You're on the front line in the fight to bridge our kids' geography gap. Here are some tools to give you much more than a fighting chance. Get started with the 10 tips below, then download your Action Kit and check out More to Explore for links to great classroom aids.
10 Ways to Give Your Students the World
1. Show students that geography is everywhere.
It's a global world, with people, ideas, and products moving rapidly around it.
Today, how we live shapes, and is shaped by, where we live—and what happens in the natural environment.
Find resources to build geography awareness in your school.
Have your students test their Global IQ and practice with online games.
2. Bring it up.
Is your school doing enough to prepare students for a global future
and to tap into their natural curiosity about real-world
issues, from the local to the global? (Find out with
our school checklist). Start the discussion with
other teachers, parents, administrators, and students. Spread
the word about My Wonderful World to your colleagues and friends.
3. Find global connections close to home.
Have your students log their global connections over a period
of time (a day, a week, or more): who they talk with, what they
eat, what they wear, what they read, watch, listen to. Make maps
and globes focal points in your classroom and use them often.
Bookmark an online
atlas or print out outline
maps. Use posters, pictures, and other visuals to show global
connections near and far.
the planet using technology.
From free 2-D
satellite maps to 3-D
Earths, there's possibility like never before to see our planet
in new ways. And zooming into places can create a new perspective
on how geography impacts current events. Learn about Geographic
Information Systems (GIS) software and how it's changing the
way we explore.
5. Make geography part of every subject.
Every subjectfrom reading, writing, and arithmetic to science, economics, and foreign languagescan include geography. Use real-world examples and data (from sources such as the CIA World Factbook, Population Reference Bureau, National Park Service, or World Heritage Sites) when teaching other topics. When you can, use geography standards-based lesson plans. Prep students for the AP Human Geography test and urge them to take it. And make geography funenter your school in the National Geographic Bee and other competitions.
6. Make it extracurricular.
Ask your parent-teacher organization to study the issue and devise ways to bring more geography learning into school. Enlist administration and parent leadership for evening or Saturday programs, festivals, competitions, field trips, geography/international clubs, and other events. And join your local geographic alliance to connect with peers.
7. Connect students with people from other countries and cultures.
More and more kids are using digital and online tools to interact
with friends. Help them connect with peers overseas in order to
practice languages, develop collaborative projects—even
get to know time zones or the International Date Line. Check out
programs from the ePals, Peace
and the Asia Society.
8. Help students envision their futures.
Many kids today will cross physical borders but even more will
travel through technology. Inject geographic themes into career
exploration. (Here's a geography
career guide; also one for GIS and one for international careers.)
9. Go there!
Remind yourself and your students that learning about new places and cultures is about explorationyou don't always know the exact path to take or what you'll find along the way. Take your kids on field trips and look for opportunities to seek adventure and educate yourself about the world firsthand. Consider study abroad, field research, teaching overseas, or getting a grant to support new practices in your classroom. Hear international experts speak at your local World Affairs Council events.
10. Sign up for the My Wonderful World e-newsletter.
You'll get helpful tips, the latest news, links to great resources
and fun games, information about contests and offers, and much
more. Sign up nowand help give your students the power of global knowledge.