We’ve entered the late afternoon sessions and I’m dragging a bit. I reluctantly skipped William Bentley’s keynote to race through the vendor hall. There really wasn’t another good time for it so . . . William will have to get back to me with his remarks. I did have a great conversation with Regan Ross who has started his own company to create civics and econ simulations. His first is just out called Civic Mirror. Civic Mirror incorporates both online and face to face interaction between students. Looks pretty cool. Hope to have him come in the spring for some teacher training.

Am now sitting down for a 3:45 session on K-5 geography and literature. I am just so lacking in K-5 strategies, hoping for some good ideas to take back.how-i-learned-geo

Ann Bullion-Mears started by doing a read-aloud with a book that looks very good titled How I Learned Geography.

Ann says

We have to give kids emotional and concrete experiences especially while learning abstract ideas.

She and others are talking about the developmental levels of K-5 kids and when it’s appropriate to ask them to do certain things. They are also showing various books and suggesting different ways of teaching language arts but also pulling in geography. May try to include some here or maybe create a Tip of the Week later. (There’s a neat shower curtain activity to teach map skills that I’ll need to write about later. You just have to come back for it!)

One idea, especially for younger kids, is to have them journal in an individual “passport” all of the places they read about, then share those individual journals into a class journal and finally put pushpins in a large wall map. They get to see and remember different places and begin to get a better sense of place. A teacher in the crowd shared that they made friends with several over the road truckers. The truck drivers would send a postcard from the places they stopped at and the kids would post them on a large map. The drivers would stop by the classroom every once in a while to update the kids. Sorta like a real life Flat Stanley!

map-on-lapOne book that looks great that I have never heard of before is Dr. Suess’s I Have a Map on My Lap. When I flipped through a sample copy, I saw tons of great map skills and terms. And, of course, Suess uses some fun words and phrases! Nice.drawing-guide

A nice series that they demo-ed is one called Our American Colonies from Child’s World. Another interesting series is titled A Kid’s Guide to Drawing America. The series is a beautiful set of books that help kids create all kinds of US and state symbols with paper and pencil.

They provided a very nice bibliography that I’ll have to do something with someday. So far, best session of the day. It’s fun watching four elementary teachers get all worked up and excited about good books and social studies!