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One dollar a year in advance. Single copies 15 cents. Subscriptions should be sent to the Journal of School Geography, 41 North Queen Street, Lancaster, Pa.

Mss. intended for publication, books, etc., intended for review, and all correspondence, except concerning subscriptions, should be sent to the reponsible editor, Richard E. Dodge, Teachers College, 120th Street West, New York City.


THE JOURNAL OF SCHOOL GEOGRAPHY begins its existence with the present number. The editors hope that it may fill a want that they believe exists among the majority of the teachers of this country. Our aim will be to advance in every way possible the cause of good geography teaching in the elementary and secondary schools. We will try to present the newest and best information in such a form that it can readily be used by any teacher. We shall not print information unless we have every reason to believe it is fact and not rumor, and shall try to have all articles free from circumlocutions and flowery language. We shall attempt to treat all phases of the broad science of geography and shall be pleased to receive suggestions and notes from all interested. Readers are requested to offer suggestions as to topics to be considered and the editors will do their best to satisfy what seems to be a general demand for special information.

Each of the editors is a worker in geography, either as an investigator or teacher, or both. Every one is now teaching or has taught; all have to do with the problems of the schools; and several are making these problems their chief study.

The geography of different regions and countries will be treated. by writers personally familiar with conditions they treat.

So far

as possible, all articles will be treated by experts, and many well known geographers of the United States have promised their help. Among articles that will appear at an early date are the following: The Geography of Wheat and Corn, The Mammoth Cave, Alabama, The Delta of the Mississippi, The Great Lakes, The Use and Meaning of Maps, The Geography of New York City, The Ocean Currents, The Geography of Cotton. Many other articles are already promised.

The NOTES in which will be collected interesting and helpful points gained from all available sources, will be made an important part of the magazine. Reference to geographical literature, appliances and illustrations will appear when possible.

Whenever a summary is given, direct reference will be made to the publication summarized, and due credit will be given for all assistance. THE JOURNAL is independent of all schools of geography, of all institutions of learning and of all book concerns. The editors will try to treat all fairly and justly and to give helpful, critical and impartial reviews of all the new material that may come to their notice.

In short, we shall spare no effort within our means to make this paper a genuine source of help and a valuable geographical aid to teachers and we invoke your assistance by contribution of subscriptions or ideas. Those responsible for the undertaking feel that all are associates in a common cause, and hope that there will be a most friendly sympathy and helpful co-operation be. tween editors and readers.


The study of home geography does not find its chief recommendation in the local information that it provides, but rather in the aid that it furnishes through local examples to the general study of geography, by giving full meaning and reality to geographical facts and relationships the world over. The reason for this is that geography as a whole is hardly more than a compilation of innumerable local or home geographies. However the home geographies of different places may vary, the distant ones

can always be better appreciated if the local one is consciously observed and understood as a member of the class to which it belongs.


There are certain important principles that the teacher should bear in mind during the progress of local study. Geography teaches us about the way that people live on the earth—this being a rough conversational definition of this subject, sufficing to embody in elementary form "the study of the earth in relation to man." Geography is therefore concerned with two classes of facts and with the relations in which the two classes stand. first class embraces all necessary facts about the inorganic earth— land, water, air-and about plants and animals considered as the non-human inhabitants of the earth; the second includes the necessary facts as to the manner of man's living, from the savage to the civilized state, from wandering nomads to fixed populations, from the thieving of warfare to the competition of trade. It is only as the facts that constitute these two classes come to be understood that their relationships can be studied; and this matter of relationship then becomes the very soul of geography. The items of geographical text-books are then not merely so many absolute, empirical statements; they are examples of the relationship established in a certain region between man and his natural environment.

Actual examples of geographical facts and relationships are to be seen on every hand. No teacher need be entirely dependent upon a text-book. When geographical facts are taught from text-book alone they are bereft of their natural foundation and fail to develop that interest in the child that should be aroused and that can be aroused if geography is based on personal observation.

