Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Interesting Facts: Authors, Words and Books

Thanks to a recent email from a friend who knows I love cool and quirky facts, I found yet and quirky facts from the fun folks at Mental Floss.  Some of these could be excellent fun as we approach the end of another school year.

Twain's Typewriter
Authors and Their Typewriters
I'm thinking this is a great way to talk about the creative process and the tools you use.  I still love writing ideas down in a small notebook, even though I'm a self-proclaimed techno-geek.

Authors and DIDJAKNOW?
Now these are just fun things that make you say, "Hmmmm." master...REALLY?!?  Apparently, yes!

Making Up Words? 
According to my students, I'm famous for this skill.  They named my language "Duke-ish." Ol' Sir Isaac Newton himself invented his own language.  That's not bad company!

And if you want to be proper, here's a spelling and grammar video for you.

Spendy Volumes
Here's a stack of books that will cost a little more than those you find at the yard sale!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Reading, Writing and Thinking for Any Gadget

book cover image for reading, writing and thinking around the globe
I've been busy making books accessible in multiple formats over the last few months.  My book is now available in digital PDF, Kindle and of course the good ol' print version.  In the coming weeks look for all the Carte Diem Press titles in multiple digital formats for your easy access to geospatial curriculum!

The whole team at GISetc is working hard to bring you everything you need to be geospatially successful in your environment...great deals on Esri Press books, buttons and fun stuff as well as solid lessons and activities for any age or environment.  We even encourage you to get outdoors with our GPS books!

Worried about the standards and how you can integrate geospatial technology and geography? Then, worry no more!  We have you covered on the standards as well!  All of our books are aligned to the Technology, Geography and Common Core ELA standards!

If you need books in bulk, they've got you covered too!  Just zap an email to the staff and they'll quote you a bulk discount.

Stay posted on all the latest from GISetc as well as free resources by liking our Facebook page or joining the list to get the latest info and resources once a month or so.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Mapping the Holidays

Today I was thinking about sharing a Christmas map resource. I envisioned maps of trees or Santa's track for Christmas Eve. I started with ArcGIS Online and typed in the search word "Christmas." The search result alone gives great ideas on ways to map holiday happenings no matter where you are in the world.

Some ideas from other fine map-mined folks around the world are:
  • Christmas Islands
  • light displays 
  • market maps
  • parade maps
  • tree recycling locations
  • events
  • Santa sightings
  • shopping malls
  • Christmas dinner
  • Christmas list
So go enjoy some great maps from other folks or make your own and share it with us!

Mappy Holidays!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Baseball: A Game for Every Subject

I read an article today by Matt Davis that prompted me to update my Baseball Unit.  It's baseball for every subject in this unit...even English class! 

Here are the details of the Out of Bounds Baseball Unit, if you don't want the PDF:

Back Story
Integrating GIS into core content is easy if you take advantage of preexisting content.  This unit was born out of a baseball theme in English Language Arts (ELA) class.  As the four core teachers talked about what we were doing in ELA class, they wanted to get on board.   Over time, we incorporated all four classes at the same time to create a powerful experience for our middle school students.  This is an outline of what each class did as their part of the baseball unit.  The GIS activities were incorporated in ELA, Science and Social Studies classes.  Perhaps you can play out of bounds and integrate!

English Language Arts / Reading
  • “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” song by Jack Norworth
  • “Strong Men Weep” short story by Benedict Cosgrove
  • Excerpts from Wait Till Next Year a novel by Doris Kerns Goodwin
  • “Who’s on First?” play by Abbott and Costello (videos available at YouTube)
  • “Casey at the Bat” poem by Ernest Thayer (videos available at YouTube)
  • “Baseball in April” short story by Gary Soto
  • Shakespeare Bats Cleanup by Ron Koertge
·         Ball analysis (measurement, physics, experiment procedures)
·         Baseball statistics and spreadsheet formulas
Social Studies
·         Games and sports in cultures around the world
·         Build a baseball Museum
·         Research baseball topics
·         Play Ball! Spatial Analysis of Baseball (
·         Baseball Radio Station Analysis (
·         Where should you put the next MLB team?
·         Demographic patterns related to baseball

Monday, October 15, 2012

MyCOE Global Connections & Exchange Program

Opportunity for Teachers from my colleagues at AAG:

The AAG is heading up an exciting program,My Community, Our Earth Global Connections and Exchange Program, for U.S. teachers/classrooms to connect with teachers and students from countries abroad.

Participating teachers receive $300 for the classroom when they:

• Sign up for 3 hours of international virtual classroom exchange.
• Guide students to submit a collaborative map project.

MyCOE GCE is connecting high school students in the U.S. with their peers abroad. Through virtual online meetings, high school students throughout the world will develop collaborative, youth-led projects that map sustainable development issues. To learn more, check out the website.

Contact Niem with your questions about the program...

Niem Huynh (黃可柔), Ph.D.
Senior Researcher
Association of American Geographers
1710 Sixteenth St NW
Washington, DC 20009-3198

Friday, October 12, 2012

GIS: Your Spatial "Swiss Army Knife"

Educators need a multi-functional tool that can help teach, repair and assist exploration...a "swiss army knife" kind of educational gadget that can allow students to explore, yet gives teachers the necessary substance in required curriculum and high-stakes testing environments. And, hey... it's just fun (always an appealing characteristic to wrangly middle schoolers)!
I often read articles and papers on learning, standards and other hot education topics.  This article caught my eye today and I was thinking...GIS...a great tool to teach content while engaging students...and did I mention a tool they will most likely use in a future job! 

For those of you who need a little fuel for the GIS fire in your camp, this article along with all the great resources we have in our community will have you making smores in no time!  You're not alone and there are excellent resources to get you started.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Story Maps #2: What's Your Dinner's Story?

I love the idea that we are story telling with maps.  Most people enjoy a great story.  Good stories have a central theme or motif (fancy English teacher word).  With a guiding motif, we can add items to our story that  express emotion, inform and provoke discussion.  In a conversation recently, we were plotting and laughing about food's role in getting people to attend events...even in a virtual event, just the "talk" of food elicited more responses from folks. So let's chase that rabbit...what stories can maps tell centered around food?

It makes sense to start at the beginning of food, agriculturally.  Where is it grown? How is it processed?  What foods are produced most?  What other uses do food plants have...other than filling your belly? The good folks over at Esri Story Maps have created a great story on this topic. "Feeding the World" Where did your breakfast come from? Visit the 20 Minute GIS Portal for that map.

If you want to use ArcGIS desktop then have a look at Survivor Agriculture!  It gives students a chance to imagine an apocalyptic scenario where food is valuable trade as well as necessary sustenance. What an interesting story students can build here!

Perhaps students would like to explore data and build their own maps...create a unique story from their perspective.  Go to and search for "food." You'll find many layers that relate to all aspects of food and agriculture.

I like the idea of telling family stories centered around food.  Even foodies out there can appreciate the location of that perfect meal.  Maybe it's the smell of Grandma's apple cookies or the adventures with a friend around the country that create amazing memories around food!

So don't let a good story pass you by!  What story did you live today?