Digital resources to strengthen the quality and quantity of geography education in classrooms the world over.
Curated by Seth Dixon
This is a most decidedly dated reference for pop culture, but a great movie for making explicit the idea that the way we speak is connected to where we've lived (also a good clip to show class differences as well as gender norms). The clip highlights many principles and patterns for understanding the geography of languages.
"The state transportation authority relies on federal guidelines that outline what it can put on signs, and these rules say signs must use only 'standard English characters, so when we replaced the sign, we didn’t put the umlaut in.' On Wednesday, the state’s governor put his foot down: The dots were coming back."
The cultural landscape isn't just passively 'there.' It is purposefully created, defended, protected and resisted by national, regional and local actors. This example might seem laughable to the national media, but this was a serious matter to those locally that pride themselves on the town's Swedish heritage. Many want to preserve it's distinctively Swedish characteristics as a part of it's sense of place, but also it's economic strategy to appeal to tourists.
For decades the leading nature writer has been collecting unusual words for landscapes and natural phenomena – from aquabob to zawn. It’s a lexicon we need to cherish in an age when a junior dictionary finds room for ‘broadband’ but has no place for ‘bluebell’
As a British expat who has lived and worked in the U.S. for over five years, I remain very much in favor of embracing the various wonderful nuances this country has to offer. However, there was one aspect of my move that—during the initial settling-in period—I secretly feared: the gradual Americanization of my vocabulary.
While this list was created for English speakers in the UK, I will invert the list to show some terms that Americans rarely use, even if we understand their meaning: rubbish, mobile, motorway, petrol, car park, you lot, maths, pavement, football and fizzy drink. If this interests you so will this list of 10 British insults that American don't understand.
"Did you know that Swedish has more in common with Hindi than it does with Finnish? Explaining everything within the limits of the world is probably too ambitious a goal for a list like this. But here are 23 maps and charts that can hopefully illuminate small aspects of how we manage to communicate with one another."
If you're feeling particularly nationalistic, or just want to see how consistently you speak like your friends and neighbors, here are all the dialect quizzes that I could find. Find out what your dialect most resembles, and, in many cases, help science at the same time!
"Two weeks ago, we published a literary map of Brooklyn, highlighting the books we felt best represented the neighborhoods in which they were set. Compiling the list of books for that map had us thinking about what it means for a story to not just be from a place, but also of it, and why it is that some places have an abundance of literary riches (we’re looking at you, American South), while others, well, don’t. There are those stories that so beautifully evoke a time and a place and a way of life that it becomes close to impossible to separate the literary perception of a place from its reality—one winds up informing the other. All [books on this states list] are literary in voice and spirit; every last one will let you understand a time and place in a more profound way than you maybe thought possible.
Translate any word from English to more than 30 other European languages, on a map
This is an incredible resource to visualize the linguistic similarities between European languages all on one interactive map. Just type in a word or phrase as it will translate it for you and place the results on the map. I just found this, but I think it still belongs on my list of favorite resources.
Questions to Ponder: Do you see any regions forming? How does language impact the diffusion of people, ideas and goods? Hoe do you think these languages diffused?
|Suggested by PIRatE Lab|
This chart shows the lexical distance — that is, the degree of overall vocabulary divergence — among the major languages of Europe. The size of each circle represents the number of speakers ...
And yes, English has its deepest roots in German...the French aspects were tacked on after the Norman Conquest.
"English language has 'borrowed' words for centuries. But is it now lending more than it's taking, asks Philip Durkin, deputy chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. "
Knowledge of what is being borrowed, and from where, provides an invaluable insight into the international relations of the English language. Today English borrows words from other languages with a truly global reach.
View full lesson on TED-ED: What do Game of Thrones' Dothraki, Avatar's Na'vi, Star Trek's Klingon and LOTR's Elvish have in common? They are all fantasy constructed languages, or conlangs. Conlangs have all the delicious complexities of real languages: a high volume of words, grammar rules, and room for messiness and evolution. John McWhorter explains why these invented languages captivate fans long past the rolling credits.
