Ten Ways to Give Your Students the World
- Show students that geography is everywhere.
It’s a global world. People, ideas, and products are constantly moving greater distances across the planet than ever before. How we live shapes, and is shaped by, where we live – and what happens in the natural environment. Have your students test their Global IQ (http://www.mywonderfulworld.com/global_iq.html).
- 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? Are the offerings for geography at your school relevant, meaningful, and engaging? (Find out with our school checklist - http://www.mywonderfulworld.org/pdf/school_checklist.pdf). Start the discussion with other teachers, parents, administrators, and students. Spread the word about My Wonderful World to your colleagues and friends.
- 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.
- Explore the planet using technology.
From free 2-D satellite maps (http://mapmachine.nationalgeographic.com/mapmachine/ viewandcustomize.html?task=getMap&themeId=110) to 3-D Earths (http://earth.google.com/), 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.
- Make geography part of every subject.
Every subject – from reading, writing, and arithmetic to science, economics and foreign languages – can 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. And make geography fun – enter your school in the National Geographic Bee and other competitions.
- Make it extracurricular.
Ask your PTO 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.
- 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 Peace Corps, iEARN, and the Asia Society.
- Help students envision their futures.
Many kids today will cross physical borders but even more will travel though technology. Inject geographic themes into career exploration using a geography career guide (https://communicate.aag.org/eseries/scriptcontent/custom/giwis/cguide).
- Go there!
Remind yourself and your students that learning about new places and cultures is about exploration – you 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.
- Sign up for the My Wonderful World newsletter.
You’ll get helpful tips, the latest news, links to great resources and fun games, information about contests and offers, and much more. Visit www.mywonderfulworld.org and help give your students the power of global knowledge.