Saturday, March 17, 2012

Map it!

Thanks to flickr's perpetualplum for this photo
Our current social studies curriculum in k is maps and globes.  (You know, a blog is a great digital lesson plan book.  Next year, I'll just pull up this page, and voila', planning at my fingertips!)

We have a classroom globe that, honestly, was probably in that room when I was in K in 1980.  They can't really read the countries, so I don't mind it being incorrect! (Shhhh....)  So we pulled it out, looked at it,  talked about water being blue.  One little miss declared "If you see green water, that's snake water.  Snakes are in it"  Good enough reason for water to be blue to me!

We played a game with an inflatable globe by tossing it and the kids had to two-hand catch it.  We tally how often we land on land vs. water.  Good visual (and a little math practice) for how much of the earth is really covered by water.

Our students have to know that a globe is a round model of the earth.  Model is not a term they use or are even familiar with, other than the little misses that do beauty pageants.  They call them "toy cars, planes, boats, etc."  In order to introduce that a model is a smaller representation of something large, I pulled up this page showcasing  Hobby Lobby Models on our Smartboard.  Once they saw them, many students could AT LEAST identify with model trains around Christmas trees in stores and movies.  We also looked at model towns, and talked about how architects use them for planning. 

View from above:
This is another part of our standard that takes a lot of visual help for the students to comprehend.  I manage this by using Google Earth.  If you haven't pulled this up on your Smartboard - DO IT!!!  The kids absolutely LOVE it.  I put in the address of our school, and they loved being able to pick out the gym, playground, bus parking, etc.  We followed the roads and pretended we were in a helicopter flying over our town.  They picked out Wal Mart, Little Caesars, the Mexican Restaurant, the park,  - all the important places in their lives.

Then, since I am a Disney World loving teacher with a Disney themed room, we flew to the Magic Kingdom and added 3D buildings so they could see the castle!  Some years, if a lot of kids have been to WDW, I do more.  This year, none of my students had been, so we stuck with the most iconic!  We also flew to DC to find buildings we had talked about.  LOVE this!

Another good resource I found on pinterest from Jefferson County Public Schools with some great printables, especially covering (birds eye view/view from above):

If I had had time this week, I wanted to modify this project I found on pinterest for Earth Day into a globe art project, but we ran out of time. (Story of our lives, right?)

Another idea I would like to incorporate in the future is to make a papier' mache Earth with a balloon.  One reason I had for not making the time to do the above project is that it is still flat.  If I can grab a volunteer next year, that will be a project.  Thinking maybe 1 per table, doing 20 would probably be way too cumbersome! 

I LOVE this idea for making a model town inspired by Oh, the Places You'll Go!  Again, if I only had more time!

After talking about map views, exploring Google Earth, we got down to flat maps. 
* We used shape icons on the Smartboard to make a map of the classroom.
*We found places we had read about on maps.
* I also pulled up the National Weather Service map to talk about how it was important to be able to find your location on a map so you would know if storms, rains, or snow were coming in your direction. 
*I had gotten enough Magic Kingdom park maps last summer to be able to give one to each student.  They looked at how it compared to the google earth view.
*We looked at the fire evacuation map posted in our classroom as a map of the school.
*We gave them clip art of playground equipment and had them design their own "pefect playground map"

For stations/center time:
*I collect maps everytime we see them in restaurants, rest areas, etc. and pull them out during this unit.  I have lots for them to browse through.  They love the attractions on the brochures, and look at the maps. 
*Blank piece of paper and draw a map to a pirate treasure (or the leprechaun's pot of gold!)
*Race track map rug is a big hit, and only gets pulled out during this unit and occasionally thereafter. :)  

*Floor puzzle map of the US that was a gift from a great parent!

***This is a great resource from Rockingham Public Schools, VA that has our state standards listed, and various games, discovery education clips, and Smartboard Resources listed.  I linked to the maps/globe page, but they have all kindergarten standards covered!  AMAZING time saver!

Share your ideas!  I'd love to hear from you!

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