AP Geography students deliver hope :-)

as the comments roll in from the non-fiction reading project, I’m profoundly impressed by the students’ responses. Clearly they are intelligent teens but also must have grasped comprehension from their studies with Mrs. Clarke. Terrific notes everyone. Remember to submit a reply to your a classmates comment. Assess their content and respond. Great job so far! 


Geography AP Reading Project 2…Non-Fiction




Our Geography AP class is embarking on another reading project.  This unit is focusing on a non-fiction selection. Students will select a title and research as needed to write various analytical criteria of the human geography curriculum- economic, social, political and nature of place. ASK-a-Librarian 24/7 for questions or suggestions…

Reading List formal Bibliography > https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lusZFulRkKq3Pmwki2M0I0S-hva9R9IdK_lOMnU05Dc/edit?usp=sharing

The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed Vaillant, John
The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating Smith, Alisa
Infidel Hirsi Ali, Ayaan
The David Suzuki Reader, 2nd Edition: A Lifetime of Ideas from a Leading Activist and Thinker Suzuki, David
Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda Dallaire, Romeo
Race Against Time: Searching for Hope in AIDS-Ravaged Africa Lewis, Stephen
The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World Weiner, Eric
The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism Klein, Naomi
World is Flat, The: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century Friedman, Thomas
Guns Germs and Steel: The Fates Of Human Societies Diamond, Jared

AP Geo Longlist

Unit Overview:

The project is designed so student’s written reflections address the five themes of Geography (Movement, Region, Location, Interaction with the Environment and Nature of Place).  By it’s natural genre, he NON-FICTION reading titles have more explicit references to each concept. Your outline points should now be more analytical and less descriptive.

Even historical inquiry demands the inclusion of “geographic eyes” to build deeper understanding.  An exemplary book report should include some interpretation of the geographic elements that proves your analysis and understanding.

Book Review/Resource Links to assist in your selection and analysis. Questions? contact me anytime.

KSS Novelist reviews:











Stephen Lewis. lecture on Race Against Time, Massey Lectures. frank, articulate, intelligent essay on AIDS, Africa and foreign policy.

“I have spent the last four years watching people die.” With these wrenching words, diplomat and humanitarian Stephen Lewis opens his 2005 Massey Lectures. Lewis’s determination to bear witness to the desperate plight of so many in Africa and elsewhere is balanced by his unique, personal, and often searing insider’s perspective on our ongoing failure to help.(CBC)


Hayes, Marques. “Geography, More Than You Think.” Geoawesomeness. 13 Aug. 2014. Web. 10 Mar. 2015.

“Al’s Geography AP.” Mosaicbooks. Bookmanager.com. Web. 9 Mar. 2015.

Klein, Naomi. “Naomi Klein – The Shock Doctrine – Part 1 of 6.” YouTube. Policy Alternatives, 2007. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. <https://youtu.be/Ka3Pb_StJn4&gt;.

Lewis, Stephen. “The 2005 CBC Massey Lectures, “Race Against Time” – Home | Ideas with Paul Kennedy | CBC Radio.” CBCnews. Ed. Kennedy. CBC/Radio Canada, 07 Nov. 2005. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. <http://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/the-2005-cbc-massey-lectures-race-against-time-1.2946874&gt;.

Review – Cockroach by Hage


Cockroach by Rawi Hage.
A Geography 12 reading choice.

“Unique story and style but a dark challenge for me. Although clearly a heavyweight book, one has to invest in its’ layers and manic depression to see the literary virtue.

The choppy run-on style of narrative matches the unstable mental health of the poor immigrant. The protagonist’s bold honesty of dialogue and reflections is poignant. I found myself turning away with some imagery yet the cockroach metaphor does make one wonder what blunt loneliness will hit next. A serious book of the Cdn urban experience. Certainly not beach reading but an exploration of people and place.- A Smith


Our PBL Book 6: John Grisham

Book 6:

John Grisham – The Painted House


Description:Using his own childhood for inspiration (and leaving the lawyers behind), bestselling author John Grisham sets A Painted House in 1950s rural Arkansas. During harvest time, together with hired Mexicans and hill people, seven-year-old Luke Chandler picks cotton on his family’s rented 80 acres. But racial tension, a forbidden love affair, and murder cause Luke to grow up before he’s ready. — Description by Dawn Towery.

