Friday, March 16, 2012

The Map of My Heart!

. I have to tell you that there was a lot of excitement in class when I put up the United States wall map. The children were very interested in finding out where they were on the map. I was surprised that many of the children had some prior knowledge about maps.
As you can see our wall map is literally a WALL map. In fact, the map is so big we had to use some map tools to reach some of the places we were discussing.
These pointers helped us a lot and kept the map clean from marks and smudges. The children were very interested in locating our pen pals on the map and figuring out where we were located. If you are looking for a classroom map, click on the image below for a very affordable one.
If you are looking for a book to help you explain the concept of a map, I found this book to be extremely helpful. It has great visuals to help young children begin to understand the concept of maps.

I was fortunate that my new Writing Curriculum came with the My Map Book. This book literally helped spark some of the best integrated Social Studies, Art and Language Arts Writing lessons in my class. These two books helped me keep the discussion of maps alive in my class.

After reading the book we all wanted to make our own maps!

I must have tried ten different versions of this project before I found what worked for us. First, I already knew we would struggle if I let the children draw the large heart for the Map of My Heart project and I wanted the heart to be as big as it could be, so I drew it and copied it onto cardstock. I wanted to have as much room as I could for the kinder writing because we all know that it can sometimes be rather large! The children wrote and illustrated what was in their heart with a Sharpie. We went through a few of these before it was over because sometimes the children wanted to edit. The edges and illustrations were filled in with markers and crayons because we were going to wash the entire map with watercolors.
The Map of My Heart project took time...lots of time. It was a very worthwhile project and one I would do again. We worked in small groups for this project and worked over several days. I learned that the next time I do this I need to be sure to have extra copies on hand and plenty of Sharpies available. I also learned that this was a great way to help me conference with my children about capitalization, spacing and letter formation. We needed this review. We also spent a lot of time planning our draft map and editing them as well. Each day we would look over the progress of our maps and that helped each of us as we evaluated each different map. The evaluation process was valuable because it gave us all tons of new ideas for our own maps!

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