertaken by social ecologists Ruth Brennan and Iain MacKinnon and audio-visual material generated by artist Stephen Hurrel, for the publication D├╣thchas na Mara/Belonging to the Sea(Authors: MacKinnon and Brennan. Photographs: Hurrel)
The idea of a dynamic map - to reflect intergenerational knowledge, fishermen’s ways of knowing the sea and the intangible cultural heritage* of the marine environment - had been discussed by Brennan and MacKinnon, and Hurrel proposed the idea of an interactive digital map. This was subsequently developed by Hurrel and Brennan as a way of bringing to life, and making visible, what is often invisible to most people.
Hurrel and Brennan decided to collaborate on a Barra-related project following their participation in Cape Farewell’s Scottish Islands Expedition 2011. Following on from the Barra projects they received an award from Imagining Natural Scotland in 2013 to collaborate on producing a short film in response to the Firth of Clyde, titled Clyde Reflections , which they are currently working on.

*The UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage 2003 provides international protection for the intangible aspects of cultural diversity.


Hidden folk delay road project

An interesting story from Iceland about the delay in a road project.

Those who have seen our SAGT 'Commended' (2013) Mission:Explore Iceland pack will know that this is an area that we explored in the resource that we produced in association with Discover the World.
We looked at the role of the huldufolk in Icelandic culture as part of our missions and briefing pack...

Image: Tom Morgan Jones



Geography of Sport...

Via one of my long-term Top 5 websites OSOCIO, here's a fabulous short film on the way that football is increasingly pricing fans away from the possibility of attending matches...



A Game of Numbers - New York Times Op-Doc from Kris Hofmann on Vimeo.
Watching football - supposedly the ultimate working man's game - has become a luxury for many fans in England.

The films tells the story of the growing financial imbalance between the mega wealthy stars of the English Premier League and their supporters.

Produced for the NY Times Opinion Strand.
directed and illustrated by Kris Hofmann
written by Kris Hofmann and Phil Wall

with Henri White
narrated by Tom McClane

www.nytimes.com/2013/10/16/opinion/an-unfair-game.html
www.krishofmann.co.uk

2013: another geographical year...

I recently sent off my log of activity for my Chartered Geographer (Teacher) status. I've been a Chartered Geographer since 2007. It involves a commitment to professional development. More details can be obtained from the Royal Geographical Society website.
As always, there's been plenty to report.

Here are a few highlights of the year.

January
Attended the GTE Conference - the Geography teacher educators' conference in a hotel in Hull. I met up with friends old and new that I'd worked with over the years, and talked about my projects.
I also met up with friends at the BETT Show in its new home at the ExCEL in London, and took the chance to do a little wandering after the event.
I then did a little European travelling, heading for Helsinki via Copenhagen. I did a brief presentation and had a meeting at the Finnish Board of Education, then headed on a cruise ship to Stockholm, breaking the ice through the Baltic, via Estonia. I then returned home via Dusseldorf.

February
Out to a snowy Salzburg University for 5 days, to run a GeoMedia course for Karl Donert. These courses are a real pleasure, and I've visited the city enough times now to know my way round it very well and feel comfortable there. I also took the chance to head for Munich and travel by train to the city, which was a wonderful treat.
This time round there were colleagues from two of the most impressive school geography departments in the country: Saltash and Cooper's Company and Coborn schools. There were also some colleagues from the Republic of Ireland, as well as several other European countries.

March
I ran events for OSIRIS and the Geographical Association at various venues around the country. Thanks to all the delegates who came out.
I also ran a Curriculum Hack Day in Portsmouth, with pupils from 8 schools. This was held on the Gun deck of HMS Warrior in the docks, and I worked with teachers and students to 'hack' the proposed KS3 document and come up with some new ideas.
I also headed down to rural Suffolk for the day. This was part of a Primary Geography Day organised by James Woolven, and was hosted by the West Stow Anglo Saxon village. The focus was on our work with Mission:Explore and fieldwork, and every delegate received a copy of Mission:Explore Food.

April
April brings the GA Conference - I was involved in two sessions, and ran a fieldtrip introducing people to Mission:Explore. It was another great conference. One of the sessions that I ran involved Tony Cassidy (a rare conference presenter) and John Sayers. With the other, I worked with SPC colleagues to run a workshop on Apps in Geography. 
Also picked up GA Silver award for work on the Frozen Oceans pack for Digital Explorer.
April sadly saw the end of my work running the Open University's VITAL portal. This had provided me with a regular income as well as being able to support colleagues in many different ways since October 2012. A pity that nothing has happened since the funding ended and JISC took over.
I also visited the city of Ghent for a meeting for an EU project, which was great fun, and meant meeting up with a number of interesting folks from around Europe.

