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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Over to King Edward VI 5 Ways school in SW Birmingham today. A cross-country trip with more amazing weather thanks to the current high pressure.

Took a tour through the southern suburbs of Birmingham thanks to my Garmin which came into its own here.
Thanks to Bob Lang and Paula Cooper for the invitation and for hosting us all so well, and giving me a guided tour of the department and the school.

The school is certainly a geographical "hub". It's a Humanities school with a 'Geography' specialism, a GA branch, and the centre of an RGS local network. The teaching staff include several Chartered Geographers, and the school also holds a GA Secondary Geography Quality Mark and is a Centre of Excellence.

Met up with Professor Iain Stewart from Plymouth University, and a PhD student of his: Kate Donovan, who were delivering a lecture on the theme of geological hazards and their cultural references.
Iain is an honorary Vice President of the GA, and also a Primary Geography Champion.

Image: thanks to Ian Dixson
Left to right: me, Bob Lang, Iain Stewart, Paula Cooper, Kate Donovan

The lecture was excellent, and drew a crowd of between 300 and 350 people to the school's hall. Also good to meet up with colleagues new and old and virtual....

I will be writing a separate report on the lecture with my notes, and also sharing Iain's slides, which he is keen to do...

An excellent evening...

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Friday, September 25, 2009


Stuffed and Starved
Just read most of this on a train journey, and it's a great book for those teaching about issues related to food.
The supporting website has a range of resources which would be useful for those wanting additional reference material, including useful related YouTube clips.
On the Amazon.co.uk website you can currently "Look inside" the book...

Also lots of mentions of the word geography, which is always a bonus :)

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Image by Alan Parkinson, and available under Creative Commons license

A conference for level 3 students of Geography, Humanities, Sociology and Health Studies.
Organised by Carl Lee, and took place at the University of Sheffield.

Danny Dorling and colleagues John Pritchard and Dan Vickers from SASI were present, and presented on the issue of Social Inequality, using images from WORLDMAPPER and talking about their work.

The second session involved a discussion on tackling inquality.

Thanks to Carl for the invitation. Carl has added a range of the resources that were used at the event to the EDEXCEL 'A' LEVEL NING. It is also worth hunting out a copy of Carl's excellent book on Sheffield: "Home: a Personal Geography of Sheffield"

The SASI website features a range of very useful links for those interested in teaching and learning about social inequality.

Some notes that I took in the first part of the day will hopefully be added in due course...

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Check out Tony Cassidy's great new resources, which would probably be useful for encouraging creativity...

The resources take the shape of a template to produce a FACEBOOK-style "profile"
The profile is for a geographical context: a landform, city, development indicator, famous person, body of water... etc.
The template is here:

And followed shortly after by a TWITTER template, also produced by the inimitable Tony...

Quality stuff...

UPDATE: Here is some fantastic work by Year 9 students from Seaford Head Community College, who used the idea in their Geography lessons with Miss Smith. I love these. Thanks for sharing. I'd love to see some other examples...

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009



If you haven't already watched this programme on Teachers TV, then you really need to.
And if you haven't already bought a FLIP (or similar) video then you really need to....
Paul Cornish, of the excellent GEOGRAPHER website helps a colleague from a different school to explore the use of video in the classroom.

This is a wonderful resource, which includes a range of ideas for using video in the classroom, and certainly went beyond how I used it: an excellent "living" climate graph example...

It led me to a new tip which I hadn't been aware of before, which provides a particularly neat method for embedding "live" YOUTUBE (or other TUBE) videos into powerpoint.
Of course, this requires the videos to be hosted on a site which is accessible in school, which may be an issue for some colleagues. You need to have a live internet connection for this to work.

I used a video from YouTube with very straightforward instructions (and then recursively used that same video when I tried the method myself):
  • If you have an older version of powerpoint CLICK HERE
  • If you have Powerpoint (Office) 2007 CLICK HERE

Had a go and it worked very well.
Needs to have a cut and paste, and then some changes to the PROPERTIES of the Shockwave flash object (video). You also have to enable the DEVELOPER tab in powerpoint if you haven't already got that enabled.
This creates a window on the slide with a video which can be made to LOOP or not, and START AUTOMATICALLY or not...
These can be included with other text and graphics (and other videos) on the same powerpoint slide in an appropriate place.

All the resources that Paul uses in his lesson are contained on the TEACHERS TV PAGE.

Would be interested to hear from colleagues who have used this method, and how they used it...

