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Dedicated to the Teaching of Geography in the State of Illinois

Our purpose is the promotion and enhancement of geographic knowledge in the schools and among the general populace of Illinois. To achieve this purpose, the Alliance maintains a strong grassroots organization of geographic educators from schools and universities, participates in educational reform at the district, state, and national levels. We engage in an active program of preservice and inservice teacher education, develop curriculum materials based on the National Geography Standards, and foster public awareness of the importance of geography in our society.


2016 Illinois Geographic Alliance Earth Day BioBlitz at Elgin High School

The students from Ronald D. O'Neal Elementary School in Elgin gathered along the babbling Poplar Creek and investigated the Elgin High School Nature Trail as part of the first ever BioBlitz. Read the article here.

Global Exploration for Educators Organization (GEEO)

Founded in 2007, Global Exploration for Educators Organization (GEEO) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has sent over 1300 teachers abroad on adventurous travel programs. With GEEO educators can earn professional development credits while seeing the world. GEEO's trips are 7 to 21 days in length and are designed and discounted to be interesting and affordable for teachers. In addition to amazing tour leaders, many of the programs are accompanied by university faculty that are experts on the destination. GEEO also provides teachers educational materials and the structure to help them bring their experiences into the classroom. The trips are open to all nationalities of K-12 and university educators, administrators, retired educators, as well as educators' guests.

GEEO is offering the following travel programs for 2016: Bali/Lombok, Bangkok to Hanoi, Costa Rica, Eastern Europe, The Galapagos Islands, Iceland, India/Nepal, Southern India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Morocco, Myanmar (Burma), Peruvian Amazon, Peruvian Andes, Portugal/Spain, Heart of the Silk Road, Southern Africa, Turkey, Vietnam/Cambodia, Western Balkans, Morocco (Winter Break), The Philippines (Winter Break) and Mt. Kilimanjaro (Winter Break). The registration deadline is June 1, 2016, but space is limited and many programs will be full well before the deadline.

Detailed information about each trip, including itineraries, costs, travel dates, and more can be found at GEEO can be reached 7 days a week, toll-free at 1-877-600-0105 between 9 AM-9 PM EDT.

The Scholar Universe

The National Geographic Library is pushing out The Scholar Universe, a subscription database that includes over 2 million academic profiles spanning more than 200 disciplines in 31 countries. ACs are encouraged to register as Scholars in the database!

NCLB - ESSA Comparison

KnowledgeWorks has created a handy side-by-side comparison of No Child Left Behind and Every Student Succeeds Act. Check it out here!

Engagement in ESSA Implementation

Learning Forward and the National Commission on Teaching & America's Future (NCTAF) are pleased to announce that the application process for the Agents for Learning Competition is officially open. The goal of the competition is to engage educator teams in advocating for the best use of federal funding for professional learning under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Application deadline is June 10, 2016.

Why Children Still Need to Read (and Draw) Maps

PBS Parents thinks it's more important than ever for students to read and draw maps, and we couldn't agree more!

Audubon Summer Workshop

Audubon Workshop
Photo credit: Stephen Kress

The National Audubon Society is looking for Teachers from Diverse Ethnic Backgrounds for this exciting annual program.

WHAT: Sharing Nature: An Educators' Week Workshop
WHERE: Hog Island Audubon Camp, Muscongus Bay, Maine
WHEN: JULY 17 - JULY 22, 2016
SCHOLARSHIP: $900 towards $1,095 registration fee (Price includes program, lodging, boat travel, all meals)

Features of Educators' Week:

  • Designed for science and non-science educators to generate exciting ideas for creating and incorporating environmental education activities into your curriculum.
  • Inspiring and experienced instructors will share their favorite approaches, methods, and activities for engaging you, and your students, with nature.
  • Workshop presentations and guided field trips on the island using techniques in field biology, art, music, photography, theater, journaling, and other disciplines.

Interactive workshop: "Increasing Diversity in Environmental Education" led by Chandra Taylor Smith, Ph.D. Vice President, Community Conservation and Education, National Audubon Society.

TO APPLY: E-mail letter of interest along with the names and contact information for two professional references to Camp Director Pete Salmansohn at Awards are given on a rolling basis, so early application is strongly suggested. For details, photos, and videos about the camp, visit

Join the GeoMentors Community: A Nationwide Effort to Improve Geography and GIS Education

As part of the ConnectED initiative, Esri is donating free ArcGIS Online organization accounts to every K-12 school in the U.S. (account sign-up is available here). This gift introduces GIS software and geographic concepts into classrooms, allowing students to map and analyze data with the same technology used by government and businesses.

GIS is a powerful educational technology, but K-12 teachers already face considerable time constraints that can make it difficult to learn and implement a new resource. To address this need, Esri and the Association of American Geographers (AAG) are working together to develop a nationwide volunteer network of GeoMentors, knowledgeable GIS users who volunteer their time and expertise to help educators and administrators meet their classroom goals using GIS. The GeoMentors program maintains online maps and databases for collaborators to connect with each other, a curated collection of ArcGIS Online educational resources and curriculum materials, as well as several online groups and social media streams for community engagement and interaction.

To learn more about the program, visit, or register today to work with a GeoMentor or be one yourself! Contact AAG staff with any questions at

The GeoMentors community is ready and able to help make a difference in K-12 education with GIS!


Railway Map of Illinois

2016 Geographic Thinking in Action: Using Maps and Other Primary Sources in the Elementary School Classroom

View Flier

The Story of God Education Resources

National Geographic Channel's series The Story of God with Morgan Freeman seeks to understand how religion has evolved throughout the course of civilization, and in turn how religion has shaped the evolution of society. Although in our current geopolitical landscape, religion is often seen as something that divides, the series illuminates the remarkable similarities among different faiths, even those that seem to be in staunch contrast.

Check out the educational resources and give students a deeper look at religion around the world, both in the past and as it exists today. The education resources supplement the six episode series The Story of God, airing now on the National Geographic Channel.

Invitation to Oklahoma's Geography 101 Summer Course

Geography 101 is a summer institute designed to equip educators new to geography with the knowledge, skills, and tools to be more effective in the geography classroom. The institute will focus on understanding state and national geography standards, process, and literacy skills for geography, using geographic concepts, geographic information, understanding and applying demographics, and geographic tools. This is a residential, three-day/three-night institute (June 12-15, 2016), located at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. The institute will be facilitated by two experienced OKAGE Teacher Consultants, Pam Merrill from the Edmond Public Schools and Jane Purcell from the Norman Public Schools.

The institute is open to all teachers from all grade levels and all subjects who teach Geography, whether it is a stand-alone course or integrated with other subjects! Out-of-state teachers are welcome to register; Oklahoma teachers will have preference for acceptance. Attendance certificates for professional development will be available for the completed training. Email to receive a tentative agenda.

The registration fee is $100 per participant (nonrefundable). Register using this link. Lodging, meals, and training materials are made possible by a grant from the National Geographic Education Foundation and the Oklahoma Geography Education Fund.

Geography and National History Day 2016 Theme

The annual National History Day Contest frames students' research within a historical theme. The theme is chosen for its broad application to world, national or state history and its relevance to ancient history or to the more recent past. This year's theme is Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History.

The intentional selection of the theme for NHD is to provide an opportunity for students to push past the antiquated view of history as mere facts and dates and drill down into historical content to develop perspective and understanding.

The NHD theme provides a focused way to increase students' historical understanding by developing a lens to read history, an organizational structure that helps students place information in the correct context and finally, the ability to see connections over time.

To learn more and sign up, please visit

All Workshops and Institutes 

2016-05-22T21:43:58.816-05:00 2016