The Rhode Island Geography Education Alliance (RIGEA) is commited to promoting geographic education and geo-literacy in the Ocean State. You can join the Alliance for free to receive newsletters and updates. We encourage you to visit our main website as well as our various social media profiles.
We are proud to announce our Spring 2016 High School Semester at Sea. Partnering with Ocean Classroom we have developed a one of a kind experience for Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors to experience life at sea and abroad. The program begins in St. Thomas on February 6th and ends in Portland, ME on May 14th.
Rhode Island Geography Education Alliance (RIGEA) and the Rhode Island Geographic Information System (RIGIS) are offering a 4-day summer GIS institute for teachers called Get ConnectED! Online Mapping for New England Educators. New England K-12 teachers from upper elementary through high school are invited to apply to the Get ConnectED! institute. The institute will be held at Rhode Island College from July 27-30, 2015. Each participating teacher will receive a stipend of $300. To apply to the Get ConnectED! institute, complete the online application form. Applications must be submitted by May 1, 2015. Invitations will be sent to successful applicants by May 15, 2015.
Aerial video footage of Rhode Island in the US. Part of the Skyworks HD aerials video collection. SkyWorks films all over the world, including Wales, South Africa and Qatar...but I'm partial to their work right here in in the Ocean State.
There may be a counterintuitive explanation for the deep freeze that hit New England this winter: The rapidly warming Arctic is causing big disruptions in the jet stream, which carries weather across North America. Is this the worst winter you've experienced?
Geography has one foot firmly lodged in quantifiable sciences, and another that eludes quantification. A satellite image is loaded with spatial data, and yet this image (limited resolution but highest available) also has an artistic beauty and I hope every geographer maintains a sense of wonder at the details and beauty of the Earth.
As stated by the folks at Cape Cod weather regarding this image: "Check out the ice and snow in Buzzards Bay, Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket Sound. Look close at the southeast corner of Cape Cod Bay (north side of Yarmouth to Eastham) and eastern side of Buzzards Bay (Bourne and Falmouth shores)...you can see the ice is really packed in thick!"
New York City could see 20 inches of snow when all is said and done. Snow totals in Boston could rival the snowiest storm the city has ever seen: 27.6 inches on Feb. 17-18, 2003.
The Weather Service in New York City has dubbed it a “potentially historic nor’easter.” Forecasters in Boston are calling it a “text book case” for a New England blizzard. And residents from Philadelphia to New York are being advised to change their travel plans for the blockbuster winter storm that will impact the Northeast on Monday and Tuesday.
The Choices Leadership Institute is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the Choices Program’s award-winning curriculum materials and approach, and to plan strategies for introducing the Choices Program to your colleagues. Participants will examine strategies for engaging secondary students in the study of contested international issues, share best practices with other dedicated teachers, and explore methods for conducting effective professional development. The Institute will be held July 13-17, 2015 in Providence RI and the deadline to apply will be March 16, 2015. Click here to apply.
Rhode Islanders might be used to places with names like “Chepiwanoxet” and “Scituate” but these eight West Coasters are DEFINITELY not. Their first attempt to pronounce these words is one hilarious trainwreck that you just can’t take your eyes off of.
If enacted, the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, its official name, will be Rhode Island’s first national park. The state currently has a national memorial, which marks the settlement of Providence founded by Roger Williams, at the foot of College Hill; a national historical site, Touro Synagogue, in Newport; and a national historic trail, the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route that travels through nine states, including Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia. “The Blackstone Valley is a national treasure that deserves to be preserved,” Reed said in a news release. “It is the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution and includes thousands of acres of beautiful, undeveloped land, and waterways that are home to diverse wildlife, cultural sites, and numerous recreational opportunities for Rhode Islanders."
The more we slap concrete down all over the state, the more we trigger devestating consequences, like the million-dollar flooding in Cranston last September.
Seth Dixon's insight:
We often ignore the environmental impact of the cities we build. When we build a road, building or sidewalk, we usually cover the ecosystem's natural mechanisms for absorbing rainfall with impervious surfaces. This award-winning environmental article in RI Monthly was written by a geography professor with an eye on the human and environmental interactions between community land use choices and watershed quality. The RI governor announced for Earth Day that it will be investing funds to tackle the storm water pollution problem.