Genre:Adult books for young adults; Coming-of-age stories
Tone:Homespun; Suspenseful
Writing Style:Descriptive
Lexile:780 [view chart]
Persistent link to this record (Permalink):

Library Journal:

Lucas Chandler is a seven-year-old boy who lives in an unpainted house on an Arkansas farm with his parents and grandparents in the early 1950s. He loves Coca-Cola, baseball, and the St. Louis Cardinals, and he plans on using the money he earns picking cotton to buy a shiny baseball jacket from the Sears and Roebuck catalog. Soon after the hired crews of Mexicans and “hill people” arrive to help pick the Chandler family’s 80 acres of cotton, Lucas sees things that cause him to lose his innocence much earlier than he should and long for the days when he did not have to keep secrets or worry about his and his family’s safety. Legal thriller master Grisham changes direction with this lawyer-free coming-of-age novel, and the results are stunning. Featuring vivid descriptions, bits of humor, and a thrilling pace, this is a suspenseful and satisfying read. (Novelist).


Our PBL Book 5: Khaled Hosseini

Book 5:

Khaled Hosseini – And the Mountains Echoed


Author:Hosseini, Khaled
Adults Fiction-Award-Winner
Description:The best-selling author presents a story inspired by human love, how people take care of one another and how choices resonate through subsequent generations.

Genre:Adult books for young adults; Family sagas; Political fiction
Storyline:Character-driven; Intricately plotted
Tone:Dramatic; Heartwrenching; Strong sense of place
Writing Style:Lyrical
Persistent Link: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=neh&tg=UI&an=10176774&site=novp-live&scope=site

Publisher Weekly:

Hosseini’s third novel (after A Thousand Splendid Suns) follows a close-knit but oft-separated Afghan family through love, wars, and losses more painful than death. The story opens in 1952 in the village of Shadbagh, outside of Kabul, as a laborer, Kaboor, relates a haunting parable of triumph and loss to his son, Abdullah. The novel’s core, however, is the sale for adoption of the Kaboor’s three-year-old daughter, Pari, to the wealthy poet Nila Wahdati and her husband, Suleiman, by Pari’s step-uncle Nabi. The split is particularly difficult for Abdullah, who took care of his sister after their mother’s death. Once Suleiman has a stroke, Nila leaves him to Nabi’s care and takes Pari to live in Paris. Much later, during the U.S. occupation, the dying Nabi makes Markos, a Greek plastic surgeon now renting the Wahdati house, promise to find Pari and give her a letter containing the truth. The beautiful writing, full of universal truths of loss and identity, makes each section a jewel, even if the bigger picture, which eventually expands to include Pari’s life in France, sometimes feels disjointed. Still, Hosseini’s eye for detail and emotional geography makes this a haunting read. Agent: Robert Barnett, Williams & Connolly. (May) –Staff (Reviewed March 18, 2013) (Publishers Weekly, vol 260, issue 11, p)

Reader Review:

…With heart-breaking realism, Hosseini tells the tale of a family split apart by poverty and desperation. From the small rural villages to the large bustling cities of Afghanistan, the writing transports the reader into the heart of the story, experiencing the sounds, the smells and the changing political landscapes. From immense poverty, to the greatest riches. From the modest and humble, to the arrogant and the proud, the cast of characters are a triumph.

That one event in Kabul in 1952 leads on to many others, including characters and settings from Paris, to the Greek Islands and back to Afghanistan. Characters who appear, on the face of it, to be so different and so diverse are all connected in one way or another to the day that a loving father told his two small children the story of farmer Baba Ayub – it is this story, and its meaning that is threaded through the whole novel and which eventually turns from a fable to the truth… (Goodreads)

Interview: http://youtu.be/6EKyM6B2GrA

Audiobook: http://youtu.be/3qISCJHVvSs

AND THE MOUNTAINS ECHOED is an unforgettable novel about finding a lost piece of yourself in someone else.

Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations. In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most. Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.
Author interview:

About Author:

Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1965. In 1970 Hosseini and his family moved to Iran where his father worked for the Embassy of Afghanistan in Tehran. In 1973 Hosseini’s family returned to Kabul, and Hosseini’s youngest brother was born in July of that year.
In 1976, when Hosseini was 11 years old, Hosseini’s father obtained a job in Paris, France, and moved the family there. They were unable to return to Afghanistan because of the Saur Revolution in which the PDPA communist party seized power through a bloody coup in April 1978. Instead, a year after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, in 1980 they sought political asylum in the United States and made their residence in San Jose, California.
Hosseini graduated from Independence High School in San Jose in 1984 and enrolled at Santa Clara University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1988. The following year, he entered the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, where he earned his M.D. in 1993. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in 1996. He practiced medicine for over ten years, until a year and a half after the release of The Kite Runner.
Hosseini is currently a Goodwill Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). He has been working to provide humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan through the Khaled Hosseini Foundation. The concept for the foundation was inspired by the trip to Afghanistan that Hosseini made in 2007 with UNHCR.
He lives in Northern California with his wife, Roya, and their two children (Harris and Farah). ( Goodreads)

Our PBL Book 4: Dan Brown

Book 4:

Dan Brown – Inferno
Inferno (May 2013)

AdultsFiction- Award-Winner : Goodreads Choice Awards: 2013
Description:In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology, Robert Langdon, is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces–Dante’s Inferno. Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle.

Genre:Adult books for young adults; Suspense stories
Storyline:Intricately plotted; Plot-driven
Tone:Atmospheric; Suspenseful
Writing Style:Descriptive; Jargon-filled
Persistent link to this record (Permalink):

Persistent Link: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=neh&tg=UI&an=10176760&site=novp-live&scope=site

Publisher Weekly:

The threat of world overpopulation is the latest assignment for Brown’s art historian and accidental sleuth Robert Langdon. Awakening in a Florence hospital with no memory of the preceding 36 hours, Langdon and an attractive attending physician with an oversized intellect are immediately pursued by an ominous underground organization and the Italian police. Detailed tours of Florence, Venice, and Istanbul mean to establish setting, but instead bog down the story and border on showoffmanship. Relying on a deceased villain’s trail of clues threaded through the text of Dante’s The Divine Comedy, the duo attempt to unravel the events leading up to Langdon’s amnesia and thwart a global genocide scheme. Suspension of disbelief is required as miraculous coincidences pile upon pure luck. Near the three-quarters point everything established gets upended and Brown, hoping to draw us in deeper, nearly drives us out. Though the prose is fast-paced and sharp, the burdensome dialogue only serves plot and back story, and is interspersed with unfortunate attempts at folksy humor. It’s hard not to appreciate a present day mega-selling thriller that attempts a refresher course in Italian literature and European history. But the real mystery is in the book’s denouement and how Brown can possibly bring his hero back for more. Agent: Heide Lange, Sanford J. Greenberger Associates. (May) –Staff (Reviewed June 10, 2013) (Publishers Weekly, vol 260, issue 23, p)

Book reporter: http://youtu.be/nJ1SkX1qASA
Author interview:

Our PBL Book 3 – Rawi Hage

Book 3: Rawi Hage  –Cockroach

Rawi952130-gfDescription:A tale set during a month in a bitter Montreal winter finds a would-be thief rescued from a suicide attempt and forced into counseling with a naèive therapist to whom he relates his childhood in a war-torn country and his troubled present life in a series of smoky emigrâe cafes.

…Urgent and unsettling, Cockroach takes place during one month of a bitterly cold winter in Montreal’s immigrant community, where a self-described thief has just tried but failed to commit suicide. Rescued against his will, the narrator is obliged to attend sessions with a well-intentioned but naive therapist. The story leads us back to the narrator’s violent childhood in a war-torn country, forward into his current urban life, and out into the frozen night-time streets of Montreal, where the thief survives on the edge.

In 2008, Cockroach was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Governor General’s Literary Award, and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. It won the Paragraph Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction, presented by the Quebec Writers’ Federation. Cockroach is published by House of Anansi Press.( CBC)

  • Awards: Quebec Writers’ Federation Literary Awards: Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction. Nominated Shortlist: CanadaReads.

Genre:Canadian fiction; First person narratives; Psychological fiction
Tone:Funny; Moving
Writing Style:Lyrical
Persistent link to this record (Permalink):


 Watch Book trailer:

Listen to interview with Samantha Bee: http://www.cbc.ca/player/AudioMobile/Airplay/ID/2421017396/

Watch trailer:  http://www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/Canada+Reads/2014/Video/Books+Trailers/ID/2439166124/   The book trailer for Cockroach by Rawi Hage. Samantha Bee will defend Cockroach during Canada Reads March 3-6, 2014.

Watch: CanadaReads Final defense- Samantha Bee


Fiction as resource for academic study… Geography AP

Excited to use the reading of fiction for a senior academic course. What is typically reserved for recreation reading or English classes, fiction storytelling can be a powerful device in building understanding. Finding personal and social meaning of a story often demands developing geographic knowledge.

So, our Geography teacher, a ‘book club’ LAT and a teacher-librarian are collaboratively planning a Project Based Learning unit for Geography 12 AP.  The project’s core is exploiting the power of Literature Circles strategies that engage the five major curriculum threads of Geography 12 with a FICTION reading list. Our Grade 12’s will select a title after we provide book talks, exemplars and an introduction to the books and outcomes.

The project is designed so student’s written reflections address the five themes of Geography (Movement, Region, Location, Interaction with the Environment and Nature of Place).  Even historical inquiry demands the inclusion of “geographic eyes” to build deeper understanding. An exemplary book report should include some interpretation of geographic elements that build more understanding.




Discussion options, through social media may enrich the conversations during December as everyone reads. It’s always wonderful hearing what students think!

https://twitter.com/kssreads/status/535999466608664576 and


Teachers will add instructional elements for communication, writing outcomes, text notations and works cited products.  In addition, to various writing pieces, a peer sharing process and assessment will conclude the unit.
Our plan is that the teachers will share support, discussions and assessment duties.


