2015 Edition ~ FRQ and Exam Score Breakdown

I really enjoy creating infographics using Piktochart.com. My 2014 edition was great fun to make and a good lesson in infographics. I would love to implement these more into my class and have students visually depict geographic data. At first glance, good infographics are very clean, effective in their message, and visually appealing. After some thought and attempts, they are not so easy after all. People get degrees in this stuff! A lesson plan on using infographics requires a vision and even maybe some tutelage from an art teacher. Design and color, combined with information can be beautiful. While I am artistically inclined, I am not formally trained. I am sure that a professional would put me to shame, but here is my best attempt at my second edition of the FRQ and Exam Score infographic. Some features are interactive so accessing from the URL link attached is a bit better for the eye. Piktochart also made a “presentation mode” where you can present sections of an infographic a section at a time which is nice. Unfortunately, they changed the high-resolution saving option to a paid version of Piktochart, which I don’t own. My apologies as I know there are some who want to have a poster image. I will work on getting a subscription through the school year.

2015 AP Human Geography Score Breakdown

Another year passed and I feel that I am a better teacher than I was before. After some evaluation, there a few exercises that I feel really help me become better than before. Here is my short list:

  1. AP Grading in June: This is by far the best professional development that any teacher can get. We work hard, but we also collaborate, shoot ideas across the table, and engage in the nerdiest geography conversations that I can’t get anywhere else. I can’t imagine missing this event and I look forward to it every year. This was the first year that I went to the “meet the test committee” night and I actually really enjoyed it. While I think some people would take this as an opportunity to vent their frustrations, it is good to see the logic behind what makes our course run. One thing that I do wish AP would consider is to create a defined set of guidelines for how to write for an FRQ, LEQ, Short Answer, and DBQ for all of the AP humanity classes. With all of the redesigns going on, there is some ambiguity between a short answer and an FRQ. While a short answer is currently irrelevant for Human Geography, it DOES make a difference for the kids who move from one social science course to the next. A common vernacular is most useful and it is less confusing for teachers and students alike. Hopefully this is something we will see in the future.
  2. Instructional reports: I read my instructional reports after the AP scores are posted to see my weakest areas in relation to my other colleagues. When we have school meetings, it gives me an opportunity to discuss with the other teachers what they are doing in class, that I am not.
  3. Teaching Verb Prompts: Now that I am a veteran grader, I am definitely better at giving FRQ instructions. I use my FRQ verb prompt handout that I created after scouring all previous FRQ’s and seeing where students get the most points. When students know how many points they are going to get for a “define” vs. an “explain” question, it can be a mental edge. It is also important for students to know the difference between “describe” and “discuss.” Here is the link to the PDF file: FRQ Writing Command Protocols
  4. AP HuGe Facebook Group: WHAT A RESOURCE! Not only do I feel this is better than the AP Central website threads, if my students have a question and they want an immediate answer, I post it and can expect a response before the end of class. The other professionals on the site are so knowledgable and helpful. We are all teaching the same thing, but with different resources and it is fascinating to see the creativity that comes from this group. I dropped my personal Facebook page about 4 years ago, and it wasn’t until someone from the reading convinced me to join the group that I made the decision to join back. While I still do not have a personal Facebook page, geography is the only reason that I keep coming back. I believe it is the single best resource outside of the AP grading for professional development.
  5. Write Test Questions: The more test questions and hypothetical FRQ questions that I create for my students, the better I am at helping my kids know what to expect on “game-day.” I know that there is a lot of upset teachers who find test banks leaked online and there are issues with test security. But cheating has always existed and it will never go away, the best we can do is keep being creative and trying to adapt to the situations we are dealt. After all, we are teachers, I think we are the most flexible, creative, and hard-working group of people on the planet. I know it takes time, but writing my own questions has been one of the most rewarding exercises for my professional growth. A group of teachers started to write a question bank through the Facebook group and is in the form of a Google Doc. Let me know if you would like to contribute. Unless a teacher gives the URL to a student, there is no reason anyone but those who have access should be able to view it.
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RESOURCE: Earth-Picker – Web based map game

Earth-Picker is a web-based game that presents players with GoogleEarth panoramic images while in street view and asks them to place where they think it is on a map.

What is great about this is that you have to use cultural and physical land clues as to where you think the location is. There are 5 rounds that provides a score.

If players get stuck, they can click on the arrows to move around and perhaps find more clues such as a street sign that hints to a language used.

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via CNN: How does your Salary Compare to Others?

This widget sheds light on the UNEVEN DEVELOPMENT that exists across the globe. ECONOMIC INEQUITY is but one of the economic indicators that illustrates the DEVELOPMENT GAP. With little EXPENDABLE INCOME, less developed and developing countries do not draw in the QUATERNARY service sector that more developed countries do.

