New Jersey Geographic Alliance (NJGA)

Welcome to the New Jersey Geographic Alliance (NJGA) with its central office located at Rowan  University, Glassboro, New Jersey. The New Jersey Geographic Alliance, referred to as NJGA, is a non-profit, volunteer network of teachers  and geographers who are committed to using geographic content and skills to  improve the educational experiences of New Jersey teachers and students in K-12  education.

NJGA, part of a national network of state geography alliances sponsored by the National Geographic Society, is a non-profit, volunteer, grassroots educational organization fostering communication and collaboration among New Jersey’s college and university geographers, teachers in kindergarten through twelfth grades, educational administrators, and other pertinent parties. Our organization is actively involved in assisting school districts and individual teachers to attain the levels of student proficiency presented in the New Jersey Curriculum Framework, Grade Level Content Expectations, and local and state assessments across curricular areas

FLOW Education: Facilitating Learning through Outdoor Watershed Education

Fieldscope Delaware BayThis course is designed for classroom teachers (specifically grades 4-8, but all are welcome) to learn about watersheds and outdoor education using the Chesapeake and Delaware Bay watershed as an example. This FREE online course introduces engaging technologies for investigating watersheds and helps you plan and effectively implement outdoor experiences.

Watershed education is an excellent way to introduce students to rich, interdisciplinary studies of one of the most important resources located in students’ backyards—water! The goal of the course is to increase your content knowledge on watershed topics and to help you develop outdoor learning experiences for your students.

In this course you will:

  • Increase literacy around watershed issues
  • Prepare to implement watershed content using engaging and effective instructional strategies in the classroom and on the school grounds
  • Share and reflect on your practice in a collaborative online environment

No prior knowledge is required. Teaching experience and access to students in a classroom is recommended.

HOW TO REGISTER

Go to https://accounts.coursera.org/o/natgeo/register. Note: this platform has been having difficulty with Internet Explorer. Please use another updated browser such as Firefox, Chrome, or Safari.

2) Fill in the required information (full name, email address, password) and read and agree to Coursera Terms of Service and Honor Code.

3) Click Sign Up.Once you are registered for the course, you will receive a confirmation email containing further instructions. You can access and log into the course at natgeo.coursera.org, and you can start exploring Session 1 right now!

The course officially begins October 16, so be sure to register ASAP.

The registration should still be open. Please follow the link to register for the course, then go to natgeo.coursera.com and enter the course.

Fall Newsletter

What The Alliance has Accomplished in Spring of 2013:

Earlier this year, for the first time ever since the Alliance has started back up a year ago, we held our first professional development workshops! We successfully completed a total of five workshops, four of which were cosponsored by National Geographic and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. These workshops were held at the Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor and were centered around The FLOW (Facilitating Learning Through Outdoor Watershed) Education, which is a program designed for classroom teachers focusing on the history, ecology, and geography of the Delaware Watershed. Teachers were introduced to a computer program called Fieldscope, which is a simplified mapping program where students can add their own data and compare it to other classes. Teachers were also given materials they needed, such as books and lesson plans, to teach the interconnectedness between humans and watersheds to their students.  And we are happy to announce that this upcoming fall we will be hosting another set of exciting workshops in partnership with NOAA!

Our other fifth workshop, “Down the Shore,” focused on the New Jersey Geography Standards for 4th grade teachers. This workshop, located in Red Bank, New Jersey, introduced teachers into the different types of geography, physical and cultural, and helped teachers come up with ways they can integrate these topics into their school system through activities and lesson plans.

On September 13, 2013, two of our Flow Education Workshop Graduates took their students to Sandy Hook where the students learned all about the long shore currents and local watersheds. The NJ Sea Grant Consortium provided a guide who was very informative on the topic of ecosystem preservation and the importance of watersheds. Students took part in seining to identify the marine life found in the Sandy Hook Bay, they learned how Sandy Hook grows by 30 feet each year due to deposition from currents, and they loved scouring the beachfront for chestnut pods relocated from upstate New York.  It was a fantastic day for the STEM class and the teachers are planning to return later in the year with Vernier Lab Equipment to continue their ecosystem analysis.

In April we held the New Jersey’s Geography Bee at Rowan University. One hundred middle school students participated from school located throughout New Jersey! The finalist was William DiGrande, an 8th Grader from Warren Middle School. He went on to compete in the National Geography Bee in May at the National Geographic Headquarters where he made it into the final round.

One of our Interns, Gary Baez, was recognized for his hard work for the Alliance and NOAA by the Dean of Academic Affairs for the College of Architecture at New Jersey Institute of Technology. Gary was simply visiting their graduate school, seeking more information about their program in Master in Infrastructure Planning (MIP). Gary and the Dean sat down and spoke about academics and goals that he was want to pursue. The Dean was fascinated over his academics here at Rowan University as an undergraduate with a major in Planning with Minor in GIS/Geography and most important the internship for The New Jersey Alliances with National Geographic and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. The Dean was thrilled to hear about the works that the alliance is achieving through National Geographic and NOAA.  The Dean told Gary to keep in touch with him and to use him as a reference while applying to their program.

Upcoming Workshops in the Fall of 2013!!!

Want to learn new ways to integrate geography into your classroom? Looking for an interactive way to bring GIS, water quality issues and a better understanding of the connections between humans and their environment to your students?! Missed our workshops last spring? No problem!

This October we are holding a grand total of 4 Professional Development Workshops on NOAA’s Field scope project, a program that is interactive and easy for your students to use! They can make maps and even enter in their own data that they collected and compare it to other data collected by other classes! These workshops are half day workshops that will be held at the Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor, NJ on Friday October 18th, and 25th, reimbursement for substitute teachers provided.   Two workshop will be held each day from 9:30 am to 1:00 pm and 12:00 pm to 3:30 pm. Lunch will be provided.  In additional to the workshop, teachers will also take a free online course developed and run by National Geographic. After completing the workshop and completing the online units teachers will receive a $300 stipend! How cool is that!

For more information please contact NJGeographicAlliance@gmail.com. Attached to this email is the Ad for the workshop along with the initial survey. To register for this workshop please email us with your intent and then print and fill out the Initial Survey and mail it back to us BEFORE OCT 12!!  There are only 48 spots available and will fill on a first come, first served basis. There are still spots available!

The Voyages of Amerigo Vespucci

Students will watch two videos to gain a better understanding of what Amerigo Vespucci has done and why two continents are named after him. They will then be able to map out Vespucci’s voyages themselves and use free geographic tools on the internet to explore other places, such as their family’s own countries of origin, to learn more about their own immigration past and how Vespucci has impacted their lives today.

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Dr. Marvin Creamer’s Round-the-World Voyage

In this lesson, you will teach students the basic operations and practical uses of
geographic technology using Dr. Marvin Creamer’s round-the-world voyage as an example. What is so amazing about this journey is that Dr. Marvin Creamer and his crew circumnavigated the globe without the aid of any navigation equipment. This is a feat that has yet to be repeated.

This series of lessons will follow him through his voyage and learn about the places he visited with the help of Google Earth and National Geographic’sInteractive MapMaker, as well as a custom map depicting Marvin Creamer’s voyage with mouse-over options. The various ‘stops’ along the voyage will address human, physical, and environmental aspects of geography which are aligned with the Common Core standards as well as the Geography for Life standards.

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