Category Archives: Uncategorized

Exciting News from Esri – Making GIS Accessible to K-12 Educators

It was announced yesterday at the White House that Esri will provide free ArcGIS Online subscriptions for all K-12 schools (instructional use) in the United States as part of the White House’s ConnectED initiative. More information is available here.

Resources to help schools get started with ArcGIS Online are available at http://edcommunity.esri.com/connected.

In conjunction with this initiative, we encourage GIS professionals to become GeoMentors who volunteer to help schools set up their ArcGIS Online account, provide data for the local community, and provide local expertise. More information about the GeoMentor program is at http://www.geomentor.org.

ArcGIS Online subscriptions for K-12 schools include 500 named users. The July release of ArcGIS Online will include a new custom role (“Student”) and new account administration tools for managing student accounts.

Please contact connectEDschools@esri.com with questions.

Geo-literacy through World Literature

by Kate Swanson

Kenton Hundley and OLP student perform participatory spoken word poetry together

Your new CGA leadership team has been working hard to build exciting and innovative collaborations to help promote geography education in California’s schools. We recently had an opportunity to collaborate with the Academy of Our Lady of Peace (OLP), a high school that has been teaching girls in San Diego since 1882. Working with English teachers Katie Turner and Laura Rodriguez, we helped develop an exciting sophomore World Literature curriculum that focused on geo-literacy and girls’ global education and empowerment.

Today I’m going to give an overview of this collaboration. In next month’s newsletter, you’ll hear from one of the school’s World Literature students as she gives her thoughts on how the curriculum fostered her desire to change the world for the better! The following month, we’ll hear from teachers Katie and Laura as they describe their World Literature curriculum in more detail. We hope their curriculum might serve as a model for how to incorporate geography education into the classroom in engaging ways.

World literature, states Alexander Solzhenitsyn, is “the one great heart that beats for the cares and misfortunes of our world, even though each corner sees and experiences them in a different way.” This quote, taken from the OLP World Literature syllabus, captures a major goal of the curriculum – to help girls step outside of their comfort zones in order to help them understand global social and environmental issues through a different lens. The books they read and the films they watched spanned Norway (Ibsen’s A Doll’s House), Zimbabwe (Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions), Iran (Satrapi’s Persepoli), India (Mehta’s Water), and New Zealand (Caro’s Whale Rider). Each student in the class was also assigned a country to profile. Their task was to explore national level geography, culture, politics, and economics in order to explore factors affecting women’s and girls’ literacy levels in each of their assigned countries.

To help further their understanding of girls’ struggles around the world, the CGA purchased and screened the film Girl Rising. This film shares girls’ struggles through powerful story telling. By focusing on stories from Cambodia, Haiti, Nepal, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Peru, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan, it demonstrates how educating girls can have formidable impacts across families, communities, nations, and the world (http://girlrising.com/).

We then helped bring three keynote speakers to create a speaker symposium for the 120 girls enrolled in the World Literature program. All of the speakers were invited to share their own personal journeys, as well as their work. The first speaker was yours truly. I shared my story on how I became a geographer, and also spoke about some of my work with migrant youth. We then invited Kenton Hundley, an award-winning spoken word poet, who works at a safe house for unaccompanied minors. Kenton blew the girls away by sharing his powerful poetry about the Latin American youth who risk their lives to journey to America. Our final speaker was Professor Doreen Mattingly an outstanding geographer and feminist scholar who is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Women’s Studies at San Diego State University. Professor Mattingly’s words inspired the girls to pursue their goals and strive to make the world a better place.

Teacher Laura Rodriguez (far left), Dr. Doreen Mattingly (back row center), teacher Katie Turner (far right) and OLP sophomore students

Finally, we sponsored a geo-literacy essay contest. The prompt was: How does our study of girls around the world help us better understand the true meaning of the world hero? There were many excellent essays (we had 7 honorable mentions!), demonstrating the power of this curriculum to inspire. The winning essay, written by Mariana Fernandez, will be featured in next month’s newsletter. We presented the award to Mariana at a large sophomore awards ceremony attended by students, parents and teachers. Congratulations, Mariana! I hope you all enjoy her excellent essay next month.

For teachers out there who are incorporating geography into their classrooms in innovative ways, we encourage you to get in touch with us. We hope to profile the work of other teachers on our website (www.calgeography.sdsu.edu) and in this newsletter. By doing so, we can help spread geo-literacy around the state!

