Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Teaching Geography: About this Workshop

Using the Videos and Web Site

Teaching Geography is specifically designed to advance the education and instructional development of seventh- through twelfth-grade teachers through a curriculum that emphasizes knowledge of content, critical thinking, and the practical applications of highly effective teaching methodologies.

Watching the Teaching Geography Videos

See the schedule for the broadcasts on the Annenberg Channel or find out how to purchase the videos here.

To get the most out of Teaching Geography:

  • Watch the programs in their entirety.
  • If you have limited time, go to Programs and Activities for each workshop for ideas for watching the videos in short segments.
  • While watching, reflect on the objectives posed in the Program Overview of each workshop.
  • Use the programs to spark group discussion or personal reflection.
  • Identify topics or activities you can use in your classroom.

Structuring Workshops

Each Teaching Geography workshop consists of five sections. Use the following list to help you structure your workshops.

1. Before You Watch
This section lists homework that should be completed prior to each workshop. It includes readings, program overviews, learning objectives, and questions to consider. You should also review the Key Maps, Interactive Activities, and Glossary Terms found on each workshop's main page.

2. Workshop Session (Video Programs and Activities)
This section describes the workshop activities and discussion topics that participants will cover in conjunction with viewing the Teaching Geography videos. Structure your session using the grid provided, based on the length of your session and whether you are watching a real-time broadcast or videotape. You can also access the transcript for each workshop in this section.

Workshop activities consist of the following elements:

Getting Ready
In preparation for watching each part of the video program, you will engage in approximately 15 minutes of discussion and activity.

Watch the Workshop Video
Each video program is divided into two half-hour parts.

Going Further
Wrap up with an additional 15 minutes of discussion and activity for each part of the video program.

3. Homework Assignment
Refer to the Before You Watch section of the next workshop you will be doing to access the materials that should be reviewed prior to that workshop.

4. Featured Lesson Plans
This section provides the lesson plans featured in the video classroom segments. Use these lesson plans as starting points, either to design your own lessons or to start a general discussion about using particular content or methodology in middle and high school classrooms.

5. Resources
This section lists additional resources for furthering research and understanding or exploring the selected geography content with students. The resource lists, which can be accessed from the About the Workshops section or through each individual workshop section, include print, Web, and curriculum resources.

CogswellMy background was in history. I went to the Colorado Geographic Alliance Summer Geography Institute and came away not only excited about geography but also really interested in an inquiry-based approach to teaching. And I found that I wasn't satisfied with my old teaching methods anymore. When the opportunity came for me to teach geography I was very excited. I tried, in the meantime, to incorporate geography into my other classes. And I have to say that the opportunity to do something new at this point in my career made all the difference because it gave me new energy and it helped me continue to be, I hope, an exciting and interesting teacher…

—Craig Cogswell, Westminster High School, Colorado

Using the Teaching Geography Web Site

To get the most out of your workshop experience, you should explore the Teaching Geography Web site. The site provides content beyond the materials found in your print guide. Each workshop features Key Maps of the region being explored, as well as Interactives geared to one or more of the case studies or classrooms. These clickable maps, timelines, slide shows, and brainteasers are available only on the Web site and function to provide more detailed treatment of program content. Reviewing these materials will greatly facilitate your participation in the workshop activities.

The Web site also provides access to Featured Lesson Plans in easy to download PDF (.pdf) and Word (.doc) formats. This can save you time scanning or keying in lessons that you may wish to use, modify, or share with other teachers.

The Resources section of the Teaching Geography Web site offers direct links to numerous other Web sites that provide rich supplemental content for lesson preparation, in-class activities, or homework assignments.

Subscribe to the workshop email discussion list and communicate with other participants online. To subscribe to Channel-Talkgeography, click here.

Helpful Hints for Site Leaders

Successful Workshop Sessions
These guidelines will help you conduct successful workshop sessions, particularly the Getting Ready and Going Further segments. These pre- and post-video group discussions will help participants better understand the video programs and enhance the workshop experience. Getting Ready prepares participants for what to focus on during the video programs, and Going Further provides the opportunity to analyze and reflect on what they saw.

Designate Responsibilities
Each week, someone should be responsible for facilitating the workshop sessions. This may be a professional facilitator or a volunteer from among the participants, or you may choose to divide and rotate duties among several participants.

Prepare for the Session and Bring the Necessary Materials
The site leader should review the entire session in this guide prior to arriving for the session, as well as reviewing any materials needed for that session. The site leader will be responsible for bringing materials such as flip charts, markers, etc. If you are viewing the video programs on videocassette or DVD, the site leader may want to preview the programs.

Before the First Session
You may want to photocopy the Teaching Geography print guide for all participants so they may follow along, refer back to ideas covered in the session, or have their homework assignments handy. Or, you may direct them to this Web site to print the guide themselves (direct them to Support Materials). Either way, you will want participants to have the guide prior to the first session, so they will come prepared. Be sure participants know:

  • they should bring paper and a writing instrument to each session; and
  • there are reading assignments prior to the first session.

Keep an Eye on the Time
We have suggested the amount of time you should spend on each question or activity. While these times are merely guidelines, you should keep an eye on the clock, particularly if you are watching a live broadcast. You may want to set a kitchen timer before you begin Getting Ready to ensure that you won't miss the beginning of the video. If you are watching the workshops on videocassette or DVD, you will have more flexibility if your discussions run longer.

Record Your Discussions
We recommend that someone take notes during each discussion or—even better—that you tape-record the discussions. The notes or audiotapes can serve as make-up materials in case anyone misses a workshop.

Share Your Discussions on the Web
The workshop sessions serve as a starting point to share and think about the workshop ideas. Encourage participants to continue their discussions with participants from other sites on Channel-Talk.

More Tips

Structure the workshop sessions based on your group's interests, experience, size, and time allowance. Use the Site Leader notes throughout the print guide and Web site to help you.


  • Print and duplicate documents ahead of time, or send participants to the workshop Web site to download and print a PDF file of the guide.
  • Have participants read the materials prior to the meeting.
  • Identify participants' skill levels and build from there.
  • Begin with the suggested issues raised by the objectives and continue with other questions that interest you and your colleagues.
  • Follow up a response with another question.
  • Allow enough "wait time" for responses.
  • Foster interaction among participants, as well as between facilitator and participants.
  • Organize participants into different groups for different activities to give everyone a chance to work with everyone else.

Weekly workshop sessions may be scheduled around real-time broadcasts, in which case you will want to begin at least 30 minutes before the scheduled broadcast. You may prefer to tape the programs off the Annenberg Channel, and schedule the sessions at a time that is more convenient for all participants. Sessions should be scheduled for a minimum of two hours.

Helpful Hints for Participants

You may want to keep a journal, including thoughts, questions, and discoveries from the workshop itself and learning experiences that take place in your classroom.

If you are working on your own:

  • Identify your goals.
  • Use the objectives to generate self-reflection.
  • Write responses to questions in a journal.
  • Review the journal at a later date.

If you are working with colleagues:

  • Review the homework for each week and think about the objectives before meeting with the group.
  • Compare your observations with those of your colleagues. How are they the same? How are they different?
  • During the role-play activities, try to take a postion that is different from your own beliefs.


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