Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Merry Christmas to all my readers... How far will your turkey travel ?

This will be the last post for a week or so.
Just finishing off the last Pilot lesson before the Christmas break by doing some Simpsons related follow up, and also uploading presentations to my Slideshare page from the lesson on "10 Images of the UK" task.

Also been reading about the new PERSONAL RAPID TRANSIT system which is going to be installed at Heathrow airport for the opening of the new terminal. The route is shown on the map below - they look and sound excellent, and I look forward to seeing these in lots of places over the next decade (maybe...)Source: Advanced Transport Systems Ltd

As part of this last post, I need to draw your attention to a few interesting stories on the BBC News page related to PEOPLE AS CONSUMERS unit.

The CARBON COST of Christmas Food looks at FOOD MILES.

The Soil Association takes up this theme, and also has some materials looking ahead to the OLYMPICS and the food that is produced for the competitors and spectators. You can download a report on this theme with a nice olympic ring themed logo...

BBC NEWS 24 is having about a MAD ABOUT FOOD season where they are featuring reports about food issues.
One very useful resource is a Nielsen report on ETHICAL SHOPPING.
Also worth reading a fascinating photo story on how JAPAN is having problems feeding itself owing to its reliance on exports and the growing cost of food production, partly related to the biofuels issue.

So, have a very happy holiday and see you in 2008 !
Image under Creative Commons License from FLICKR user riptheskull

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Multicultural Christmas

Think of a 'typical' Christmas scene...
Family gathered around the table. Presents have been unwrapped, a decorated tree in the corner, a fire in the grate, the Queen's speech has just been on, and the turkey is about to be carved. There are christmas cards hanging on strings, and everyone is wearing a paper crown.

Does that describe your Christmas ?
Where did these customs come from that have combined to produce this cultural phenomenon ?
How English / British is Christmas ?

A useful Daily Telegraph article on how to escape the BRITISH CHRISTMAS.

Remember that there are actually a whole host of alternative Christmases. It is, after all, just another day, and in 9 days time, it'll be a year until Christmas.

Some people will be homeless.

CRISIS at Christmas supports people who find themselves homeless at Christmas.

In the 6th form each year, there is a collection of sugar: SILVER SPOON is best as any donations are then matched by British Sugar, for Crisis at Christmas and to help their work in the centres that they open in a number of cities over Christmas.

Upside down Christmas Tree: save space in your house this Christmas (available from B&Q and other retailers) This is a new designer idea which was featured in the paper this year, although I don't actually know anyone who has one. It seems to have originated in the USA.

Presents: largely manufactured in Chinese factories
What are this year's MUST HAVE toys ?

This site has been set up by a group of Americans who are wanting to 'keep their Children safe'...presumably following a range of toy recalls by Mattel. What do you think about the politics of such a site ? What alternatives are being suggested ? How do we know that these are any 'safer' ?

We're all familiar with the ideas of FOOD MILES. How far did your Christmas dinner travel ? (this is a seminal BBC article, which suggests a total distance of 30 000 miles)[;9

Why not carry out the BBCs SUSTAINABLE SHOPPING quiz. How many will you score ? I didn't do very well...

Music / Films / TV

A diet of Disney and Hollywood...

The Christmas Story - didn't happen in Slough did it..

Think about how many people actually have something completely unlike your Christmas: the billions in India and China, or on the beaches of Australia, or in the rural areas of Africa.
So your Christmas is atypical....

Merry Winterval !

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Publication date is arriving soon...

You need to be getting your Transport magazines ready for publication if you are in Year 11.
We need to have them ready for Christmas so that we can spend some time marking them and suggesting what additional things need adding before we then spend the next 3 months or so on our final piece of work on CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY (check out the Culture Blog which is already up and running...)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Simpsons in the UK

Today, 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.

What if the SIMPSONS were to visit King's Lynn ? Where would we take them ? What could they take part in ?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Are you British ?

Thanks to Tony Cassidy for passing on his BRITISHNESS resources, which we used some of today.
First of all was the introduction which has a series of images in a quiz similar to the 10 images powerpoint that we sourced for the UK in our powerpoints. There were then 10 questions from the Citizenship test which is set to people wishing to become British citizens (or is it subjects ?)

Next lesson we will be looking at the Simpsons visit to the UK...

Mrs. Clarke's group's work

Mrs. Clarke is away today.
Here is the work that you need to do today.
Read the post below...

It's about King's Lynn.
You need to start to research information about YOUR PLACE, which is King's Lynn

You are going to be making a presentation about your town.

This assumes that you have already researched your 10 IMAGES OF ENGLAND work.

