Connecticut Geographic Alliance

The Newsletter of the Connecticut Geographic Alliance
Endowed by the National Geographic Society Education Foundation

Volume 24, Issue 2
Winter 2012

Contacting CGA

Connecticut Geographic Alliance
University of Connecticut Geography Department
CLAS Building     U-4148 Storrs, Connecticut 06269-4148
Phone:  860-486-0374     Fax:  860-486-1348

William DeGrazia

Thomas Brodnitzki
Teacher, CREC Medical Professions & Teacher Preparation Academy,
Windsor Adjunct Instructor, Department of Geography, University of Connecticut

Incoming Coordinator
John-Andrew Ballantine, Ph.D.,
Assistant Professor in Residence,
Department of Geography, University of Connecticut

Rita Courtois, Administrative Assistant
Please contact Rita by email to update your email address or phone number or add them to our list.

CGA Website:

Newsletter Contributors
Thanks are extended to several CGA members who contributed information for this edition of On the Road including Bill DeGrazia, Tom Brodnitzki, Eve Pech, Thad Dymkowski, Kathleen Ryan, Jacqueline Stack, Ken Keller, and Rita Courtois.

Become a Fan on Facebook!
Millions of people use the social networking site Facebook to reconnect with old friends, keep in touch with family members, and make connections with new people. The Connecticut Geographic Alliance has its own Facebook page! Search for “Connecticut Geographic Alliance” and become a fan! Check the page often for updates, special events, and news from the CGA.

Mark Your Calendars!

February 24-28, 2012
American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting, New York, NY

March 22, 2012
CGA Informational Meeting, University of Connecticut, Storrs, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

March 30, 2012
Connecticut Geographic Bee, Central Connecticut State University, New Britain

April 3-5, 2012
Northeast Regional Conference (NERC), “21st Century Learning:
The Role and Future of the Social Studies,” Sturbridge, MA

May 22, 2012 21st
Annual High School Geographic Challenge, University of Connecticut, Storrs

May 22-24, 2012
National Geographic Bee, Washington, D.C.

July 15-20, 2012
Advanced Placement Human Geography Summer Institute, Taft Educational Center, Watertown

October 4-7,
2012 NCGE National Conference on Geographic Education, San Marcos, TX

November 16-18, 2012
National Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference, “Opening Windows to the World,” Seattle, WA

Attention Fellow Geographers!
The Connecticut Geographic Alliance (CGA) needs your help. Are you interested in promoting Geography among Connecticut school children? Do you look for Professional Development opportunities to support your teaching of Geography? Do you like to collaborate with colleagues about Geography? The CGA is looking for individuals who are passionate about Geography, passionate about teaching, and passionate about helping children become Geographically literate in the 21st century. For the past year, the CGA has undergone a thorough introspective strategic planning process. A strategic planning team, with support from the Steering Committee, collaborated on this process. The goal of this was to reflect on the CGA’s work to promote Geographic literacy over the last twenty-plus years and to see how we could build off of our strengths to continue to promote Geographic literacy for the next twenty years. During this time, we reflected on and amended the organization’s mission, vision, and objectives. Our website ( has been updated to reflect the changes. Additionally, we worked to restructure the Alliance to align with the amended mission, vision, and objectives. The Steering Committee structure has been altered to a clearly defined five committee structure supporting our new CGA Coordinator, Dr. Andrew Ballantine of the University of Connecticut’s Geography Department. This arrangement will be supported by an Advisory Board as well. Please review the structure outlined on the next page. You are invited to look at this as an opportunity to participate in the promotion of Geography in Connecticut. The CGA is looking for individuals in each of the areas outlined to serve as committee members and/or leaders. This is an opportunity to take on a leadership role with something about which you are passionate.

The CGA is hosting an informational meeting to see what role you can play in promoting Geography in the state of Connecticut. Please RSVP to Tom Brodnitzki at if you would like to attend our session on the UConn campus in Storrs on Thursday, March 22, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Food will be served. Friends will be made. And the promotion of Geographic Education in Connecticut will continue in full.

Connecticut Geographic Alliance Committee Structure

Visit CGA on the Web
The website for the Connecticut Geographic Alliance is Visit the site for information regarding workshops and summer institutes for educators as well as useful classroom lesson plans and a calendar of important upcoming CGA events.

