Sunday, March 30, 2008

100 Countries

Since my NeoVisitors counter was zeroed in November, have watched the visitors mount and today had a visitor from my 100th different country. You're all very welcome. If you're reading this from outside the UK, please add a comment below...

GA Conference Workshop 2008

GA Conference 2008 : University of Surrey, GuildfordJust sorting out my luggage and various pickings from the conference, which was based in the AP building of the university. This was one of the dry moments, there were lots of wet ones...

Will post more details later in the week once I have more time, but just wanted to make a link to the BLOG of the TEACHER's TOOLKIT workshop which I was particularly involved in.
Alan Kinder opened the session, then 4 of the authors talked through some of the ideas...

Thanks to those who came along to the session...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Some local stories...

I'm sure you've all been logging on to check the blog.
Just to remind you that:
a) Year 11s - you need to have given me the Sustainable Transport newspaper, response to multicultural UK, newspaper article on Global Culture or not, and finally the contribution to the multimedia "installation"...

b) Year 10s - you need to finish the 3 small pieces of coursework for the year, ready for the first week back after Easter.

Also a few local stories.
First of all, check your lottery tickets !

There's a ticket which won almost £1 million that was bought in the King's Lynn area and has not yet been claimed.

Also Post Office closures have been announced for this area, and there are several of them in the local area. More on this to come soon...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Multicultural Britain - Year 11

Here's what looks like a useful book for this section....Called "Real England" by Paul Kingsnorth, it's on my TO BUY list...

Here's the description:

We see the signs around us every day: the chain cafes and mobile phone outlets that dominate our high streets; the disappearance of knobbly carrots from our supermarket shelves; and, the headlines about yet another traditional industry going to the wall. For the first time, here is a book that makes the connection between these isolated, incremental, local changes and the bigger picture of a nation whose identity is being eroded. As he travels around the country meeting farmers, fishermen, and the inhabitants of Chinatown, Paul Kingsnorth will refract the kind of conversations that are taking place in country pubs and corner shops across the land - while reminding us that these quintessentially English institutions may soon cease to exist.

There is also a REAL ENGLAND blog, and you can read Paul's JOURNALISM and other writings on his website.

Has links to a number of relevant sites for us such as:

English Parliament Petition
Here's a section which shows the relevance for our CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY unit. It was taken from a short extract in the Daily Mail a few days ago:

I discovered that the country I love is disappearing, its culture and character being wiped out.

Those in favour of globalisation argue it is a good thing for us to cast off our narrow, parochial past. Our communities are no longer geographical, they say, but communities of interest. Barriers are broken down by mass media and technology. Rootless, we gain freedom. Placeless, we belong everywhere.

This is nonsense. Placelessness and rootlessness do not create contentment, but despair.

Ask a tribal family whose land has been stolen for a logging concession. Ask an alienated 20-something working in a call centre in any of the world's mega-cities. Ask a pensioner who no longer understands the country she lives in.

All around us, we can see the steamroller flattening out our lives. This street market is closing down, that corner shop disappearing. People feel something is wrong, but they just don't know how to stop it.

They moan to each other in pubs and write letters to local newspapers. But if they bother to complain, they are fobbed off. It is patronisingly explained to them that these are small, insignificant local matters, of no import in the grand scheme of things.

They must think about wider issues such as economic growth or the War on Terror. If they persist, they are called "Luddites" or "nimbys".

The subtext is that no-one has the right to defend the place where they belong. We should have better things to do with our time.

Well, I believe there are few better things to do. This matters — a lot.

And, though it's unfashionable to say so in polite company, I've realised that it is England rather than that political construct, Britain, that matters to me.

Not because I'm a jingoist who think it's better than everywhere else. Not because I don't like foreigners or have a visceral desperation to win the World Cup. Simply because it is my country, the place I was born and grew up in and where I belong.

I know its landscapes and history and feel connected to both. I couldn't write about Scotland or Wales in the same way, because I am not part of them and they are not part of me. For better or for worse, I am English.

