Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Last Mountain

After that trailer, I'd sign on any dotted line. Powerful stuff. Showing at Sundance.

Film website here.

Alain de Botton

Not to repeat myself, as I did post about another column by Alain de Botton not long ago, but this one is really interesting....

"The role of the commentator on the environment is at one level to enable us to notice changes that are occurring. But at another level, it is also a question of getting us to care. And this is a tall order, for we are being asked to worry about the possible reduction in the number of our species three generations hence, when we all have to deal with a far more imminent problem - our own death.

We are being asked to worry about other people who are not yet born as much as we worry about ourselves. Never before in the history of humanity have we been asked to care so much about others of whom we know so little. Our empathetic powers have been stretched to breaking point."

Alain is also the author of "The Architecture of Happiness", next on my list of books to read, I think.

Information Landscape Architect

A little bit of self promotion here...... I just started a new blog called Information Landscape Architect.

I hope to cover interesting visuals that inform about nature and the need to preserve it wherever possible. It's something I have wanted to get involved with for a while. Ultimately it is the same goal I'm working towards, getting kids outside, when there is an outside to go to......

I know it's early days but I hope you check it out soon.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A time to be honest

Netmums website have revealed that many mums are lying about how much TV their kids watch or what they cook their families, as they feel an enormous amount of peer pressure to be the perfect mums.

Time to give each other a break and accept that while we all do things differently we all have our childrens best interests at heart and that is what is important.

Many mothers are under so much pressure to appear like perfect parents that they cover up how much television their children watch or what they cook their families, according to a survey.

Such "white lies" also extend to how much "quality time" mothers spend with their partner, website Netmums said its survey of 5,000 people suggested.

The parenting site said mothers often made each other feel "inadequate".

Ali Carr-Chellman

Another great talk over at TED. As a mother of two boys I understood a lot of what she said. Not sure if video games are always the be all and end all..... but the fact remains that boys are being overlooked in the current educational system.

Nature, that's my solution. All kids love being outdoors and boys can really run off a lot of energy while girls collect leaves..... I know, too simplistic but you know what I mean.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Jamie Oliver in L.A.

For the second season of his hit show "Food Revolution", Jamie Oliver has chosen Southern California as his focus. Unfortunately the public schools won't let him into the cafeterias..........

Having worked on projects for the LAUSD, I've seen their cafeterias and what the kids eat and I'm not surprised they refused, too ashamed, I'd say. Mind you, anyone would be able to work that out for themselves, their refusal speaks volumes.

Article at the L.A. Times, here.


Via this blog, I found out about the wonderful work Playworks are doing across America, chiefly to get kids playing again.

They were featured on ABC Good Morning America the other day. Check out the report above.

Is there a genius in all of us?

Over at the BBC is an article written by David Shenk, author of the book "The Genius in All of Us."

He writes:
"..... new science suggests the source of abilities is much more interesting and improvisational. It turns out that everything we are is a developmental process and this includes what we get from our genes."

Good news, I hope...... Another positive move towards encouraging children that they can be whatever they want to be and hopefully don't leave school thinking they aren't good at anything.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


....Now as battered as time itself
I droop and shuffle through my empty cell
A comedy of errors I've become
And all my endeavours I've forgot
Don't know my name or where I've come
Someone take me back to the fields
Where I need to be
So once again I can stand tall
And feel once more a tree.

"Trees" by Paul Weller
from "Wake up the nation."

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mountains out of molehills

I'm a huge fan of information graphics and this one is excellent.

The full interactive version is here, called "A timeline of media scare stories".


Via swissmiss and then bobulate, I found the mappiness people. Not that they were lost....

"mappiness maps happiness across space in the UK." It's a free app for your iphone, used as part of a research project at the London School of Economics.

An interesting post on their blog mentioned "On average, people seem to be happier when outdoors in almost all kinds of natural environment than they are in cities. (We include lots of control variables in a ‘fixed effects’ regression, which uses only the variation each individual’s responses, and treat the ‘Happy’ feelings slider as a linear scale from 0 to 100. We find that responses in natural environments are happier by between +1 and +5 points on the scale.)"

If you're an iphone user, check it out. And if you're not, check it out anyway.....

Build a school garden with GOOD and LAUSD

GOOD launched a project last year asking for submissions for a modular school garden and after a lengthy selection process they are now ready to go. The final design is being built this weekend at the 28th Street School.

Having lived in Los Angeles, I fully understand how important these green spaces will be for the kids, the photo above is a true representation of most, if not all, public school yards. Shocking, I know....

They are looking for volunteers, so if you are interested, here's the link.

(Photo by the excellent James Rajotte.)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Scrapstore playpod

Following on from my previous post, Tim Gill mentioned this video in his article.


Born Creative

Normally I read what I post about, if you get what I mean. If I link to an article I usually read it first.

However, this is a report published online by the UK thinktank Demos about creativity in the early years, entitled "Born Creative". I was so excited to see this, especially because one of the chapters is written by Tim Gill, who wrote the wonderful book "No Fear: Growing up in a risk averse society", that I wanted to share it with anyone and everyone. His chapter focuses on reconnecting children to the spaces around them, especially the outdoors.

I post.... now I read. Enjoy.

(Photo of baby tree kangaroo, doesn't get much cuter than that.... and kids would love it.)

A Point of View: Justifying culture

A really interesting article over at the Beeb (BBC for non UKer's) on cutting art subjects during the current economic climate.

"We have implicitly charged our higher-education system with a dual and possibly contradictory mission, to teach us how to make a living and to teach us how to live. And we have left the second of these two aims recklessly vague and unattended."

"There should be classes in, among other topics, being alone, reconsidering work, improving relationships with children, reconnecting with nature and facing illness."

Sad that we need classes in something we have lost that is and should be innate to us all.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Now play is a movement......

Isn't that wonderful news? Or maybe it has been a movement for a while but there is a new article over at the New York Times and that is great news indeed.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Are we having fun, kids?

Here's an article over at TES from a while back, I'm catching up.... about creativity in the classroom. It seems there are changes afoot in the UK.

Kevin Baskell, a primary school principal from Essex states:

"I want to embed pupils with an inner belief and resilience that allows them to take risks. It is not about creating arrogant or precocious young people. It is about giving pupils a real belief that they can aspire and achieve. Creativity is a wonderful way to achieve that.”

It's definitely worth a read.......

Learning Through Landscapes

have a new look to their website, lovely. They have some great information and it seems easier to navigate.

Plus, there are some great quotes from a few heavyweights.....

"Barren tarmac playgrounds may have been sufficient for my generation with freedom to roam and explore out of school hours, but times have changed and so too must our attitudes to these vital spaces." Sir David Attenborough.

Warwick Cairns

Check this out. The second part is here.

Is it me or have we lost our common sense and allowed the media to infect our lives to the detriment of our children?


Now that I'm back I shouldn't really post about Ken Robinson, or you may think this is fast becoming his unofficial fan club . However, he is out there and people are listening and for that I must join the band wagon.

Over at Good there is an article mentioning that he had done a series of videos to answer questions people twittered him about. They called him a "rock star"......... Praise indeed.

Check out his website as well (link to the right), he has more twitter replies there.