A few years ago I was looking for something new to do with state reports so I had students do them using Google Maps. Part of my desire to do something different came from frustration. I had been doing state reports near the end of the year. And that means NO ONE really wants to do them and I don’t want to read them – for the sheer fact that the quality isn’t there (end of the year, in 5th grade, last grade in our elementary school…see my point).
However, when I changed the format to maps, the engagement and quality significantly improved. Students entered in the morning ASKING to do the ‘reports’. In the end, it was much more enjoyable for everyone! They still had to do the research and write a quality report.
Here’s a student example:
NOTE: While ‘Sate Reports’ are a tradition in 5th grade, it is not actually a standard. The standard, in California, states:
5.9 Students know the location of the current 50 states and the names of their capitals
This standard can be met by participating in Mystery Skypes/Hangouts and various other engaging activities. Just because we’ve always done something doesn’t mean we have to continue doing it.