Geographic ConnectionCGAlog02012

News of the California Geographic Alliance

September 30, 2014- Vol 6, Issue 9
In This Issue
Welcome New Members!
Email and Phone
Share Resources for APHG
ArcGIS Online FREE for Schools
CCSS Learning Modules
Geo-Literacy Through World Literature
Draft Framework Available for Public Comment
Apply for Fullbright 2015-2016
CCSS Learning Modules
Resources for the classroom
Help With CGA History
Upcoming Events
Be Our Fan on Facebook!
Welcome New CGA Members!
 We're excited that you've joined us. Each month, check your newsletter for resources, professional development opportunities, and travel ideas. Don't forget to Like us on Facebook too!

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CGA Email Address and Phone Number
Contact us via our new email address at

Need to get in touch with us by phone?

Share Resources for AP Human Geography
Are you looking for a place to share resources for AP Human Geography? Do you have questions about the best way to teach certain units in AP Human Geography? 

Sign up for the AP Human Geography Teacher Community on the CollegeBoard's website.

You can also join the APHG 9th Grade Teachers group on Facebook. This group is specifically aimed at supporting those teachers who are working with high school freshmen.

Where else do you go to learn more about AP Human Geography? Let us know on our Facebook page.
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
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.

Making a One-stop Shop for Your Geography Education Needs


CGAlog02012 At the CGA, our goal is to help build geo-literate citizens who care about the planet's people, places and environments, and who feel empowered to strive for a more sustainable and equitable world.  Teachers, informal educators, parents, students, policy-makers, and the media are all partners in helping us achieve this goal, and the Alliance website is a vehicle for educating, activating, coordinating, and supporting those partners.  With this understanding, our team at SDSU, with input from CGA members, has completely revamped the site and is continuing to build out its utility.  While the site is changing weekly and should present more value to all audiences as we continue our work, I am going to take this opportunity to give you a quick overview of what you can find there and how you can help us build a better online resource.  From the welcome page on, we want the site to support our collective mission.


Teachers (and by extension their students) are our primary audience, and that is reflected in the content we have put online.  Under the RESOURCES tab on our main menu, you will find three categories:

  • CALIFORNIA ATLAS: Our excellent print atlas, California: A Changing State, is available on the site as individual pdf files.  You can print pages as needed for student work or project the maps for instruction.  The atlas is aligned with fourth grade curriculum and has accompanying lessons for that grade, but it can be a valuable resource at many different grade levels and across a variety of subjects.  In addition to the individual maps, the atlas contains great info about how to understand and use maps.  If you dig deep into this section (or link directly from the menu on the left margin of the site), you will find "Atlas 2.0" - our working title for a suite of exciting new interactive resources.  We have created several web maps and StoryMaps based on the topics covered in the print atlas but incorporating greatly expanded information in a format that allows teachers and students to explore important aspects of California's history and environment through integrated maps, texts, and images.  These are early prototypes, and we will continue to develop them with the help of some talented graduate students at SDSU and the input of teachers.  Tell us what you think, suggest additions, or get online with Esri at to see many more examples and experiment with making your own StoryMaps.  Then share your work.
  • CONTRIBUTED LESSONS: This is a list of geography lessons, sorted by grade level, that have been created by CGA Teacher Consultants and other teachers who have attended past workshops.  We would like to be able to make this list more valuable by adding new model lesson plans and including some info with each lesson plan about what teachers find useful about each lesson plan (kind of user reviews, as we have all become accustomed to online).  So send us your best lesson plans, tell us what you think about the ones that are online now, and help us build a better resource.
  • ONLINE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES AND MULTIMEDIA CONTENT:  One of our concepts for creating a valuable one-stop shopping experience for geo-educators of all types is to be a curator to help people access the best of literally thousands of amazing resources that already exist online.  Again, we are very open to reviews and recommendations, but you will find links to sites with lesson plans and online tools, and you will also find links to a lot of short videos that could be used to introduce students to a topic or stimulate critical discussion.  For example, The Economist magazine puts out very informative "videographics" on topics such as global migration flows (, and series of videos created by independent filmmakers such as one entitled Gas Rush explores the boom in natural gas and fracking from a variety of perspectives and features interviews with real people working in or affected by the industry (   

There is also some useful information for educators under the ABOUT tab on the main menu, including:

