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… TASK

Project 2…Non-Fiction Task

Why blog writing?

Scholarship and personal learning grows with the written word.

  • The written word is a primary device for acquiring meaning, evaluating understanding and sharing perspectives. Not unlike the expansion of culture, ideas and technologies, during global exploration, today’s online reality has expanded the potential to engage in discourse far beyond our borders.
  • Connected learning and dialogue is the new commerce. Blogs are a platform that exchanges content beyond the level of a status update.
  • Often credit and/or personal courses include ‘response’ evidence.
  • Your feedback builds academic capital for KSS and future students.


Organizer notes with references to your book choice. The notes must be :

  1. One(1) or more blog comment below and
  2. One(1) REPLY to (1) student comment(s) for a book other your own.
  3. Criteria:
    1. Comment:
      1. proficient exam writing,
      2. with a paragraph(s), your book’s connection to the main Human Geography themes.
      3. Provide a minimum of (1) quote.
    2. Reply
      1. proficient written feedback
      2. with a sentence(s), 
      3. includes mindful feedback and a POV

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;.

AP Human Geography 12 – a novel review by Taylor Hall

Geography 12 AP a project based learning unit: the Fiction genre as a scholarship device.
The task was a set of annotations and references to meaningful observations discovered in the novel’s text. One section was a brief review of the book. ( posted in this blog) Read Taylor’s opinion below….

“…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…” (Smith, )

An eye-opening work focusing on the darker side of contemporary Indian society, I found Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger to be an excellent read. Intricately crafted, the work does not romanticize India as a mysterious, exotic haven, but rather provides us with a candid view of the nation’s seedy underbelly of corrupt politicians and millionaires. What Adiga has provided in The White Tiger is an opportunity to hear a voice often left unheard, that of the Indian servant. Additionally, Adiga manages to raise important questions regarding wealth, religion, class, and the importance of tradition in a country searching for a new identity. As I did not know much about Indian culture and society prior to the book, I found Adiga’s explanation of Indian caste as well as politics to be a thought-provoking look into the India of the twenty-first century. Despite my enjoyment of the book, The White Tiger, like any work of fiction, is not without its flaws. To elaborate, there were parts I felt unnecessarily lengthy and some story elements that seemed somewhat out of place in the context of the novel. Overall, The White Tiger is an impressive debut by Adiga and an undoubtedly relevant work in an age of globalization. (Hall)

Hall, Taylor. “Personal Opinion- The White Tiger.” Rev. of The White Tiger, A. Adiga. Print. Review. (Submitted essay.)

Smith, A. “Fiction as Resource.” KSSreads. Kelowna Secondary School Library, 21 Nov. 2014. Web. 8 Feb. 2015. .


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 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 2: Camilla Gibb

Book 2:
Camilla Gibb- Sweetness in the Belly
IMG_7792.JPGDescription:  Orphaned at the age of eight, British-born Lilly devotes her life to the teachings of the Qur’an from within a Sufi shrine, but is persecuted for her foreign heritage, forcing her to flee to London, where she is equally disconnected.
Genre:Canadian fiction; Political fiction; Psychological fiction
Sweetness in the Belly was longlisted for the 2007 Impac Dublin Literary Award, was the winner of Ontario’s 2006 Trillium Book Award and was shortlisted for the 2005 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Ontario Library Association’s Evergreen Award.
Sweetness in the belly (Mar 2006)





“…as a valued teacher of the Qur’an to Harari children, and as friend and nurse to Ethiopian exiles in London. “You put roots and they’ll start growing,” her bohemian parents told her to justify their nomadic ways. But grown-up Lilly actively seeks roots and relationships, agonizing over the uprootings that famine, corruption, and political instability made inevitable for Ethiopians in the 1970s and ’80s. Her narrative shuttles between two cosmopolitan cities, two tumultuous decades, and two significant others….”( Amazon)

Author interview:

Trillium Awards:

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