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(276) 821-5858

What is World Geography and why study it? World Geography is the study of earth and includes an in-depth inspection of
orientation, climates, landforms and physical features, government and economic systems, religions, culture, and more!
We will analyze cooperation and conflict in the world and why they occur. This course includes a comprehensive study of
all regions of the world which are the United States and Canada, Latin America, Europe, Russia and Central Asia, the
Middle East (Southwest Asia and North Africa), Africa, South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Australia and Oceania.
We will begin our learning with a review of basic geography skills such as latitude and longitude, the compass rose, map
projections, etc. The course will culminate in May with the World Geography Standards of Learning test.

Welcome to World Geography! In this class you are expected to be responsible for mastering a large quantity of material
presented at a high school level. To do well in this class you must attend class daily, listen carefully, complete out of
class assignments (homework), participate in class activities, work diligently, and think! Your commitment to this course is
essential to the successful completion of the course work and the attainment of an SOL verified credit.

 One three-ring binder notebook (one inch thickness or less) NOTE: Do NOT get a composition book
 Paper notebook with metal clasps
 Loose-leaf paper
 Pencils, pens, highlighter

     94 - 100                    A
     86 - 93                     B
     76 - 85                     C
     70 - 75                     D
     below 70                    F

Homework, class work, and daily grades are worth 65% of your average while major chapter, unit, and map tests are
worth 35% of your average. Expect to have between ten and twenty grades a six weeks. At the mid-point of each six
weeks a detailed report of your current grades will be distributed to you. It is required that you obtain your
parent/guardian’s signature and return it to me by the due date.

      First Six Weeks                     Unit One Basic Geography Skills
      Second Six Weeks                    Complete Unit One; Unit Two United States and Canada
      Third Six Weeks                     Unit Three Latin America; Unit Four Europe
      Fourth Six Weeks                    Unit Five Russia and Central Asia; Unit Six Middle East; Unit Seven
        Fifth Six Weeks                   Unit Eight South Asia; Unit Nine East Asia and Southeast Asia;
                                          Unit Ten Australia and Oceania
        Sixth Six Weeks                   SOL review and assessment

Students are expected to attend class daily. Excessive tardiness is defined as two late arrivals to class, and will result in
the student being referred to the administration as a discipline referral. Students are expected to participate in class,
come to class prepared with all materials (including textbook, paper, pencils, etc.) and be ready to learn, take daily notes,
and keep an up-to-date and organized notebook. ALL students are expected to pass the course and the end of course
Standards of Learning test (and earn a verified credit).

It is my responsibility to come to class prepared to teach you! I am committed to providing you with clear, well-defined,
and enjoyable lessons to help you master the material. My responsibility is to prepare you to pass BOTH the course and
the end of course SOL test.
(276) 821-5858

   Obey school rules at all times
   Respect others
   Respect school property and other’s property

You are expected to complete homework by the date it is due. We often grade homework in class. In such instance, if
you do not have your assignments completed you will receive an automatic 50 point deduction from your grade. If
homework that is taken up in class to be graded is turned in one day late you will receive a 10 point deduction. You will
also receive a 10 point deduction for each additional day late. After three days, you receive a zero on any assignment
that is late. I usually allow some class time to work on homework. Therefore, I am quite strict about completing
homework assignments on a timely basis.

A student is expected to make up all work missed regardless of the reason for the absence At no time is a student to
miss class time to make up missed work. Failure to complete make-up work will result in a zero on missed assignments,
lowering the student’s grade. Work will be made up within four school days of the absence(s). All tests and quizzes will
be made up before or after school. After a student misses class three or more times with excused absences that
student must attend Make-Up School for any work that is made up. Students will not have the opportunity to make up
work missed for unexcused absences. It is the student’s responsibility to ask the teacher for the work and attend Make-
Up School within four scheduled Make-Up School days to receive credit for the work. It is also the student’s responsibility
to make up ALL work missed due to school sponsored activities.

Violation of given rules is considered as inappropriate behavior. All types of inappropriate behavior will be recorded in my
discipline book. Parents will be notified for serious violations of rules, or if a continual pattern is documented. If behavior
continues to be unacceptable, the student will formally be written up and referred to the Administration. Inappropriate
behavior will NOT be tolerated.

Parents please contact me if you have any concerns regarding your child throughout the school year. The school number
is 276-821-5858. My school email address is THANK YOU and I look forward to working
with you and your child!

PARENTS - I ask that you and your child discuss these policies and both sign the bottom of this contract signifying
acceptance and understanding of the above policies.


