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Essential Resources for Geographic and Environmental Educators

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Issue Vol. 68, No. 4

Publication Date: December, 2017

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President's Message  

Page: 2

Author(s): Geddes, Ewan

President’s Message
Ewan Geddes, Toronto District School Board

As we come to the end of the year, it comes time to reflect. Here at OAGEE, we’ve made good ground on further supporting geographic and environmental teachers throughout Ontario. Our membership continues to reflect a broad range of educators in a variety of contexts. We’ve recognized some giants among us, and said goodbye to others as they move on to new ventures. Of course, we had another inspiring fall conference, where our collective efforts to move toward reconciliation were highlighted by truly excellent speakers at St. Andrew’s College in Aurora, where the hard work from our volunteers brought conference organizers’ ideas to life.

Starting with one of the highlights of the year, we were pleased to award Paul VanZant of Peel District School Board the OAGEE Award of Distinction “recognizing an outstanding contribution in advancing , promoting, and improving the quality of Geography education in the province of Ontario”. Paul received his award for a lifetime worth of work for the betterment of Geography education in Ontario and across the country. Some of the ways in which Paul betters Geography in Ontario include the sharing of his writing expertise; he has co-authored several textbooks covering many different branches of Geography, the most recent of which is Geography in Action: Inquiry and Issues from Canadian Perspectives, which supports the grade 9 and 10 Geography courses. Not only has Paul contined to work to better position Geography in the curriculum of Ontario, but he has also pushed for Geography to be more prevalent in curricula across the country as a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society since 2012. To quote an OAGEE founding member, Dr. Edward Pleva, Paul was able “to take the time and make the commitment to lead, and strive to show others the strengths and benefits of Geography.” For these reasons and more, it was an obvious choice for OAGEE to award Paul VanZant its OAGEE Award of Distinction for 2017.

Another announcement that was made at the fall conference was perhaps less celebratory, but still a reflection of the excellence of the OAGEE membership. At our fall conference, two exceptional OAGEE regional councillors, Joanna Hughes and Torrie Abbotts, announced that they will be stepping down from their positions. Both Joanna and Torrie have done a tremendous job representing their regions and reaching out to teachers in their regions over the years. Joanna did a wonderful job representing the Ottawa area and was a key player in bringing the OAGEE fall conference to Ottawa in 2010. Among many of Joanna’s contributions to OAGEE is her collaboration with another regional rep to produce the much-loved Concepts of Geographic Thinking posters. As well, Joanna organized PD to provide teachers the opportunity to develop resources to aid in the delivery of Strand A through a variety of lessons and activities.

Torrie came to OAGEE in 2014 and brought in some new and exciting ideas to help support geographers in and out of the classroom and across the province, including through her contributions to The Monograph entitled GeoGEEK Talks, and to the banking of teacher resources presented at our fall conference, which she also helped to organize. Thank you, Joanna and Torrie, for your contributions to OAGEE and for supporting Geography teachers as regional reps. Your dedication to Geography, and to OAGEE in particular, will be sorely missed.

To finish off on a high note, I am excited to announce a few of the resources that will be made available in the new year. Recently, several geographers got together to pool their teaching insights and experiences to develop a teacher support resource for Geography in Action, which will be easily accessible on the OAGEE website early in the new year. Another resource that will be coming soon is a package of lessons and activities that reflect the Sikh experience in Canada and the world in the following courses: CGC Grade 9 Geography, CGR4E Living in a Sustainable World, and CGW4U and 4C World Issues. I hope you will be able to take advantage of these and other resources as they become available on the OAGEE website.

Thank you, again, to all of the volunteers who continue to make this organization a go-to for geographic and environmental educators across the province. If you have ideas to share or want to learn about volunteering with OAGEE, please get in contact with us at We’d love to hear from you.
Wishing everyone a new year bringing health, happiness, and great adventures.

Try This! A Guide for Writing and Sharing Learning Activities for The Monograph  

Page: 5-6

Author(s): Birchall, Gary; Wallace, Kim

Our lives are enriched when we share with our colleagues, activities that have worked with students. To facilitate the ease of transferring our successes into other classrooms and to ensure appropriate sharing, some critical information is needed.

Consider using this as a checklist when developing learning activities for sharing:

  • the learning activity meets expectations found in the current curriculum document for that particular course.
  • the strategy used will help kids engage in inquiry and critical thinking. (e.g. avoid fill in the blank type)
  • assessment links to one or more of the achievement chart categories.
  • for group work, build in individual accountability. (e.g. not group marks)
  • reference the source of the work. (If it is yours, put your name on it!)