-The Human Imprint

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“Data has been sourced from the International Labour Organization, the U.S. CEO earnings figure was sourced from theBureau of Labor Statistics and the Queen’s income from The Sovereign Grant. *$PPP wages calculate the buying power of what you earn, inside your country, relative to someone in the U.S. Find out more about how this interactive was calculatedhere. **Iraq and Timor-Leste are net.”

CONLANGS: What in the…

The CONSTRUCTED LANGUAGES (aka CONLANGS) that are used in Game of Thrones’ Dothraki, Avatar’s Na’vi, Star Trek’s Klingon and LOTR’s Elvish are all fictitiously constructed languages used for the purpose of Hollywood. Invented languages can present a bit of a conundrum as they have an extensive vocabulary, grammar rules, and even dialects. The conundrum being…what then constitutes as a real language? The TED talk may help straighten things out a bit.

Teachers can flip this lesson by using: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/are-elvish-klingon-dothraki-and-na-vi-real-languages-john-mcwhorter

NPR-Planet Money: Every Job In America, In 1 Graph

National Public Radio posted a nice info graph that depicts employment numbers in each sector of the United States economy. This is a good opportunity to try to point out which sectors are PRIMARY, SECONDARY, TERTIARY, QUATERNARY, and QUINARY. The data is taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.Image

The Effects of Germany ‘s Low Birth Rates

Human Imprint Synopsis: Germany Fights Population Drop – The New York Times

It is no surprise that a CORE country such as Germany has one of the lowest FERTILITY RATES in the World. But what may surprise some are the long-term socioeconomic effects that a low birth rate can bring. As Germany relishes one of the highest GDP’s in the World, it also means that more women are looking for long-term careers in spite of traditional values that support women to be stay-at-home moms. Due to Germany’s NEGATIVE POPULATION GROWTH, it is coming to grips with the reality that losing 1.5 million citizens (according to the last census) is weakening its strong economic system. Germany faces DEINDUSTRIALIZATION, a slumping housing market, high unemployment rates, and increasing retirement ages to ensure a tax base.

Germany also has a history of resisting immigration, and attitude that might need to change if it plans on sustaining a healthy economy. Not only is there a lack of young workers due to a low population growth rate, but if there is a high unemployment rate, Germany also faces a NET OUTMIGRATION of the working age that they have left. Though Germany is supporting of their AGING POPULATION in the workforce, bringing in MIGRANT WORKERS may be just what the doctor ordered. Until then, Germany is fighting with PRONATALIST POLICIES aimed at encouraging families to have children with tax break incentives and government subsidies to allow women to stay at home and raise a family.

Germany Negative Population Growth

Geography Related iPad Apps for the Student and Teacher

As I continue to expand my iPad classroom, I am discovering a bunch of content specific apps for geography that will be great to use both in and out of the classroom. Here is a list of the ones I have accumulated on my iPad thus far:

  • CNN: A must for news.
  • TED: A must for inspiration
  • Discovery Education: A must for short clips and full length videos that provide a wide range of topics
  • Google Earth: A must for…Duh…
  • ArcGIS: A must for showing image overlays and from the GIS pros. This is great for helping to show the power of GIS.
  • QuakeFeed: An app that shows recent seismic activity all over the world using maps and a Richter Scale.
  • Living Earth: An app that shows the World Time and Weather patterns on a moving 3D Earth.
  • Wolfram Geography: Wolfram has always been great with providing statistics and fast, but this one is tailored just for geography. Topics range from Physical geography, geology and climate, political geography, demographics, economics, and social statistics. I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty awesome.
  • UNHCR Refugee: An app that places the user in a refugee’s shoes and has them make difficult decisions that refugees often face. It is somewhat like a “choose-your-own-adventure” style, but I don’t know if that is quite appropriate given the content. Perhaps “choose-your-own-scenario” sounds better.
  • UN Country Stats: This app is great because like Wolfram, it allows the user to access data on a ton of indicators, provided by the United Nations, and with the ability to select multiple countries to compare the statistics for up to three countries.
  • Fodor’s City Guides: An app that kids can use to explore a particular city around the World from a traveler’s standpoint.
  • ESRI Place History: This app I picked up at the AP conference. You enter the places that you live and frequent on a daily basis. ESRI then plots the toxic hazards near those locations and users can see choropleth maps of heart disease and cancer occurrences in those areas. Kind of scary actually.
  • ESRI BAO: Enter an address in this app and find out social data such as type of neighborhood, population size, median age, avg. household income, % college educated, unemployment rate, household size, % home owners, avg. retail, restaurant, and entertainment spending per month. (Of the United States of course).
  • Earth Viewer: Describes the eras and eons of the World’s history. As you move the slider across time, you can see how the Earth take formation on a 3D globe.
  • UN AIDS: Maps HIV/AIDS information as accumulated from the United Nations. Other data that can correlate to the disease are also listed (life expectancy, HDI).
  • GeoBee Challenge: The official National Geographic Geo-Bee app. (Just for fun)
  • TapQuiz Maps: Another app that tests the user’s ability to identify a location on a map. (Just for fun)
  • Acing AP Human Geography: Looks like a student’s programming class project, and is limited with vocabulary and models. If anyone out there can best it, I recommend giving it a go.
  • Geo Quiz HD: A game that tests your ability to guess locations, capitals, languages, and flags in a multiple choice format.
  • GeoTest: I love this game! It gives you a random location in the World, and using what I assume is Google Earth Streetview, you have to move around and guess on a map where in the World you are.  A great idea for a geo game!