Support Geography Education
Contact Your Congressional Representative

Geography is recognized as a “core academic subject” in No Child Left Behind, but there is no dedicated federal funding stream to advance the discipline. The other core subjects all have received dedicated federal funding since the original No Child Left Behind legislation was signed into law in 2002. The National Geographic Society and the State Geography Alliances around the country support the Teaching Geography is Fundamental Act (TGIF). By building upon education programs funded by the National Geographic Society Education Foundation and implemented by the State Geography Alliances, TGIF would authorize grants to universities, nonprofit organizations, and state and local education agencies to support innovative programs to expand geographic/geospatial literacy among U.S. students and improve the teaching of geography at the K-12 level.

All Geography educators in Connecticut should contact their Congressional Representative to thank them for their past backing of this bill and to encourage their continued support this year. Please also contact Senators Richard Blumenthal and Joe Lieberman to ask for their endorsement of this important legislation. E-mail is the quickest, easiest, and most efficient means of contact. Visit these links to e-mail your requests:

Senator Richard Blumenthal –
Senator Joe Lieberman –
Representative Joe Courtney (2nd District) --
Representative Rosa DeLauro (3rd District) –
Representative Jim Himes (4th District) –
Representative John Larson (1st District) –
Representative Chris Murphy (5th District) –

Connecticut Geographic Bee News
Contributed by Bill DeGrazia, CGA Co-Coordinator
The 24th annual Connecticut Geographic Bee, a program of the National Geographic Society, sponsored by
Google® and Plum Creek Timber Company®, will be held on Friday, March 30, 2012, in the Herbert D. Welte Auditorium on the campus of Central Connecticut State University in New Britain. One hundred of Connecticut’s brightest young minds from grades four through eight will compete for the title of Connecticut Bee Champion and the honor of representing the state in the 2012 National Geographic Bee in Washington, D.C. Preliminary rounds of the Connecticut competition will take place between 9:45 and 10:45 a.m. The final competition round will begin at 11:15 a.m. The State Champion will receive a $100 prize, geography books, and a trip to the nation’s capital to compete in the National Bee in late May with a chance at winning a $25,000 college scholarship. Each of the contestants at the state competition will have already won their school’s Bee and finished in the top 100 out of more than 230 school winners (100+ if there are ties) from across Connecticut in a written exam of geographic knowledge. Brad Drazen, morning news anchor for NBC30 and Emmy Award- winning reporter, will be the moderator for the 24th annual Connecticut Bee. Brad’s interest in geography and education have been showcased in his award-winning reports including “Where in Connecticut,” “Connecticut Discoveries,” and “Destination Education.” For more information about the Bee, please contact State Coordinator William DeGrazia (203-439-7782 or We wish all of Connecticut’s contestants the best of luck!

Test Your Geography Knowledge
“Test Your Geography Knowledge” is a great website with online geography quizzes. They range from the broad and basic (identifying the continents and oceans) to the specific (identifying the provinces of China). Visit

CGA Members in the News
CGA Co-Coordinator William DeGrazia will be honored on March 6 as the World Affairs of Connecticut Global Educator of the Year. Bill has been extremely active in the Connecticut Geographic Alliance for several decades, serving as its co-coordinator for many years. This award was created by the WAC to reaffirm its commitment to global education and recognize extraordinary educators who are preparing our youth to be global citizens. Bill will receive this award during the WAC’s annual Luminary Award Event at the Downtown Marriott in Hartford. At this event, the Connecticut World Affairs Council also annually presents their Luminary Award to an individual or organization that has made a profound impact on the betterment of the world. This year, the Nobel Peace Prize Committee will be honored and Geir Lundestad, permanent Secretary to the Norwegian Nobel Committee and Director of the Nobel Institute, will be there to accept the award on their behalf. Congratulations on being chosen for this very prestigious and well-deserved award, Bill!

Long-time CGA Teaching Consultant Thomas Pannone is the newly-appointed Principal at Hopeville Elementary School in Waterbury. Featured in a January 29 newspaper article in the Republican American, Pannone noted that for too long little or no social studies or science was being taught at the school and he plans to change that. Dealing with a high-profile cheating scandal that resulted in the resignation of his predecessor, Pannone said, “the school had previously been geared almost entirely to raising literacy and math grades on the CMT, sacrificing much else that should be part of the school day.” The new principal and his staff have created a Family Book Bingo night at the school to help parents get involved with their children’s schoolwork. Congratulations and good luck to Tom!