May
I visited the UEA PGCE group towards the end of their year of training to send them off into their new career in a positive frame of mind - I hope. I also ran a few courses on the Future of Secondary Geography at a time when it was unsure as to what that would be. Some interesting discussions to be had.

I travelled to Bruges for the EuroGeo conference where I participated in a conference workshop and met up with friends from the I-USE project again.
June
Another set of new teachers, this time to Homerton College, Cambridge, and this year's PGCE group. I've been associated with Homerton and Liz Taylor for around 15 years now...
I ran courses for the GA on Google Earth and Free GIS. These courses have slowly evolved over the years I've been teaching them, but Google Earth remains a really useful tool for geographers.
I also went down to Charterhouse School to do a keynote for an Independent School's network event, followed the day after by a trip up to the Wakefield Geog Conference to do a keynote in a historic house on an island in the middle of a lake. 

July
A long journey down to do a keynote at the Cornwall Geography Network. It saw me spending a night in a room with a spectacular sea view and having a beach to myself.
I then headed to London and Birmingham to run courses for OSIRIS, speaking to a total of over 80 teachers over two days.
I also made the journey on one of the hottest days of the year, to the Drapers' Hall near the Gherkin, to do a session for the Princes’ Teaching Institute, where John Widdowson was my 'warm-up' man. A wonderful venue and an honour to be invited to speak.
I also saw a tour-de-force by Margaret Roberts at the Institute of Education, in a seminar organised by Professor David Lambert, where she discussed Powerful Knowledge with Michael Young.

August
Secondary Geography Quality Mark moderation occupied a slot of time during the month - this was a remarkable opportunity to peer into quality geography departments in the UK and abroad. A real privilege and as always I learned lots. I also made my annual trip down to Devon.

September
I kicked off the new academic year by heading to Hull University PGCE group to give my annual talk entitled 'I've been to Hull and back...' as that's where I trained as a teacher some decades previously. This was my only event of the month - I wanted to have a quiet term to get used to being back teaching.

October
Half term saw me make a trip up to the SAGT Conference. I've been visiting and speaking since 2005. This time round it was in Perth, and the night before was a reception at the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. During the conference I was also very proud to receive the Joy Tivy Education Medal from the RSGS, presented by Professor Iain Stewart. 

November
A quiet month with my teaching taking priority as I established myself back in the classroom.

December

A few final courses on the Future of Geography, which was beginning to take shape a little, followed by a trip to talk about technology with PGCE colleagues at Homerton College, University of Cambridge.

During the year, I also visited a few towns to give lectures to GA branches, on the theme of the UK Floods, with thanks to Bob and Rob for their hospitality in North Staffordshire and over at Shrewsbury School.

I did a lot of writing through the year too. The 'Fieldwork through Enquiry' book that I wrote with John Widdowson won the SAGT Book Award at the conference, and we were also commended for our work on Mission:Explore Iceland (in association with Discover the World). I also worked on a new book called Mission:Explore Water which went through various incarnations and designs. I completed my 2nd children's book for Harper Collins, called 'Extreme Survival' 

I wrote a range of lesson materials with Helen Steer for a Technology Strategy Board funded project called DISTANCE. This is related to the 'Internet of Things': the idea that more things are now connected to the Internet and are making their way into schools. We are working with a set of Pilot schools, and will be sharing more resources into 2014. 

Finally, while in Bruges for an I-USE project meeting, I got a call from Claire at King's Ely, offering me the chance to return to the classroom, which I happily accepted, and in September I started back teaching Geography alongside my other freelance work.

2014 is already looking like an interesting year.... More on that later today in a blog post which will be a look ahead....
Then it'll be time for the customary Christmas blogging break...

Share something small every day...

Thanks to Peter Knight for the lead to the books of Austin Kleon.
I'd seen the first book: 'How to steal like an artist' in Foyles before (my browsing bookshop of choice when I have time to kill in St. Pancras - which is quite often) but not bought it, but now need to revisit it I think.

