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Essential Resources for Geographic and Environmental Educators

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Issue Vol. 66, No. 1

Publication Date: May, 2015

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President's Message  

Page: 2

Author(s): Hughes, Shawn

I’m sure that everyone is prepared for a well-deserved summer break. Over 10 years ago, my wife and I spent ourhoneymoon travelling across Newfoundland. The Canadian and World Studies Lead Teacher at Coboug District Collegiate Institute West, Todd Pottle, recommended that we forget our plans for a huge east coast tour and focus on Newfoundland.

We spent a month visiting almost everything between Port Aux Basques to St. John’s. We even made the journeyto Fortune Bay to catch a ferry to Saint Pierre et Miquelon so that we could give the impression that we were “cultured” and “sophisticated” by spending part of our honeymoon in France. This summer we hope to finally revisit the Eastcoast with kids in tow.

My time at Cobourg West continued to foster a love forteaching, specifically Geography. They were a fantastic and supportive staff that took a new teacher from Northern Ontario and made him part of their family. Unfortunately,we have lost “the West” and Todd. The West has been scheduled to be closed due to declining enrolment. Todd is not deceased, but he did pursue his principal qualifications.Geography is Everything!

All of these experiences have contributed to my love for Geography. Every region that I have visited briefly or chosen to stay long term has taught me something new about this country that I look forward to sharing with students. Unfortunately, our ability to share this knowledge is in jeopardy. Through my correspondence with Geographic Alliances in Arizona, Colorado, and California it appears that we share a common challenge throughout much of North America: the focus on Literacy, Numeracy, and STEM is diminishing Geographic Education.
These Geographic Alliances indicated that when Geographyis offered as part of Social Studies, it is at significant risk of being an afterthought within the course’s content .I want my children to be exposed to Geography throughout their elementary and secondary school careers. As mentioned in our Fall 2011 letter, “There is no more important subject in the 21st century for young people than Geographyto help them understandand contribute towards solving the problems that face humanity and planet earth.

Todd Pottle, Author & Mentor Teacher. Teachers are charged with the huge task of preparing students toventure out into the real world. Unfortunately, training thefuture Geography teachers that will teach students about that world is not the priority of several Ontario Faculties of Education. Teaching spatial skills and global citizenship has been deemed unimportant. Like OAGEE, many Geographic Alliances throughout the United States have been fighting for Geographic Education for over 30 years. The Geographic Education National Implementation Project (GENIP) was formed by a consortium of geographic associations committed to improving the status and quality of geography educationin the United States. “Its mission is outreach on behal fof geography to educators and policy makers across the United States”.

OAGEE advocates strongly for having the undervalued discipline of Geography in the Ontario curriculum. Our educators strongly endorse the St. John’s Declaration, which aims to improve geographic literacy in Canada. The St. John’s Declaration was created to advance geographic education for ALL Canadians.

I would encourage you to support OAGEE and their pledge to provide teachers with training in Geography and the resources to support development of spatial reasoning and understanding of the more complex aspects of place. Evidence of our pledge occurs annually at the OAGEE Spring and Fall Conferences.“There is no more important subject in the 21st centuryfor young people than Geography to help them understandand contribute towards solving the problems that facehumanity and planet Earth.”
—Todd Pottle, Author & Mentor/Teacher

Implementation Series - Part 3 Ongoing Thoughts on the Revised Ontario Geography Curriculum  

Page: 9-11

Author(s): Lowry, Mark

In the previous two implementation articles, I have focusedon the major changes and highlights of the revised Geography curriculum in Ontario. Article 1 focused on the significant changes and enhancements to the revised curriculum including a working understanding of Geography,the Geographic Inquiry Process, and the Concepts of GeographicThinking. In article 2, the focus was on what this looks like in the Geography classroom from grades 7 to 12.

Emphasis was placed on the concepts of geographic thinking and inquiry within the context of specific tasks and activities. Discussion was also given to the language of location, both relative and absolute. In this article, I discuss a number of strategies, tools, and methods to further enhance the spatial inquiry learning environment in the Geography classroom. would put the capitals for each province with a rationale(becoming critical thinkers) and debate their choices with other members in the class. We might get some interesting discussions. This would also be a great place to introduce the concepts of geographic thinking. 

