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Map It!

Provide students with practicing their relative location skills as well as an opportunity to tell real or imaginary stories about journeys through neighborhoods.

  • Grade 1
    Grade 2
    Grade 3
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. Create a display of various kinds of maps, including a few exciting examples such as imaginary treasure maps for the classroom. Invite students to talk about maps. What is a map? How can maps be helpful? Discuss how maps can visually trace a journey from its starting point to a final destination.
    2. Share Johna Rocco's book, Blizzard, with the class. Allow time for students to enjoy the fold out map of the main character's journey and speak about some of their travels.
    3. Provide each student with a large sheet of white drawing paper and an assortment of Crayola® Ultra-Clean Washable Markers or other Crayola art supplies such as colored pencils or crayons.
    4. Invite students to close their eyes and visualize a real or imaginary journey through their neighborhoods. Ask questions that have to do with relative location. Which way do you turn in the morning to get from your house to school or the bus stop? What landmarks do you pass along the way? Are there other houses, apartments, stores, a garage, a barn...? Are there natural landmarks such as a pond, a certain tree, or a woodlot.
    5. Now invite them to each create an illustrated neighborhood map showing landmarks they would pass on specific journey through their neighborhood. This could be a real or imaginary journey. Suggest they first illustrate the starting point for the journey and then trace their steps from that point to their final destination. Encourage the addition of labels.
    6. When the maps are finished, provide time for each student to write or tell a story about a journey he or she has taken or might take using the map as a visual aid. Remind them that every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. A story usually begins with some kind of problem. Why did they set out on the journey? What were some things that happened along the way? Where did each event occur? How and where did the journey end? Did some journeys eventually end where they began as in "Blizzard"? Remind them to include descriptive details of landmarks they passed along the way. The map is a guide, but the storytelling is an opportunity to add details!
  • Standards

    LA: Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked events, tell about the events in the order in which they occurred, and provide a reaction to what happened.

    LA: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

    SS: Construct and use mental maps of locales, regions, and the world that demonstrate understanding of relative location, direction, size, and shape.

    SS: Describe personal connections to place—especially place as associated with immediate surroundings.

    SS: Analyze a particular event to identify reasons individuals might respond to it in different ways.

    SS: Demonstrate an understanding that different people may describe the same event or situation in diverse ways, citing reasons for the differences in views.

    VA: Individually or collaboratively construct representations, diagrams, or maps of places that are part of everyday life.

    VA: Elaborate visual information by adding details in an artwork to enhance emerging meaning.

    VA: Create works of art about events in home, school, or community life.

  • Adaptations

    Did several students in the class write about a journey they took together? If so, invite the class to compare their stories. Even though they experienced the same event, did they describe it differently? Discuss why two different people might have different views of the same event.

    If it is near the beginning of the school year, challenge students to make maps showing the route they take to and from school either on foot or by bus. What roads do they take? What landmarks do they pass?

    Discuss simple map reading strategies such as the cardinal directions: North, South, East, West. Provide each student with a simplified map of your community. Give oral directions such as: "Start in our town and travel north on route 55 until you reach route 78. Turn west and travel to Frog Hollow Road. Turn right and follow Frog Hollow Road to Swamp Road. What landmark will be on your right where these two roads meet?"

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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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