Giant Maps

Yesterday, I finally received a shipment with TWO Giant maps, and they are in large suitcases ready to be used in local schools and to travel the state.  The Alliance now has three types of Giant Maps: A Giant Map of Europe (26×26 feet), A Giant Map of South America (26×35 feet), and two Giant Maps of Rhode Island (14×21 feet).


If you are interested in getting the map, please email Amy Tibbetts at with the subject line “Giant map: Europe”, “Giant map: South America”,  or “Giant map: Rhode Island”, to request a map to come to your school.  Please include 3 dates that would work best for your school schedule. Also include a cell phone number that the previous map borrower can use to arrange a time and place to hand off the map.

We can offer the Giant Maps of Europe and South America for 2 days, beginning Wednesday, May 22nd.



2018 Geo-Inquiry Institute

June 21st and June 22nd are the dates for RIGEA’s summer institute.  This year’s focus will be on teaching using the geo-inquiry method.  Given that the geo-inquiry process includes asking questions about the world beyond our classroom walls and gathering information, we hold this event at the Save the Bay facility in Providence and collect data on a scientific boat cruise of the upper bay.

All educators are welcome, but this is especially geared for middle school teachers (as well as upper elementary school).  Since this model works much better when other educators at your school are also involved we are offering an incentive for you to recruit a colleague.  Every participant will receive a $200 stipend, but those that have a colleague from their school also attending will receive a $300 stipend.  So bring a friend and colleague to be your geo-inquiry partner in crime.  Click here to send in you RSVP (please RSVP by June 8th).


EVENT: RIGEA Geo-Inquiry Summer Institute
DATE: June 21-June 22
TIME: 9am-3pm
LOCATION: 100 Save The Bay Drive, Providence, RI  02905 (map)


2018 APHG Summer Institute

“The mission of Mass Insight Education is to transform public schools into high-performing organizations and close the achievement gap. We engage in performance-based partnerships with districts and states through our three areas of focus: College Success, School Turnaround and State Policy & Networks.  These Summer Institutes are comprehensive five day trainings for Advanced Placement® teachers* of the following courses including AP Human Geography.”


While the majority of the participants are teachers who will be teaching the AP Human Geography course, educators looking to improve there content base in human geography are also welcome.


WHERE: Bridgewater State University (MA)

WHEN: July 23 – 27, 2018

Presenter: John Trites (member of the original Test Development Committee and Question Leader at the annual Reading)


November Professional Development Opportunities

There are some great opportunities right around the corner in November—there is something for everyone so I hope you find the professional development opportunity that is right for you.


  1. AP Human Geography workshop-November 4th at Rhode Island College.  I’m extra excited about this one since all participants will receive APHG test prep materials, atlases, supplemental reading materials and a thumb drive loaded with materials.  Please come prepared to share.
  2. GIS Educator’s Day-November 5th in Newport.  I’ve made a deal for RIGEA members to have their conference registration for this event paid for by the alliance (normally $100).  This meeting travels around the northeast and we are incredibly fortunate to have it in Rhode Island this year.  To get you registration fees waived, please email Lyn Malone at
  3. Looking at Geography–November 18th, 8:30am-1:30pm Bridgewater State University.  Hosted by SEMAGNET, see more details here.


November APHG Workshop

At our last GeoFest, it was suggested we have an APHG-specific Saturday morning conference/sharing/networking get together.  Nov 4th, at 9am-12pm, we’ll hold that event at Rhode Island College’s Gaige Hall room 200. We’ll have breakfast (coffee, egg muffins, fruit OJ) at 9am and lunch after 12pm (pizza, cookies, and chips) available.  Connecticut and Massachusetts APHG teachers are also invited to join us.  Please RSVP here:


WHAT: APHG Workshop
WHEN: Nov 4th, 2017, 9am-12pm
WHERE: Rhode Island College, Gaige Hall, Room 200 

NOTICE: This event was previously planned for Nov. 11th, but is now officially on for Nov 4th. 


Why Children Still Need to Read (and Draw) Maps

While many skills have become obsolete in the digital age, map reading remains an important tool for building children’s spatial reasoning skills and helping them make sense of our world.


Young people need to develop a mental map of their environs and an over-reliance on GPS/mapping apps are no substitute.  When these youth become drivers, they are unprepared to make spatially/navigational decisions because they lack map reading skills.  They might think that their apps can do all the work and that an old fashioned paper map is outdated technology, but their spatial thinking skills become atrophied. Spatial skills are crucial for understanding the world as a global citizen, to understand your local environs and for making scientific discoveries.  So teach a kid how to read a map…the sooner the better. 


Tagseducation, K12geography educationspatial, mapping.


The 2017 Fall NEARC Conference will be held Sunday, November 5 – Wednesday, November 8 at the Newport Marriott in Newport, Rhode Island. The preliminary conference schedule is now available to review. Mark your calendar and join our mailing list to receive notifications as more information becomes available. Download the postcard to share with a colleague
NEARC is not just for the GIS faithful. Yes, NEARC is for GIS practitioners, but NEARC is for anyone who wants to see the value GIS technology brings to their own environment and the world. This conference is very valuable for new users as well as those who have been using GIS for many years.


The GIS Educators day is always a treat–and it’s so close to home this year!!  I hope you all consider attending.  If you are interested in getting a “scholarship” for the conference attendance fee for GIS Educators Day, let me (Seth Dixon) know!  Email Lyn Malone (lmalone @ if you are interested in presenting.   

Smallest state goes ‘giant’ with interactive map for students

The smallest state seemed larger for students at Northern Lincoln Elementary School, after a giant, interactive map of Rhode Island, equipped with QR codes, was delivered to the school.

Margaret Rock, a 5th-grade teacher at Northern, explained that the map, which measures 16 feet by 24 feet, was loaned to the school by the Rhode Island Geography Education Alliance, and classes had the opportunity recently to use the “traveling map,” which makes its rounds through Rhode Island schools, for two weeks.

While Rhode Island is tiny, Rock explained, she hoped this map and associated QR codes showed students “there really is a lot outside Lincoln and Manville,” inspired them to travel and encouraged their families to travel with them to different areas of the state. Each grade was able to use the map, Rock explained, and teachers selected different instructional activities appropriate for their students’ ages.

The map came with a trunk of additional materials, she said, including copies of the book “Rhode Island – The Ocean State” by Donald D’Amato, inflatable globes, geography and social studies picture vocabulary cards, a Rhode Island flag and other items, such as small traffic cones, scavenger hunt cards, bingo chips and a binder with organized lesson plans and more information for teachers.  Having these visuals and hands-on experience, Rock said, will boost students’ understanding of not only their specific location, but where they are in relation to other regions of Rhode Island.

“Sometimes people think with GPS, you don’t need maps anymore, but you really do,” the 5th-grade teacher explained.

Students in her class dove into geography lessons, analyzing physical, political and cultural maps, as well as time zone maps and specific area charts that outline landmarks in Washington, D.C.