“Concentrates of Place:” Teaching and Learning Edition

Geography is all around us as we walk through parks, shop at stores, do household chores, and work our daily jobs. One thing that most of us have in common is a cell phone camera. We enjoy taking pictures of ‘everything’ to long live a memory. We love taking images and videos of our favorite people and places, to hold these memories close to us. In many ways, these snapshots are records of our feelings in these spaces and they are a window that we can open to access them again.

“Place” is space with meaning. Perhaps that red house on Main St. is more than just a space where people live; it’s YOUR house. Setting your cell phone camera aside, what parts of your favorite, special place would you include if you were to capture the character of that space in a small tin as artist Tanya Shadrick does in her “Concentrates of Place” project? What are some of the tangible objects or comforts of your favorite spaces? What would you take? What would that tin be filled with?

Educator Marianne Braca takes the “Concentrates of Place” project as inspiration for engaging her geography students in storytelling activities about their favorite places. The Cleveland Teaching Collaborative is taking her adaption of the “Concentrates of Place” a step further. We want to hear the stories of your learning spaces and places, told through objects. 

As educators, we all have our own special teaching and learning place. This learning place represents more than just a space, but an engaging and meaningful place that is yours and one that you likely worked hard to create. You provide a shared atmosphere that is memorable and helpful for students to succeed. What does your learning place look like?


  1. Pick up a tin at one of our events or locations. If you are unable to pick one up, please email cleteaching@csuohio.edu for alternatives.
  2. Think of your learning place as an educator 
  3. Find 4-5 items that represent your learning place 
    1. This is open-ended – be creative! If it fits in the tin, it works. 
  4. As you fill your tin, think about your learning place and why you chose these items.  
    1. Why are they important to you? Do you feel like these items are unique to your learning spaces or common to other spaces? 
  5. Give your tin a title and fill out the form. Your responses will be archived with a photo of your tin and items on the CTC “Concentrates of Place” site.
  6. Bring your tin to a CTC event and we can show you how to engrave your name on it in the Dan T. Moore Makerspace. Then, with your permission, we will display your tin in our growing CTC “Concentrates of Place” collection.

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