Educator Spotlight: Inspiring Global Readers

Marleen Spierings, this week’s Educator of the Week, inspires her students to be global readers by introducing them to English literature lessons and teachers from around the world. Marleen is an English teacher at Rijnlands Lyceum Oegstgeest near The Hague, Netherlands. Activity: “Why Metaphor?” (YMeta4) Grade Level: 9-12 Time Commitment: 3 Months This project aims to improve students’ understanding of literary devices and empowers them … Continue reading Educator Spotlight: Inspiring Global Readers

Nobel Laureates We’d Like To Forget

WORLD Racists, frauds, and misogynists: Meet the rogues’ gallery of Nobel Prize winners. (Nat Geo News) Use our resources to check out less controversial Nobel winners, including Malala Yousafzai, the teenager who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year. Discussion Ideas What is a Nobel Prize? Nobel Prizes are awarded every year by different Swedish and Norwegian committees. Nobel Prizes are considered the most prestigious professional … Continue reading Nobel Laureates We’d Like To Forget

Oh the Places You’ll Go

Angela Crawford recently returned from an inspiring trip to Iceland as a Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow. Read about how this experience and her love of travel shapes her English classroom lessons. Oh the Places You’ll Go, the Dr. Seuss favorite, is read aloud at many high school graduations, ours included. My incoming senior AP English Literature class is walking into a … Continue reading Oh the Places You’ll Go

A Screaming Comes Across the Sky

SCIENCE Key details about a large meteor’s fiery passage over Chelyabinsk, Russia, were inadvertently captured by satellites originally tasked to study Earth’s weather, scientists say. These environmental satellites could help researchers study potentially dangerous near-Earth objects, or NEOs. (National Geographic News) Use our resources to better understand meteors and weather satellites. (No, this video—of the Chelyabinsk meteorite being recovered from Lake Chebarkul—has no sound.) Discussion … Continue reading A Screaming Comes Across the Sky

All Literature Begins with Geography

(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”