This TED ED video lesson brings up some important questions to ponder for cultural geography (and uses some popular fantasy/science fiction examples to do it). For languages that are spoken by actual populations, they often 'borrow' vocabulary from other languages, making some ask the question, can loan words damage language integrity?
"Six students from De Montfort University have created a stellar 3D representation of 17th century London, as it existed before The Great Fire of 1666. The three-minute video provides a realistic animation of Tudor London, and particularly a section called Pudding Lane where the fire started. As Londonist notes, “Although most of the buildings are conjectural, the students used a realistic street pattern [taken from historical maps] and even included the hanging signs of genuine inns and businesses” mentioned in diaries from the period."
"What do you think of when you hear the word literacy? Depending on what you teach, chances are geography is not the first thought that comes to mind. But believe it or not, geography and literacy naturally share many similarities. And you can deepen students’ learning in both geography and literacy when they are integrated in the curriculum."
"If you're concerned about Common Core and how geography fits in then don't miss this informative event. We'll dive into resources that were designed to expand the definition of text, show the alignment between the ELA common core standards and Geography for Life along with suggesting teaching ideas. This presentation will focus on the ELA and Geography Interconnections document that was created to support educators. The session will also highlight the National Geographic Common Core website and the resources available. Join us for a look into Common Core Standards and Geography Education!"
NCGE and National Geographic Education have partnered to bring you the first free partnership webinar of the 2013-2014 NCGE Webinar Series! This webinar is tomorrow evening (Wednesday August 28th, 9:00pm EDT) so register ASAP! I've posted some resources in the past about how geography and the Common Core can be aligned; this webinar will pull together years of work to ensure that geography does not get squeezed out of the curriculum.
The recently revised Geography for Life standards have been aligned to show how geographic skills can be taught within the Common Core framework. The National Geographic Society, in cooperation with the National Council for Geographic Education and the Network of Alliances for Geographic Education created Connections to be that link (for grade specific Common Core/Geography resources click here).
So how is this to be done? This storymap shows ten great examples of maps that can be used as reading documents, one for each of the 10 ELA Reading Standards.
The common-core standards present an ambiguous message on how to draw information from maps and charts, Phil Gersmehl says.
Written by Phil Gersmehl, the author of Teaching Geography, this article shows how teachers can read maps to gather contextual information about places in a way that fosters deeper learning. The Common Core ELA standards emphasize a "close reading," but the examples of reading of maps and charts are often rather superficial. The National Geographic has recently produced Connections to be a guide for teachers of both geography and English to see how the two are interrelated and to promote geo-literacy for a more profound appreciation for spatial analysis and place-based knowledge.
If you can't go to London and take the Warner Bros. studio tour, this is the next best thing: Diagon Alley in Street View. This is some mapping to inspire your Harry Potter fans and possibly tie some English Language Arts will geospatial tools.
|Suggested by Mike Busarello's Digital Storybooks|
"Placing Literature maps book scenes in the real world."
This article reviews a great new site, Placing Literature. Much like Google Lit Trips, this site's goal is to make geography come alive in literature. Given that this site is still in its infancy, there are few novels and places in the system, but I don't see that as a drawback. I see this as a fantastic platform for a student project where they could make a significant online contribution.
From The Hunger Games trilogy: different perspectives on the country of Panem.
|Suggested by Michael Miller|
"What we know as the English Language today has evolved over thousands of years, influenced by migrating tribes, conquering armies and peaceful trade. Do you know the origins of the language you speak? Have a look at this detailed infographic from Brighton School of Business and Management."
Languages, just like cultures, are incredibly dynamic and have changed over time. Many people like to imagine an older version of their own culture of "how it used to be" or even "how it's always was." This is an illusion though, to pretend as though cultural change is something new. This fantasy allows for people to nostalgically yearn for what once was, even if that perceived pristine past was but a fleeting moment in history that was shaped by many other peoples, places and times.
Google Earth is a great teaching tool for geographers, but it is also a way to bring geography and spatial thinking to other disciplines. Google Lit Trips makes the journeys that take place in literature (both fiction and non-fiction) all the more real by mapping out the movements as a KML file that can be viewed in Google Earth. By embedding pictures, websites, videos and text into the path, this becomes an incredibly interactive resource for teachers of all levels.