OAGEE Implementation Poster 2: Interactions in the Physical Environment  

Page: 11-12

Author(s): Hughes, Joanna

OAGEE Council has long supported teachers implementing Geography curriculum across Ontario. This tradition continues as we provide ideas and strategies for the implementation of the newest version of the curriculum and its inquiry component. In order to facilitate
this process, OAGEE has designed and created four posters for use in the classroom, by both teachers and students.
The posters are designed to help teachers as they plan lessons to meet the new Canadian and World Studies expectations and address them with their students. The posters can also be used in the Geography classroom to enable students to check their progressin linking concepts as they work through the learnings and and skills required by the CWS curriculum.

CGW4U - Push Factors for Rural-Urban Migration in India: Role Playing Activity  

Page: 13-18

Author(s): Abou-Reslan, Jude; Brown, Jacob; Cheng, Clement; Cui, Alexander; Ladak, Armaan; Levere, Rebecca; Sanders, Mia

Groups of students will take on the role of a rural farming family in India. Their goal will be to maintain financial and
social stability of both their farm and their family. Students will formulate connections between economic trends anda series of natural and social challenges: drought, diseaseand disorder. Students will cooperate to make critical group decisions to solve real world problems. Students will analyse how these problems push rural populations into migrating into cities.

CGW4U: Earth’s Events: A Mapping Exercise  

Page: 19-21

Author(s): Zboralski, Alexander

At the beginning of the semester there will be an establishmentof a particular day to work on this activity for the firs t10 minutes of class every week for 12 weeks. Students willbe expected to work on this activity outside of class time utilizing
This website details events that took place around the world in the previous week in a predominantly geographic context. There are a variety of issues available to research.This can be done thematically paralleling the “pillars” ofthe course; for example:
• Social/Cultural;
• Economic;
• Political;
• Ecological.

Students will be responsible for plotting these weeklyevents on maps provided utilizing the website as a resource.If students wish to track and plot one particular type ofevent over the 12 weeks (e.g. water shortages throughoutthe world) they can.This activity provides the opportunity for students to:• get a greater sense of geographic place on a globalscale and how interconnected we, as human beings,really are;

• visually represent where issues are occurring throughoutthe world and draw inferences on the patternsthat emerge;• reinforce proper cartographic principles that havebeen established in previous courses;

• critically think as well as collaborate with peers asa class. Proper report style writing and sourcing can
be reinforced though this activity.

Grade 7: Geographic Photograph Puzzle De-coding Activity  

Page: 22-28

Author(s): Ziegler, Joel

This is a formative assessment activity or “assessment as learning” lesson that will enable the teacher to determine the ability of his/her students to use the process of geographic inquiry to organize and interpret the photographs and diagrams contained in a geographic article from a selected geographic magazine (e.g. National Geographic,Canadian Geographic, Geographical (UK). The interpretation aspect would have students identify the type o fgeographic inquiry method represented by each of the pictures/diagrams.

This activity will not only provide the teacher, but also the students, with valuable information about their abilityto apply the process of geographic inquiry to investigating geographic issues associated with physical features andprocesses (Overall Expectation A2) and natural resources(Overall Expectation B2).This activity is inspired by the TC2 Critical Thinking Consortium because it is anticipated to engage the studentsin a critical thinking challenge that requires students to decode a picture puzzle according to their judgement of which method of geographic inquiry is best represented by each photograph and provide evidence to support theira nswer (i.e. justify their answers).

Geography Challenge: New Directions, 2015 Winners  

Page: 29


In its 20th anniversary, the Geography Challenge has embarked on what appears to be a renewed direction as one of
the prime showcases for Geography in the eyes of the general public as well as that of geographers across Canada. Due to
the generous sponsorship and support from Alex Trebek, the host of Jeopardy, and Google, two important changes were
made in the 2014-15 competition. A donation of $100 000 to the National Geographic Education Foundation (NGEF)
by Alex enabled the RCGS to fund a face-to-face competition of the challenge contestants for the first time since 2003.
Support from Google made it possible to waive the traditional entrance fees paid by schools and also to update the quiz
materials to “match current trends in geographic education”. And the Canadian Museum of Nature, First Air, Vistek,
and the Canadian Wildlife Federation provided great prizes for all the Challenge contestants.