Geographic ConnectionCGAlog02012

News of the California Geographic Alliance

October 2015- Vol 7, Issue 8
In This Issue
AP GiS&T course proposal
Geographic Bee 2016
ArcGIS Online FREE for Schools
Feature Article
Resources for the classroom
Resources for the classroom
CCSS Learning Modules
Email and Phone
Quick Links
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.

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.

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

Going Big with the California Geographic Bee
In a change from how things have operated in the past, the CGA is now partnering directly with the California Geographic Bee in an effort to grow participation in the Bee and raise the profile of the event throughout the state.  Fresno State University Geographer Sean Boyd has been Coordinating the Bee in California for the last two years, and the CGA reached out to him to collect some information that could help the membership of the Alliance take an active role in supporting the Bee.  Let's all get involved and see if we can't increase the number of schools participating by 10% or more!
The following is a Q&A about the California Geographic Bee, with responses provided by Sean Boyd. 

1. How do schools and students benefit by participating in the geo bee?

Geographic Bee participation at the school site level enhances the geographic competency of students in the 4th through 8th grades. The various categories of study and questions coincide with educational content standards in Geography. Participation: 
  • Changes attitudes - encourages students to be curious, and adventurous; brings                   students new challenges; teaches responsibility and empathy; empowers students
  • Enhances skills - students become more observant about the world around them;               teaches them to communicate effectively; to collaborate; to become problem                         solvers
  • Increases knowledge - about our human story; our living planet; new frontiers. The end result it to turn children into explorers!              

2. What is the window for school registration?

Most answers to school registration questions can be found on the National Geographic Bee website, under Frequently Asked Questions:
Schools may start registering NOW (registration began on August 18). Most schools hold their Bees from late September through December. Bee registration closes on January 18, 2016.  School Bees must take place by Feb. 5, 2016.  The Qualifying Test is taken by the school winner online this year, and must be done by Feb. 5, 2016.  The state qualifiers will be posted on the State Bee site by mid March, and the State Bee will be on Friday, April 1, 2016.

3. What is the cost to a school to register, and what resources are available for schools with limited financial resources who still want to participate?

According to the National Geographic Bee website, it costs $100 for a school to register for a school-site Geographic Bee. National Geographic can underwrite up to half that amount, based on the school's specific financial needs. There is an on-line form to fill out on the school registration website.  ( Editor's note: CGA will help schools pay the registration fee if the support from National Geographic is not adequate to ensure a school is able to participate.)

4. What is the trend for school-level participation in California, and what are our goals for 2015-16?

For the 2014-2015 Round: Nationally, over 11,000 schools registered for school-site Geographic Bees, which added up to four million students participating nationally!  At the California state level, for the same period, 590 schools registered to hold school-site Bees, but I don't have the exact number of students who participated - thousands, no doubt. Geographically, the greatest number of participating schools are in the Bay Area and southern California. We are weak on participation in the Central Valley, and are working on that issue.

5. Are there any interesting anecdotes you would like to share about the curiosity and initiative of students who participate and what they do after the State Bee?


Our state winner in 2014, who was a California Geographic Bee returning champion, Tuvya Bergson-Michelson, placed 3rd in the 2014 National Geographic Bee.  Arvind Sridhar, a high school student in San Jose, was a 3-time Bee participant.  In addition to going on to participate in the international Geography Olympiad, Arvind has started his own volunteer organization to bring afterschool geography tutoring and geo bee participation to disadvantaged schools in San Jose.


6. What are the prizes for the top finishers in the State Bee?


At the state level, 3rd place wins $50; 2nd place wins $75; first place wins $100. We are working on getting donations from major California businesses to greatly enhance that prize money.

Nationally, 3rd place receives a $10,000 scholarship' 2nd place receives a $25,000 scholarship; 1st place receives a $50,000 scholarship, life membership in National Geographic, and a trip to the Galapagos Islands for himself / herself, and one parent.


7. How can CGA members help grow the California Geographic Bee?


It would be fantastic if everyone could take on the challenge of recruiting and encouraging two new school from their area to participate.  If even 30 people did this, that would bring in 60 new schools and increase participation by over 10%.  ( Editor's note:  We can do that, and more!)
Here is the main website for the National Geographic Bee:
Welcome to the new school year, CGA member!  
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.
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