Austin has a book coming out in 2014 on the theme of Creativity and SHARING, and there's lots of overlap with the work of teachers here... we create all the time, and these rules apply to us just as much as they do to artists and writers.
The notion of sharing our work is one which is close to my heart of course as a blogger since 2002, I've shared most of my best ideas free of charge (although there's also more than a few in the various books that I've written, or project resources I've written...) There's also a general feeling that some of the recent changes in education towards competition and league tables might reduce the amount of sharing that is done. It's the years of sharing that contributed to my being awarded the Tivy Education Medal a few months ago by the RSGS.

It's an interesting idea as to whether there are actually any original ideas in teaching. Earlier in the week, I spent time in my classroom doing the end-of-term tidy up and some preparation for the new term, and discovered a cupboard full of old geography textbooks from several decades ago, and they were full of the same sort of activities as one might find in today's books.. albeit with smaller images and references to a lost world of coal mines, High St. shopping and infrastructure that could cope with the amount of traffic on it...

And here's a TED Talk, which Austin gave on his 'manifesto'....


Why not make 2014 the year that you share more of your practice with others if you haven't already....

Stories in the Land

Thanks to Joyce Gilbert, Education Officer at the RSGS for passing through details of the Stories in the Land project.
This explores the stories connected with the Scottish drovers who moved their cattle through the Highlands for centuries, and created many of the routes that are still used by modern day roads in Scotland.
In places on the modern road, traces of the old road can still be seen, with small stone bridges crossing rivers and streams, or alternative routes paralleling the modern road.


Cattle droving was a vital part of Highland life for three hundred years, with Highland soils better suited to rearing cattle than growing crops.  At market time, drovers would move the cattle long distances south on foot, to sell in towns with larger populations.  Drovers have been described as the economic heroes of their time  In the evenings, around the fire, they would tell stories connected with their journeys – folk and fairy stories, cow and horse tales, legends explaining ancient features in the landscape, stories of place-names spanning centuries.  Many of these stories are now forgotten or are held by just a few local people who remember living and working on the land.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

How to spend $25 000

Thanks to Tobias Steed of Can of Worms (publishers of our original Mission:Explore books) for the tipoff to this story, of how Casey Niestat spent some money he'd been given to make a movie trailer...

@AASORT


At this time of year, you should follow the AASORT Twitter feed to find out what the AA's Special Operations Response Team gets up to. The team provide advice and support for those affected by severe weather and flooding.

A very good resource for exploring secondary effects of flooding. There are also some useful infographics that are tweeted out as images.

Students could also keep an eye on the team's activities following severe weather or heavy rain during the winter to come...

New OFSTED Geography criteria...

You may not have noticed the publication of these new documents from OFSTED.
This is because the document was published on the 20th of December: the day when most schools finished for Christmas... good timing!

The documents are intended for inspectors, as a guide to the judgements that they make, but it makes sense of course for teachers to know what they are looking for...
They could also be useful for CPD sessions in the first week of the new term, to make colleagues aware of their existence.

There will presumably be some changes between the new documents and the previous ones, and if you're hoping I'm going to read through both and highlight the changes, you're going to be disappointed...



Disappearing Aldbrough...

This is not good news for Pensioner Frank @pensionerfrank on Twitter - who lives in Aldbrough.

Apparently the rate of coastal erosion along the East Yorkshire is speeding up.
Generations of geography students will be familiar with Sue Earle...

These towns have already disappeared into the North Sea...

Wilsthorpe, Auburn, Hartburn, Hyde, Withow, Cleton, Northorpe, Hornsea Burton, Hornsea Beck, Southorpe, Great Colden, Colden Parva, Old Aldborough, Ringborough, Monkwell, Monkwike, Sand-le-Mere, Waxhole, Owthorne by Sisterkirk, Newsome, Old Withernsea, Out Newton, Dimlington, Turmarr, Northorp, Hoton, Old Kilnsea, Ravenspurn, Ravenser Odd.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Knee High Project - also coming in 2014...

One of the many strands to my life is as one of the directors of Explorer HQ.
This is a company that has grown from the original formation of Mission:Explore, following a late night phone call between Daniel Raven-Ellison and myself many moons ago...
We've now teamed up with various awesome people, and over the last seven(ish) years have got to the point where we are working on a range of interesting projects within the UK, and individually further afield...