Take the AGS Geographic Knowledge and Values Survey
The American Geographical Society (AGS) needs your help in a matter of vital importance. The AGS is conducting a nationwide survey of public attitudes toward geography and knowledge about geography. This is part of a major study funded by the National Science Foundation. This “Roadmap” project is a joint effort of the National Geographic Society, the National Council for Geographic Education, the Association of American Geographers, and AGS. The overall topic is geographic literacy, a matter of serious concern in America today. All U. S. citizens and long term residents of the United States are invited and encouraged to take the survey. The only eligibility requirement is that you must be age 18 or older.

The survey should take 12 to 18 minutes to complete. Please visit Surveys/TakeSurvey.aspx?s=F30154FD158241D39265B445E3BD5817 to start the survey and encourage everyone you know to do the same. The results will help guide Federal and state policies regarding geographic education.

Geospatial Careers Information
This website is for students and others interested in learning about careers in geospatial technologies. It features career information and profiles of people who use geospatial technologies. Since people with skills in geospatial technologies are needed in a wide variety of fields, this site was developed to encourage and assist those interested in exploring career options. It is sponsored by the NH Space Grant Consortium in partnership with NH GRANIT and the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. They have done a wonderful job with this and it will be an excellent addition to career presentations, GIS-based workshops, and more.

Giant Traveling Map of North America Visits DiLoreto Magnet School
Students at DiLoreto Magnet School in New Britain explored North America in a big way – with one of the world’s largest maps of the continent. Measuring 35’ x 26’, the map gave student explorers a fun, interactive experience through rich content and exciting activities that enliven the study of geography. The map was at the school from January 11 through January 20 as part of National Geographic’s Giant Traveling Maps program, organized by National Geographic Live, the public programming division of the National Geographic Society.

To kick off the experience, fourth grade parents and their children attended a “Family Geography Challenge” event on the evening of January 11. They were given a map of the world, a map of the United States, an inflatable globe, and a geography book. They also had the opportunity to participate in the “Family Geography Challenge” by following news stories and doing community outdoor activities over a five-week period. Families who complete the Challenge will receive a certificate from the National Geographic Society and a National Geographic Atlas.

The brightly colored, smooth vinyl surface of the map accurately illustrates North America’s oceans, seas, rivers, mountains, countries, and capitals. The map, designed for Grades K to 8, comes with a trunk full of accessories, including interactive games, geography adventures, atlases, and books that teach students about the physical characteristics of the continent as well as its rich history and varied cultures. One of the activities included is “A Tale of Twenty Cities,” in which students explore the physical and economic reasons behind the locations of North American cities.

“Experiencing a map of this size can really awaken a student to the power of maps and the limitless depth of geography,” said Dan Beaupré, National Geographic’s director of education partnerships for National Geographic Live. “Whether they are using the map to learn place names or to compare state-to-state CO2 emissions, students are physically involved in a hands-on and feet-on way that makes geography into an event.”

To learn more about the Giant Traveling Map project, for borrowing information, or to download map activities, visit Also available are Giant Traveling Maps of Africa, Asia, South America, and the Pacific Ocean. A Giant Traveling Map of Europe will be available for loan in the near future. Maps book quickly, so it is recommended that requests be submitted early.

2012 Connecticut High School Geography Challenge
Contributed by Kathleen Ryan, High School Geographic Challenge Coordinator Can your students name the Boston community formerly known as Dorchester Neck and long known as a working class, Irish-American neighborhood? If they can, they will enjoy a day of interscholastic geographic competition at the Connecticut Geographic Alliance’s 21st annual Connecticut High School Geographic Challenge. This year’s theme is “Community.” School teams of three to five students each will compete in four different events centered on that theme on Tuesday, May 22 at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. Registration forms were mailed to all Connecticut high school Social Studies department chairs in late-January. They are also available on the CGA’s website ( Questions about this year’s Challenge should be directed to Kathleen Ryan at