“For most of the world, the Armenian Genocide is the slaughter you know next to nothing about. But every year on April 24, Genocide Remembrance Day, we Armenians remember the injustice of a crime that is rarely acknowledged and often flatly denied. It was April 24, 1915, when the Armenian intellectuals, professionals, editors and religious leaders in Constantinople were rounded up by the Ottoman authorities — and almost all of them executed. During World War I, the Ottoman Empire killed three of every four of its Armenian citizens. The majority of Armenians alive today are descendants of the few survivors.”
2.5 million Armenians lived in the Ottoman Empire--1.5 million were killed. Not just killed, but horrifically slaughtered--beheaded, crucified, burned alive in their churches, loaded like cattle onto freight trains and sent to concentration camps, raped, assaulted, sold as slaves, herded into the DerAzor desert and left to die.
The United Nations recognizes the massacres and the systematic destruction of two-thirds of the Armenian population as the first genocide of the 20th century, and has stated that the mishandling of its aftermath set the stage for future genocides, from the Holocaust to Rwanda and Sudan and everything in between. Hitler studied what happened and borrowed many of the Ottoman Empire’s techniques to use against the Jews.
And even though some countries in the world recognize and agree with the UN assessment of the fact, Turkey denies it, and the US still stands silent and refuses to officially state that what happened was genocide...because to do so would offend Turkey, and Turkey is a US political ally. Many are calling on Israel, a country founded in large part because of a genocide, to acknowledge the first genocide of the 20th century.
Learn about genocide and teach genocide--what causes it, what perpetuates it, what the cost of denial can be. Don’t remain silent. Be a peaceful person in your own life, and in all your relations with others--and speak up about any wrong or injustice.
"Where have immigrants to the U.S. come from? Natalia Bronshtein, a professor and consultant who runs the blog Insightful Interaction, created this fascinating visualization of the number of immigrants to the U.S. since 1829 by country of origin. The graph hints at tragic events in world history. The first influx of Irish occurred during the potato famine in 1845, while the massive influx of Russians in the first decade of the 20th Century was driven by anti-Semitic violence of the Russian pogroms (riots). Meanwhile in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, army conscription and the forced assimilation of minority groups drove people to the U.S. in the early 1900s. Since WWII, Central and South America and Asia have replaced Europe as the largest source of immigrants to the U.S. Immigration shrunk to almost nothing as restrictions tightened during WWII, and then gradually expanded to reach its largest extent ever in the first decade of the 21st Century."
I was just informed that our proposal to receive a Giant Traveling Map from National Geographic was accepted! Two years ago we had the South America map come to Rhode Island, and last year the Giant Traveling map of Africa came to the Ocean state and many schools found it to be a way to make an event of it. We’ll be receiving the map of North America that comes with an excellent set of resources on how to interactively teach, explore, learn and play with this specific map as a part of your curriculum. This map will soon be coming to Rhode Island; it will be available for schools and teachers to use from March 21st to April 19th. The Alliance wants to make this accessible to as many RIGEA members as possible. For schools with 4 RIGEA members, this map can be rented for a free of charge for two days (if you are interested in more days, let me know). Remember that it’s free for teachers, administrators and parents to sign up to become RIGEA members—consider this your chance to recruit them for a good cause for your school AND the Alliance. For schools without 4 RIGEA members, they can still rent the map for $200 per day, but I have faith in your recruiting skills.
SCHEDULING THE MAP:
For those interested, please send your request to email@example.com with the following information
Include the subject line “Scheduling Giant Map”
Select day(s) on or between March 21-April 19 that you would like to schedule the map with at least two alternative dates.
List the names of Alliance members (or future Alliance members) at your school. This can be a “work in progress.” You can sign them up yourself (with their consent of course).
The name and address of your school.
Contact information for the person who will be responsible for transporting the map to the subsequent school (phone and email).
