Teacher Tip

Question: What is a loess? (egad!!!! a what????) See end of post for answer

How to teach geography

·        Begin with what the student knows:  mountains, desert, ocean, rivers, plains, valleys, plateaus, hills, loess, glaciers.   Make connections to unknown through comparison of features.

·        Teach concrete skills first through observation and manipulation of concrete objects:   clay, salt-n-flour models, puzzles.

·        Introduce maps and globes.  Visual trips via the internet.

·        The last step is to transfer the skills to paperwork such as workbooks and worksheets.

HOW IS GEOGRAPHY TAUGHT IN THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS?                                                              Author: Haas, Mary E.     

“Personal experiences begin with children interacting with their own environment. Children begin by recording their observations from walks and fieldtrips in essays, pictures, or simple maps. Children decide what is important to show on their maps and what symbols to use. At first children show things rather crudely, using sequence, approximate size, and location. Interactive formal instruction in the cardinal directions begins by learning left and right and locating north through observations of the movement of the sun. By interacting directly with people from other places or vicariously through stories and pictures, children begin to recognize both the common and unique attributes of more distant locations. They offer explanations for locations and differences in the environment. Such interactions result in descriptions and definitions of places.

Most geography is taught as a part of social studies and, to a lesser degree, in science. Only a small portion of the school day is spent in the study of these subjects. Teachers are often concerned with the shortage of time to teach what they perceive as more important subjects, and when they do teach geography feel pressed to cover material in textbooks and curriculum guides rather than to work toward comprehension (Thornton & Wenger 1989).

In 1984 the National Council for Geographic Education and the Association of American Geographers took a major step toward helping to improve the organization of the geographic curriculum with the publication of GUIDELINES FOR GEOGRAPHIC EDUCATION. These guidelines provide help in the selection of objectives and organization of geographic knowledge for elementary students. Five themes of geography are recommended for study by students at all levels: location, place, human and environment relationships, movement, and regions.”

ERIC Identifier: ED309133
Read the complete article:   http://www.ericdigests.org/pre-9212/geography.htm

A light-up globe….

Five Times Five: Five Activities for Teaching Geography’s Five Themes http://www.proteacher.com/
“How many of your students could identify the location of their home country on a world map? U.S. education officials were shocked when a nine-nation survey found that one in five young Americans (18- to 24-year-olds) could not locate the United States on an outline map of the world!
That study represents one of the turning points in geography education in the United States. Although most U.S. students still don’t take a “geography” course in school — as students in many other countries do — increased emphasis on the development of geography skills is more widespread today than it was ten years ago. Organizations such as National Geographic and the National Council for the Social Studies have created materials to aid teachers in teaching geography skills. And about ten years ago, the Joint Committee on Geographic Education of the National Council for Geographic Education and the American Association of Geographers developed five specific themes to help focus teacher and student thinking when it comes to geography. Those five themes follow:
• Location — Where are things located? A location can be specific (for example, it can be stated as coordinates of longitude and latitude or as a distance from another place) or general (it’s in the Northeast).
• Place — What makes a place different from other places? Differences might be defined in terms of climate, physical features, or the people who live there and their traditions.
• Human-environment interaction — What are the relationships among people and places? How have people changed the environment to better suit their needs?
• Movement — What are the patterns of movement of people, products, and information? A study of movement includes learning about major modes of transportation used by people, an area’s major exports and imports, and ways in which people communicate (move ideas).
• Regions — How can Earth be divided into regions for study? Regions can be defined by a number of characteristics including area, language, political divisions, religions, and vegetation (for example, grassland, marshland, desert, rain forest).”

“Loess is a geologically recent deposit of silt or material which is usually yellowish or brown in color and consisting of tiny mineral particles brought by wind to the places where they now lie. It is a product of past glacial activity in an area. It is a sedimentary deposit of mineral particles which are finer than sand but coarser than dust or clay, deposited by the wind. (Did you know this? Yikes…I never heard of a loess.)


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