Connecticut Celebrates GIS Day 2011
Contributed by Thad Dymkowski, on behalf of The Connecticut GIS User to User Group Connecticut celebrated GIS Day at the Legislative Office Building in grand fashion as usual. We had over sixty maps lining the concourse leading to the Capitol, representing various state departments, organizations, and municipalities from across the state! The day started out with a warm welcome from Tyler Kleykamp, Chairman of the Connecticut GIS Council, and was filled with a host of presentations. The list of presenters included ESRI, the City of Milford, the USGS, the University of Connecticut Library Map and Geographic Information Center, the State Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture, and the Homeland Infrastructure Foundation Level Data Working Group. The day ended with a meeting of the State GIS Council where a presentation was made to Michael Borecki, the 2011 winner of the Connecticut Geographic Bee. Overall, the day was a great success with more than seventy people recorded in attendance and several members of the State Legislature visiting the map display in the concourse. The presentations and many of the maps from the gallery can be found on the GIS Council web page ( The council expects next year’s event to be just as fantastic. Look for details regarding GIS Day 2012 next autumn, and we hope to see you there!

Kyrgyzstan Project Underway at Cheney Technical High School
Submitted by Jacqueline Stack (Social Science Instructor) and Donald Mason (Information Systems Technology Instructor),
Howell Cheney Technical High School
At Howell Cheney Technical High School in Manchester, eighteen sophomore Information Systems Technology students who are also Civics students are active participants in a Global Connections & Exchange Project with high school students in two secondary schools in Kyrgyzstan. The GCE project is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and is administered by the International Research & Exchanges Board. These Cheney Tech students are involved in an online collaborative education-themed based multimedia posting project with students from the Karbyshev School in Kyzyl Kiya and School No. 1 in Karakol, Kyrgyzstan. The online postings center on “A Day in the Life” of an American technical school student and “A Day in the Life” of a student in Kyrgyzstan. Postings contain everyday “dialogue” about student life and are illustrated with photos that bring the dialogue into view. Students also share their hopes and dreams for the future. In addition, the American and Kyrgyzstani students will also have the opportunity to interact with each other through an hour- long video SKYPE project conducted in real-time. The global perspective initiated by the online posting project will be expanded through the help of a Teaching Excellence and Achievement Grant secured through the IREX board. The Cheney Tech students will be able to meet with local business leaders involved in the international global economy. They will also gain a cultural awareness of Asian arts and Kyrgyzstani cuisine. Cheney Tech students will attend lectures and gain exposure to the Asian art on display at the Yale University Art Museum. An international luncheon featuring Kyrgyzstani foods will be prepared by Cheney Tech’s culinary students and showcased in May along with a student generated Power Point illustrating the interdisciplinary aspects of the Kyrgyzstani Online Project.

Natural Resources Conservation Academy Accepting Applications
The University of Connecticut’s Natural Resources Conservation Academy (NRCA) ( is a new program in conservation and land use planning available for Connecticut high school students who are currently in grades 9-11. The NRCA Field Experience takes place at the UConn Storrs campus July 8-14,
during which students will stay in college dorms. With the 2,100 acre UConn Forest as a classroom, students will explore components of the natural environment, including forests, water, wildlife, landscape ecology and habitat protection. Students will be trained in the use of geospatial (GIS/GPS) and mapping tools and techniques, and their role in conservation planning, implementation and tracking. Upon completing the Field Experience, each student will apply their knowledge and skills to a conservation/land-use project in their community. Students will have the opportunity to work with local conservation groups and municipal committees and participate in and influence local land-use planning and conservation. Projects will take place in the fall/winter, and the students will present their work at the Connecticut Conference on Natural Resources ( in March 2013.

Globalizing the Media: Where in the World is the Truth?
Symposium on International Relations Planned

The League of Women Voters of Connecticut will present its 2012 Symposium on International Relations (SIR) on Tuesday, May 15, from 8:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield (University Commons, 5151 Park Avenue). The Symposium, entitled “Globalizing the Media: Where in the World is the Truth?” is co- sponsored by the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University and Sacred Heart University. As in the past, the SIR is open to all, and especially to teachers, students, and League members. The program, speakers, registration fees, and other details will be announced in the near future.

One of the speakers will be Jane Bornemeier, journalist and editor of New York Times Radio. Ms. Bornemeier also participates in the News Literacy Project. Quoting from a Project release: “The News Literacy Project, which is based in Bethesda, brings seasoned journalists into middle school and high school classrooms, where they give students the critical thinking tools to appreciate the value of quality news coverage and to encourage them to consume and create credible information across all media and platforms.”