But we are a confused people these days. Recently, a Scottish nationalist was telling me how successful the Scots have been in creating a renewed sense of national identity since devolution.

It puzzled him, he said, that the English couldn't do the same. "Why can't the English talk about their identity or culture?" he asked.

I didn't know what to say, because I don't understand it either. The English, perhaps uniquely among European nations, are becoming almost a de-cultured people.

From our high street shops to the vocabulary we use, we are becoming a cheap and nasty imitation of the worst of consumer U.S.

We have lost sight of who we are and where we have come from. We can't sing our own folk songs or, increasingly, cook our own national foods. We sneer at morris dancers while we sip our skinny lattes.

The English — or the intellectual classes, at any rate — have long been renowned for this kind of rootless shoulder shrugging. George Orwell was railing against it 60 years ago. Taking "their cookery from Paris and their opinions from Moscow", he wrote, the average Left-wing intellectual "has always felt there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution, from horse racing to suet puddings".

Not much has changed (though suet puddings are making a comeback in gastropubs). Mention Englishness to intellectuals today and you can still count the seconds before they start on the horrors of Britain's imperial past.

They are much happier hymning the virtues of ethnic minority communities — communities that, ironically, draw strength from their strong sense of cultural identity.

Discussions — let alone, God forbid, celebrations — of English identity are regarded with immediate suspicion, while those of virtually any other community on Earth (except the U.S.) are welcomed as positive displays of ethnic diversity.

"Multiculturalism" often seems to involve the celebration of every culture in Britain except the largest one — English culture.

This self-denial has had two dangerous consequences. One is that the Far Right has been able to colonise Englishness, conflate it with whiteness and make us all even more nervous about discussing it.

The other is that the door has been left wide open for what remains of the English landscape, both physical and cultural, to be trampled over. If we don't know what England is, or what made us, or what we value, then we don't know what to protect.



Interesting and challenging stuff !
Read it and ADD A COMMENT BELOW so that I know that you have !

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Pre Release Materials 2008

Here is the introduction to this year's Pre-release booklet.
Read this carefully. We will be spending around EIGHT hours of time on this, and you will get a copy in April when we come back after Easter.

600th Post

So we're getting close to Easter.
You need to get cracking whether you're in Year 10 or Year 11...
Lots to do, and time is trickling away as I type this....
Check the blog for lots of advice from this time last year...
Follow the link from the bottom of the right hand column.
Thanks to all who visit, and comment on, the blog posts.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Pre Release Websites and Year 11 Final call...

On the reverse of the pre-release booklet is a list of websites, so if you want to get ahead of the game, may be worth checking these out...

1. CRIBBS CAUSEWAY: this is a large shopping mall on the outskirts of Bristol, which is being compared to the shopping in the city centre itself...
4. Pictures of NOKIA MOBILE PHONES being manufactured
5. WEATHER INFORMATION on any location
6. GUIDE TO GREENLAND - one of the only sites I've ever been to with a .GL domain
7. HUG: makers of FAIRTRADE clothing.

You will get your copies of the booklet in the next lesson.
We are meeting with other Norfolk colleagues later in April to discuss the questions as we have done in previous years....

Also been contacted by Pete Flaxman, another colleague who does the Pilot and runs the Superhoops blog. He will be helping us too...

For Year 11.
You really need to get moving now on coursework. Some of you are basically not going to get your target grade, and may even be withdrawn unless I see some real movement by Thursday!

I am going to leave this to you now: I have given you endless ideas for formats and content, and there are plenty of details on this blog.
It is up to YOU to make the effort and spend the time to produce the coursework.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pre Release Materials 2008

The booklets arrived in school yesterday, and got hold of them today, so will spend some of the weekend scanning and creating documents for you, as I did for last year's cohort.
There is obviously a focus on PEOPLE AS CONSUMERS, with a bit of EXTREME ENVIRONMENTS thrown in as well.
I like the idea of the mobile phone link.
The FAIRTRADE page looks a little out of place at the end, rather than being tied in with the globalisation of production section.
I wonder how accurate the tax disc survey is at accurately identifying visitors ? - but then I suppose that's perhaps the point of the question...

