Posts tagged ‘geography’

86. Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney

me on the mapRetell: The narrator of this story imagines herself on various maps, both homemade and store-bought.  The maps range from small scale (her bedroom) to large scale (the world).

Topics: geography, maps, globes, location

Habits of Mind: creating-imagining-innovating

My Thoughts: Every other Thursday someone covers my class while I co-plan with another teacher.  On that day, it’s very difficult for me to tuck in a read aloud without cutting another subject.  To solve this problem I plan to do a Social Studies read aloud connected to our current unit of study.  We’re currently in a Map and Geography unit.  By the end of the unit we expect students to be able to find themselves on any kind of map.  I thought I would never find a decent read aloud to support this study.  I was wrong.  Me on the Map is a cute introduction to map reading.  It’s simple, but it shows reminds students that maps tell the reader where they are.  If you have access to a projector (or a computer lab) I highly recommend pairing this read aloud with an exploration of Google Earth.

September 21, 2009 at 7:51 pm Leave a comment

62. “Before New York” by Peter Miller, National Geographic September 2009

Before New YorkRetell: Peter Miller investigates the Mannahatta Project, a group who have analyzed several historical maps in order to create pictures of what Manhattan might have looked like when Henry Hudson spotted the island back in 1609.

Topics: New York, beavers, then & now, New Amsterdam, Hudson, conservation, geography, maps

Units of Study: Nonfiction, Content Area

Habits of Mind: thinking interdependently, responding with wonderment and awe, striving for accuracy

Reading Skills: envisionment, determining importance, questioning

My Thoughts: My eyes lit up when I received my monthly National Geographic magazine yesterday afternoon.  The feature article, “Before New York,” is dedicated to presenting a picture of the landscape of New York City before it was the crowded, bustling town it is today.  If you are a 4th grade teacher in New York I highly recommend going out to your local news stand and picking up a copy today.  The article includes several pictures of ‘then and now’ maps and digital renderings.  I plan on reading this article (or a portion of it) when we do our unit on New York geography.  The article highlights how cartographers pose questions, strive for accuracy and work in groups.  I may just reread the beginning of the article where the author tells the story of a beaver named Jose who appeared near the Bronx zoo.  According to the article beaver haven’t been spotted in New York City in over 200 years.  If you don’t have a subscription check out the National Geographic website.  If you have a projector in your classroom you could share the interactive maps of New York after reading the article.

August 27, 2009 at 9:56 am 1 comment

5. The Girl Who Lost Her Smile by Karim Alrawi

the girl who lost her smileRetell: One day in Baghdad a girl named Jehan loses her smile.  Her father searches the world for someone who will help his daughter find her smile.

Topics: Baghdad, art, folk tales

Units of Study: Fantasy, Creating Community, Geography

Tribes: Personal Best, Mutual Respect

Reading Skills: envisionment, making connections, prediction

My Thoughts: This is a very quick read aloud which could be good for discussing the expectation of doing one’s personal best and the satisfaction it brings.  Throughout the book Jehan’s father brings her the most beautiful art in the world to cheer her up.  However, it is not until she participates in the arduous process of making a wall gleam that she finally finds her smile.  It woule be nice to use this as a community building mentor text.  We can discuss how Jehan’s family did their best to cheer her up and how we should try and give our friends encouragement and help them find their smiles when they are down.  Her father brings art from around the world to cheer her up.  I could see asking students to find those places on a world map to practice their geography skills.

July 1, 2009 at 9:14 am 2 comments

3. Uptown by Bryan Collier

uptownRetell: A young boy writes about his observations of Harlem.

Topics: neighborhoods, Harlem, community

Units of Study: Personal Narratives, Geography of New York

Reading Skills: envisionment

Writing Skills: writing small moments, including setting details, writing metaphors and similes

My Thoughts: This beautiful book shows that writers observe the world around them.  Each observation is something that can turn into powerful writing.  I plan on using this book as a mentor text for teaching about metaphors and similes.  Collier writes, “Uptown is a caterpillar.  Well, it’s really the Metro-North train as it eases over the Harlem River.”  Though my students don’t live in Harlem, I’m hoping that reading this book together will show them that they need to share their world with others through writing.  The world needs more books about Sunset Park, Brooklyn!  For 4th grade teachers in New York, I can see using this book during a Geography unit.  Perhaps after reading Uptown, students could locate the landmarks in the book on a subway map.

June 29, 2009 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment


Feeds

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


%d bloggers like this: