I am officially a National Geographic Certified Educator and will now be training others to become so as well! I highly encourage any educators to pursue this avenue of free professional development. Not only is it now a requirement for Grosvenor Teacher Fellow applicants, the program connects you to a growing community and ideas for creating geographic literacy in your classroom.

There are three phases to becoming certified: the workshop, two activities, and a capstone project. The workshop can be completed online or in person. I was trained in person as part of the Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship, but found it useful to watch the online version several times while completing the activities and capstone project. Joining the Google+ community, which was created for those in the program, was very useful for gaining ideas for my classroom as well as guidance on all three phases.

For phase 2 and 3 I chose to modify a Taking Care of the Earth Unit, collecting video, photographs and student work throughout the spring in order to complete my capstone project after the kids left for summer break. Watching community member’s capstone videos and reading lesson plans really helped me perfect my own project. Don’t be intimidated by the length of my plan. I chose to do a whole unit rather than a lesson. That is NOT necessary. Feel free to use any part of my unit plan in your classroom. If you do, I’d love to hear about it!

This Thursday I have the privilege of conducting my first training workshop. I do not like public speaking…especially with adults. I get super nervous. Why do I do this to myself? Well, it’s been such a great experience that I need to share it with others. I’d be happy to answer any questions about the program and workshop opportunities.

You can connect with this wonderful community of educators right away on the Nat Geo Educators Google+ community. Even if you don’t end up becoming certified… it is an excellent resource for ideas and collaboration.

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