Started to put together a PPT with step by step instructions which I shall add here when I've finished it - got a few other priority things to finish first...

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Latest Shift Happens update



Because it fills 5 minutes of any CPD session...

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Have blogged about Jonathan Meades before, and his particular presentation style which I like...

Lunchtime today was spent in the company of the first in the series "Off-Kilter", made for BBC Scotland and was about Aberdeen. I liked the look of the area known as Fitty.
Towards the end, he moved on to Donald Trump and his controversial plans for a golf course in the sand dunes close to Aberdeen.

He called the planned development "New Trumpton on Sea" and talked about gated communities and their absentee residents.

He riffed on the idea of 'sustainability' and how every architect and development trumpeted its sustainable credentials.
New words like : "Sustain-abulous" and "Sustain-astic" !

Called it "architectural correctness"...

"It's a slogan of conformist unoriginality..."

"The very act of making a building is energy hungry and vastly wasteful even if the building is an eco-igloo of Fairtrade otter droppings, carbon-neutral Panda scraps, ethical vegan meat, organic yoghurt blocks, recycled slurry and and bio-degradable avocado face wipe...the only truly sustainable present is one in which we do not build..."

The show is available on iPLAYER.

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Friday, September 04, 2009

The GA web team: Anne Greaves and Ben Major, have been working away for months with designers Ledgard Jepson on a new website for the Geographical Association, and it is now live, after several weeks of beta testing and tweaking. Visit the GA URL http://www.geography.org.uk to see the new site.

The site looks a lot brighter, clearer and easier to navigate, and uses more of the screen’s width. Thanks to a major effort on tagging the resources, it is also easier to find things using the ‘Search’ function if they are not immediately obvious from the home page, and a new ‘Resource Finder’ should help you find something appropriate to the key stage and topic that you are interested in quickly, or items written by a particular author.

A one page user guide to the new site and how it’s laid out can be downloaded by following the link (PDF download): http://www.geography.org.uk/download/GA_NewWebsiteGuide.pdf

Members can also bookmark their most useful sections of the website on their own personal homepage. Logging in to the site will provide members with details about their account, and allow access to the journals which you subscribe to.

There are plenty of new items in the shop, which are displayed in a scrolling window, which will also suggest items that might be of relevance to you if you login.

News is easier to find, and has all been updated.

If you are not already a GA member, this is a good time to join and take advantage of the many membership benefits.

The website is also home to all the resources supporting the GA’s manifesto for school geography “a different view”.

Download the latest GA MAGAZINE from the site now

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

The OS Free Maps for Schools scheme is underway once again.
Schools will receive letters in September relating to the scheme. As in previous years, schools can claim a free OS Explorer 1: 25 000 map for each 11 year old pupil.

This year, schools will also receive 2 copies of a booklet called "The Language of Landscapes" along with the maps, produced in assocation with Natural England and the Geographical Association.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Tony Cassidy's latest contribution to the geography resources pantheon is a resource which is based on the profile that people create when they join FACEBOOK.
Tony has created a blank FACEBOOK profile template in powerpoint, which could then be used to create a template for a huge variety of contexts within the geography classroom.
What if they had a Facebook profile?
View more presentations from TonyCassidy.

Tony himself suggests producing one for Old Harry: an extension of the classic - "Old Harry: This is your Life" idea....
On the SLN Forum, further ideas that were suggested by a number of colleagues included:
  • The area / street the students live in
  • A new migrant arriving in the UK
  • Teenager in Kenya
  • Resident of Dubai
  • Young person on Baffin Island
  • Mt. Vesuvius
Could also do it for a Country...

Could also use it as a context for teaching about e-safety

As many teachers in England and Wales prepare to return to school this week, this is just the sort of simple, creative resource that should strike a chord with pupils and ensure some thoughtful "writing" to start the new geographical year...

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Teaching students about EXTREME ENVIRONMENTS in KS 3, 4 or 5 ?
There's an event planned for the 23rd of October in Sheffield which you might find useful.
It's being organised by the Prince's Teaching Institute, in association with the Geographical Association and the Fuchs Foundation.
It includes a keynote by Professor David Lambert.
Full details are available HERE.

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It may be that you haven't yet visited the Who do we think we are website.

WHO DO WE THINK WE ARE has a very useful section written by Professor David Lambert, which provides an excellent summary of the appropriate links between geography and identity.

The site also has a NEW interactive area, which contains ideas for teaching about cultural diversity in various contexts...

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