Will then start to add sections once we have our meeting with other Geography colleagues in Norfolk shortly after Easter.

Final People as Consumers Coursework - Year 10

a) Work (in groups if necessary) to collate the raw primary data from the questionnaires.

b) Present this data in graphical form. (To gain top marks try to: Use three different types of graph for three different questions or types of data. Use ICT to present the graphs and data).

c) Write a brief description of, and comment on, what the graphs show about pupil consumption and possible consequences – OR BETTER STILL! – annotate the graphs to make them into LIVING GRAPHS.

  • Remember that I showed you the electricity consumption graph with annotations to explain the spikes: e.g. the waffle iron...


a) Use annotation, colour shading, symbols and arrows to show the possible ‘geographical reach’ or in other words, the spatial consequences/impacts of the pupil consumption patterns that you have discovered.

b) You could focus on showing the consequences suggested by one of your graphs or of one of the questions, or you could try to show a range of consequences of pupil consumption.

c) You may use the base maps provided or you may design your own ‘impacts web’. The base maps will be given to you next week, but they are basically a choice of map of either the UK, Europe or the World, on different scales.


1) Brief written justification of the primary data collection methods

2) Graphs with brief written comment, to show your findings

3) Annotated maps or ‘impacts web’ to show the Geographical Reach of the consumption of KES pupils. This relates to the places which your consumption reaches or affects.


Try to show you understand these key concepts, use these words as often and as appropriately as you can.

  • Uneven development
  • Interdependence
  • Globalisation
  • Impacts of our actions

Aim to achieve work that matches these descriptions:

  • Select and use more complex and appropriate skills, approaches and techniques to collect and analyse primary data and questions/issues with little guidance (i.e. use a number of types of graph and diagram appropriately, design your own data collection method well).
  • Clearly communicate with a good understanding of the intended audience (i.e. use good and detailed annotation and map techniques).
  • Make selective and appropriate use of ICT information sources and systems (do some graphs using Excel, use ICT to organise information, use the internet to find helpful information).

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Work for 13th March - Year 11

As you may have noticed, I'm not in today.
You MUST finish off:
a) Personal response to Multicultural UK (including Cultural Objects)
b) Newspaper article: are we moving to a globl culture

Then carry on planning your contribution to the group piece on the CULTURE of our place.

Windows Movie Maker is available on the machines, and a guide to how to use it is available.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Coming up to 600 posts....

Since the time we started this new course at KES in 2006, I have been posting almost daily on this blog some guidance and help for students in Year 10 and 11 who are doing this GCSE.
I have made contact with people around the world and we've had visitors from over 100 different countries...

What have been the most useful / interesting / informative posts out of the 600 ?
Why not take the time to browse through the past posts...

Add a comment below please.
Will write a special 600th post over the Easter holidays...

Banksy and Tesco

Image by Flickr user Maggie Jones

Banksy is an artist who specialises in adding public artworks to the sides of houses and other buildings in urban settings. He is very secretive, and his artworks are sometimes painted over by people who don't realise they are art. His latest work is of 2 children saluting as a flag of Tesco (in the form of a carrier bag) is raised.
What is this trying to say about the impact of Tesco on our lives ?

Svalbard in the news again...

...this time it's the opening of the SVALBARD GLOBAL SEED VAULT (SGSV)
This is a store house where a small number of all the world's seeds and their DNA is going to be stored.
The Seed Vault is designed to hold samples of every type of seed. There are thousands of grey boxes all neatly labelled. They are stored beneath the permafrost at temperatures of 20 degrees below zero.
The vault can withstand a nuclear explosion or earthquake.

It's also know as the Doomsday Vault: the idea being that if some future catastrophe kills all plant life, the seeds in the vault (or Ark) will help to revegetate the world.

Longyearbyen is less than 1000km from the North Pole.
A range of images, courtesy of Mari Tefre / Global Crop Diversity Trust are HERE.