  • ABOUT THE CGA:  This gives a brief history of the organization.  We should all be proud of being the first alliance in the country and one of the places where the movement was first imagined and nurtured.
  • GEO-LITERACY AND GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION: This page includes texts and links to videos explaining exactly what geography is and why it is vitally important.  Geo-literacy is a term that is used within the geography education community to underscore the central importance of geographic knowledge and spatial thinking.  We see it as a core competence for the students of today and the citizens of the future.  On this page you will also find links to the California content standards and curriculum framework for history and social studies, common core state standards (Did you know there are free iPhone/iPad and Android apps with the Common Core standards?), and the Next Generation Science Standards.  Those are the crucial policies for teachers, but the CGA is also looking beyond what is in place to think of what geography education could and should look like, and you can get some ideas about that from following links to A Road Map for 21st Century Geography Education or Geography for Life.
  • GEOGRAPHY MAJORS AND CAREERS:  When the SDSU leadership team decided to take on hosting the CGA, we set a goal to increase the number of incoming college students who declare geography as a major.  Unfortunately, this is a rare occurrence, and we think it would be good for our economy, our communities, and our students' futures if more chose to study geography and prepare themselves for careers as geographers or in many other professions where geographic knowledge and skills are valued.  Toward that end, we have included information about why a student might choose geography as a major and where in the US a student could pursue an education in geography.  We also link to the site of the Association of American Geographers that includes profiles of professional geographers.  And while you are on the site, check out one of our latest blog posts that confirms that geographers' sensibilities and skills are prized in the workplace and jobs for people with the technical ability to work with geographic information are well-paid and more numerous than job-seekers with the required training.  This message needs to get out to our high school students.  Geography is relevant, interesting, integrative, and a pathway to a great career.

Thanks for reading!  I hope you will visit soon and will continue to return because it is a valuable resource.  And please contribute your own content or suggestions to make it the best possible reflection of the important work we are all doing in geography education. 




Tom Herman, CGA Director

Superintendent Invites Public Comment on the History-Social Science Curriculum Framework
montana-teacher.jpg State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced on September 23, 2014, that California is moving forward to improve the way educators teach history and social science by gathering public comment on a new framework.

The draft Framework, a "field review" survey, and more information are now posted on the California Department of Education's  History-Social Science Curriculum Frameworks Web page. In addition to participating in the online survey, people may also send comments on the draft Framework to

The comment period will remain open until November 25, 2014.
All public comments received during the field review survey will be presented to the Instructional Quality Commission this winter for review and possible inclusion into the final Framework. There will be a second public review in the spring of 2015. The State Board of Education is scheduled to take action on the final Framework by May 2015.

2015-2016 Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching (DA) Program
      Online Application for K-12 teachers! 

      You may be eligible to participate in a unique international professional development opportunity for 3-6 months through the Fulbright Program! By conducting educational research abroad, U.S. teachers gain new skills, learn new instructional methods and assessment methodologies and share best practices with international colleagues and students. Teachers also have the opportunity to expand their understanding of other cultures and international education systems that will enrich their U.S. schools and local communities with global perspectives.

Teachers may travel to: Botswana, Finland, India, Israel, Mexico, Palestinian Territories, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam. *Additional countries are still pending and will be added to the website in the coming weeks.

      START YOUR APPLICATION TODAY at  Deadline: November 5, 2014.
      More information, eligibility requirements, and application information:

AP� "Bell-Ringers" Now Offered to Non-Members!
The National Council for Geographic Education's weekly scheduled "Bell-Ringers" have resumed and will now be offered to non-members. "Bell-Ringers" are daily questions for your Advanced Placement Human Geography classes delivered to your inbox! You don't need to sign up to receive the "Bell-Ringers" if you have previously signed up within the last year. You will be directed to the NCGE online store; click on "APHG Bell-Ringers" in the Featured Products section. You will be directed to the log-in page, and once you are logged in, you will proceed to the "check-out" to complete your registration. Use the link below to get started!

Resources for the classroom


      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 Contextwhich 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!
Reconstructing the history of the CGA!
The new leadership team at SDSU is extremely excited about our work with the CGA, and we are hard at work creating a revamped website, an electronic version of the California atlas, and plans for the future.

However, we are missing information about the CGA's history that we would like to include on the website. If you have been involved in coordinating the alliance in the past, or you can help us rebuild the sequence of host institutions and coordinators since Kit Salter's creation of the CGA at UCLA, we want to hear from you.

Sent Tom Herman an email with your story.


Upcoming Events
CGAlog02012 California Council for the Social Studies
Annual Conference
Oakland Marriott Convention Center
Oakland, CA
March 6-8, 2015

Join Us Online!

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We'll update our Page to keep you informed about the strategic planning process,  upcoming events and more! 


Check out our weekly links to geography resources! Don't miss out on the latest news.


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General Contact Information
Operations Manager:
Thomas Herman
Communications Coordinator
Natalie Wojinski