Tell Us: What Works?

We need to hear from you. What school program or event has made a difference in your child’s global knowledge? What helps them better know their real world, from the backyard to Boise to Beijing?

Maybe it’s an international night or a geography competition. Or maybe it’s a field trip to a cultural event. Let us know what works—click “Comments” below and share it!

27 responses to “Tell Us: What Works?

  1. Hi Julianna,
    We certainly hope that by inspiring people to learn about their world, we will also inspire them to protect and conserve it. So thanks for your efforts to conserve energy and protect the environment! Every individual action makes a difference!

  2. what you guys are doing i think is awsome i have high hopes that by 2012 we willl have saved our wonderful worl all together and im just glad to do my part in stopping globle warming peace 1269 quik message just think that by turning off lights when we leave a room or just turning off the t.v. and going outside were not only saving electricity were saving our futures and our childrens so i am really to help insure my kids future my wonderfull world !!!!!!!!!!! julianna Sacramento,california age 13

  3. We have been bringing map-based curricula enrichment to elementary schools in the New York metropolitan area for the last 15 years with amazing results. This is Orienteering and studied with the best…the Swedes, who if you last checked, were tops in the NGS Roper Poll. Sweden mandated orienteering as part of their National Curriculum in the late 1940’s. They believe, as do I, that map games, from micro (classroom) to macro (campus and forest) are the way children learn. I also disguise map learning with the Treasure Hunt Adventure…only by reading a detailed map can they find clues that lead to the treasure-filled chest.
    I would love someone to pre and post test one of my schools this Spring.

  4. More and more, Minnesota 4-H leaders are integrating Global Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) into their program activities. Read the full story here.
    You can also find a series of fun, GIS/GPS-related activities on the national CYFERnet “Mission of the Month” page–from a Travel Bug race to the Youth Favorite Places project.

  5. If you are seriuos about finding something that works take a look at THE WORLD WISE GEOGRAPHY CARD GAMES @globularinnovations.com. It is the single best geography learning tool on the market today even for the geographically challenged. The rules make everyone equal– how much money has our government wasted trying to do that? These games are FUN AND EXCITING but most the important thing is they work— you really learn some geography. Type in WORLD WISE GEOGRAPHY online and read the article that was published in the MAP REPORT in July of 2003.

  6. Gentlemen:
    We have not children. But let me send you a comment about the test I did. In not less than three questions you say South America is a continent. Wrong! Sorry. You have three bad questions maked. South America is a SUBCONTINENT. Our continent is America but: South, Central & Caribbean and, of course, North America. Isn’t? Please: if you are trying to teach, teach well.
    Oh! I had 17/20 correct answers. Not so bad for something with 69 years old, not english spoked and not living in USA.
    Sorry because my three fails.
    Thanks.

  7. I have been involved in our elementary (K-5) school’s International Festival for four years. To me, it represents the ideal balance of introducing younger children to the concepts of geography and global culture. In brief, each teacher chooses a country in the Autumn, based on a geographic area for his/her grade leve. Kindergarten had North American (Canada, Mexico, U.S.), 1st Grade has Western Europe, 2nd Grade Eastern Europe, 3rd Grade Asia and Oceana, 4th Grade Central and South America, 5th Grade Middle East and Africa. Teachers attempt to incorporate their country of choice into the standard curriculum — the PTA assists in finding pen pals or Flat Stanley partners in chosen countries, we find poetry from each country for National Poetry month, etc. About a month before a culminating neighborhood fair, we begin Country Contests, each week focussing on natural resources, time and money, holidays and customs, etc. and host Cultural Costume Days and other events. Each class devotes time to learning about their country of focus: they eat foods from that country, look at maps, learn songs, re-create customs, etc. The Fair itself is not a traditional carnival or fundraiser — the school does not try to turn a profit, but tries not to lose money. Each game is geared to one of the countries of study, we contact local performance groups (some schools, too) for musicians and dancers, ask local restaurants to help supply ethnic food…… We are in a big city, but this can be recreated anywhere!! One of our classes this year was studying IRan and it was interesting that in the citations that accompanied the announcement of My Wonderful World efforts that 6 in 10 Americans could not find Iraq on a map. 34 out of 34 4th and th graders could find Iran AND Iraq on a flat map or a globe. I begged them all to remember when they grow up.