For further information, please contact the LWVCT office in Hamden at or by phone, 203-288- 7996, Monday-Friday.

Population Connection Facilitator Training Institute
The Population Connection will be sponsoring a facilitator-training institute at the Wylie Inn and Conference Center at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts on July 28-29, 2012. This will be an excellent opportunity for math educators from around New England to become acquainted with innovative, interdisciplinary curricula that builds math skills using real world issues (the environment and global demographics), and to prepare to become volunteer facilitators for the program.

The facilitator training is open to educators throughout New England who are interested in leading Population Education workshops for their colleagues at schools, universities, and conferences around the region. Participants will include K-12 teachers, university education faculty and nonformal educators who work with teachers.

Thanks to foundation support, The Population Connection is able to cover most expenses for the weekend event (two nights lodging, meals during the workshop, and up to a $100 travel stipend to offset mileage expense). Participants will also receive an extensive handbook of training materials and a variety of curriculum resources, including the latest edition of Population Connection’s award-winning "dot" video, World Population.

Since 1990, Population Connection (formerly ZPG) has been hosting train-the-trainer institutes to prepare educators to facilitate workshops using hands-on curricula. During the institutes, a range of teaching activities for different grade levels are demonstrated, presentation ideas are shared, and the many social and ecological issues related to population growth and resource use dynamics are discussed.

Population Connection is a nonprofit 501(C)(3) organization based in Washington, D.C. The acclaimed Population Education Program has been producing teaching resources for the past thirty-five years and offering professional development workshops to allow educators to participate in the many hands-on, inquiry-based activities that have become part of tens of thousands of K-12 classrooms.

To apply, visit and click on New England Leadership Institute Summer 2012. Complete the application form and send it in with a current resume or CV. Space is limited, and slots for the facilitator trainings always fill up quickly. Priority will be given to those applicants who will have clear opportunities during the 2012-2013 school year and beyond to facilitate workshops.

Application deadline -- April 1, 2012

For more information, contact Pamela Wasserman, Vice President for Education, Population Education Program (1-800-767-1956).

Summer Advanced Placement Human Geography Institute
Current teachers of APHG and those who wish to explore the possibility of teaching the Advanced Placement Human Geography course are encouraged to attend a College Board-sponsored workshop this summer. Ken Keller, Danbury High School APHG teacher, will lead this workshop at the Taft Educational Center in Watertown from July 15 through July 20, 2012. The registration deadline is June 1.

APHG is a high school course equivalent to a one-semester introductory college course in Human Geography. Topics to be discussed during the summer institute include the nature and perspectives of geography, population, cultural geography, industrialization and economic geography, agriculture and rural land use, urban geography, and political geography. During the workshop, participants will be exposed to content information and will be expected to discuss content and develop lessons, activities, and testing items. Suggested teaching materials and techniques will be reviewed. This includes syllabi, texts, videos/DVDs, computer software, web sites, and other ancillaries. Participants will come away from the experience with materials that can be taken back to their schools and used in the AP Human Geography classroom.

Additional information regarding the workshop, tuition, and registration can be found online at (Week D). Please contact Ken Keller at with any questions or for further information.

Spread the Word about Geography in Your School
Do you have a great geography program in your school? Are you running Geo Clubs, GeoLiteracy nights, or did you have an amazing Geography Awareness Week celebration? Did you face any challenges or difficulties in executing these clubs or events? We want to hear about it! We'd love to hear about your experiences, and also would like to know if there are ways we can help to support your programs. Send your news to CGA Administrative Assistant Rita Courtois at

World Affairs Council of Connecticut News
Submitted by Eve Pech, Director of Educational Programs, World Affairs Council This year’s Model U.N., sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Connecticut, will take place at Hartford Public High School. Students from twenty-seven high schools throughout Connecticut will gather on Friday, February 10 and Saturday, February 11 to simulate a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in which student teams, each representing a member nation, meet and discuss the most pressing issues that are occurring around the world and discuss ways to resolve these issues. Failed and Failing States, International Debt Management, Environmental Standards of Multinational Corporations, and Education for Women and Girls are the topics of this year’s debate. The regularly scheduled trip to the United Nations during which over 500 Model United Nations students are briefed by the missions on the countries they have chosen to represent was derailed by the October snowstorm, but many schools were able to reschedule in December. Students who participate gain knowledge about global affairs, current events, effective communication, and multilateral diplomacy in addition to having fun meeting students from across Connecticut. For more information about this event and others planned for the spring, please visit the World Affairs Council of Connecticut online at and join the email list.

