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Showing posts from 2016

Christmas Blogging Break

I'm about to take my annual break from blogging for a few days... Thanks for reading Look at Landscapes this year. Less than 40 new posts this year, but will continue to look for interesting landscape-related stories in the new year. Image: Ronald Lampitt, who also illustrated 'The Map that came to Life' and many Ladybird books...

Songs from the Cold Seas

Reminded of this earlier today...

New Nick Crane storymap for UK Landscapes

ESRI have been working to produce a StoryMap , using the Cascade template, which has been designed to go along with the new book by RGS President Nicholas Crane. The book tells the story of the British Landscape, and how it came into being. Click the tabs at the top of the map to find out more about a range of topics: Edge Land Climate Change Island Altered Earth Fields Forts  Towns End of Wilderness Street Plan Heat Island Into Space As Nicholas says at the start of the book, to care about a place you have to know its story. This would be great for GCSE Geographers needing to know more about the distinctive landscape of the UK.

GeographyPaul - a new resource option

I first met Paul Turner in 2010ish (I think) when he was completing his PGCE at Homerton College, Cambridge University and I was speaking to that year's cohort, as I have done for nearly 10 years now. Our paths have crossed numerous times since: as a speaker at the GA Cambridge branch which he helped with, at Sevenoaks School when I spoke to the local cluster of teachers, and at Bedales School, where I have the privilege to be the geography moderator for their Bedales Assessed Course. Paul and I were also the two people who received the RGS-IBG's Innovative Geography Teacher awards the last time they were offered. Paul worked with a colleague from CASA UCL to create some resources. Paul was also behind the 'Geographical Times' - I have a rare copy of Issue 1 (all reasonable offers considered) - and also cycled LEJOG and set up a drone video channel. He was also kind enough to come and speak at the GIS Day that I organised at my school earlier this year as part of

A Wee Day Out

Check out Danny MacAskill's new video , where he explores the Scottish Landscape in his own special way - I think this is the best one yet in many ways (although the Cuillin Ridge video is the most dramatic) and the choice of music is also very fine...

New GA CPD course

For a period between 2007 and 2013, I ran regular courses for the Geographical Association , including the Living Geography courses, NQT Conferences , GIS courses with ESRI, New Fieldwork courses and plenty of others. In that time, I worked with hundreds of teachers, and learned a lot about my own practice. When I returned to teaching full time in 2013, I didn't have time to do them, and stopped, and a 'new' generation of presenters has taken over including Catherine Owen, Ben Ballin, Garry Simmons and Becky Kitchen. Now, I'm back leading an event for the GA, with a new course, which has the added advantage of being 'my old favourite price': FREE. So you can come along for an afternoon discussing technology and global learning, and networking with other colleagues, and leaving with some new ideas for you I hope. It's being put on in Bury St. Edmunds, so it's a handy location for those in Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and S. Norfolk, and perhaps even par

New Nick Crane book on the British Landscape

This book has had great reviews and is out in a week or so. It sounds like being useful for those teaching about landscapes and the link between people and physical geography.

Greater London National Park City

The new video...

Fenland Poetry

I entered a poem into a Fenland poetry competition a few weeks ago, and the date for entries is approaching. I'll post it here in a few months when the results are announced, as it can't be 'published' before then...

Landscape Art - Samuel Thomas

We had a good visit to Cromer earlier this week, for a trip to meet with friend, and we went to see the Samuel Thomas exhibition , which is on at the Red Lion in Cromer for the next week or so. Samuel is inspired by his home town of Cromer (and beyond) and was very helpful, chatting to my son who is about to start his GCSE Art studies. I liked how some of the pieces were very place specific and connected the art to the landscape on several levels which Samuel explained. Which other artists do you use in your teaching who have a connection with the landscape? Image copyright: Samuel Thomas

Pole of Cold - exploring Polar landscapes

If you are heading to the Historic Dockyards at Chatham over the next few months, you can check out a specially expanded version of the Pole of Cold exhibition which has been to several other locations over the last few years. This is the expedition which I got involved with in a small way by writing the educational resources, funded by the RGS-IBG (as was the expedition). The resources won a Scottish Association of Geography Teacher's (SAGT) Award in 2014. Read more about it in earlier posts on this blog. Further details of the exhibition: Discover the mystical world of the Arctic and the people who live there.  From Shamanism to ice cream. Kent’s very own polar explorer Felicity Aston MBE presents a diverse and exciting exhibition, which combines the natural world, adventure and art.  This compelling exhibition gives an insight into the coldest place on earth. Pole of Cold explores what life is like in some of the coldest permanently inhabited places in the Arcti

'A' level landscapes explored...