One of the things we've got up to this year is to involve ourselves in the Knee High Project

The Knee High Design Challenge is a partnership between the Design Council, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, and the London Boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth.
We believe there is an urgent need for more innovation and experimentation in the design of early years services. Children are still starting school without a fair and equal start in life, and we want to do something about it.
We have challenged people from across the UK to come up with new ideas for radically improving the health and wellbeing of children under five in Southwark, Lambeth, and eventually beyond.
We are now funding and supporting the best ideas over the coming two years to see them develop into new services, products, environments (or anything else) that really make a difference.
We heard this week that we are through to the next round of the project, which means that we will have some additional support to prove that our concept of providing a fixed venue where we will work to Make, Take and Explore with under 5's is one that is worth supporting further.

Here's a video made by Dan which has more information about our idea...
There are lots of other great ideas as part of the challenge, so fingers crossed that we can continue to make progress through the project...



A Make, Take & Explore Den for the Knee High Project from Mission:Explore on Vimeo.
In 2013 the Design Council in partnership with Guy's and St Thomas’ Charity and the London Boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth set a design challenge:

"We are looking for fresh ideas with the potential to radically improving the health and wellbeing of children under five living in Southwark and Lambeth."

After speaking with children, parents, teachers and a range of experts we have been developing the following response to the challenge....

Coming in January 2014...

Something I helped to create... along with Helen, Dan and Tom from Explorer HQ....
More details in the New Year...


Oymyakon: Going to Extremes

The Pole of Cold as it is known is a town in the Sakha district of Eastern Russia, an area also known as Siberia.
I used to use it as an example of an extreme environment, and made frequent use of a programme made by the geographer Nick Middleton.
It describes his journey to the coldest inhabited place in the world, and the impact it has on him. He eats the meat-rich diet that local people rely upon, and finds that as the temperature drops, things start to break and stop working properly.

Siberia is a region of Asia which I would use for my Russia case study for the new KS3.

You can watch the programme in four sections on YouTube. The image quality is not the best, as its presumably ripped from a video tape (my copy is probably still languishing in a filing cabinet in my former school...)
Enjoy the journey, and wrap up warm...
And you can learn Dutch from the subtitles as an extra bonus...

Part 1


Part 2


Part 3

 

 Part 4

 

Another award...

With thanks to Peter Knight :)


Friday, 20 December 2013

21st Century Challenges

I've spent a large part of the first week of my Christmas holiday writing a resource that will appear on the Royal Geographical Society website in the new Year.
More on that to come once it's been finished...

While following a few links in connection with assembling the resources for the work, I realised that the Key Stage 5 From the Field resources that I contributed to a few years ago have not only been extended, but that scrolling further down the page now leads to an area of materials connected with the Society's 21st Century Challenges project.

Plenty of themes explored here, with appropriate resources for GCSE and 'A' level students and teachers.

Christmas Viewing...

There are a few DVDs which I plan to try to watch over the Christmas period...
Other than 'ELF' of course...

One of them is 'The Wildest Dream', which is Conrad Anker's film trying to find out the fate of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine. Regular readers of the blog will know that I saw Irvine's ice axe at Shrewsbury School earlier in the year.

I came across a new National Geographic education resource linked to the film earlier this week, and it looks like being really useful for anyone teaching about mountains.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Maps and the Geospatial revolution.... another chance to take part...


I blogged this course last year, when it proved very popular. 
It offers the chance to get stuck into ArcGIS Online and other mapping ideas.
The course starts in April, but you can register for free.

I mentioned the course in the latest issue of GA Magazine, which will be arriving early in the New Year, and this announcement came too late for inclusion in the article, but well worth signing up for if you want to participate and start creating your own maps.

GA Conference 2014

You have until the 6th of January to get the EARLY BIRD rates for the GA Conference at the University of Surrey in April 2014.

I'll be involved in a number of workshops, including an I-USE workshop on a European project on Statistical Literacy, and also an SPC workshop where I'll talk about some literacy work that I did at my school this year.

I won't be around for the Public Lecture this year, but it's being given by Professor Iain Stewart, so you might want to try to catch that one...

Also, Ewan Laurie and I will hopefully get ourselves together and organise the planned GeoBeer meet for the evening of the 15th of April.

And this year there's a new feature which will also feature me... the IDEA ZONE. This has a spot of Mission:Explore, and also links with the awesome Lego work of the FOLLOW THE THINGS team (who have also created some great Trump card sets to link with the previous post...)
I'll see you in the Idea Zone at various times over the two days that I'm attending....

