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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.


Call For Comments: NCSS National Standards for the Preparation of Social Studies Teachers

Feedback on the NCSS National Standards for the Preparation of Social Studies Teachers is being solicited from CUFA members, state consultants, NCSS auditors, and social studies teachers. You can access the survey at

For more information about this call for comments, please visit the NCSS website here.

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

Call for Articles for Special Geography Issue of The Councilor

"Geography" special issue of The Councilor, the online journal of the Illinois Council for the Social Studies, is requesting submissions of articles on aspects of geography that explore disciplinary content topics/themes, or the teaching and learning of geography in the classroom. The issue is scheduled for publication in October 2016, and the deadline for article submissions is March 31, 2016. Contact: Mark Newman,

Click here to learn more about submission guidelines.

Visualize Your Water Challenge

High school educator in the Great Lakes Basin or Chesapeake Bay Watershed? Help your students prepare to enter the Visualize Your Water Challenge.

Challenge runs January 13, 2016 – March 1, 2016

The challenge is seeking creative and compelling visualizations of water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes Basin states (Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin). From your local stream to the entire watershed, high school students are challenged to tell the story of nutrient pollution in their region in creative and innovative ways using mapping tools. Participating in the Visualize Your Water challenge will give your students the opportunity to master career-ready technology skills, learn more about nutrient pollution in your local watershed and receive recognition and prizes for their contributions.

This challenge is hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Geological Survey, and a coalition of government agencies and private industry in support of the work of the Challenging Nutrients coalition and the White House ConnectED Initiative.

For more information about the Visualize Your Water Challenge, please visit:

Join the conversation on Twitter at #VizUrWater.

If you have any questions, please contact

World of 7 Billion Video Contest

Back by popular demand, the World of 7 Billion student video contest can help you bring technology and creativity into your middle and high school classes. The contest challenges your students to create a short (60 seconds or less) video illustrating the connection between world population growth and one of three global challenges dealing with either Deforestation, Public Health, or Water Scarcity. Students can win up to $1,000 and their teachers will receive free curriculum resources. The contest deadline is February 25, 2016. Full contest guidelines, resources for research, past winners, and more can be found at

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!


National Geographic Bee

Each year, thousands of schools in the United States participate in the Nat Geo Bee using materials prepared by the National Geographic Society. The contest is designed to inspire students to be curious about the world. Schools with students in grades four through eight are eligible for this entertaining and challenging competition.

Bring the exciting competition of the National Geographic Bee to your school! Log on to to register today.

Upcoming Key National Geographic Bee Dates
March 4, 2016: State Bees qualifiers are announced.
April 1, 2016: State Bees are held in every state and Washington, D.C.
May 22-25, 2016: National Championship held in Washington, D.C.

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 

2016-02-08T04:55:41.716-06:00 2016