Geographic ConnectionCGAlog02012

News of the California Geographic Alliance

November 2015- Vol 7, Issue 9
In This Issue
Geographic Bee 2016
Student Success in Geography
Geography Awareness Week 2015
Write for Us!
Grosvenor Teacher Fellows 2016
GEEO for Travel
Resources for the classroom
CCSS Learning Modules
AP GiS&T course proposal
ArcGIS Online FREE for Schools
Email and Phone
Quick Links
Get Ready for Geographic Bee 2016
Has your school ever participated in the National Geographic Bee? 

For the first time ever, grades 4-8 can experience the Bee for free - a Free-Bee! National Geographic is offering a free trial of the Bee for educators and students to experience the contest. 

Engage students in learning geography through an exciting contest by requesting the National Geographic Free-Bee here.

Why Don't Students Succeed in Geography?
CGA Director Tom Herman was recently featured in a Deseret News article about the state of geography education in the United States. Read more here.
Geography Awareness Week 2015

Geography Awareness Week 2015 is just three weeks away! Use these links to learn more about this year's theme "Explore! The Power of Maps."

The main page for Geography Awareness Week can be found here at National Geographic Education. 

Celebrate International Map Year and National Map Day on November 16. Get the details here.

Mapmaker Interactive from National Geographic Society is a great way to get students started with GIS.

For younger geographers try GeoGames at NatGeo Education. Find more games and activites for younger students at NatGeo here.

GIS day logo
GIS Day is November 18. Why not try a story map

Need help planning your Geography Awareness Week event? Try the event planning tools here. You could even consider hosting a Geography Quiz Night! Activities outlined on this page also include suggestions for writing Letters to the Editor and meeting with elected officials

Check out the NatGeo Education Blog for the latest news. 

Don't miss out on the archives of past Geography Awareness Week themes here.

The National Education Association has linked to NatGeo lessons for the week by grade span. Check them out here.

Explore historic maps, Common Core style.  We recommend the David Rumsey Map Collection (, Library of Congress (, the LA Public Library (, and the K-12 lessons using historic maps at Chicago's Newberry Library ( as good online sources.    

Students can compare historic maps to modern maps and look for differences, identify the author and publisher of a historic map and try to understand why this particular map was created and what it was meant to be used for, and they can also develop basic map reading skills by identifying the title, scale, legend, and other elements of each map.
 Write for the Geographic Connection
Do you have something you'd like to share about geography or geography education with the more than 3,000 readers of the Geographic Connection?

The CGA pays $250 to authors of feature articles.  Those interested should send a brief description of their article idea and a proposed submission date to  

Help us share geography related products with our readers by writing a book/website/product review! CGA can offer $50 for any product review that we use. Email a brief description of the items you would like to review along with a proposed submission date to

Need help deciding where to start with your review? CGA Director, Tom Herman has several books, such as the one pictured here, available for review. Contact him at the email address above to sign up to do a review on one of the books in his collection.

Get Ready to Apply: Grosvenor Teacher Fellows 2016
youngpb Have you dreamed of traveling to the Galapagos or the Arctic? Four California teachers were selected as Grosvenor Scholars in 2015 and had the opportunity to do just that. Photographs from Michael Presser, a Rancho Verde High School teacher, were recently featured on the National Geographic Education blog. Read the post here. To learn more about the Grosvenor Teacher Fellow Program visit here. Applications for 2016 open in December!

Photo courtesy of Lynn Howard, a previous Grosvenor Teacher Fellow
GEEO for Teacher Travel
airplace-takeoff-sunset.jpg Travel the world, earn professional development credit, and bring global understanding into your classroom! 
Founded in 2007, Global Exploration for Educators Organization (GEEO) is a 501c3 non-profit organization that has sent over 1300 teachers abroad on adventurous travel programs.  With GEEO educators can earn professional development credits while seeing the world. GEEO's trips are 7 to 21 days in length and are designed and discounted to be interesting and affordable for teachers. In addition to amazing tour leaders, many of the programs are accompanied  b y university faculty that are experts on the destination. GEEO also provides teachers educational materials and the structure to help them bring their experiences into the classroom. The trips are open to all nationalities of K-12 and university educators, administrators, retired educators, as well as educators' guests.

GEEO is offering the following travel programs for 2016: Bali/Lombok, Bangkok to Hanoi, China, Costa Rica, Eastern Europe, The Galapagos Islands, Greece, Iceland, India/Nepal, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Morocco, Myanmar (Burma), Peruvian Amazon, Peruvian Andes, Portugal/Spain, Heart of the Silk Road, Southern Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Vietnam/Cambodia, Western Balkans, Peru (Winter Break), Southern India (Winter Break), Israel (Spring Break), Moorish Spain (Spring Break), and Morocco (Spring Break). From now untilOctober 1st nearly all of the programs are 5% off the regular already discounted price as part of GEEO's early booking sale. T

he registration deadline is June 1st, but space is limited and many programs will be full well before the deadline. 

Detailed information about each trip, including itineraries, costs, travel dates, and more can be found at GEEO can be reached 7 days a week, toll-free at 1-877-600-0105 between 9 AM-9 PM EST.
Resources for the classroom


Current Context: Cuba and the U.S.

      Check out the latest from CHSSP that addresses the changes in the relationship between Cuba and the U.S. Get the documents and links here.


Current Context: Ukraine Conflict

      A recent CHSSP Current Context is on the Ukraine Conflict.  The pdf contains articles, timelines, maps, and teaching suggestions.  


Current Context: California Drought
      Check out CHSSP's newest free teaching resource, Current Context: California Droughtwhich includes a short background article, a map, a timeline of important events, and links to more great resources.


Current Context: Boko Haram/Nigeria

        Are you looking for a resource that helps you put current events in their historical context for your students? Check out their newest free teaching resource,  Current Context which includes a short background article, a map, a timeline of important events, and links to more great resources.  Their recent edition, Boko Haram/Nigeria, is ready for download here .  Check back for more resources in this occasional series, and let them  know what topics you'd like covered in future installments!
New CCSS Professional Learning Module Available from the CDE
The CDE is pleased to announce the release of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) English/Language Arts (ELA): Content Literacy in History/Social Studies, Grades Six through Twelve, online professional learning module.

This module provides secondary history/social studies teachers with resources to implement the CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy to deepen students' understanding of historical/social studies content, improve critical thinking, and develop literacy. The module contains information, strategies, lessons, videos, and resources to aid teachers in integrating reading and other literacy activities into history/social studies instruction to support all students' success.

Additional professional learning modules will be available in the coming months. For more information, please visit the CDE CCSS Professional Learning Modules for Educators Web page.
AAG Seeks Proposal Authors for potential AP GiS&T course
This is an exciting opportunity on many levels. For the complete article, click here.

The Geography Education National Implementation Project (GENIP) has received a request from The College Board for a proposal to develop a new Advanced Placement course in Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIS&T). The AAG will lead a course proposal development team on behalf of GENIP.
ArcGIS Online Organization available now
ESRI announced last summer that ArcGIS Online Organization subscriptions will be available at NO COST to schools around the country. This subscription level service offers much more than the basic public account, including " more control of sharing, access to more data, engaging much more powerful analyses, supporting apps like Collector or Explorer, integrating with ArcMap and Microsoft Office, enabling login to Community Analyst, and lots more."

For more information and to get the latest materials, including the ArcGIS Online Skillbuilder, visit
CGA Email Address and Phone Number
Contact us via email at

Need to get in touch with us by phone?

General Contact Information
CGA Director:
Thomas Herman
Communications Coordinator
Natalie Wojinski