All posts by Lisa Keys-Mathews


GTM of the PacificThe Alabama Geographic Alliance is scheduled to have the Giant Traveling Map of The Pacific Ocean from September 30 through November 22, 2016. Our goal is to move this map all across the state!  The key is to create a GTM Trail that goes from teacher to teacher. Therefore, you are invited to request the use of the map at your school at no cost for rental.  Each teacher who receives the map will be responsible for using the map, allowing others to teach with the map if they request, maintaining the security of the map, completing a survey when you are finished with it, and then transporting it to the next recipient using a pickup truck or large SUV.  The map is 26’ x 35’ so the floor space required is a gym, cafeteria, civic area, or other similarly sized space. A trunk of teaching materials comes with the map. There is no cost to you unless the map and accompanying materials are damaged.

Please let us know as quickly as possible if you would like to schedule the map for one to three days.  To reserve the map you must go to the following URL and fill out the form to make your request: (

Bring the World to Your Classroom with the National Geographic Geography Bee

Join over 12,000 educators and empower your students to learn more about the world and how it works. The National Geographic Bee is an exciting competition for any fourth through eighth graders. The first 100 schools to enroll in the Bee receive free study resources.   The Bee motivates students to learn and study on their own.   As a 2014 state champion stated “My preparation for the bee has taught me good study habits which can be applied in all aspects of life.”


Register your school for $100. Visit us online at Registration vouchers are available. Please contact

 Please note Registration runs from Sept. 15 – Feb 6.

Contact Alabama GeoBee Coordinator Sharon Christman with any questions ( or 205-916-0481)


March 27th, 2015 State Bee Competition
May 11-13, 2015 National Geo Bee, Washington, D.C.


Teaching Math with Geography Skills

Thanks to ECE 306 – Arithmetic for Early Childhood Education (Ms Megan Smith, Instructor) – for allowing Dr. Keys-Mathews to work with you on teaching math using geography skills! Three in-service teachers  joined the class to have fun with maps and skills such as measuring distances, determining direction, and how the language of maps and the the language of math have similar terminology.  See the Alliance Resources page for links for resources!

Congratulations to participants in the 2014 Geo-Literacy Leadership Institute!

UNA Hosts 2014 Geo-Literacy Leadership Institute

FLORENCE, Ala. – The University of North Alabama Department of Geography and the Alabama Geographic Alliance will host the 2014 Geo-Literacy Leadership Institute from June 22-27, 2014. Dr. Lisa Keys-Mathews and Dr. Bill Strong are coordinators of the Alabama Geographic Alliance and are managing the event at the University of North Alabama.


The institute is organized by a multi-alliance partnership comprised of the states of Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.  The funding is provided through grants from the National Geographic Education Foundation.  Each alliance has selected two to four teachers to attend.   An additional three teachers from last year’s institute have been selected as mentors.  Presenters for the event will include Roni Jones of the National Geographic Society and Greg Pitts of the University of North Alabama, as well as Alliance Coordinators from each state.


The Institute for Professional Development will focus on three areas: advocacy, communication and leadership in order to promote geographic literacy in the states represented and nationally.  By the end of the week each participant will develop a “personal leadership plan” that will outline their interests and skills related to volunteering and leadership in the Alliance.  In addition, each Alliance Team will develop a state case for support that will be used by the Alliances for fundraising, advocacy and development work.


Throughout the week, participants will be engaged in activities such as writing opinion editorials, learning to give an “elevator” speech, developing talking points to advocate for geography education policy, working with social media and designing meaningful and effective public relations strategies.  For more information: Dr. Lisa Keys-Mathews at 256-765-4640 (; or Dr. Bill Strong at 256-765-4218 (


By Bryan Rachal, Public Affairs and Media Relations (June 23, 2014)