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Posts tagged ‘maps’

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

Literature, geography, and epic road trips

We’re putting the finishing touches on this year’s Kansas state social studies conference. Titled A Capitol Idea: Integrating History and ELA, the conference will focus on ways to support both social studies and language arts folks. We know that this sort of integration is critical to developing the skills our kids need to be successful.

(So . . . shameless propaganda. If you’re anywhere near the Kansas capitol building on November 2, you need to plan on being part of the conversation. And by near, I’m talking five or six hour driving distance. Seriously. It’s gonna be awesome.)

But our planning and discussion about combining literacy skills and historical thinking jogged my memory. I knew Pocketed an article about a month or so ago that highlighted American road trips using some sort of map. A quick search of my Pocket later and yup, there it was.

The Obsessively Detailed Map of American Literature’s Most Epic Road TripsRead 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: 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

USGS Historical Topo Maps

For the last month or so, there has been a serious spring cleaning operation going on in my house. Serious. I’ve dug through boxes of stuff that I packed away almost 20 years ago and haven’t looked at since. Middle school lessons plans. Old laminated classroom posters. Folders of tests and handouts. Front pages from the Wichita newspaper documenting the first Gulf War.

And maps. Lots and lots of maps. Most of all the stuff I went through got recycled.  Some of the books and resources will be given away as door prizes during future trainings. The maps? Nope. Kept most of the those. Cause you can never have too many maps. There’s just something about a good paper map.

But I also understand the power of digital. As much as I enjoy spreading out a 1939 world atlas, the ability of an online or tech-based map to blend and display huge amounts of data can’t be beat. Google Maps. Google Earth. ERSI. Rumsey Georeferencer. StoryMaps.

And now you’ve got the United States Geological Survey folks with even more goodies. The USGS has always been great about creating and sharing educational resources. But now they’ve created a new handy tool for finding and using historical topographic maps. Read more

Tip of the Week: 40 maps that explain just about everything

It’s actually 149 maps. But I figured that was just a bit of overkill in the title. To be completely transparent, it’s really five different articles about five different topics that all focus on very cool and interesting maps to tell a story.

So you can pick and choose.

Middle school US history teacher? There’s a little bit of the Civil War in there. High school world history? Yup. We’ve got some WWI and WWII. Ancient? Rome and Middle East, covered.

But . . . I can hear a few of you now.

Glenn. I know you love a good map. But what can I, a classroom teacher, do with that many maps? How can these be incorporated into my instruction? And somehow make it about historical thinking?

Well . . . first of all, we’ve already decided that 149 is a big number so don’t use all of the maps. Pick and choose the ones that best fit your specific end in mind and content. And second, remember that one of the best ways to engage the brain and to hook students on content is to create an intriguing problem. Look for a map or two or three that creates a sense of “academic discomfort” – something that doesn’t seem to make sense. Or maybe combine a few maps together to create a narrative that can lead kids in a certain direction.

We’ve used Google aerial photos to hook world history kids before. We can use a similar strategy with middle school US.

So how about this? Read more


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