TEACHER:         KAREN CROSS              ________________________________________________________________

NAME OF STUDENT:                          ________________________________________________________________

DATE:                                     ________________________________________________________________

STUDENT SIGNATURE:                        ________________________________________________________________

PARENT (GUARDIAN) SIGNATURE:              ________________________________________________________________
                                                       WORLD GEOGRAPHY
                                                    STANDARDS OF LEARNING
The focus of this course is the study of the world’s peoples, places, and environments, with an emphasis on world regions. The
knowledge, skills, and perspectives of the course are centered on the world’s population and cultural characteristics, landforms
and climates, economic development, and migration and settlement patterns. Spatial concepts of geography will be used as a
framework for studying interactions between humans and their environments. Using geographic resources, students will employ
inquiry, research, and technology skills to ask and answer geographic questions. Particular emphasis is placed on students’
understanding and applying geographic concepts and skills to their daily lives.
Geographic skills provide the necessary tools and technologies for thinking geographically. These skills help people make
important decisions in their daily lives, such as how to get to work and where to shop, vacation, or go to school. They also help
people make reasoned political decisions and aid in the development and presentation of effective, persuasive arguments for
and against matters of public policy. All of these decisions involve the ability to acquire, arrange, and use geographic
information. Maps, as well as graphs, sketches, diagrams, photographs, and satellite-produced images, are essential tools of
Geographic skills include
      asking geographic questions
      acquiring geographic information
      organizing geographic information
      analyzing geographic information
      answering geographic questions.
WG.1        The student will use maps, globes, photographs, and pictures in order to
            a) obtain geographical information and apply the concepts of location, scale, and orientation;
            b) develop and refine his or her mental maps of world regions;
            c) create and compare political, physical, and thematic maps;
            d) analyze and explain how different cultures develop different perspectives on the world and its problems;
            e) recognize different map projections and explain the concept of distortion.
WG.2        The student will analyze how selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface by
            a) identifying regional climatic patterns and weather phenomena and their effects on people and places;
            b) describing how humans influence the environment and are influenced by it;
            c) explaining how technology affects one’s ability to modify the environment
                and adapt to it
WG.3        The student will apply the concept of a region by
            a) explaining how characteristics of regions have led to regional labels;
            b) explaining how regional landscapes reflect cultural characteristics of their inhabitants;
            c) analyzing how cultural characteristics, including the world’s major languages and religions, link or divide regions.
WG.4        The student will locate and analyze physical, economic, and cultural characteristics of world regions: Latin America
            and the Caribbean, Europe, United States and Canada, North Africa and Southwest Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa,
            Russia and Central Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia, Australia and the Pacific Islands, and Antarctica.
WG.5        The student will compare and contrast the distribution, growth rates, and characteristics of human population in terms
            of settlement patterns and the location of natural and capital resources.
WG.6        The student will analyze past and present trends in human migration and cultural interaction as they are influenced by
            social, economic, political, and environmental factors.
WG.7        The student will identify natural, human, and capital resources and explain their significance by
            a) showing patterns of economic activity and land use;
            b) evaluating perspectives and consequences regarding the use of resources.
WG.8        The student will distinguish between developed and developing countries and relate the level of economic
            development to the standard of living and quality of life.
WG.9        The student will analyze the global patterns and networks of economic interdependence by
            a) identifying criteria that influence economic activities;
            b) explaining comparative advantage and its relationship to international trade;
            c) describing ways that economic and social interactions have changed over time;
            d) describing and evaluating the formation of economic unions.
WG.10       The student will analyze how the forces of conflict and cooperation affect the division and control of the Earth’s
            surface by
            a) explaining and analyzing reasons for the different spatial divisions at the local and regional levels;
            b) explaining and analyzing the different spatial divisions at the national and international levels;
            c) analyzing ways cooperation occurs to solve problems and settle disputes.
WG.11       The student will analyze the patterns of urban development by
            a) applying the concepts of site and situation to major cities in each region;
            b) explaining how the functions of towns and cities have changed over time;
            c) describing the unique influence of urban areas and some challenges they face.
WG.12       The student will apply geography to interpret the past, understand the present, and plan for the future by
            a) using geographic knowledge, skills, and perspectives to analyze problems and make decisions;
            b) relating current events to the physical and human characteristics of places and region.
Source: Virginia Department of Education (
(276) 821-5858

Dear Parents/Guardians:

My name is Karen Cross and I will be your child’s World Geography teacher this year. Because I will be spending
approximately an hour each day with your child, I would like to take this opportunity to tell you a few things about myself,
both personally and professionally.

This is my fourth year at Virginia High School and my seventeenth year as an educator. The majority of my teaching
experience has been in the field of the social sciences. Prior to teaching, I attended and completed my degree at King
College in Bristol, Tennessee. I obtained my Masters in Education from Tusculum College in 1997.

Teaching is more to me than just a job. It is a commitment I take very seriously. My goal, my mission as a teacher is to
fully dedicate myself to helping your child reach his or her full potential this year. I hold high expectations for your child
and I will do all that I can to help him or her fulfill those expectations. Together, we can all work to reach the ultimate goal:
a Standards of Learning verified credit in World Geography.

My teaching philosophy is this: I do not simply teach World Geography. I teach students – I teach your child. Your child
deserves my full respect, commitment, and understanding, and in all interactions I will strive to give this to him or her. In
return I expect cooperation and respect from your child.

I look forward to an exciting and productive year. If you need to get in touch with me please call 276-821-5858 and I will
return your call as soon as I can, or you can set up an appointment to meet with me. You may email me at Please limit emails strictly to questions pertaining to your child or to this class and place
your child’s name as the subject. I check my email daily and I will try to return all emails. Let’s make a commitment to
your child in order to prepare him or her to pass the Standards of Learning assessment for World Geography. Your
support and involvement means a great deal to your child and to me.

On the other side of this letter you will find the class contract. The homework policy is also listed in the contract. Please
read the contract carefully and have your child return it to me with both your signature and your child’s signature. If you
have any concerns or questions regarding this contract or in general please email me or call me. It is an honor to teach
your child and I look forward to working with you and your child!


Karen D. Cross

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