An INTERACTIVE look inside the vault is here too.

Can you think why the vault is located in this remote, extreme location ?

Fieldwork Follow Up ready for Coursework - Year 10

Having collected some data last time, we now need to do some follow up work to bring together the final piece of coursework. As we have already explained, time is tight, and we need to finish this off before the end of term.
This lesson is important (aren't they all...)
You have a number of items to complete during this lesson:

1. Produce a summary of the answers that you obtained. If you did a CLOSED QUESTION, add up the total and turn it into percentages.
If you did an OPEN QUESTION, label the different responses that you received.

2. Produce at least 3 different types of diagrams to show the answers to 3 of the questions.
If you have an old version of EXCEL, you can use the CHART WIZARD.

3. Write a brief summary of what the diagram tells you about the results of that particular question

Here are the details from the COURSEWORK MARKING SHEETS that we will use when we mark your whole portfolio.

Primary Data Collection

Level 1 (0-1 marks)
Candidates can select and use a limited range of basic skills, approaches and techniques to collect primary data following precise instructions.
ICT information sources are used (non-selectively)

Level 2 (2-3 marks)
Candidates can select and use appropriate skills, approaches and techniques to collect primary data, with some guidance.
Opportunities for using ICT for collecting and recording data are recognised.

Level 3 (4-5 marks)
Candidates can select and use a wide range of skills, approaches and techniques to collect primary data with little guidance.
Able to make selective and appropriate use of ICT.

Need to produce a short piece of work which discusses the following question.

What are the patterns of consumption of people in Gaywood ?

Remember that by 'patterns of consumption', we need to answer the following sorts of questions:
  1. How do people get to the shops ?
  2. How often do people go to the shops ?
  3. Why do they go to particular shops ?
  4. What is the impact of the Tesco store which is in Gaywood on the surrounding small shops ?
  5. How far do consumers act on issues such as Organic, Food Miles etc.
Feel free to use the images that I have placed on the blog in an earlier post to add to your work.


You need to produce a printed fieldwork report (which could take the form of a powerpoint presentation) which has the following components:
1. A title page with an image (don't spend a lot of time on this)
2. A map to show where we went (can use an online mapping site: credit the source), and where you stood.
3. A description of the technique that we used to collect the data, and any issues that we found with collecting the data.
4. The data presentation section (which you hopefully completed earlier)
5. A conclusion which includes the answers to the questions above.

Cultural Presentations - Year 11

Group-developed multimedia piece.
Extract from Mark Criteria for BAND 3 for ASSESSMENT OBJECTIVE 3.

The candidate displays a broad range of skills and initiative in gathering and selecting a wide variety of information from an extensive range of written, visual and other sources.

Displaying initiative, the candidate produces an appropriate newspaper feature that communicates a thorough knowledge and understanding of cultural geography.

Individually or collaboratively, the candidate produces an appropriate, well planned and inventive multi media presentation that clearly shows how a place may be represented in different ways.

The candidate clearly understands that people’s knowledge of places and environments is often gained from the media. The candidate offers evidenced and detailed explanations why these representations may not always be accurate.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Svalbard in the Guardian - the Sun returns !

Svalbard was on the front page of the Guardian today.

The northernmost town in the world: Longyearbyen has today seen the return of the sun !
They have had three months of darkness.

Read the article here.
This is a great resource for the Year 10 Pilot students, as it shows the impacts of living in an extreme place.
Read the article, and try to summarise the issues here.
Remember Laurel's COLD PHOTO blog for some great images.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Gaywood Data Collection - Year 10

Here are a few images from our trip up to Gaywood today. It was a bit quiet today, but we managed to get hold of quite a few people - thankyou to those people who took a few seconds of their day to answer the questions, and to Mrs. Clarke for coming out with us. Well done to some of you for your tenacity, like Karolina chasing people across the car park...The Gaywood ClockCoral BookmakersOne sign of the multicultural nature of King's Lynn: this sign on the library door. (A useful one for Year 11 doing their Cultural Geography work !)Tesco Gaywood: what impact has it had on the local consumer landscape ?One of those 'punning' shop signs...
Gallianos: popular with KES students...