  8. Hai National Geographic I’m Aulee from Indonesia. In Indonesia (1st grade or Social Class) , Geography is a must-thought one. We also have global magazine and newspaper here, internet, and teacher are often talking about other countries, no matter what subject is they actually teach. Sometimes, out teacher will angry to us just because we don’t have map, and they will ask us,”do you really want to be a student, ha??”
    in elementary school, we also “forced” to memorize the location of countries in the world, every capital city of other country, their conditions, their products, their cultures…everything about WORLDS.
    And you know what??
    IT WORKS!!

  9. Well.
    I’m Aya From Egypt..
    Here in my school they dont care about Geography.However, i’m adore of it .
    I learned from the internet ..
    I checked many many sites such as GLOBE and it added a great hope to me to be a scientist .And now This site” My WOnderful World” opens a huge sea of information to get.

  10. I forgot to mention another great resource in my e-mail above. My boys also love to listen to the Putumayo Kids CDs available at bookstores and through their website: http://www.putumayo.com. The CDS introduce children to other cultures through fun, upbeat world music and include a 24-page booklet with details about the countries, the stories behind the songs, translations into English, photos from that culture, etc. These CDs really helps bring the world right into our living room!

  11. I homeschool my two boys, ages 5 and 9, and they both LOVE learning about geography. Why? Because we make it fun. The boys read books and watch videos about other countries. They use placemats of the U.S. and the world when eating meals. They have several maps hanging up around the house. They love to trace, color and label outline maps. They love to find places on our globe and in our atlases. My older son likes to research different cultures, countries, landmarks, etc., and keep a notebook on all the neat facts he’s learned, along with drawings he’s made of the country’s flag, trivia, stats, etc. My older son also has a pen-pal from another country, and they communicate by both e-mail and snail mail. As a family, we go out to ethnic restaurants when we’re studying about a particular country (last week, we ate at an Indian restaurant after learning about the Taj Mahal and the Moghul Emperors). We research children’s games and crafts from around the world and then do them. We play geography games, from computer games on the Internet to a great card game called Borderline. In other words, we make geography a part of our regular school day, and it often spills over into our leisure time. All parents (not just homeschoolers) can do many of these ideas with their own kids. I would also like to highly recommend a great website: http://www.geomatters.com. Besides selling some wonderful geography books and curriculum, they offer lots of great ideas for making geography fun.

  12. Hey…In 5th grade…which was a long time ago…my teacher had us do a project that took us about 3 months to complete. We built a ‘biodome’, named BioDome III in our classroom. We split up into groups and each did a different ecosystem. It was a great learning tool and helped me gain a passion for the environment and geography. That’s all, thanks!

  13. Young people from 18 to 24????
    Has anybody watched the game shows lately?
    Who wants to be a Millionaire??
    The geographic ignorance in the USA is not just limited to people under 24!!!!
    The appalling ignorance goes all the way to the 40s and some to the 50s.
    What have the schools been doing for the last 50 years? I am flabbergasted. I went to school in Italy and I am 70 yrs old.
    Cheers….if you dare.

  14. Will our educators get copies of this web site information? When, an estimate?

  15. The Geography bee had really piqued my intrest in geography, and I find it scary sone of the demographics.

  16. I am enjoying the comments from the creative people, above, who are obviously quite excited about geography. We have organizations such as the Royal Geographical Society, the Association of American Geographers, and the National Council for Geographic Education that I encourage you all to become involved in.
    Now, how can we reach those who have an outdated notion of what geography is, or, frankly aren’t interested? How can we reach them–those who aren’t visiting geography web sites such as mywonderfulworld? Keep thinking “out of the box!”

  17. Suggest having National Geographic staff offer blubs to I-pods, music, etc. with videos showing these kids some gregraphical truths. Maybe this is where they’ll learn, as most don’t read newspapers or watch the news on TV except entertainment. Send out advertising blurbs. Thanks!

