The week of November 18, 2013 is Geography Awareness Week, a great opportunity to revisit this critically vital curriculum area. If I had a favorite subject in elementary school, it was geography. The study of geography offers an interactive, physical component that appeals to those who need more kinesthetic strategies in the classroom. Additionally, it provides a real life application in the areas of language arts, science, social studies, and math.
As a Resource: One often-heard concern for teachers is meeting the recommended percentage of non-fiction in reading. Why not integrate work that revolves around the different aspects of geography? National Geographic Education has developed a curriculum that brings fun, informational texts to students, arranged by grade level.
As “Other Media”: The ELA standards call for comparisons of written text to other sources of information. Geography, by nature, offers students the opportunity to use maps, globes, graphs, charts and interactive tools to glean and apply information.
One unit my students completed in 8th grade connected literature to immigration. To make this topic relevant to them, they tracked the travels of a relative who immigrated to the United States on Google Earth. They were asked to not only trace the journey, but also embed text and images to the map.
Through Writing: Include one of the aspects of geography into an argument essay. Whether it’s a poetry unit on weather, or man’s influence on endangered species, aspects of geography can often apply. This also provides an opportunity to strengthen and build vocabulary.
As Research: Consider having your students create an infographic on geography topics. Use Piktochart to create an interactive poster on the water cycle, ice cap loss, animal habitats, plate tectonics, or landforms. Creating these posters address both writing and research standards.
How do you integrate geography into reading and writing? Let us know!