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Friday, June 14, 2013

End of the Year thoughts, events and resources

Been a while:

New Ontario Curriculum

With the rollout and Implementation of the new “ Social Studies , History and Geography  (1-8) for  The Ontario Curriculum.  The secondary curriculum will be rolled out at anytime in 2 stages with the Grade 9 coming first followed by the  11 and 12 .

However due to the continuity in the curriculum from grades 1-12 it would be very beneficial to have a look at the 1-8 document.  I will highlight a number of foci in the new curriculum that will be of specific interest to those teaching geography, and spatial skills. Here is the link to the curriculum document.

 Social Studies, Grades 1-6; History and Geography, Grades 7-8, 2013 (Revised)

·         Available online posted on the Ministry of Education website:


Just a few highlights and attached Pages

One of the really exciting  parts of the new curriculum is the “Spatial Skills” strand that runs through all courses in Social Studies History and Geography. As the document states:

·         Underpin spatial literacy, enabling  students to develop a sense of place

·         Map , globe, and graphing skills help students visualize and make meaning of spatial data

·         they apply spatial skills in all three subjects

use of spatial –technology is an expectation including  such programs and web applications  as  Google Earth , ArcGIS online , ArcGIS 10  

 Please reference Pages 24 & 25 and the continuum in Appendix C on page 192.  You will notice this continuum references the spatial skill needed right from grade 1-12. This will certainly support the need of the Geographic Skill set.

“ Although students learn spatial skills in social studies and geography, they apply them , in conjunction with the concepts of disciplinary thinking in all three subjects in the social studies , history, and geography curriculum , and in Canadian and world studies as well . In addition , students may apply these skills in everyday contexts and in other subjects.”


It is important that we flag this at the school and administration level.  It is also important to flag the relationship between spatial skills and Literacy, Mathematical literacy, and Technology. Spatial literacy implementation is not an option as there is an expectation that spatial technologies ( including programs such as ArcGIS 10, web based utilities such as ArcGIS online ,and applications like Google earth ) be used from grade 4 onwards. We will also need to support our other non-geography teachers with the concepts and skills of spatial technology.

Other changes and foci in the curriculum right through from 7-12 will be on the concepts of Geographical Thinking and the Inquiry method. Please look at the charts in the grade overviews which very simple identify the Overall expectations , the related concepts, the Big Ideas , Framing questions and the Spatial Skills . this will be the same format for the 9-12 documents . Personally I am very pleased with the user friendly nature of this document.

Check out Big Ideas – Page 14

The concepts of Disciplinary Thinking - page 12

The Citizenship Education Framework- Page 10

Least but not last :

Expectations &Assessment for, as and of SSGH

Overall and their related specific expectations are organized into 3 sections

Application              Inquiry               Understanding Context

Application and Inquiry are at beginning of each strand to encourage teachers and students to focus on these Learning goals. Understanding context is to support application and inquiry.  This enables students  to develop the knowledge and understanding that will underpin their inquiries and that they will apply to new contexts             Page 18 & 19   assessment& achievement Chart pg 26




Events to Plan for: Summer and Fall 2013

Renewing your OAGEE Membership:

 As OAGEE members are very involve in supporting the revised curriculum it is important that all teachers of Geography are members.  As we create new supports for this curriculum we will be posting them as fast as we are able. For many of these resources it is necessary to be a member.  Remember you can now obtain department memberships. check out the web site

OAGEE Summer Institute in Spatial Technologies – August 26-29 at Ryerson

Good time to ask at your school as you are explaining the need to support Spatial Skills throughout. There are a few spaces left. Checkout the info At:


Fall OAGEE conference: Of course the major focus will be on the revised curriculum.



2013 Fall Conference November 1 & 2, 2013

Balsillie School of International Affairs, Waterloo, Ontario


The call for presenters is now open also




A smattering of Resources for you to ponder;

Nicaragua fast-tracks Chinese plan to build canal to rival Panama

What a great little spatial exercise to design where it would need to go.  What are the issues?


Secret life of the cat: What do our feline companions get up to?

Ever wondered what your cat spends its time doing when you're not around? Where do our purring pets go when they disappear through the cat flap? Armed with GPS tracking devices and micro-cameras, a team from BBC Two's Horizon programme in collaboration with the Royal Veterinary College set off to a Surrey village to find out.

Great intro to the use of GPS

12 Amazing Earth Scars

Our planet is covered in pockmarks so deep that they can be seen from space. Some were caused by asteroid strikes, but most are the result of human meddling. Here are some of the most incredible examples of the scarred Earth.


Map the Meal Gap, Food Insecurity in your County

This is strictly an American focus but it is easy to draw many similar conclusions . Interesting interactive nature to this also .


What should be done with the Gardiner Expressway?

Great student engagement activity on Toronto Does not everyone have an opinion. Great visuals!

BMO Harris Private Banking Changing Face of Wealth Study: Diversity Dominant Among Affluent in Ontario

Almost half of high-net worth Ontarians were either born outside of Canada or are first generation Canadians - More than one-third of Ontario's wealthy are women - Sixty-four per cent are self-made millionaires - Education is key: 77 per cent hold at least a university a degree; just 14 per cent have a high school diploma or less

Great Stats exercise !!


Inquiry Based Learning –

A great Primer to go along with the revised curriculum


Toronto’s immigrant enclaves spread to suburbs


Great Spatial journal on US wildfires


ARCGIS online Story Maps

For years, maps have been telling many different stories. Maps can summarize a situation, show change over time and reveal patterns. They can be used to compare and contrast places, make plans, predict outcomes and support decisions.

The increasing prevalence of GIS, the Web, the Cloud and mobile devices has empowered maps to tell stories in a brand new way. Supercharged with functionality, maps can now integrate big data, video and social media, solicit crowdsourced information, and be leveraged to answer a myriad of questions both complex and simple.

- See more at:


The amazing interactive maps that blend the past and present to reveal how cities have changed since the 17th century

Read more:


Which cities do the world's millionaires and billionaires live in?

The fun with this article is it comes with the data


More than half the world’s population lives inside this circle.

Very intriguing

Lu Guang's The Polluted Landscape: the camera never lies, even in China - audio slideshow

Chinese photojournalist Lu Guang goes deep into China's ravaged heartlands and documents the environmental crisis that has been triggered by the nation's dizzyingly rapid economic growth and development. Exposing the droughts caused by open-cast coal mines in Inner Mongolia, documenting under-reported oil spills and sidestepping censorship over chemical pollution of rivers, Guang is a fearless documenter of truth – and his message is starting to gather force among many Chinese who question the benefits of growth when the environmental costs are so high



Mark Lowry

Geography and Geotechnologies Instructional Leader

Social World Studies and Humanities

Toronto District School Board

1 Civic Centre Court

Toronto , On ,M9C 2B3

Tel; (416) 394-7269

Cell; (416) 576-4515

Fax; (416) 394-6420


twitter @geogmark




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