Everyone is a geographer: getting books in to geography lessons

I know.  Sit down, a post about something vaguely teaching and learning.  I remember listening to a presentation by Jeff Stanfield a while ago where he suggested that everyone is a geographer. For example, books are usually written about places (real or imaginary) and people.  I agree.  I love getting books into lessons and, because I am a geographer before being a geography teacher, reading about work related stuff is OK.  I’m lucky – I actually get paid to do what I enjoy.
I used to commute by train so got through a book per week.  Less so now. 

So, here are five books that I’ve used in lessons recently:

The Vinland Sagas – a really interesting read about the (re)branding of Greenland and lots of blood and guts: a typical Icelandic Saga! Also includes the discovery of North America.  Viking, Eirik the Red was sent away from Iceland for killing too many people.  He named his discovery Greenland to encourage other Vikings to travel over.  How could students (re)brand their location to encourage settlers?  Also contains some funky maps!

Island on Fire tells the story about the eruption of Laki and its possible links to famine across Europe and triggering the French Revolution.  Some nice links to the continuing eruption in Iceland right now. Which reminds me of a lesson put together, through Dropbox, about the eruption my effort here and the far superior Jo Debens’ effort here.
Shantaram was recommended to me by my first publisher.  Despite having a Physical geography BSc. degree, the development stuff really switches me on as economic inequalities really affect how physical processes affect people. Although I love physical books, I also use a Kindle to save notes:

Some really vivid descriptions of life in the Slums.

Turned Out Nice Again explores the British obsession with weather.  The thing about geography is it not only connects the physical and human worlds, but most of it can be related directly to everyday life.  Take a moment and think about the last time the weather affected you.  I will never forget the one response from a boy in a class: ‘The snow because the last time I saw my mum and dad happy, it was snowing.’  Use this passage now when exploring the weather:

Finally, Everest.  As written about previously, the tallest mountain in the world is an annual feature in my classroom.  I’ve also tried to fit in some links to female role models, so use this passage:

So there we have it, five books that I’ve used in lessons recently.  There have been many more.  How do you get books into lessons?

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