Breaking into the summer break for some important news … The AQA 'A' level Geography textbook that I worked for over 2 years on editing and co-writing (and re-writing) is now in stock at the publishers!   Order your copies now. Thanks again to everyone who helped with the project! Image: Caroline Walton from CUP

Pixar Piper

Out to see 'Finding Dory' today which is excellent - I preferred it to 'Finding Nemo' as there's more humour and invention, and of course the familiarity with the characters helps... The short film that went with it was also wonderful. It's called 'Piper ' and has exploration and overcoming fear at its heart... and of course it looks beautiful. Lovely rendering of the littoral landscape and the impact of the waves... Are you ready to brave the waves?

Google Expeditions

We'll be taking students on a Google Expedition in the new school year. Find out more in September...

Mission:Explore National Parks

An excellent Ordnance Survey Blog post which says a lot of nice things about the Mission:Explore National Parks book. It also features a short video with Steve Backshall. The book is now available to buy from online or National Park shops, and is a perfect accompaniment to your summer explorations of landscapes. The Mission:Explore team compiled the book after putting a huge selection of challenges to the vote by schoolchildren, with the favourites selected to be published . It’s the seventh book the Mission:Explore team have released, since winning the Geovation Challenge in 2010, when they wowed the team with their exciting ideas using geography. If you haven’t come across them before, the project encourages people, and especially children, to see, explore and act in new ways. Mission:Explore founders saw the subject of geography being marginalised, and in schools and neighbourhoods children’s physical geographies being reduced due to risk aversion. And they wanted to cha

Art at Cley beach...

Out to the Norfolk coast today to visit Cley16 : an annual art exhibition which takes place in the church in Cley and other nearby locations. These included a piece by Brian Korteling which is shown below, and which I really liked. It represents the view as taken from 3 different perspectives, and breaks up the lines nicely... good to see art in the landscape.

Local landscapes

On my doorstep for 20 years, and meandered through this region many times… a real edge land … Marshland: my recent blog post on west #Norfolk 's border region on the edge of the #Fens — Laurence Mitchell (@eastofelveden) July 6, 2016

Nostalgic stop-motion landscapes...

I was sad to hear of the death of Gordon Murray earlier this week, and it triggered some nostalgia, and led me to hunt out my DVD box set of the three series that I remember watching in the late 1960s.... Camberwick Green Trumpton Chigley which Murray created. They were based on an idea of nostalgic 'middle England', and featured a range of characters including the famous fire crew, Windy Miller, and the workers of a biscuit factory. There was the classic voice of Brian Cant, and some excellent music. The music, which brings back so many memories of my childhood is featured below... BBC Front Row featured some memories from Phill Jupitus. Scope for a resource on the Geography of Trumptonshire, which might also include reference to Radiohead's video for 'Burn the Witch'.

400 posts

Up to 400 posts on this blog. Remember that it was originally set up to support and extend the ideas in the KS3 Toolkit book that I wrote for the previous KS3 curriculum changes, which was called 'Look at it this Way'. There are still copies available to buy from the GA shop but I understand that they are running out…. This new GCSE toolkit on the subject of landscapes will be published in time for the Autumn term I understand - good for the new GCSEs… and written by Becky Kitchen from the GA.

The Language of Landscape

Just doing some digging to find a different document, and found this resource on the National Archive site, which I thought had gone forever, and reclaimed some cards I wrote quite a few years ago. This resources was sent out with the OS Free Maps for Year 7's when they still did that… Use them with your favourite OS Map extract. OS Activity Cards

Worth another watch...

Let's make Greater London a National Park City from Daniel Raven-Ellison on Vimeo . Help make Greater London the world's first National Park City by backing our crowdfunding campaign:

New CPRE President

My toolkit book featured a quote from Bill Bryson when he became President of the CPRE, used with permission. A lot of houses have Emma Bridgewater designed pottery in them. She is about to be announced as the new President of the CPRE : an organisation that has featured on this blog many times over the years. In this Telegraph interview piece she describes some aspects of her views on the Rural landscape. It is a small country. It is all of our backyards.  With increasing numbers of us living in cities then the need to be able to walk out into unspoilt country is all the more crystal clear. The population is going up - we really, really must be very, very intelligent about how we develop and be mindful of the irreversible nature of development.  We will be hated by our grandchildren if we get this wrong.

Our Mission:Explore National Parks is now available to purchase from National Park shops...

