Jim Gray- Geoliteracy for Kids

Jim is the Director of Learning at Leap Frog, which designs and develops innovative and creative educational products. He loves “the ‘ah-ha”‘moment of learning something new, the feeling of mastery that comes with practice, and the way learning opens up new worlds to explore.” Geo-literacy is the ability to think, act, and communicate in geographic terms.  It provides a fun way to promote healthy physical … Continue reading Jim Gray- Geoliteracy for Kids

Kate Strassman and Students- “From there, India looked like a man wearing a dhoti”

Special Note: My sister Kate lives and teaches in India. I told her about the Blog-a-thon, and she was inspired to have her students write about geography! Thanks for sending these, Kate!

I am an English teacher at Primrose
School in Puducherry. We are in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, on
the Indian Ocean. In the spirit of Geography Awareness Week, I gave
all my students the creative writing assignment, “If you could fly,
where would you go and what would you see?” I was curious how my
students would describe their land from up above. Would they write
about water buffalo glistening after the monsoon rains, women weaving
garlands of jasmine blossoms to wear in their hair, or business men
smearing white ash kum-kums on their foreheads in devotion to Shiva at the temple before they go to the office? My students’
stories are as diverse as India itself. Enjoy!
–Kate Strassman


Continue reading “Kate Strassman and Students- “From there, India looked like a man wearing a dhoti””

Barbaree Duke- Geography: Where Dead Authors and Dusty Books Come to Life

Barbaree, a 20 year veteran K-20 educator in English and technology, currently writes curriculum, teaches professional development in Curriculum Integration and GIS in Education and tutors students at her home base, Covington, LA. “Why do I need to know this?”  How often have you heard that question?  Geography is not the first-reach resource for most English Language Arts(ELA) teachers, but I’ve found the use of geospatial … Continue reading Barbaree Duke- Geography: Where Dead Authors and Dusty Books Come to Life

Kristi Karis- State of …? Confusion.

Kristi is a teacher consultant and Public Engagement Coordinator from Michigan.

Years have passed since more concerted efforts have been put in place to teach more geography.  We have seen the extraordinary efforts of the National Geographic Society and the formation of Geographic Alliances all across our country.  We have seen countless teachers trained in innovative, exciting, and practical geographic methods head back to their classrooms to share with countless colleagues and students their new found love for geography.  We have seen the emergence of the grassroots efforts to promote and spread geography through My Wonderful World.  So, why is it still so hard to understand states and other places on the map?

Examples abound of the misuse of simple and basic fundamentals of state names.  I find myself laughing in order to keep from crying.  During a recent phone conversation at a national insurance company, the sales representative asked the young mother to give her state of residence.  She answered, “Kansas City.”  When told that Kansas City was not a state, she replied that she lived in Wyandotte.  Again the representative told her that that was not a state.  Her reply?  “That’s what they told me.”  Who would tell anyone that Wyandotte was a state?  I can maybe see mixing up the words county and country but not county and state!  Where was this child in elementary school or middle school when others learned about our 50 states?  Daily the sales representatives have people tell them their state of residence is, “Chicago” or “Atlanta.”  Indeed these are important cities, but they are not states.

Continue reading “Kristi Karis- State of …? Confusion.”