  18. I think My Wonderful World initiative is such a good idea and so incredibly important. There is another website that I found kids really get into as well called: http://www.adventureecology.com which has a huge educational site for children highlighting the effects of global warming on ecologically fragile environments, it makes learning an adventure through games, animations, creating your own avatars etc. There is a 4member team on the Arctic Ocean at the moment crossing from Russia to Canada via the North Pole and you can become part of the mission on the website and follow the team and learn about the polar regions at the same time. It’s the first of a series of missions for kids to follow and become involved in, check it out. The more we can involve children in learning about the environment on a local level and globally the better!

  19. Hi! I am a 21-year-old girl from Finland (Northern Europe)and I have always been very interested in other cultures. Being from a small country, our schoolsystem has to teach us how to cope in the global world. In addition to Geography, everyone has to learn English and Swedish (Finnish and Swedish are our official languages). Plus, almost everyone has an additional foreign language, for me it is French. Knowing languages is a gate to other cultures. It is very true for me, because my mother tongue, Finnish, is only spoken by 6 million people.
    Also, I think one of the best thing my parents have done for me is that they have encouraged me to go abroad and see for myself. When I travel, I don’t like staying in hotels all the time and only lie on the beach and so on, I prefer to for example live in a local family and get to know their culture from within. Also a good way is to invite an exchange student or a foreign visitor to your home. So my tip for fun learning is that don’t settle for theory, but experience for yourself. Learn some languages and test them with real people. Go abroad, as an exchange student or a conscious traveller, explore the culture, the history and people, don’t settle for tourist-sites. Exchange your ideas in the internet (there are many places to do that). Watch pictures, imagine where you’d want to travel and read about it.
    One cool way to learn and help at the same time would be to support a child from poor conditions via organizations like Plan International. I’ve heard of whole school-classes who have started to support a child, and through that learned about his/her culture. I think that could make lessons interesting. Read more from http://www.plan-international.org.
    I think understanding the world is a key to better future, because most of the problems we have is due to lack of communication and knowledge. I think this My Wonderful World-project is therefore a very good thing. Thanks!

  20. Oops. When I asked the website to print letters to my congressmen, it picked up the names of the people serving my mailbox ZIP CODE, which is not where I live. I needed to use my home address (even though I get no mail at that address)in order for it to give me the correct people.

  21. I was born 1980 and am American. I live in Miami. Just to clear that up :). Well my comment is that I have not taken Geography since 7th grade civics class. That was hmmmm… when I was 12! What I know I learned by myself, either through reading, t/v or what not. That really sucks. I wish I knew more. How can they not give this class in highschool? My mom used to quiz me when I was younger, thank goodness for her. Geography is so important. MIAMI DADE COUNTY NEEDS A BETTER EDUCATION SYSTEM!! I’m not saying anything bad against the teachers, it’s our program that’s problem. We need to make sure the important subjects are taught -like geography!

  22. Teachers of all age students would benefit from joining their state’s GEOGRAPHIC ALLIANCE. Most have websites.

  23. Our councils offer a variety of programs aimed at stimulating a global perspective in the minds of youth.
    From simulations such as the Model UN, Mock International Court of Justice, and the Model Senate Foreign Relations Committee to International Speakers, Exhange Programs, knowledge competitions such as Academic WorldQuest, classroom curricula such as World in Transition, trips abroad, teacher workshops, and student seminars our local councils provide a wealth of opportunities for parents, teachers, and students to learn more about their world.
    To find out more about the council nearest you, contact Brent Hessel at the World Affairs Councils of America (a member of the My Wonderful World coalition) at brent@worldaffairscouncils.org.
    You can check out the website to find your local council, http://www.worldaffairscouncils.org/councilmembers/membercouncils.

  24. Instead of a Science Fair this year, our school had International Night in which each student presented the country of their choice. Students used a variety of media, including Power Point, music and video. Many wore traditional dress of their chosen country, and many fixed a typical food from their country. It was a great departure from the norm, and the students and parents certainly enjoyed their projects.

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