Earth Day – April 22, 2012 Mobilize the Earth
Founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin and organized by Denis Hayes, Earth Day was initially celebrated in 1970 and has become an annual event for people around the world to celebrate the Earth and renew the commitment to building a safer, healthier, and cleaner world. Earth Day Network, a worldwide environmental organization, was founded by the organizers of the first Earth Day and continues to coordinate events and activities around the globe each year. The global network includes environmental advocates, community leaders, Earth Day event organizers, businesses, city and local governments, parents, teachers, and students. The group’s website ( includes free resources to help organize an Earth Day event and help combat climate change. Visit the site, plan an event, and get involved!

Connecticut Envirothon
The 21st year of the Connecticut Envirothon is underway. Envirothon is a natural resource based education program begun in 1992 by the state’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts. A wide variety of training sessions in the Envirothon Study Areas of Soils, Aquatics, Forestry, and Wildlife, along with 2012’s current issue “Nonpoint Source Pollution / Low Impact Development,” are underway. On May 24, teams will meet for a fun- filled, all-day field competition at Winding Trails in Farmington, Connecticut. Students will be challenged to work together to answer questions and conduct hands-on investigations. Each team will also prepare a short oral presentation on a real life environmental problem to present before a panel of experts. The day always includes a picnic lunch, time to meet new friends, and an awards ceremony. The winning team will earn the chance to represent Connecticut at the Canon Envirothon, a weeklong event to be held at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, from July 22 through July 28, 2012, competing against approximately sixty other teams from across the United States and Canada for scholarships and other prizes. Many Envirothon alumni go on to further study leading to environmental careers and become eligible for special scholarships. Visit to view the workshop schedule or contact Barb Kelly at or Chris Sullivan (Chairman) at for additional information about the 2012 contest.

NERC 2012 News
“21st Century Learning: The Role and Future of the Social Studies”
Excerpted from the NERC 2012 Preview Booklet
The Connecticut Council for the Social Studies will host the 43rd Northeast Regional Conference (NERC) on the Social Studies at the Sturbridge (MA) Host Hotel and Conference Center from April 3 through April 5, 2012. NERC is an excellent opportunity to learn, to share, to develop strategies for continuing our important work, and to network in a professional and stimulating setting. This year’s theme, “21st Century Learning: The Role and Future of the Social Studies,” will ensure that the social studies continue to stay ahead of the changes taking place in our schools and society. Each day of NERC presents its own opportunities for social studies educators. Exhibitors from publishing houses, museums, and other organizations will have materials and information available. There will be a number of exciting half- and full-day workshops available on Tuesday, and more than seventy presenters leading sessions and clinics between Wednesday and Thursday. Connecticut’s Secretary of State Denise Merrill will speak at a Connecticut Council for the Social Studies (CCSS)-sponsored luncheon on Thursday about the importance of civic education. Basic workshop summaries and registration forms are now available online at the CCSS website ( Additional details will be available closer to the conference.

2012 National Conference on Geography Education
The National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE) will hold its annual National Conference on Geography Education from October 4 through October 7, 2012, in San Marcos, Texas. The meeting brings geography educators from across the country and around the world together to exchange ideas, research, resources, and best practices in geography education. The conference is filled with opportunities for participants to attend workshops, paper sessions, poster sessions, field trips, etc. For more information about the 2012 event, visit the NCGE website at

Summer 2012 Professional Development Travel Programs
Global Exploration for Educators Organization (GEEO) is a 501c3 non-profit organization that runs professional development travel programs designed for teachers. GEEO is offering seventeen different travel programs throughout the world for the summer of 2012. The trips are designed and discounted to be interesting and affordable for teachers. GEEO also advises teachers on how to find funding to subsidize the cost of the trips. The trips are open to all K-12 and University educators and administrators, as well as retired educators. Educators are also permitted to bring along a non-educator guest.

