Cross posted to Langwitches.
How is geography being taught in your school? Is it a weekly time block designated under the umbrella of Social Studies in Elementary School? Is it a semester or one year required credit course in High School?
Geography is a separate subject. Really?
Heidi Hayes Jacobs says (p. 36) in her Curriculum 21. (ASCD, 2010) book:
Geography should be cut as a snapshot unit with an integrated approach continuously woven into the academic year. Rather than the token “let’s start off the school year with our classic unit on geography,” the curriculum should include an ongoing injection and use of geography and a full range of maps. When schools do not use maps of all kinds with regularity in a range of classes (English, science, art), our students do not get to apply geography in a meaningful way.
Heidi Hayes Jacobs compares a segregated and isolated teaching unit of geography to a first grade teacher posting an ABCs poster on the wall, only to take it down after a month.
It is about making continuous connections of geography themes to what we teach. Where does the content fit into the world? How does the content relate to other subject areas. How does it affect the people who live there? Where do we find Math concepts in the physical world around us? Do literary or historic perspectives change due to geographic locations? How does Geography impact the economy?
How can we help classroom teachers make these connections from their teaching subject/content to geographic awareness/compentency?
Vivek Wathwa states in an article on TechCrunch about American competitiveness in the global educational field that
if we create the incentives for American children to study math and science and to complete advanced degrees, the magic will happen. In addition to math and science, we should teach our children about world culture, geography, and global markets. In the era of globalization, these subjects are equally important.
Bill Ferriter (@plugusin) recently tweeted
Really heartsick about NC’s decision to make social studies a history instead of geography focus. That’s narrowminded in today’s world.
If geography is equally important as math and science, than why is it being made a “lesser” focus?
I presented recently at the Teacher2Teacher conference in Bow Island, Alberta, Canada. The topic of one of my sessions was: “Geography is All Around Us”
Take a look at the slides and check out the tools and resource links discussed at the presentation for examples how geography can AND should be integrated into other subject areas.
- Twitter- Bus2 Antarctica
- Read Around The World
- In Search of Pachamama
- Google Lit Trips
- Flat Stantley Podcast
- Posterous Blog- Defining Japan
- Teddy Bears Around The World
- What Could It Mean? VoiceThread
- Free Rice
- Math Maps
- Current Events
- Around The World With 80 Schools
How do you integrate Geography into your subject area? How can you upgrade one unit, one lesson or one assignment to integrate geography. What tools are you using? What projects are participating in? Please share you tips and techniques.
Take a look at previous blog posts on Langwitches with examples of Geography integration:
- Geography Awareness Week-Get Lost in Mapping: Find Your Place in the World
- The Logistics of Creating a Current News Events Google Map
- Our Own Private Pirate Island
- News Events Assignment with a Twist
- Map Skills on the SmartBoard
- Framing a Field Trip with Google Earth
- 6 Schools- 6 Countries-1 Hour
- Beyond the Playground: Google Earth for Elementary Students
- Writing a Story in Google Maps
- Connecting the Dots… with Google Earth
- Flat Stanley Podcast
- Podcasting with First Grade
Here are a few tips through Twitter.
Cross Posted to Langwitches Blog
I am usually a fast reader, but I have been taking my time with this book. There is not only a wealth of information, but it connects to so many of my thoughts and ideas I have contemplated in my mind as well as on this blog over the last few years. It resonated with me when Heidi Hayes Jacobs says:
a school does not need reform— it needs new forms.
Heidi advocates that
New essential curriculum will need revision- actual replacements of dated content, skills, and assessments with more timely choices.
I really liked her approach when she suggests the distinction between a “growth model” instead of a “change model” that needs to be introduced to a school’s culture.
As I was reading the book (hard copy, not on my Kindle), I was using highlighters to not miss thoughts or quotes that I wanted to remember. It did not take long to realize that I was highlighting too much 🙂 How was I going to get through this book and make sense of it, connect and wrap it around my thoughts which were floating around but had not been verbalized?
I know that I work best through concepts and ideas when I create diagrams or use mind mapping tools. I really like using the SmartArt Graphics in PowerPoint. The visuals below are a summary of what I “read out of the book”, the most important points in my mind and quotes.
- Understanding of knowledge, creation & authority
- Make meaning of information to create new knowledge
- Find, evaluate, organize, interpret & distribute information
- Pattern recognition, critical thinking, perception
- Gather knowledge to become intelligent vs. apply knowledge
- Social production is enabled by power of networks to connect people
- Nature of learning & teaching
- Locating experts & eyewitnesses
- Relationships NOT technologies determine learning
- Enhancing the process of learning to be (Identity)
- Compete. Cooperate & connect with global peers
- Greater understanding of 95% of world’s population
- Knowledge-driven global economy
- Global competency knowledge, language &respect
- Global perspective
- Critical Thinking
- Literary Authority & participatory culture
- Media is shaping the way students think and express themselves
- No longer print-centric world
- Find, analyze, evaluate, organize, remix, store and share media
- Gather data about own learning
- Self-Modifying as lifelong learner
- Alternative assessment tool
- Non-linear learning
- Semantic Web
- Interdisciplinary linkage to real world applications
- Global Connectivity
- Ubiquitous connectivity
- Learning is social
- Collective Intelligence
- Engage students to produce meaningful contributions
- Students making contributions to learning communities
- Establishing & maintaining working relationships
- Tools to share what we learn open up new ways of thinking
- Professional Development
- Nationally/ Internationally
- Foreign Languages
I also like taking quotes and create visuals of them.