#Photojournalism Project for World Geography


**This is a cross post from my school blog.**

Geography is everywhere. As we move further along in the semester, you will begin to see geography in your daily activities. It’s time to start capturing those activities….

How will you do that, you ask? You will take a weekly photo and write a reflection blog post on how it relates to World Geography. We have all ready talked about a number of things like the 5 themes of Geography, maps, different parts of the physical earth, etc. As we move through the rest of the class, it’s important that you start to see the geography all around you. We will be talking about population and migration or the movement of people, as well as, culture, political geography, industrialization and development, agriculture/food, rural and urban land use. You will have plenty of opportunities to see geography.

So what are you going to do?

  1. Take a few photos a week that remind you of something about Geography
  2. Select one you want to write about.
  3. Create a blog post with the photo and the answers to the following questions.
    What is happening in the picture? Give us the context. Why did you take this photo?
    How is it related to geography?
    Which of the 5 themes of Geography does this photo connect with and how?
  4. Be sure to tag/label the post with the following #WG_SVH_PJP
  5. Publish your blog!

Take a look at some of the student blogs #WG_SVH_PJP is the hashtag for the posts!

When are they blog posts due?

Weekly on Wednesdays starting Wednesday, February 23 – We will write the first two blog posts in class for bell work. Want to see an example I created? Here is another.

How will you be graded?
15 points per weekly blog post.

Title and Tag: 3 points
Students need to create an appropriate title for each blog post and have the label/tag #WG_SVH_PJP

Overview: What is happening in the picture? Give us the context. Why did you take this photo?
A one paragraph summary of the photo. Summary paragraph: Be sure to answer the basic questions of who, what, when, where and why in your paragraph.

0 points
Connection does not fit the photo or is only listed.
Section not answered.

2 points
Overview paragraph does not answer who, what, when, where or why. Or is not a paragraph just a couple sentences.
Minimal sentence structure or spelling errors.

4 points
Overview is a paragraph answering a few of the who, what, when, where and why.
Minimal errors.

6 points
Overview is an in depth paragraph answering who, what, when, where, and why.
Proper sentence structure and no spelling errors.

Parts that Connect: How is it related to geography?
Which of the 5 themes of Geography does this photo connect with and how?
Student makes connections from the photo to one of the 5 themes of geography or something we have studied in class. The connection is clearly explained. At least 1 paragraph.

0 Points
Connection does not fit the photo or is only listed.
Section not answered.

2 points
Connection is listed but not explained and loosely fits with the photo.

4 points
Connections paragraph connects this article to one of the 5 themes of geography AND content we have studied in class but does not give examples or explain the connection. (Does not answer how it connects.) Shows a good correlation to between the connection and the photo.

6 Points
Connections paragraph clearly connects this article to one of the 5 themes of geography AND content we have studied in class by giving examples and explaining the connection. (How does it connect?) Shows a strong correlation to between the connection and the photo.

What are some tips and tricks to help you out?
Take More Than One Photo
Be sure to take more than one photo. The photo you intended to be the one for the blog post may not be the one that gives you the words you need to reflect. Take a few of different images of things going on throughout the week and select the photo when you are writing the post.

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
Don’t wait to take your photo until Tuesday with the post being due on Wednesday. Let this be a thoughtful process.

Blogger app (Android)
Place the blogger app on your phone and log in using your school login. This will allow you to take photos and upload them to a post from your phone. You can then write the post on your phone and publish or save it to draft and finish it on your computer

BlogTouch FREE version (iOS)
Blogger is suddenly missing from the iOS app store. This will at least help you get photos from your phone to a post.
iOS users can also create a folder in Google Drive called Blog Photos and upload them to the Google Drive folder to add to your blog later.

Edmodo is my new love

I have been tinkering with Edmodo for a while now mainly using it for my own professional development. If you haven’t heard of Edmodo it is “a free and secure social learning network for teachers, students and schools. Edmodo provides classrooms a safe and easy way to connect and collaborate, offering a real-time platform to exchange ideas, share content, and access homework, grades and school notices.” In the last month, my district has set up a district Edmodo domain.This will allow the schools to have a community connected to students, teachers, and parents.

There are a few things I really like about Edmodo:
1. The familiar social networking type interface. It resembles Facebook so its something students are familiar.
2. I like that parents can join in the class to observe what their child is doing in the class.
3. You have a private group but the ability to make portions of it public for parent or student access without being logged in.
4. The ability for a student to have all of their classes in one login.

If you haven’t looked in to Edmodo maybe its something you take a look at over the summer. Edmodo provides a great Help Center with materials and webinars to help you learn how to use the site. They even provide great user created materials such as the “A Guide to Explain It All” below.

Social Networking: What does your Friend Wheel look like?

