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Essential Resources for Geographic and Environmental Educators

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Issue Vol. 68, No. 1

Publication Date: April, 2017

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President's Message  

Page: 2

Author(s): Geddes, Ewan

President’s Message

Ewan Geddes, Toronto District School Board

As the incoming president of OAGEE, I would first like to give my sincerest thanks to outgoing president Shawn Hughes for his dedication and guidance over the past four years. Shawn has done an inspiring job, from leading the incredible volunteers who make up the OAGEE Council to running very successful Fall and Spring Conferences. All the while, he has consistently reinforced the importance of Geography and of geographic and environmental education. I hope that as I move into this position, I can build upon the good ground, and use the momentum, that Shawn has left for me. I hope, also, that our transfer of power will be a smoother one than some other recent transfers of power have been.

The current restructuring of world governments - for better and worse - is providing teachers an abundance of material. We have the opportunity to teach students how to ask - and maybe one day answer - big questions pertaining to, for example, how various interrelationships can be impacted by government policy changes, how we might use the geographic perspective to determine best practices of resource management as environmental protection efforts are at risk, how spatial significance might impact global policies, and how patterns and trends that we are seeing now might impact human civilization for generations to come.

As the world changes and policies evolve, it is important to understand the role we can play in helping today’s learners make sense of these changes and carve out meaningful spaces for themselves. OAGEE will continue to look at ways to help teachers encourage students to connect the skills that they learn through geographic and environmental education with their future goals. Keep an eye out for Canadian Business’s annual “Canada’s Best Jobs” report and consider what your students are learning now that they can draw on as they enter the workforce (and check out 2016’s best jobs here while you wait for the 2017 report). At the same time, some of our OAGEE executive members have been working with the Ontario College of Teachers to develop a Geography AQ course (set for release later this year) that will strengthen teachers’ curriculum knowledge and help them prepare students to become even more knowledgeable, skillful, and globally competent.

If an AQ isn’t on your horizon, but you want to connect with like-minded people and get some of the best in curriculum-specific PD and subject-specific discussion, be sure to register here for the April 28th Spring conference in the Kawarthas, and plan to attend our Fall conference in Aurora. If you would like to present at either of the conferences, or invite a colleague to become an OAGEE member, please visit us at

I’m excited to begin my work as your president. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have a question, an idea, or a resource to share.

Ewan Geddes
President, OAGEE



GeoGeek Talks - thoughts from an aspiring Geographer  

Page: 6

Author(s): ; Abbotts, Torie

GeoGeek thought: Many times I have heard jokes told about how little Americans know about World Geography. I recently read a comic to the effect that if Trump was elected, some Americans planned to move to Alaska. Trump himself has been caught making wildly incorrect geographic statements. But I feel it is rather haughty of Ontario educators to turn up our noses at our southern neighbours if we do not actively emphasize to the public the importance not just of spatial awareness, but geographic thinking as a whole.

Maps, Atlases, and other Cartographic Resources at the Toronto Reference Library (Toronto Public Library) -- Part I  

Page: 7-11

Author(s): Morrison, Joanna; Wyman, Kathleen

You might be surprised to know that the Special Collections Department, and Humanities and Social Sciences Department at the Toronto Reference Library (TRI) houses the largest collection of maps and atlases of any public library system in Canada. The maps and atlases range in date from the mid-1500s to the present day. Maps and atlases in the Special Collections Department are all originals and are pre-1920, and the post-1920 collections and reproductions of earlier maps can be found in the Humanities and Social Sciences Department of the Toronto Reference Library (TRL). Everyone is welcome to come into the departments to see the extensive collections of maps and atlases; Special Collections is located in the Marilyn & Charles Baillie Special Collections Centre on the 5th floor, and the Humanities and Social Sciences Department is on the 2nd floor of TRL, and the library is located at 789 Yonge Street in Toronto. You can also view digitized renditions of many maps and atlases online through the Toronto Public Library’s (TPL) digital archive (public domain images). We are in the process of getting the entire collection (public domain) digitized and available for anyone to see online. The digital archive is easily accessible from the TPL homepage and can be found by following this URL: We also offer a paid service whereby people can order high resolution copies (digital & print copies available) of maps and other images in our collection that are in the public domain.

CGW4U: What Makes a Border?  

Page: 12-16

Author(s): Docimo, Paul

Studying the creation of borders from a geographic perspective helps to explain how multiple concepts such as human interaction and movement as well as the physical environment affect our world. This activity will use case studies from the past and present in order to show students some examples of how borders have been determined as well as difficulties surrounding the creation of borders. The culminating activity will have students establish borders for an imaginary country based on their understanding of several factors that often affect border locations.

Explore the top news stories of 2016 via Esri Story Maps  

Page: 17-18

Author(s): Alexander, Angela

As we embark on a new year, let’s look back at the top news stories of 2016 through story maps. Look over the stories on these two pages to find out if the news story you’re most passionate about made the list. You might want to have students do the same, then visit the Esri Internet pages indicated for each story and suggest a list of stories that made their “top ten” list.

Graphic Organizers - Integrating Strand A Concepts of Geographic Thinking Into Strands B to E  

Page: 19-22

Author(s): Geddes, Ewan

The Ministry has clearly stated in the three revised Geography curriculum documents (G7-8, G9-10, and G11-12) that “Strand A must not be seen as independent of the other strands. Student achievement of the expectations in Strand A is to be assessed and evaluated throughout the course.” With this statement in mind, the four graphic organizers have been developed to help in the process of integrating the Strand A expectations into Strands B to E. Hope you find them useful.

Geospatial Technology: Trails and Trials - 3: Map your own Data!  

Page: 23-25

Author(s): Fletcher, Jonathan

As geographers, we love maps. We use them all the time in our lessons, whether we are identifying locations or analysing patterns. Maps are our love language! I have maps on ties, on shirts, on my wall and I have considered getting a tattoo… I am kind of obsessed. Maybe you can relate.

CGR4M: Climate Analysis Indicators Tool (CAIT) - Climate Data Explorer  

Page: 26-28

Author(s): Prell, Phillip

The lesson plan attached is based on information obtained from the CAIT Climate Data Explorer website and has been developed for the CGR4M: The Environment and Resource Management course. However, the resource could also be used for CGW4U: World Issues: A Geographic Analysis and CGU4M: World Geography: Urban Patterns and Population Issues.

Resource Review: Gapminder Website  

Page: 29-31

Author(s): ; Guest, Gillian

This website is a phenomenal tool for Geography. Gapminder is a database that helps make statistics more understandable. It was founded by Ola Rosling, Anna Rosling Ronnlund, and Hans Rosling and registered as a foundation at Stockholm County Administration Board. This software allows statistics to be presented in a visually appealing way that is understandable and develops a way of critical thinking about important topics throughout the world.