Clip this onto educlipper

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Zeitgeist 2013-14: The essence of geography

Many of you are familiar with the Google Zeitgeist videos. If not, I have added them in at the bottom.

I have taught just about every subject and grade level. I have enjoyed teaching most subjects. For the past six years I have exclusively taught World Geography. For five years previous I taught Geography but it was at-risk and not quite what I am doing now. I love teaching Geography. I find it to be the easiest of all the social studies to teach because it's current, salient, and interesting. Sure history can have its fun moments to teach, but geography is about what is happening now. Plus with technology you can talk and work with other countries, which makes it even cooler.

All that being said I think it is a misunderstood subject. Many students come in thinking it is a math class (geometry) or that all we do is maps. Sure maps are part of it, but there is so much more to it than that. I had been trying to think of a good, fun way of introducing geography. In the past I have shown the Google Zeitgeist video for its geographic content, today I decided to make a slight adjustment and to this and found the best way I have ever introduced geography to my class.

For the record Zeitgeist means "the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time". I showed the 2011 version then had students brainstorm about what they would include in the 2012 version. They were at a disadvantage not having a device to use and having to rely on their neighbors, but in the end they did a nice job and hit the major events like the London Olympics, the Presidential election, the Red Bull space jump, world wide protests, Hurricane Sandy, among others. It was fun to see how much they got right and then realize how much more they had forgotten or didn't even know about it.

The magical moment came in the wrap up when I announced that these videos were the essence of geography. This class is about life in every part of the world. It is about people and how they live. It is about how we interact with one another and the environment. There are events that earth shattering like a vicious natural disaster. There are movements where people work together to make their lives better and remove corrupt governments through protests and revolutions. There are small moments as well as monumental ones, but all change the face of the earth in some way.

All of this led to the beginning of our new project. Making our own Zeitgeist production for the 2013-14 school year. This of course is in the embryonic stages of development. I think I am going to have students add events every week or two and maybe do mini productions at the end of each term or semester. Regardless how I decide to make this work in the end we will have a wonderful product that showcases all the events and learning from the entire school year.

My genius hour piece would be that students would take a part that interests them, after we have a substantial, comprehensive list, and go into detail on that particular piece.

Funny how one good idea can totally change everything. A week ago I thought I had a handle on how things were going to go this year. Halfway through the first week of school I have an idea that may change the entire year.

I will do my best to keep updates as to how we are progressing and in what direction this takes us. Gotta love the 3 G's: Google, a good idea, and geography.

Here are the videos: 2012


No comments:

Post a Comment