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Curriculum21 Podcast- Episode 13

Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano and Mike Fisher had the opportunity to visit Stephen Wilmarth and his 1:1 iPad initiative at the Number 1 Middle School attached to Central China Normal University in Wuhan, China.

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Curriculum21 Podcast: Episode 11

Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano and Mike Fisher are in Wuhan, China visiting the Number 1 Middle School attached to the Central China University. They had the chance to interview Lara Zhang, a teacher of Grade 1 (11th Graders), of the International Experimental Class, a program lead by Stephen Wilmarth.

Lara tells us about a typical day in a Chinese High School, the difference technology is making in her classroom and the intense desire of Chinese students to attend an American university for a chance of more opportunities.

Lara Zhang & Steve Wilmarth

Geography is a Separate Subject. Really?

Cross posted to Langwitches.

How is geography being taught in your school? Is it a weekly time block designated under the umbrella of Social Studies in Elementary School? Is it a semester or one year required credit course in High School?

Geography is a separate subject. Really?

Heidi Hayes Jacobs says (p. 36) in her Curriculum 21. (ASCD, 2010) book:

Geography should be cut as a snapshot unit with an integrated approach continuously woven into the academic year. Rather than the token “let’s start off the school year with our classic unit on geography,” the curriculum should include an ongoing injection and use of geography and a full range of maps. When schools do not use maps of all kinds with regularity in a range of classes (English, science, art), our students do not get to apply geography in a meaningful way.

Heidi Hayes Jacobs compares a segregated and isolated teaching unit of geography to a first grade teacher posting an ABCs poster on the wall, only to take it down after a month.

It is about making continuous connections of geography themes to what we teach. Where does the content fit into the world? How does the content relate to other subject areas. How does it affect the people who live there? Where do we find Math concepts in the physical world around us? Do literary or historic perspectives change due to geographic locations? How does Geography impact the economy?

How can we help classroom teachers make these connections from their teaching subject/content to geographic awareness/compentency?

Vivek Wathwa states in an article on TechCrunch about American competitiveness in the global educational field that

if we create the incentives for American children to study math and science and to complete advanced degrees, the magic will happen. In addition to math and science, we should teach our children about world culture, geography, and global markets. In the era of globalization, these subjects are equally important.

Bill Ferriter (@plugusin) recently tweeted

Really heartsick about NC’s decision to make social studies a history instead of geography focus. That’s narrowminded in today’s world.

If geography is equally important as math and science, than why is it being made a “lesser” focus?

I presented recently at the Teacher2Teacher conference in Bow Island, Alberta, Canada. The topic of one of my sessions was: “Geography is All Around Us”

Take a look at the slides and check out the tools and resource links discussed at the presentation for examples how geography can AND should be integrated into other subject areas.

Resource Links:
Google Maps
Google Earth
VoiceThread
Wikis Blogs
Skype
Twitter

Examples:

How do you integrate Geography into your subject area? How can you upgrade one unit, one lesson or one assignment to integrate geography. What tools are you using? What projects are participating in? Please share you tips and techniques.

Take a look at previous blog posts on Langwitches with examples of Geography integration:

Here are a few tips through Twitter.