Kate Swanson (far left), Kenton Hundley (front center), Katie Turner (far right) and OLP students
Kate Swanson (far left), Kenton Hundley (front center), Katie Turner (far right) and OLP students

Understanding the Crisis in the Ukraine: a Lesson Aligned to Common Core and California History-Social Studies Standards

The full lesson is found here: http://www.crf-usa.org/online-lessons-index/the-crisis-in-ukraine

Overview

This lesson examines the crisis in Ukraine. First, students hold a brief discussion on what they think is the most important news story going on. Then they read and discuss a background piece on the crisis in Ukraine. Next, in small groups, they role play international lawyers and analyze Ukraine’s 1994 Budapest Memorandum, an agreement among Ukraine, Russia, the U.S., and the U.K.

Objectives

Students will be able to:

    > Explain why the protests in Ukraine took place.
    > Describe the cultural divisions in Ukraine.
    > Analyze and answer text-dependent questions on a primary document, citing evidence from the text (Ukraine’s Budapest Memorandum).

Standards Addressed

Common Core Standard RH.11–12.1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.

National High School Civics Standard 22: Understands how the world is organized politically into nation states, how nation states interact with one another, and issues surrounding U.S. foreign policy. (1) Understands the significance of principal foreign policies and events in the United States’ relations with the world (e.g., Monroe Doctrine, World Wars I and II, formation of the United Nations, Marshall Plan, NATO, Korean and Vietnam Wars, end of the Cold War). (12) Knows some important bilateral and multilateral agreements to which the United States is signatory (e.g., NAFTA, Helsinki Accord, Antarctic Treaty, Most Favored Nation Agreements).

California History Social Science Standard 11.9: Students analyze U.S. foreign policy since World War II.

National High School U.S. History Standard 30: Understands developments in foreign policy ….

California History–Social Science Standard 6.4: Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of the early civilizations of Ancient Greece. (1) Discuss the connections between geography and the development of city states in the region of the Aegean Sea, including patterns of trade and commerce among Greek city states and within the wider Mediterranean region. (2) Trace the transition from tyranny and oligarchy to early democratic forms of government and back to dictatorship in ancient Greece, including the significance of the invention of the idea of citizenship (e.g., from Pericles’ Funeral Oration).

National World History Standard 8: Understands how Aegean civilization emerged and how interrelations developed among peoples of the Eastern Mediterranean and Southwest Asia from 600 to 200 BCE. (1) Understands the political framework of Athenian society (e.g., the influence of Athenian political ideals on public life; major changes made to the Athenian political organization between the initial monarchy and the governments of Solon and Cleisthenes . . . ).

Report from BioBlitz 2014 at Golden Gate National Parks

BioBlitz2014

By Roni Jones

#BioBlitz2014 at Golden Gate National Parks in San Francisco was an exhilarating and inspiring event for students, educators, scientists, and citizens. National Geographic Education staff started the week by spending Tuesday, March 25 at John Muir Middle School in Corcoran, California, just south of Fresno, to conduct a Schoolyard BioBlitz with 240 7th grade students. Over three hours, students visited three different sites in town and on campus to observe birds, insects, animals, and plants. JMMS is a Verizon Innovative Learning School and an Apple Distinguished School, and has implemented a 1:1 iPad ratio for students and teachers. With this technology, students were able to utilize the iNaturalist app to identify and document different species throughout the day. Students were most excited to observe owl pellets containing animal bones, feathers, and other indigestible matter. Information and video collected during the Schoolyard BioBlitz will ultimately be available for educators so they, too, can organize and conduct their own local species inventories.

At noon on Friday, March 25, BioBlitz 2014 was officially launched, although students and scientists had started collected data early that morning. The staff at Golden Gate National Parks, as well as Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and the Presidio Trust, coordinated hundreds of naturalists, docents, birdwatchers, and other volunteers to work with more than 3,000 students throughout the day. Students were scattered throughout the Bay Area from San Mateo to the Marin Headlands to conduct inventories about what types of bird, reptile, mammal, plant and insect species were observed. It was amazing to see so many students actively involved in field science and engaged so fully with their local environment. The weather was spectacular and the students were also able to enjoy a large festival of hands-on activities at Crissy Field, in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge.

The public and scientific inventories continued into Friday night and Saturday morning, even though the weather turned stormy and wet. Volunteers returned to the field throughout the 24-hour period to inventory tide pools and identify nocturnal creatures. The first-ever inventory of the canopy of the redwood forest in Muir Woods was conducted. In total, 300 scientists, 3,000 students, and over 5,000 volunteers took part in this unique and exciting event.

Next year, #BioBlitz2015 will take place at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, so make your vacation plans now to participate!