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Darla Hart Human Geography“I would like to start building a classroom library for our freshman Human Geography courses that includes primarily non-fiction texts and some other historical fiction that relate to the various and diverse strands of the Human Geography course,” explained Darla Hart, high school World History and AP Human Geography teacher. “The topics in the human geography course are fascinating, but even more fascinating are the stories that make the content come alive.”

Variety and choice are an important part of Hart’s proposal because they give students ownership of their learning.

“Students are more engaged when they have a say in what they read,” she said. “They can learn many of the same curricular ideas from very different book selections. For instance some students may want to learn about the aspects of an economy by reading ‘The Sushi Economy: Globalization and the Making of a Modern Delicacy,’ but another student may prefer reading about the same ideas in ‘The Travels of a Tee Shirt in the Global Economy.’”

The $1,000 student opportunity grant will allow Hart to purchase multiple copies of a variety of books, which will create opportunities for book clubs and class reading assignments. She emphasized that the exposure to non-fiction options is especially important because students are exposed to far more fiction from younger ages.

The main units of Hart’s course include: Geography: Its Nature and Perspectives; Population and Migration; Cultural Patterns and Processes; Political Organization of Space; Agricultural, Food Production, and Rural Land Use; Industrialization and Economic Development; and Cities and Urban Land Use.

To support each unit, Hart will purchase books approved by the department head. Preliminary titles include: “A Long Walk to Water,” “Born a Crime,” “Three Cups of Tea,” and “How Soccer Explains the World.”

Hart also noted that she’ll tap into the district’s Director of Diversity and Inclusivity, who she believes will be “a valuable resource in selecting books that are representative of our student population, but also provide a global understanding of the curricular topics such as population/migration, economics, politics, agriculture, urban planning, and culture.”