Image: Bryan Ledgard - Richard Bustin, Fred Martin, Rick Cope, yours truly and Rob Morris putting the world to rights... 

Top trumping...

Just had a delivery of an early Christmas present to myself...
Professor Iain Stewart was involved in the creation of this new set of cards, which explores the world's volcanoes/

You can order your own pack HERE via Plymouth University.

Fancy a game ?


Wednesday, 18 December 2013

FSL student work is 'out of this world'

Thanks to Benjamin McKee for sending me this link earlier today...

Apart from the obvious technical achievement of sending a student into space (!) I particularly liked the countdown from 30... this was brilliantly done, and is an idea that I can see being adapted with my students. I'm going to challenge them to create a geographical countdown from 20 in the new term...

Watch this wonderful video, which is dedicated to the memory of student Craig Lewsley.



Awesome work from the students and staff of the Friends' School Lisburn 

Thought for the Day

"Adventure isn’t hanging on a rope off the side of a mountain.
Adventure is an attitude that we must apply to the day to day obstacles of life – facing new challenges, seizing new opportunities, testing our resources against the unknown and in the process, discovering our own unique potential.”
John Amatt

International Migrants Day

Migration is a topic that forms part of most Geography courses.
All school communities are the result of migration: some more so than others...
Today is International Migrants Day...
Resources and information here.


Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Best Xmas Ever Map

Thanks to Joseph Kerski for the lead to this story map.

Visit the website and add your location to your best Christmas location ever, and it will be added to the map...


British Library - 1 million Flickr images

The image below is one of one million images now shared on Flickr by the British Library under a Creative Commons license.
Search and you will find something vintage that is of interest. Some great old maps of London for example.

Image taken from:
Title: "The Arctic Voyages of A. E. Nordenskiöld. 1858-1879. With illustrations and maps"
Author: LESLIE, Alexander - of Aberdeen
Contributor: NORDENSKIÖLD, Nils Adolf Erik - Baron
Shelfmark: "British Library HMNTS 10460.ee.9."
Page: 8
Place of Publishing: London
Date of Publishing: 1879
Publisher: Macmillan and Co.
Issuance: monographic
Identifier: 002142895
Note: The colours, contrast and appearance of these illustrations are unlikely to be true to life. They are derived from scanned images that have been enhanced for machine interpretation and have been altered from their originals.
If you wish to purchase a high quality copy of the page that this image is drawn from, please order it here. Please note that you will need to enter details from the above list - such as the shelfmark, the page, the book's volume and so on - when filling out your order.
Following this or the link above will take you to the British Library's integrated catalogue. You will be able to download a PDF of the book this image is taken from, as well as view the pages up close with the 'itemViewer'. Click on the 'related items' to search for the electronic version of this work.
Click here to see all the illustrations in this book and click here to browse other illustrations published in books in the same year. Please click on the tags shown on the right-hand side for other ways to browse the illustrations

Monday, 16 December 2013

Fancy becoming a tour leader in Iceland ?

There's an exciting new opportunity now available for teachers who would like to expand their horizons and spend some of their school holidays working in Iceland with school groups.

Discover the World, who are a major operator for that area with school parties is looking to expand its roster of tour guides and there is an opportunity to take part in a series of training days, which will take place over several weekends, and then the May half term week.

Here are some details from the Discover the World website.

Do you love Iceland? Are you an enthusiastic geography or science teacher with a good basic knowledge of the country? Are you available for approximately 15 days a year? If the answer is 'yes' to all these questions why not apply for our Iceland Tour Leader Training Course, designed especially for teaching professionals?

On completion of the course not only will the programme give you the opportunity to receive regular free travel to Iceland, but we will also pay you to lead and help teach school groups travelling with Discover the World Education. Furthermore, with a country that offers endless case studies linked to the various syllabuses what better way to continue your professional development.

The course is led by Cathy Harlow - a true Iceland expert. Cathy has worked as a guide in Iceland for over 25 years, is author of the Horizon Visitors' Guide to Iceland and contributor to several other publications on travel on the island. As well as working with Discover the World for almost 30 years, Cathy was recently highly commended at the prestigious Wanderlust World Guide Awards 2013.

Topics covered on the course will include Iceland’s history, settlement, folklore, climate, economy, tourism, people, culture, politics, nature, rivers, volcanic systems, geothermal areas, glaciers, operational considerations, safety, group management, tour preparation and much more.

