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Strategy Share: Exploring Climate Change with Google Earth

I circumnavigated Iceland on expedition as a Grosvenor Teacher Fellow in July 2017, not long after the announcement that the United States planned to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation. Back home in the U.S. at that time, there was a lot of political debate about involvement in the agreement and the value of combating global warming at home. Meanwhile in Iceland, I came face to face with the effects of global warming as we visited spectacular landscapes threatened by the warming climate. Continue reading Strategy Share: Exploring Climate Change with Google Earth

Strategy Share: Building Empathy Through Virtual Immersion

The following post was written by 2017 Grosvenor Teacher Fellow Ali Farlow-Troy, a middle- and high-school science and physical education teacher in Toronto, Ontario, after her expedition to the Arctic. The Grosvenor Teacher Fellow Program is a professional development opportunity for pre-K–12 educators made possible by a partnership between Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic Education. Hanging off the bow of a ship called the National Geographic Explorer, watching a polar bear guide … Continue reading Strategy Share: Building Empathy Through Virtual Immersion

Educator Spotlight: Investigating the Stories Behind Smartphones

Loris Chen designed a unit that guides her eighth-grade students through an exploration of smartphones. Students follow the product life cycle from beginning to end, discovering what raw materials are used, how they are sourced, and how sustainable they are. The project culminates with students producing videos to share their ideas for improving smartphone sustainability. Continue reading Educator Spotlight: Investigating the Stories Behind Smartphones

Three Ways Google Mapping Can Help You in the Classroom

I’ve been a huge advocate for the use of online digital mapping the classroom ever since Google Earth was released as a desktop version back in 2006. Since then, Google has made sincere efforts to improve the quality and ease of their mapping, so that now I can say with confidence that you do not need to be a Google Earth Guru to use it … Continue reading Three Ways Google Mapping Can Help You in the Classroom

All Literature Begins with Geography

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(Photo Credit: Ashwin Ravi, submitted through  My Shot)
Our friends at Google Maps Mania, citing Robert Frost, remind us that, “all literature begins with geography.” And it’s not just the physical world that inspires poetry, prose, history, drama, and spoken word. Geographies of the mind inspire stories as well. I first thought about geography’s role in actually creating literature while reading Ricardo Padróns “Mapping Imaginary Worlds,” in which he gives the history of the map of Treasure Island:
I this case, the map came before the adventure story. Robert Louis Stevenson drew it with his father and stepson, and only afterward thought to write a pirate story to go with his treasure map…. The island itself, that perfectly possessable geographic object, displaces the treasure as the reader’s object of desire. 
What Padrón is saying is that cartography is a way to imagine and explore the subjective world  of art, not just the positivist world of science. 
But geography’s role in literature has other facets: deconstruction and comprehension. Not only does literature begin with geography, but geoliteracy is an important tool to unpack and interpret great writing. The Alliance for the Study and Teaching of Adolescent Literature at RISD(ee) recommends mind mapping as a way to improve reading comprehension and dissect stories. Another fun way to map text is with wordle, which creates an artistic representation akin to a tag cloud. 

Continue reading “All Literature Begins with Geography”