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Monday, April 13, 2009

Outline Maps

I love Google Maps and all other forms of online map tools, but sometimes a Geography teacher just might need a good old-fashioned paper outline map. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt offers these for free on their Education Place website. At the Education Place teachers can find labeled and unlabeled physical and political maps. All of the maps open as PDF files for convenient printing and photocopying.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
National Atlas Map Maker
The History Channel's Guide to the US States
Slide Map - Photos of the World on a Map of the World

FREE National Geographic map with purchases $65+!

Kids Around The World - Culture Lessons for K-5

Kids Around The World is a project sponsored by the National Peace Corps Association. The purpose of Kids Around The World is for elementary school age students to learn about life as a child in another country. Students can learn about the lives of their global peers in nineteen countries spread across four continents. Students visiting Kids Around The World can read interviews with a child from each country, view pictures and maps, and learn about the history and geography of each country. In case of some countries featured on Kids Around The World there are educational games to be played.

Applications for Education
Kids Around The World offers a lesson plan that can be divided up into three segments or used as a one day lesson. If you would like to create your own lesson plan, Kids Around The World provides a couple of worksheets, including a Venn diagram, that you can include in your plan.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:

Resources for UN Human Rights Day
United Nations Cyberbus
The Lunch Box Project

FREE National Geographic map with purchases $65+!

An Amazing (Race) Google Earth Project

The CBS program The Amazing Race is one of my must-watch Sunday evening television programs. For the last few weeks I have been watching the show and thinking "if I still taught World Geography, I could design a great student project around the show."

Here is how I envision a World Geography teacher using The Amazing Race and Google Earth to design a student project. Each Monday after a new episode of the show airs, students would do some research on the places the contestants visited in the episode. The students would then add placemarks containing some brief information, perhaps even a video clip, to their Google Earth files. By the end of the show the students will have 15-20 placemarks and have learned a little bit about each place that the show's contestants visited. The culminating assignment for the students could be to select one place on which to give an "expert presentation" to the class.

If you have tried a project like this with your students, please leave a comment. I would love to hear about it. I did some searching on the web to see if I could find an example of a project like this being done, but I didn't find anything quite like I have envisioned. The closest example I found was this Google Map from the last season of The Amazing Race.

View Amazing Race 13 in a larger map

By the way, I'm rooting for Luke and his mother to win this season's race.

FREE National Geographic map with purchases $65+!

Three Good WWI Resources from the BBC

Once again through my students' online research I've learned about some resources that can be used in the classroom. Recently while they were researching topics on WWI, one of my students showed me that the BBC has good virtual tours, animations, and movie clips about WWI.

What caught my students' attention was the BBC's virtual tour of a World War I trench. From there they watched some short films about WWI. There are six films that show students artifacts and images of a British soldier's life during WWI. The films are sequenced beginning with recruitment continuing on to life in the trenches and ending with information about injuries and shell shock. The BBC also offers an animation of army movements from 1914 through 1918.

On a related note, last week one of my classes began to make videos about US involvement in WWI. They are using ReMix America to make the videos.

Applications for Education
These three resources about WWI are best suited toward use in a high school setting.
In order to get the full benefit of these resources, students should have some background knowledge about the topics in the virtual tour, films, and animations.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Life - Your World In Pictures
History Links You Might Have Missed

FREE National Geographic map with purchases $65+!

iLove Schools - Free Classroom Supplies

iLove Schools is a non profit organization that aims to provide teachers with classroom supplies that their schools don't provide. iLove Schools operates in a manner similar to that of Donors Choose and Class Wish. To get classroom supplies teachers register on iLove Schools and create a list of items that they would like to have for their classrooms. Donors can visit iLove School to choose a classroom to which they would like to donate supplies.

Applications for Education
As school budgets get tighter and tighter in response to the economy, services like iLove Schools are going to become more valuable to teachers. If you find yourself needing classroom supplies you may want to consider trying a service like iLove Schools before dipping into your own pockets.

FREE National Geographic map with purchases $65+!

Pollen Park - Educational Science Game for Kids

Pollen Park is a great game for kids that I learned about on the excellent blog, Teachers Love SMART Boards. Pollen Park takes kids on a journey with a bee to collect the pollen needed to make the queen bee's honey. Pollen Park introduces students to the concepts of pollination and seed dispersal. Students will also be introduced to the parts of and functions of a flower.

Applications for Education
Pollen Park could be a fun educational game for elementary school students. The game can be played individually or with a partner or two. As allergy season approaches in the northern hemisphere (if it hasn't arrived yet) this game is a timely resource.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Pest World for Kids
Science Activities from Exploratorium
The Wild Classroom - Science Videos and Podcasts

FREE National Geographic map with purchases $65+!

Learning About US Income Taxes

Today's episode of CNN Student News includes a short segment about US income taxes. The segment points out that the US income tax was enacted under the 16th Amendment to the Constitution. The segment informs us that the due date for filing taxes, April 15th, was selected and approved in 1954. The episode is embedded below.


Applications for Education
If you would like some additional resources for teaching about the US income tax, the National Archives offers primary source documents and lesson plan suggestions.

FREE National Geographic map with purchases $65+!

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