The courses will take place as follows:

Discover the World offices, Banstead, Surrey (26-27 April and 24 May 2014)
Iceland (25-30 May 2014)

To ensure the highest standard, there will be a maximum of 10 like-minded teaching professionals on the course. Classroom training will include interactive workshops and presentations, while in Iceland you will visit all of the main sites in the South of the country.

Please note participants will also need to conduct their own studies away from the classroom.

This sounds like a splendid opportunity for colleagues who have a particular interest, and some pre-existing knowledge of this part of the world, which is certainly one of my favourite places, to develop themselves professionally in an exciting way.

Here's a selection of images I took during my first visit to the country in 2010...

Beautiful wind map

Link came to me today from several sources...
A lovely wind map...
Here's a view centred over Antarctica. Spin the globe and click on a location to see the wind details...


Michaelmas Term.... done...


On a grey and damp Norfolk morning, I'm pausing before starting a big writing job to reflect on my first term back in the classroom after 5 years out working for the Geographical Association, and then as a freelance Geographer.

It's been a fascinating term, which started in late August, with a whole set of new teaching groups to meet and get to know, and whole new school routines and structures for assessment, reporting, pastoral support, examinations, information management, coffee and biscuits, CPD and meetings and where to sit for lunch.

The school is a 50-60 minute drive each morning, which in the winter months has meant mostly in darkness, but also with amazing sunrises, dense fog and detours to villages I've never visited before. I've refined and adapted my route over the weeks to find the most efficient one. As always, I get in early on the days that I teach, to get prepared for the day. It helps having a decent coffee machine down the corridor.

I've changed as a teacher from my first time through as I'm coming to it 'fresh' and also with the knowledge and experience of my time out. I've got a new group of colleagues with a range of experiences and skills, and have been very fortunate to join a department which holds the GA's Secondary Geography Quality Mark, and which is now a Centre of Excellence too... This is very well deserved and is the result of very hard work and some really creative and imaginative schemes of work.
The school's 3 aims for its learners are: Courage, Energy and Integrity, and we aim to develop those characteristics in the students, through some inventive and creative pedagogy grounded in subject knowledge and enquiry learning.




Big thanks to my colleagues, and to the students who've generously involved me in their community. I'm enjoying the 'rest' at the moment, and looking forward to three new units to teach for the first time from January.

Thanks to the 6000+ viewers of my relatively new teaching blog. 
Read all about my teaching and grab some resources and ideas over on Geography Teacher 2.0

Image: Alan Parkinson - Scan from the Ely News...

What does winter mean to you ?

That's a key question posed by the Pole of Cold team who are currently heading for Oymyakon, the coldest inhabited place in the world, to explore how communities cope with extreme cold. I've been thinking about this in the last few days, as we move towards Christmas which (when I was a lad) would guarantee freezing temperatures and plentiful snow....

What's the coldest you've ever been, and where were you at the time ?

Please tweet me a reply to @GeoBlogs, or add a blog comment below. Thanks to those folks who have already replied in the few minutes since I tweeted the original question...

All replies will be much appreciated, and I will make use of them in some resources I am currently preparing... after all, I can't do nothing just because I'm on holiday....

While we're on the subject of winter, have some free Mission:Explore missions which are all primed and ready should we get a white Christmas, which is looking quite unlikely judging by the shirt-sleeve weather we currently have in Norfolk...

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Nutella mapped...

Via Scoop.it and the OECD report...

The Geography of NUTELLA....


Image: OECD

Coming soon to a Year 8 scheme of work near me in the New Year...

Friday, 13 December 2013

Storm Surge - a trip around the coast... Pt. 1

I spent yesterday on the first part of a journey around the coast of Norfolk from Wells next the Sea, visiting some of the communities that were affected by the recent storm surge. The surge affected communities much further up the coast in Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire, then down into the Thames estuary.
I will be writing up some of the discussions that I had with people and the stories that I collected in further posts over the next week or so.

The full detail, and more images, will appear in a range of resources, including a new GCSE textbook.
Here's a selection of the images I took yesterday...



I was also particularly interested in this image, which shows the area of London that would have flooded in the surge if the Thames Flood Barrier had not been built.


Image copyright: Environment Agency

The Environment Agency has shared a range of valuable information, and I will be adding to that in further posts...