By announcing they intended to abandon Pawtucket, R.I., the new owners of the Red Sox’ Class AAA team reminded fans that beyond baseball’s innate poetry, it is a cold business.
Seth Dixon's insight:
This NY Times article is a great exploration of the economic geography of baseball and the place-based traditions that are rooted in having a team to call your own. There is a lot of anger in Pawtucketat the news that the team is planning to leave McCoy stadium. This isn't just a devastating financial blow to the Pawtucket community; for decades, Pawtucket could hang there hat on being home to the PawSox and that communal identity was one of the defining distinctions between Pawtucket and Central Falls. Now it's just another struggling town. How will this impact Pawtucket and Providence neighborhoods? What if the Red Sox affiliate left the state of Rhode Island entirely for, say Fall River or New Bedford? How would that impact the Ocean State?
"Last month was the snowiest February on record, with 31.8 inches falling in just 28 days, according to the National Weather Service. That was ridiculously close to 2 feet — 23.3 inches to be exact — more than the usual snowfall in February. For December through February, the total snowfall at T.F. Green Airport was 58.3 inches, the third-snowiest winter season on record."
— 25.6 inches of snow fell in January, the fifth-snowiest on record.
— The average low temperature for February was 8.5 degrees, more than 15 degrees below normal. The average high was 28.3 degrees, which was 12 degrees below normal.
— Records low temperatures were posted on Feb. 21 (minus 5), and on Feb. 24 (minus 3)
But at least we aren't in Boston, which had 102 inches on March 1st, and it almost feels as if we are living in the Arctic Circle, but not quite.
“Maps are more about their makers than the places they describe. Map who you are. Map where you are. Fill the map with a story, or paint your favorite cup of coffee. Map the invisible. Map the obvious. Map your memories.”
Seth Dixon's insight:
The Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island has put together an event that will have some obvious relevance to RIGEA members. Please consider supporting this activity.
The blizzard of 2015 blasted the region with wind-whipped snow that piled nearly 3-feet high in some places.
As of 1 p.m. Monday, Boston set a new record for snowiest seven-day period in the city's history with 34.2 inches.
Seth Dixon's insight:
Weather is one of the most tangible ways in which the physical environment impacts society. We depend on sunlight and rainfall, we adapt our behaviors to harsh conditions and we are constantly modifying the our environments by heating and cooling our buildings. This Henry David Thoreau quote reminds us to acknowledge the powerful influence of the environment and to recognize that technological fixes have their limitations. “Live in each season as it passes...and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” --Henry David Thoreau
Question to Ponder: In what ways does the weather shape and influence culture and spatial patterns in your region? How can we make our communities more handicap accessible during winter storms and other extreme conditions?
The next three Saturdays (1/24, 1/31 and 2/7), our alliance coordinator will be hosting a series of workshops at Salve Regina from 9am to 1pm in the McKillop Library (Room 006). This partnership with their history department is designed to help prepare pre-service teachers to become certified and pass the geography portion of the Praxis Exam. If you are interested in attending for credit you can register through Salve Regina; if you would like to simply attend one or all of the workshops, drop a line to see what can be arranged (firstname.lastname@example.org). I envision this as a way to help some aspiring teachers and the intellecutally curious to strengthen their intellectual geographic foundation.
'Tis the season to look back on the year that was. There are some 'Best of' lists with great teaching applications produced this week such as the best satellite images of 2014, the worst natural disasters of 2014, and 50 states in 50 pictures. Our Alliance Coordinator has analyzed all the Geography Education resources he shared this year and selected these 30 as the best, most important, or most useful resources from 2014.
"Summer 2014 brought a sight that had not been seen since 1941: the Charles W. Morgan leaving the Mystic River for the Atlantic Ocean, stopping at several New England harbors before eventually arriving in New Bedford, Massachusetts where the ship was built in 1841. The Charles W. Morgan is the last remaining wooden whaling ship in the world, and a National Historic Landmark."
Seth Dixon's insight:
Only two countries today are stilling whaling (Japan and Norway), but the whaling industry was a critical component to the settling of New England. Check out this Maps 101 podcast for short introduction to the historical geography of New England whaling.
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