Over the last week I have been able to spend a lot of time learning from those people in my social network because I have been laid out with a back problem. Surfing the internet helped hours of time pass. One of the things I was intrigued with is how my network has grown in the last year. Not only grown but expanded outside of education. When I first started growing my network, it was only educators but now I think I have a little of everyone in it. I use tools like Twitter and Facebook to organize and communicate with my network.

Facebook has a great app called Friend Wheel. The app allows you to connect all of your friends in Facebook. When I refreshed my Friend Wheel it reminded me of a Keynote session at UTC last summer. Ewan McInstosh talked how teachers/educators are very comfortable talking with one another but not with others. Seeing my new wheel shows that I am finally taking that leap outside the education world.

You don’t have to be able to read the names. Just look at the connections. Are you connected? What are things that you do to build your network and connect with others?

Why build a Classroom without Walls?

I have had a lot of compliments for my last post on Building a Classroom with out Walls pt. 1. Tonight, I watched a Microsoft commercial that summed up why we as educators need to begin to move in this direction if we have not. Microsoft’s new ad campaign is called “Life without walls.” Take a look…

Kylie at the age of 4 can do something that a lot of grown adults are afraid of doing. One of the collaborators on my survey, Steve Dembo gave the following advice,

Be bold, don’t be afraid. Don’t hesitate to comment, don’t hesitate to befriend ‘big names’, don’t think twice about contacting people directly or replying directly to them. Be active. Don’t be afraid to register for sites, to create usernames or to do something goofy. Don’t be afraid to fail, because you will…. often. Celebrate your successes and do so publicly. Don’t refrain from sharing because you aren’t the first, or because you don’t think it’s worthwhile. Let other people be the judge of that. And give them the option of deciding. You may not think it’s worth sharing, but other people might.

Don’t be afraid of being the first either. If you have an idea, act on it. Don’t wait for somebody else to.

Be active. Be the innovator. Be the change.”

For Kylie’s sake… as Steve says, “Be the change.” Reach this child. They are all in our schools whether we are ready or not.

Creating a Classroom without Walls Part 1

So are you ready to build the foundation for your classroom without walls? We hear buzz words like 21c. learning, classroom without walls, RSS feeds, social networking, Personal Learning Network, blogging, wikis… What does this all mean? To answer that… you as the teacher need to look in to some of this before you ask your students to dive in.

I would like to focus on how you can create a Personal Learning Network (PLN). Daniel R. Tolbin defines a Personal Learning Network “as a group of people who can guide your learning, point you to learning opportunities, answer your questions, and give you the benefit of their own knowledge and experience.” Who needs to be in the PLN? Anyone who can point you to learning opportunities you are interested in.

How do you create a PLN? To answer this question. I pulled the resources of my PLN.  One of the ways that I have created a PLN is through a website called Twitter. Twitter is a micro-blogging site that wants everyone to answer “What are you doing now?” Seems silly but we educators can take anything and make it an educational tool. Educators from across the world use this site to share resources and ask questions to help further their technology integration skills.

So last night I sent out this call…..

Within a few hours I had all of the results posted here. The responses are so wonderful. Please feel free to read the entire document but I have summerized their responses below.

1. Begin reading educational blogs. Who should you read? Well that is really up to you but I can suggest some great educators to start with. In no particular order, here are some of my favorites.

Dean Shareski

Alec Couros

John Pederson

Will Richardson

Vicki Davis

David Warlick

Cathy Nelson

Chris Craft

Jeff Giddens

Steve Dembo

Lee Kolbert

2. Begin using an RSS aggregator to keep up with your blogs. Google Reader is the reader I use. If you like to find out more about it, take a tour. Bloglines is another aggregator that is commonly used. I consider my Reader to be a big newspaper. Everyday the blog posts I am to subscribed all all feed into my Google Reader. All I have to do is open it and all the posts are there just like the articles in a news paper.

3. Begin commenting on blogs. Become a part of the conversation.

4. Instead of keeping your bookmarks on your computer, begin using a social bookmarking site such as Delicious. Lee Kolbert, a Technology Programming Specialist from Boca Raton, FL suggests, “Using an online bookmarking tool, such as Delicious.com, allows teachers to bookmark their bookmarks online and access them from anywhere. From there, I recommend teachers share their Delicious usernames and add each other to their networks. To build a global network, teachers can start to click through and add other users who have similar interests.”

6. Alec Couros suggests, “try microblogging (twitter or plurk). Find other educators that are passionate about social networking. See the resources people share. Have fun. Learn. Contribute. Twitter in education is a type of gift economy. People help each other. People learn from each other. We all benefit.” and “Experiment with other media and social network. Try Facebook. Browse Youtube and TeacherTube. Become aware of how all of this work. Find out how kids are using it.”

When you are ready to try Twitter or Plurk, here are a few tips.

A. Fill out your bio information. People in the education network are more likely to follow you if you have bio information about what you do.

B. Find someone you know or respect in the educational world and begin following the people they follow.

Now go off and explore…. build your network… “If you build it, they will come.” – Field of Dreams