Bowers Butchers - can Tesco claim the same ?

Remember to carry on asking any adults the questionnaires, and collecting as much data as you can for next Tuesday's lesson in B1 - BRING THE QUESTIONNAIRES WITH YOU !!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

King's Lynn: Our Place - Year 11 Cultural Geography

Group multimedia piece.
What are YOU going to contribute ?
Remember the suggestions:
  1. Image set
  2. Interviews with residents from years gone by and today to compare
  3. Details on CULTURE can include food, religion, music, crime, homelessness, immigration, clothing, the Mart, cinema and TV representations of the area etc.
  4. Artefacts: objects which 'represent' the town
  5. Video footage - perhaps shot on mobile phones
  6. Text based pieces
The library and tourist information centre would be too useful PHYSICAL places to visit as well as the usual VIRTUAL suspects...
This HAS to be with me

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

London Freewheel 2008

The event that was held in 2007 is being held again, and I just registered...
Why don't you sign up too ?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Who do we think we are

Alerted to this via an RGS-IBG newsletter.
A new website which explores issues of identity, diversity and citizenship. Familiar themes to Pilot GCSE Geographers !!

Who do we think we are? (WDWTWA)

Is a new, DCSF-funded education project designed to engage primary and secondary school teachers in the exploration of identity, diversity and citizenship with their pupils - in their schools, local communities and nationally. The project is a direct response to the recent Curriculum Review on Diversity and Citizenship, undertaken by Sir Keith Ajegbo, which recommended that all schools participate in a high profile, national event - titled Who do we think we are? Week - where the main activities would be

"…investigations and celebrations by schools of pupils’ histories and their community’s roots and of the national and global links that they can make.”

A new consortium of partners has been set up to help support the delivery of Who do we think we are? week - led by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), the Historical Association and citizenship consultant Paula Kitching.

Key areas of work include:

The design and launch of a new website - structured around four WDWTWA themes:

  • School and community
  • Relationships, belonging and faith
  • History and settlement
  • 'Britishness’, national identity/values and the 2012 Games
  • The creation of an online database and ‘Ideas Hub’ – signposting existing resources and support for the learning and teaching of identity, diversity and community
  • Curriculum Development Programmes to support targeted work with schools and young people in four local authorities: Barking & Dagenham, Bradford, Bristol and Cheshire
  • The development and promotion of the national, week-long WDWTWA activities programme (23rd-28th June 2008) - during which schools will be encouraged to collapse timetables and explore identity and diversity as cross-curricular concepts - through subject 'join up', extensive on-site enrichment activities and off-site visits to museums, archives and community-based projects, etc.

Check out the website: more to come at the end of March 2008

One to watch...

Quote Unquote

We're still after quotes for the Options Evening presentations next week.
If you want to tell us briefly what the course has been like so far, and how different it has perhaps been to the geography you have done before, please add a comment below. All comments gratefully received, and a small prize for the ones we feature on the night...

Monday, March 03, 2008

35 000 Visitors

34 990 of them from non-KES students probably ;)
You're all very welcome - feel free to add a comment to let me know that you've visited and found the blog useful !

Sunday, March 02, 2008


Nora....New handout (an 8 Mb PDF file) downloadable from the Lynn News homepage.
Useful for Year 10s considering MY PLACE, and also some ideas for Year 11s for our KING's LYNN multimedia extravaganza...

Simpsons Britain Episode - Tony needs your comments

Tony needs our help. He has a posting on his weblog HERE, which follows a request from an American called Nathan who is asking for our opinions on whether we think the episode really captured what it is like to be British.
Have the Simpsons got Britishness right ?
Spend 5 minutes (no more) of the lesson this week in the ICT room typing a comment to this post with your thoughts. Make sure they are appropriate and are accurately spelt !