A few suggestions follow as to what can be done in this way in an excursion covering a hill and a valley with a brook or river. In such an excursion are included many facts that deserve observational study through a large educational range, from elementary grades to the university. At first, a simple statement of directly observed facts suffices. But very soon, the nature of the facts will be better appreciated if their fuller meaning, their physiographic life is pointed out. Thus a brook comes to be recognized

as a stream of water, fed directly or indirectly by rainfall, and bearing the waste of the land towards the sea. The soil on the valley slopes is rock-waste, a result of weathering and not yet washed away. The continuation of the activities that are associated with and may be studied near the brook must produce certain slow changes in the form of the valley; and it is by the long continuation of such activities in the past that the present form of the valley has been produced. With progressive weathering and washing on the two slopes of a hill, it must in time dwindle away; and the same processes acting through the past have carved the hill into its existing form. Thus not only the facts, but the nature and. meaning of the facts become clear and vivid.

The features of a coast line may be treated in the same way.. A part of the line may be traced and its peculiarities noted; thus the simple facts become clear. But very soon, the coast line should be treated in its true physiographic relations. It is the line where the sea borders on the land; and this line has been determined in the first place by such elevation or depression as the land has last suffered, whereby the waters came to lie upon it at a certain level, thus giving the initial shore line a certain form; second, by the activities of rivers and of the sea-waves, tides, currents—which have brought about certain changes whereby the initial shore line has become the actual shore line. The ease or difficulty of understanding the present shore form is partly determined by the nature of the local example studied, but more largely by the knowledge or the lack of it on part of the teacher.

The phenomena of the weather serve admirably to develop the habit of observation, yielding a large return in facts of importance, many of which are susceptible of simple explanation, and thus it is not to the rivers and ocean alone that we must turn for observational study of geographic facts. The geographical portion of the study of animals and plants also presents interesting examples of similar healthful exercises in geography, but the limits of space forbid their consideration at this time.

It will be noticed that in the paragraphs dealing with rivers and coast lines, something of explanation is introduced. This I hold to strongly, as introducing the rational element into geography, and thus invoking the understanding to aid the memory. It is

not merely for the sake of knowing how hills and valleys are made that the problem of weathering and washing is discussed; it is discussed because the facts concerning the hills and valleys of to-day, at home and abroad, can be much better appreciated if one understands how the hills and valleys have originated. There can be no question of the truth of this principle; hence I would urge on every teacher the importance of not only leading pupils to observe accessible facts, but of leading them quickly and easily to perceive the meaning of the facts observed. And with this brief consideration

of the first class of geographical facts, let us turn to the second. A village is an admirable subject for observation of human conditions. Notice the increasing closeness of the houses towards the center, around the stores and offices; note the larger open spaces about the border of the village. See how the roads converge towards it from the surrounding country. Consider the traffic on the roads, inward and outward. All of this should be taken, not merely as local fact, but as an example of a way in which some of the people of a certain country in the world live. After direct observation, comes simple explanation. The post office is near the center of the village, because it there best serves general convenience. A single road leads out for a mile and then forks into two; because it is cheaper to reach two districts in this way than by two independent roads. Some of the villagers work in shops, others are employed in a bank, or at a railroad station; thus diversity of occupation is first observed, then accounted for. The growth of the village may be explained, story-fashion. Then, like the hill, it is seen to have a life-history.

It is sometimes said that in the schools of large cities, observational study is impossible; but this is a serious mistake. It arises. from the failure to perceive that a city belongs in one of the most important sub-classes of geographical facts. Consider, for example, what may be seen on a single street. It is paved and curbed; it is lighted, watered and drained; houses are built closely along it, and they vary in size, construction and use. Remark the activities of the street; the varying stream of people, passing this way and that, crowding the sidewalks at certain hours, deserting them at others. Observe the traffic in wagons, the passengers Here is fact in abundance. This all exhibits the way in

in cars.

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