I love to incorporate games into the day. I mean, we begin the day by playing board games! So why not use games to help students learn their states and capitals?
We have been playing a few games in regards to this subject. Using a few items that I have collected through the years, students are practicing their knowledge of U.S. geography.
Most recently we have been using cards with a state or capital printed on each one to play memory. I have 5 groups of cards so that students can play in small groups. Each group of cards is printed on a different color. I have separated each deck of cards into groups of 4. This way the students are familiarizing themselves with approximately 12 – 14 states and capitals at a time. Students use the aid of a few maps that I acquired along the way. Fortunately, the maps were from an old curriculum set and there are several sets in the classroom.
This is such a fun and easy way for students to learn. They are really getting into it! One student even begged to play it (I had it in the plan for later in the day). She was NOT happy to hear that we weren’t playing it at that moment. THAT is how you know you have a winner on your hands!
Not so long ago, I wrote about a year-long project (2 Truths & a Lie) that I will be collaborating on with a teacher from Texas. In short, we are working with States as it is a 5th-grade standard. Students will be researching and recording information on a shared Google My Map.
This got me thinking. First of all, anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE using Google My Maps in the classroom. This lesson design can be used with other grades and topics.
I believe that 2nd-grade studies habitats. Why not draw a polygon around the regions students will be studying and have them create their own 2 truths and a lie on a shared map? Or in 4th-grade for the California Missions, using the draw line tool, draw the Mission Trail and have them create place markers with the information for each Mission. Again, using the draw a line tool, older students can draw the route of armies for the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Or routes and pin markers can be placed on maps to show battles during the Civil War. A class that studies ecology can log information on a map. In ELA, while reading a story, plot points that correspond with locations and practice comprehension using 2 truths and a lie.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that the possibilities are endless with this lesson design. It makes students dig a bit deeper and think about what they read and think. They have to be ready to analyze the information given in order to find the lie.
So what sort of lessons will you do with your students using 2 Truths and a Lie?
Social Studies is a natural place for My Maps to appear. This year I created a HyperMap. This is based on the HyperDoc method. The students are given a map with information they are to know. This information will also be used to create a final product. Sometimes I have them creating a video on Animoto, other times it might be flyers/pamphlets, or some other creative way the students show what they’ve learned.
For the 13 colonies, I created a HyperMap with a few different layers: 13 Colonies, Current 50 States, and Colonial Regions. The students were to take notes and create a final product: a ‘billboard’ for their state. You can view their final products here. (NOTE: The billboard idea came from Los Virgenes School District via a teacher Nancy Minicozzi – @coffeenancy – works with).
I did NOT create all the outlines. A Google Mapper created a site with some great resources. I downloaded the KML File and then uploaded it to my map (see video).
Using My Maps in this way allowed my students to become more familiar with the territory and they had ownership over their learning. I’m clearly a fan of HyperMaps!
This week we went back to school, after 3 weeks off. My partner teacher and I decided to start book studies on the 17th which left us wide open for this week. Well, we have Benchmark Assessments (I know, who does those the first week back from a break? Apparently, my district). This got me excited. I never feel like there is enough time to study some of the important people and events in our history. That’s when I decided to create a Hyperdoc! I have fallen in love with the model. It’s work on my end in the beginning, but so worth it! The experience and learning are so much richer for the students.
I have shared this out with my PLN and some might be using it. This is what we want! Sharing really is caring. As my students were working on it today, one came up to me and showed me that there were 3 ‘anonymous’ animals on one of the required documents. I said yes, that makes sense since I shared it. He was confused. I explained to him that others were looking for an MLK Hyperdoc and I shared the one I created. He was satisfied with the answer and walked away.
I LOVE that I can model a collaborative mindset for my students. They know I find Hyperdocs and activities online (and am sure to point out the author and give credit even when they don’t know the person). This is what I want my students to do in the future; reach out to others online to create better products and help one another.
If you’d like to use the MLK Hyperdoc, go for it and feel free to pass it along. Sharing really is creating a caring world!
Today I experienced a moment that made me proud to be a teacher. It was one of those moments that makes you look around and say to yourself, This is what a classroom SHOULD look like.
This afternoon, after an hour of morning State Testing and an hour of afternoon testing, my students were focusing on finishing their Boston Tea Party Tasks (part of a larger hyperdoc). They needed to discover the events, people, and reasons for the Boston Tea Party.
Yes, that would be 2 green screens, several groups collaborating, and a whole lot of learning going on! They are posting final videos this week on our website.
Yes, today was a good day. You know you’ve done something right when you tell the students that we are heading to the high school theater for a production and their reaction is, “What, we’re going to miss Math? I like math.” Yeah, that’s what they had to say. A few actually looked devastated to NOT have math.
Yes, they even said that Math is fun and that they love Math. What 5th graders says that?
Then later in the afternoon, during our regular break time, my students were so engrossed in their work, they missed their regular 2 pm break. What were they doing? Collecting information, doing research, writing notes, and creating videos about the Boston Tea Party. Yup, they were focused and engaged in HISTORY!
Now, this doesn’t happen often. Thus, me writing a blog post about my good day. We should celebrate the little things in life. Here’s to more days like today!
Earlier this month I wrote about setting my students up for success. We were studying Cortes and Montezuma. The idea was to give students the information so that they could synthesize, analyze, and collaboratively create a writing to be performed in a poetry slam style. Many of the students turned the assignment into a rap – which is fine with me. The idea, after all, was to understand the information. The outcome…Success! Here’s one example – viewpoint: Montezuma