Detailed information about each trip, including itineraries, costs, travel dates, and more can be found at GEEO can also be reached seven days a week (toll free) at 1-877-600-0105 between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. EST.

NCSS Annual Conference
Excerpted from the NCSS website
The National Council for the Social Studies will hold its 92nd annual conference from November 16 through
November 18, 2012, at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. Join thousands of your social studies colleagues in the Emerald City this fall for the world's largest and most comprehensive professional development conference. With more than 500 content-rich sessions covering all subjects and grade levels, a lineup of renowned speakers and education experts, more than 150 exhibiting organizations displaying the latest in educational resources, and the opportunity to share the most current knowledge, ideas, research, and expertise in social studies education, the 92nd NCSS Annual Conference in Seattle is where all social studies educators should be. More information about the conference and lodging can be found on the NCSS website (

Science and Global Awareness Conference
The sixth annual Celebration of Teaching and Learning, a two-day professional development conference for K-12 educators, will be held on March 16 and March 17, 2012, at the Hilton New York at 1335 Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan. This premier professional development conference will bring together global experts, activists, academics, and thinkers that will stimulate creativity in PreK-12 classrooms. Educators can hear from speakers including Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Director of the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research; Sal Khan, founder of the Khan Academy, a free online education platform; Yul Kwon, host of “America Revealed” on PBS; and Steve Spangler, Director of the National Hands-on Science Institute. For the most complete list of confirmed speakers and session descriptions for the Celebration 2012, as well as video from prior events, please visit the event website:

American Association of Geographers’ Project GeoSTART
Excerpted from the AGG website (
GeoSTART materials will help middle and high school students learn state-of-the-art approaches to geography, earth science, and spatial thinking using NASA Earth Observing Missions remote sensing imagery and related data. Each activity is designed to engage one of the eight major modes of spatial thinking that are the focus of this NASA-funded curriculum project. The activities use this approach to study hurricanes. The activities contain all of the background information, instructions, satellite imagery, and other materials needed to support a short but tightly focused inquiry that can fit into a larger unit on hurricanes or natural hazards in many ways. The materials are available for free download in a total package format or by individual activities. If activities are downloaded separately, it is still recommended to download the Teacher’s Guide for instructional suggestions and answer keys to each activity. Activities include: Hurricane Shapes, Hurricane Frequency, Hurricane Paths, Hurricane Stories, Hurricane Winds, Hurricane Strength, Hurricane Influence, and Hurricane Impact. Visit to download one or all of these informative activities for use in your classroom this year.

Ecology Kits Available
Teachers! Looking for a way to blend mapping, computer, and other technology skills with environmental studies? CGA has five ecology kits available for loan to Connecticut schools. Two are Amphibian Kits, two are Terrestrial Kits, and one is a Water Kit. Each kit has equipment for collecting and observing samples, performing various tests, and books for identifying specimens. These kits are valued at up to $600 but CGA requests only that borrowers cover the shipping and handling costs along with a security deposit (which will be refunded after the kits are returned in good condition). For additional information on these kits, please contact the Connecticut Geographic Alliance’s office at 860-486-0374.

DVDs Available for Loan from the CGA
The Alliance has copies of two DVDs produced by the Arizona Geographic Alliance: “Integrating Geography with Reading and Writing” and “Integrating Geography with Mathematics.” In addition, we also have a copy of a DVD about the Peters Map Projection. If you are interested in borrowing one of these DVDs, please contact the CGA’s office at 860-486-0374 and we will ship them to you as soon as possible.

“Teaching Geography” CD Now Available
The CD-ROM “Teaching Geography” normally accompanies Phil Gersmehl’s book Teaching Geography (Guilford Publications) but it may also be used as a completely independent resource for exciting, interactive classroom lessons and also units on broader topics. It is an interactive, multimedia CD containing geography lessons and teacher’s notes that use an inquiry-based approach to instruction using geographic questions. Examples include: “How did the terrain around Harper’s Ferry influence the outcome of the Civil War?” and “How can we estimate the local consequences of global climate change for a specific part of the world?” The CD contains eighty stand-alone lessons, a set of transparency masters promoting spatial thinking skills, multimedia presentations including numerous maps and diagrams, as well as many other useful teaching aids. The CD can be ordered online at The cost is $25.


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