How does reading fiction strengthen understanding of the real world?

In addition to the academic rigour of formal disciplines, storytelling provides the author liberty to express the affective side of understanding human interactions.  Reading fiction encourages people to build language and share human relationships with a sense of time and place.  Social Studies can be an interface to sciences and arts. The personal and emotional responses to stories helps people make conceptual connections.  Fiction poses hypothetical scenarios and relationships that provoke our intellectual growth.


Elements to consider when composing the project’s written component”

  1. Human Geography includes the following topics:
  2. College level course objectives you may encounter:
    1. Interpret maps and analyze geospatial data.
    2. Understand and explain the implications of associations and networks among phenomena in places.
    3. Recognize and interpret the relationships among patterns and processes at different scales of analysis.
    4. Define regions and evaluate the regionalization process.
    5. Characterize and analyze changing interconnections among places.
      • Geography: Its Nature and Perspectives
      • Geography as a field of inquiry
      • Major geographical concepts underlying the geographical perspective: location, space, place, scale, pattern, nature and society, regionalization, globalization, and gender issues
      • Key geographical skills
      • Identification of major world regions
      • Population
      • Geographical analysis of population
      • Population growth and decline over time and space
      • Migration
      • Cultural Patterns and Processes
      • Concepts of culture
      • Cultural differences and regional patterns
      • Cultural landscapes and cultural identity
      • Political Organization of Space
      • Territorial dimensions of politics
      • Evolution of the contemporary political pattern
      • Challenges to inherited political-territorial arrangements
      • Agricultural and Rural Land Use
      • Development and diffusion of agriculture
      • Major agricultural production regions
      • Rural land use and settlement patterns
      • Issues in contemporary commercial agriculture
      • Industrialization and Economic Development
      • Growth and diffusion of industrialization
      • Social and economic measures of development
      • Contemporary patterns and impacts of industrialization and development
      • Cities and Urban Land Use
      • Development and characters of cities
      • Models of urban hierarchies: reasons for the distribution and size of cities
      • Models of internal city structure and urban development: strengths and limitations of models
      • Built environment and social space
      • Contemporary urban issues

Women and water photo essay

Women in Ethiopia struggle to survive without water

http://www.msnbc.com/person/johnny-simon  -Mustafah Abdulaziz and Johnny Simon

In the Konso Region of southern Ethiopia, the struggle for clean, safe water is a daily reality for women and young girls.

“Bringing the water is not a simple task,” says Mariam Bakaule, a mother standing at the edge of the mountaintop village of Jarso. “This is the essence of women. Water and woman are synonymous here.”(

The village of Jarso, like many of the others in the area, overlooks a vast valley stretching towards the Kenyan border. Yet the relative greenery of the region is deceptive. For the 13,000 people in Jarso, lack of rain in recent years has caused crops of maize, sorghum and haricot beans to fail.


” I transported them.. to the Butcher” -Life magazine

EichmannLIFE” I transported them.. to the Butcher” -Life magazine by Adolf Eichmann.  A GoogleBook resource from the LIFE archives, Nov.28, 1960. Mr. Stacey’s Holocaust 12 curricula covers many genocide cases around the globe but it also embraces student inquiry attempts to find various documents including primary sources.  ( Some online library sources are shared at https://www.diigo.com/list/literateowl/Holocaust12 )  A common question arises. ‘Why would anyone do such horrific things?’ Well here is a first person narrative written from a convicted Nazi-Adolf Eichmann. nb. The article was edited( to what extent we do not know) by LIFE staffers.






read…on Google Books http://goo.gl/oOIsI3

A Palestinian Student Defends Her Visit to Auschwitz

Fascinating story of how, even with educational purposes, ethnic studies can be hijacked by interests and stir old cultural stereotypes or emotional myths. Ms.

A view of the former Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. (Kacper Pempel/Reuters)

A view of the former Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. (Kacper Pempel/Reuters)


When we Palestinians returned from the unprecedented visit, a voyage that broke historic barriers of ignorance and misunderstanding, we were welcomed not with thanks and congratulations but with an explosion of criticism. Professor Dajani was the target of especially vicious attack by extreme Palestinian nationalists, who accused him of “selling out” to the Jews.

As an educator, Professor Dajani’s purpose in having his students learn about the Holocaust is to broaden their understanding of the psyche of “the other.” This builds upon a line from To Kill a Mockingbird that I remember him showing us in American culture class years ago. In the film, Atticus Finch turns to his daughter Scout and says: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…. Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” It is the same idea that the Japanese call oyakudachi, which means, “walking in the shoes of the other.” Professor Dajani emphasized the importance of looking at the other person as if you are the other person. Only then can you truly understand how that person feels and why.( , Atlantic )