Urban Observatory comes to life at Esri International User Conference | SmartBlogs

Esri (GIS Mapping Software, Solutions, Service, Map Apps, and Data) just launched an interactive site that allows users to compare/contrast map data between 16 major cities (so far). Themes that can be compared include:

  • Commercial/Industrial zones
  • Roadspeed/Traffic/Airports
  • Housing Density/ Population Density/Senior population/Youth population
  • Public space
  • Temperature
  • Urban Footprint
  • New development

Urban Observatory comes to life at Esri International User Conference | SmartBlogs SmartBlogs.

Educator Imprint Lesson Plan: Dialect Surveys of the United States

Topics: Language, isogloss, dialect, accent, regional dialect, thematic maps

Time: 50 minutes

Purpose: To make a visual connection/understanding of isoglosses within the United States and see regional variations in the English language.

Materials: Computer lab or iPads/Android devices, notebook, blank political map of U.S.

Procedure:

1) Discuss/Lecture on isoglosses, dialect, accent (preferably after discussing the language tree).

2)Ask students if they have examples of friends or family who say words differently then what they do.

3) Pick 5-10 words/phrases from the Dialect Survey site and ask them to write down (phonetically) how they would say it, or the word that they would use to describe it.

4) Have the students partner up and verbalize their phonetic words/terms.

5) Debrief pair-share.

6) Have the student look at the Dialect Survey website and investigate three words/terms that they find most interesting. Tell them to write down where the general isogloss can be found on a blank US Map provided.

Dialect Survey of the U.S.

About the Dialect Survey

The dialect survey is an expansion of an initiative begun by Professor Bert Vaux at Harvard University. Dr. Vaux prepared an earlier version of this survey for his Dialects of English class at Harvard in 1999. The survey has since been revised and expanded for a larger, lay audience.

About the Creators

Bert Vaux is an Associate Professor of Linguistics at Harvard University. His specialties are phonological theory, fieldwork, and dialectology. He is currently preparing an Atlas of English Dialects.     [ homepage ]

Scott A. Golder is a graduate student at the MIT Media Laboratory, where he studies social communities online. He graduated from Harvard College in 2003, where he was a Linguistics concentrator.     [ homepage ]

Past support and assistance has been provided by Rebecca Starr and Britt Bolen.

Thank you to the Harvard Computer Society for hosting the Dialect Survey from 2000-2005. HCS is an undergraduate student group promoting the use of computers and technology at Harvard and beyond.

Debate: Whole Foods Faces Boycott Over English-Only Work Policy

Whole Foods faces boycott over English-only work policy – NBC News.com.

Fact: The United States does not declare an official language.

So what’s the big deal anyway?

Do you think the Whole Food’s policy is needed or racist?

Position 1: Pro-Bilingualism

  • Isn’t it a good thing that there are staff members who are able to communicate bilingually?
  • Maybe the bilingual speakers feel more comfortable or even share camaraderie in their heritage.
  • Bilingual speakers have the ability to help customers who may speak another language.
  • Shouldn’t we be encouraged to speak multiple languages?
  • Some Europeans pride themselves in being able to speak four or five different languages.
  • Does this show that Americans are hesitant towards allowing other heritages from expressing themselves in public?
  • Is this an attempt to squash civil liberties, especially if there is no law.
  • Should big business be allowed to create employee rules that prevent languages other than English from being spoken, essentially “trumping” federal laws/or lack there of?

Position 2: English Only!

  • Some people feel that speaking languages other than the standard one is rude because they think others might be speaking poorly about them.
  • Some may argue that speaking Spanish in the US prevents Latinos from assimilating into the mainstream and holds them back intellectually and economically.
  • Should Latinos be forced to learn English? If there is an expectation that migrant workers learn English, should it be an expectation that all native born Americans earn an A in English class?
  • Does speaking a different language make the workplace more hazardous?
  • Is it still OK to speak a different language if the employee can understand both languages?