Activities For OAGEE Maps Poster: "Geography -- From Here to There"  

Page: 7-18

Author(s): ; Wallace, Kim; Birchall, Gary

An OAGEE curriculum project

Geography And Maps: A Teaching Tool Instructions: Using the OAGEE poster, answer the following questions to make summary notes/definitions on the different components of a map (Spatial Significance). Answer using your own words.


CGW4U: The Uprooted - Exploring the Syrian Refugee Crisis using an Esri Story Map  

Page: 19-21

Author(s): Warner, Lindsay

Acknowledgement to Chris Brown at DSBN for his part
in the initial brainstorming process.

Overall Expectations
B2. Population Disparities: analyse relationships
between demographic and political factors and quality
of life in various countries and regions.
C2. Population Growth: assess the impact of population
growth on the sustainability of natural systems.
E3. Continuing Challenges: analyse issues relating to human rights, food security, health care, and other challenges to the quality of life of the world’s population.

Materials Needed
• Access to a computer lab or chromebooks
• Photocopy of the handout included
• Smartboard or projector (if possible) for class discussion
• ArcGIS Online Story Map by ESRI

Instructional Comments
• This activity follows a note and discussion about Population Migration Issues.
• This lesson is ideal when exploring population migration. It helps students tie a current world issue to the concept of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
• It is meant to facilitate discussion about what is occurring in Syria and the surrounding countries.
• Prior knowledge of the crisis and its current state is beneficial to gain a well rounded

Specialist High Skills Major Construction Certificate with Land Surveying Electives - Path to a career in land surveying  

Page: 22-24

Author(s): Oyler, Christopher

Land surveying is one career that students, their teachers, and school counselors tend to overlook. Surveying combines knowledge of Math, Geography, History, computers, Science, planning, and Law. Few would argue that choosing the right career is very important, especially for students who are introduced to many choices in their senior high school years. The challenge is: which choice is the right choice?

One way to help with decision-making is the Specialist High Skills Majors (SHSM) program, launched in September 2006. It was part of the Ontario government’s Student Success Strategy initiative, which focused on expanding quality learning opportunities and supporting success for all students. Now, SHSM programs are available in all Ontario public school boards.

Paul VanZant - OAGEE Award of Distinction Recipient  

Page: 25

Author(s): Birchall, Gary

At the 2017 Fall Conference, Paul received the OAGEE Award of Distinction, an honour that was long overdue for many reasons. You can read Ewan Geddes’ President’s Message in this issue to see a list of the many outstanding contributions Paul has made to the subject of Geography, OAGEE, his students at Mayfield Secondary School, and teaching in general.

OAGEE Fall Conference, November 10-11, 2017  

Page: 26-27

Author(s): Macdonald, John; Joiner, David

Region 7 York-Durham hosted OAGEE’s Fall Conference at St. Andrew’s College in Aurora, Ontario, from Friday, November 10, to Saturday, November 11, 2017. This successful conference was organized by a local planning committee that included public, Catholic and independent school teachers. Additional teachers and student volunteers from SAC assisted over the weekend.

Geospatial Technology: Trails and Trials - 5: Summer in San Diego: The Esri User Conference  

Page: 28-29

Author(s): Fletcher, Jonathan

Where do I begin? This summer was a sort of GIS spiritual awakening for me. As being one who is a GIS evangelist and loves integrating technology into my classroom, I have always wanted to go to San Diego, California in the summer to experience the Esri User Conference. This summer, I went.

For those of you who don’t know, Esri is the Microsoft or Apple of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). They are by far the largest GIS company in the world and this is the largest GIS conference in the world. People come from all over the globe to hear and learn about the latest advancements in GIS.

CGC1D: Would You Qualify As a Skilled Worker?  

Page: 30

Author(s): Pallett, Elaine


D2 Immigration and Cultural Diversity: describe the diversity of Canada’s population, and assess some social, economic, political, and environmental implications of immigration and diversity for Canada.

D2.1 identify factors that influence where immigrants settle in Canada, and assess the opportunities and challenges presented by immigration and cultural diversity in Canada.
D2.3 analyse social, political, and economic impacts of Canada’s immigration and refugee policies.

Canada's Residential School Story Launches on Google Earth Voyager  

Page: 31

Author(s): Chapman, Deborah

Since the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation tabled its report almost two years ago in December of 2015, school boards across Canada have been looking for educational resources to help the process of reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous Peoples begin. As of today, teachers will now have a primer on Canada’s residential schools.

Residential schools for First Nations, Métis and Inuit children were first established in 1831 and ran for 165 years until 1996. This system had one goal: to forcibly assimilate Canada’s Indigenous Peoples into the non-Indigenous population. Canadian Geographic Education (Can Geo Education), the first Canadian organization to produce Google Earth Voyager content, has worked closely with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) of the University of Manitoba to create an educational tool that will help students learn about this dark chapter in Canadian history.