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Posts tagged ‘geography’

Nerdfest 2015 Day One: Thinking like a geographer

There’s been a big push in the last few years to train kids to think historically, to ask better questions, to analyze evidence, to solve problems ala Sam Wineburg.

But what does it look like when kids think like a geographer? The last session of the day yesterday at the NSSSA conference focused at interpreting primary sources with a geographic lens. What sorts of questions can we train kids to ask that helps them think about connections between events and place?

And I love the idea of thinking geographically. I would be the first to admit that I am very US History-centric. Thinking historically – ala Sam Wineburg – has been my life for the last few years as I helped write state standards and train teachers.

So having a conversation about a different lens to think about the past is a great way to end the day. I’ve pasted a few resources below that you really need to go check out but the basics of thinking geographically look like this: Read more

5 new and 15 old equals 20 Hunger Games: Mockingjay lesson plans and resources

It’s coming. If you haven’t been paying attention and don’t know what I’m talking about, chat for a few minutes with some of your students. I’m guessing that they can help you out.

Yup. That’s right. The last half of Mockingjay, the third and final Hunger Games movie opens November 20. It’s guaranteed  to set records for ticket sales after it opens.


Cause people love the book. Seriously love the book.

I became very aware of the power that Katniss and other Hunger Games characters have on people when my daughter and wife started reading the series several years ago. And the more I talked with them and as they shared more about the story, I began to realize the possibilities for integrating that story into social studies instruction.

Way back in September 2010, I wrote

I’ve heard from some that this sort of thing is too much like “entertaining” students. That we shouldn’t have to use pop culture to teach social studies. I disagree. I will use pretty much whatever it takes to engage kids in content. And if the relationship between Katniss, Peeta and Gale hooks students into a better understanding of civic and geographic concepts, we ought to be all over it.

I still believe that. The Hunger Games series gives us a wonderful hook for teasing out some amazing social studies themes and topics: Read more

The True Size of . . .

One of my favorite map books is called How to Lie With Maps by Mark Monmonier. How to Lie highlights the use and abuse of maps and teaches us how to critically evaluate these “easy-to-manipulate models of reality.” Monmonier claims that, despite their immense value, maps must lie.

Back of the book jacket , Monmonier introduces basic principles of mapmaking, gives entertaining examples of the misuse of maps in situations from zoning disputes to census reports, and covers all  sorts of distortions from deliberate oversimplifications to the misleading use of color.

How can maps “lie?” Read more

Where Are the Jobs & Racial Dot Maps. What could you do with this?

I’ve been to the Fast Company network of sites in the past but I need to learn to spend more time over there, uh . . . researching possible post topics. Yeah. That’s it. Not wasting time reading interesting articles about how Batman videos have evolved over time. I’m over there investing valuable minutes tracking down very appropriate articles directly tied to education related subjects.


Okay. A few articles may be tough to defend education-wise but you’ve got four channels – Exist, Design, Create, Video – to choose from and you can find a ton of interesting reads here. If nothing else, you’ve got some great writing prompts.

A recent research trip to the Exist channel uncovered two of my favorite things: a map and another map.

The most recent map claims to highlight every single job in America with a variety of different colors. The map plots out each job with an actual dot in four simplified categories. Factory and trade jobs are red, professional jobs are blue, health care, education, and government jobs are green, and service jobs like retail are yellow.” It is interactive, allowing you to zoom and scroll from one place to another, providing a chance to see patterns both small and large. Read more

Hacking #iste2015: Virtual Globe Trotting with Google Maps

A good day so far. A few sessions this morning. Some great conversations with a some poster folks. I scored two free tee shirts and a cell phone battery charger from Google. And I spent two hours at the ESSDACK vendor booth.

Last session of the day before the awesome Tweetwood Mac / Otus / ESSDACK reception tonight? Jenn Judkins BYOD session on creating and using Google MyMaps. One of the first things I learned this morning was that MyMaps is now an option on the GAFE Google Drive Create dropdown menu.

So I am pumped that I’ll learn some new stuff this afternoon. I have my fingers crossed. If nothing else, Jenn is incredibly perky for 4:15 pm. She seriously just said

The IT guy’s name is Merlin. Shut the front door! He’s literally a technology wizard.

So . . . it’s gonna be awesome. Read more

Hacking #iste2015: Free ConnectEd & ESRI account and free geography / history lessons

Just dipped my toe in the #iste2015 Expo Hall, talked to a few folks, and got out. You want to be careful about spending too much time in there. It’s too easy getting sucked in to the vendor web.

But I headed in on purpose with a mission to stop by the ESRI booth for a quick chat. Met Tom Barker who had spent some time at the University of Kansas and learned a ton in just a few minutes. So I quick update before I scoot off to browse some poster sessions. Read more


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