If not, read this:

What we are going to do is collate the images that you come up with to provide 10 images which best represent ENGLAND or the UK...

What about my own Top 10 ? Well, it would have to include Fish and Chips (Wikipedia image below was taken in Hunstanton - spooky!)I'd also want to include something from Yorkshire, a pint of ale - Tim Taylor's Landlord for preference, sitting on Scarborough beach in a deckchair on a cold Bank Holiday perhaps...
What are your images of 'My Place' ? Why not add a comment below and explore the ICONS site for more.
Remember that the images don't have to be pictures. They could be:
  • the first lines of poems
  • the titles of books
  • songs
  • films
  • plants or flowers
  • sounds: leather on willow anyone ?
  • smells: freshly cut grass ?
  • items of clothing
  • seasonal events in the calendar
  • festivals or annual activities e.g. cheese rolling...
Make a powerpoint, which shows each image for 10 seconds and then fades to the next image. You need to find 10 suitable images of England or the UK. Use the various IMAGE SEARCH sites.

Monday, December 10, 2007

30 000 and counting

My visitor map tells me that we've had over 30 000 visitors now to the blog in the last 13 months. Thanks to all the visitors. If you're visiting us from somewhere exotic i.e. outside Norfolk, please leave a comment on a post to say hello....

Thursday, December 06, 2007


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.

Watch it !

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Into the Dragon's Den

Image: Copyright BBC

Dragon's Den is a BBC2 series which gives entrepreneurs the chance to pitch for some new finance from 5 'dragons', who are all successful business people.

This week, one of the business was a company called JPM ECO LOGISTICS, which was pitching itself as an eco-friendly haulage firm, using 100% biofuels and recycled vehicles.
The pitch can be seen again on THIS PAGE.

And the result of the pitch ?
Visit the website to find out !!

Thanks to virtual colleague Pete Flaxman from Essex for the tip-off....

Monday, December 03, 2007

Christmas Connections

Christmas Trees
Every year, for the last 61 years, a tree has been donated to London by the city of Oslo, Norway as a thankyou for the assistance given during the 2nd World War.
THIS SITE gives the details. Bergen gives a tree to Newcastle, and Stavanger gives one to Sunderland.

Recycling the tree

The tree will stay in Trafalgar Square until 4 January, just before the Twelfth Night of Christmas, when it will be taken down for recycling. The tree is chipped and composted, to make mulch.


We will eat over 10 million turkeys this Christmas

A fun site has been launched at UK TURKEYS. Some colouring in pictures for you to pass the time, and also some great jokes..

Q. Why was the turkey sent to the headmaster ?

A. Because he used some fowl language...

The site has a map for you to find your nearest turkey producer to cut down on the food miles. Gobble Gobble....

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Cyclone Sidr Resources

BANGLADESH - Cyclone Sidr Resources

Tony Cassidy spent the October half term of this year in Bangladesh.
As part of his travels, he was asked to create a resource.
The week after he arrived back in England, CYCLONE SIDR hit Bangladesh: the worst cyclone since 1991.

Details of the CYCLONE can be seen on the BBC NEWS site, and there is a very detailed article from the DAILY TELEGRAPH here.

Lesson Ideas Resources
1 Rationale- why study this event?Formation of the Cyclone Sidr.

Cyclone protection in Bangladesh.

PowerPoint with linked video and embedded animation.Student worksheet about the formation of the cyclone.
2 Causes, Impacts & Responses. PowerPoint introducing classification task.Student worksheet-classification task.
3 How quickly will Bangladesh cover? PowerPoint comparing development statistics of the U.K. and Bangladesh.Student response worksheet.
4,5,6 Levelled assessment. Students to produce a PowerPoint storyboard about the cyclone for B.B.C. news 24.Task worksheet.

Assessment criteria.

Outline PowerPoint.

The resources are a hefty 26Mb download.

If you use the resources, please make a donation to the OXFAM DISASTER RELIEF FUND. Click the link below, or the logo at the top of this post.


Saturday, December 01, 2007

Arctic Sea Ice

If you have Google Earth, you can now see an animation of the melting ice in the Arctic.

Visit GOOGLE EARTH BLOG to get the KML file.

Traffic and Shopping

Two of our topics combined this weekend in London People as Consumers and Sustainable Transport.
As an attempt to overcome the usual depression associated with BLACK SATURDAY, the first Saturday in December, when people generally worry about how much Christmas is going to cost.
BBC NEWS article for detail

This year, Regent St., Oxford St. and Bond St. were all closed to traffic for the day.

It was expected that over 1 million shoppers would visit the area today.

Should the area be permanently pedestrianised ?