New GCSE Textbook now out for OCR B

It's now just over two and a half years since I went to a meeting at the offices of Hodder down in London, to start the process of writing a set of textbooks and support materials for the then-as-yet-written OCR GCSE Geography specifications for first teaching from September 2016. The authoring team of Jo Payne, Jo Debens and myself were joined by Simon Ross, and we had the editing talents of David Rogers helping to steer the project, as well as Ruth Murphy from Hodder and numerous editors and other publishing professionals at various points during the project. Earlier today, the postman brought me a package, and I finally held the results of hundreds of hours of effort in my hand. I wrote quite a few chapters in the end, and also helped to create the digital support materials, and the answers to all the various activities that have been included in the book. These all form part of the support materials that are available. More details about the books are here, whe

Coming soon...

2nd edition of David Matless book on landscape... Looks like being an essential book on cultural geography....

The Yellowing again...

It's usual at this time of year for me to share pictures of the yellowing fields, which also feature in Chapter 5 or 6 of the toolkit book: "Look at it this Way". Here's some rapeseed taken the other morning near East Lexham in Norfolk, on the way to work

National Parks - a new Mission:Explore book to be available soon...

Out soon in English and Welsh, the latest of our Explorer HQ books under the Mission:Explore name. This is Mission:Explore National Parks , and involves the usual shenanigans of creative ideas for kids of all ages. The books will be available for £5 from all National Park shops in England, Scotland and Wales. Here's a pile fresh back from the printers. As always it's been wrangled by myself, Dan Raven Ellison and Mark Pearce, and shaped by Helen Steer , who skilfully blended all of our words with some inkings from the mighty  Tom Morgan Jones. Very proud to have been involved with this, and we also have two other projects which are freshly brewed and about to launch. Will tell all when I'm allowed to… Watch this space for plenty more exciting Explorer HQ news soon….

Desert landscapes and music...

Dune on the cover, and named after the Shamal wind , which blows through Iraq and neighbouring areas… 40 years old now, and my soundtrack for tonight's writing… Featuring the late Pierre Moerlen, one of the best musicians I ever saw playing live…

Ice Station Antarctica - and a StoryMap

A useful resource for the dramatic Antarctic landscape…. 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.

Locate that Landmark Quiz

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 etc. 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.

British Red Cross resource

Amongst all the other stuff that I'm doing at the moment, is a resource that is currently half way complete, and which I hope to complete before the end of the month. It's a new resource toolkit on natural disasters for the British Red Cross , which has a focus on the Nepal Earthquake , but looks at the issues linked to humanitarian aid by agencies, particularly the work of the British Red Cross, following natural disasters. It explores the impacts over time, and has resources for KS3, GCSE and 'A' level students. Here's one of the resources that I came across during my research below. You can search this blog for more on Nepal as well using the box in the top left. I'm grateful to Rachel Hay for her substantial support and sharing her own personal story of being in the earthquake. Here's another traffic CCTV video too, which shows the everyday traffic before the earthquake.  I'll let you know when the resource is available, and how you

30 000 views

This blog was started following the completion of my KS3 Toolkit book 'Look at it this Way' as a companion blog, and to include and use the various chapters and sections that didn't end up in the book - quite a lot of materials. It now shares ideas on landscapes and how to teach about them, and various ideas linked to landscapes... The book is still available to purchase from the GA shop. Today, the blog passed through 30 000 page views, so thanks for visiting and reading the blog...

Norfolk time-lapses

By James Rowley-Hill Here's one from earlier in the week at Morston… Morston Quay aurora Mon 15th Feb from James Rowley-Hill on Vimeo . Clouds stayed away enough for some aurora activity and with the tide in as well it made for some really nice reflections Here's some more from James on Vimeo.

Get involved in #geogshare

A New Year brings with it new challenges and opportunities. 2016 brings new specifications for GCSE and ‘A’ level first teaching, alongside the last year of the existing specifications. The creation of resources for these new specifications will result in thousands of teachers duplicating effort. Local and world events will inevitably take place, which will stimulate teachers into producing resources to help students understand them. Following a suggestion by Tony Cassidy that we could share our resources to reduce this duplication, we have come up with a range of ways to contribute to a new initiative called #geogshare which mirrors similar projects run by other subject teacher communities. There are (at least) three ways that you can get involved in #geogshare. 1. Twitter / Blogs Post a link to a resource, or a blogpost where a resource has been shared Use the hashtag #geogshare when you post it, so that a search will bring it up, and they can also be storified from