GAW 2011- The Adventure in Your Community


Geography: The Adventure in Your Community
This year’s Geography Awareness Week theme promotes the idea that the geographic perspective is an important way to understand every community—no matter what size, or how long or briefly one has been a part of it. Download and print this year's **poster** for your classroom or bedroom wall to inspire you!

We invite you—as individuals or teams of students, families, or friends—to explore your own communities anew through geographic eyes by undertaking a series of “missions.” These missions emphasize geographic skills such as photography, storytelling, mapping, and taking action. Complete missions and earn points toward badges in each of the skills, demonstrating that you are able to see your community and the rest of the world with deeper understanding.

So start exploring! Challenge friends, classmates, and family members to join you! Download a print version of the missions in the form of a fun **activity booklet**, or go directly to the special Geography Awareness Week **Mission:Explore** website to find the missions online.
Check out the following site for more information on GAW, as well as excellent resources!

Program Mission and History

Each year more than 100,000 Americans actively participate in Geography Awareness Week. Established by Presidential proclamation almost 25 years ago, this annual public awareness program organized by National Geographic Education Programs (NGEP) encourages citizens young and old to think and learn about the interconnectedness of our world. Each third week of November, students, families, and community members focus on the importance of geography through events, lessons, games, and challenges; and often meet with policymakers and business leaders.

Find the tools you need to plan Geography Awareness Week events, organize geography outreach in your local community, and guide students in ways to document their experiences using the resources on the Geography Awareness Week Toolkit page.

Program Elements

Geography Awareness Week has five programmatic elements. The emphasis on particular elements varies from year to year, depending on priorities and the ability to take advantage of special opportunities.

The five elements are:
  • Events
  • Activities for Students, Families, and Community Members
  • Messaging/Communications
  • Policy Advocacy
  • Volunteerism

Every year GAWeek highlights a specific theme that provides a focus for the program elements, and underscores the importance of geographic education. Each year’s theme is incorporated into materials and events—past themes have included mapping, each of the continents, human migration, cultures, freshwater, and many more.

Events: Educators and other interested groups organize state-wide, community, and school-based events to be held as part of Geography Awareness Week. Over the years, geography has been celebrated at public forums, festivals, student-run carnivals, and teacher-training workshops. GAWeek events have been held at venues as diverse as National Geographic headquarters, state capitols, mayors’ offices, shopping malls, college campuses, community centers, sports arenas, school auditoriums, and classrooms.

Activities for Students, Families, and Community Members: National Geographic works with teachers and other content experts to develop activities on the GAWeek theme that can be done in the classroom, home, or community. The activities include games, lessons, and experiential projects. Guides and educational materials for these activities are available for free at the Geography Awareness Week website, Print materials for these activities are also disseminated through the National Geographic Network of Geography Education Alliances, which consists of geography educators in all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Canada.

Messaging/Communications: During Geography Awareness Week, National Geographic and the state geography alliances conduct an extensive media outreach effort to call attention to the importance of geographic education. This outreach effort encompasses print, broadcast, and new media at the local, state, and national levels. In recent years, the media outreach efforts have resulted in articles in newspapers and radio coverage yielding more than 18 million media impressions. Since 2009, we have also hosted a “blog-a-thon” with more than 40 guest bloggers participating in 2010. Learn more.

Policy Advocacy: GAWeek is an opportunity to bring attention to the need for educational policies that will increase geographic literacy. Over the years, we have used Geography Awareness Week to mount campaigns for state standards in geography and federal funding for teacher education. Geography Awareness Week materials encourage people to educate themselves about ways they can advocate for improved geographic education in their communities.

Volunteerism: National Geographic encourages professional geographers and others who use geography in their work to volunteer during Geography Awareness Week. GAWeek materials provide guidance for volunteers on how to organize events or lead activities in local schools and communities.

On this wiki be sure to check out the "Lesson Plans & Activities" page for useful lesson resources and plans, as well as the "Poster Contest 2011" page for info on the WV Geography Awareness Week poster contest!

A thank you to all that are working to spread Geography!

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All GAW and National Geographic logos are used by permission of the National Geographic Society.
See "Fair Use & Copyright Information" page for more information.