As I am getting ready to travel this summer, I find myself getting very excited. Traveling is my absolute favorite activity and it is what I look forward to all year long. Since college I have taken a chunk out of every pay check and put it into my "travel fund" account, and used it to see the world. (Travel is also one of the only things you can buy that makes you richer!)
Now, where did this travel obsession begin? Well, I'm pretty sure it started with my father. He backpacked through Europe after school, and I used to love listening to his stories about the places he'd seen and the people he'd met. When I wasn't listening to stories, I was looking at his photographs and postcards. Then one year, he got me a new placemat for our kitchen table. On one side it had a map of the United States, and on the other was a map of the world. (You know which one I'm talking about!)
I studied it relentlessly. Sometimes at dinner, my father would have me cover up the map and answer a series of questions. They were usually pretty hard, but I loved it! "Starting with Venezuela, go counterclockwise around the border of South America listing the country names, and then tell me which countries are landlocked." This became our little tradition at the dinner table, and I made sure to know my map well enough to get them right (most of the time!). My father also introduced me to my first atlas. It was almost bigger than me, but that didn't stop me from flipping through its pages to study the countries, their capitals, and the rivers that ran through them.
As I got older, I started to connect photographs in newspapers and in books to the maps in my mind. Images of Guilin, China and the markets of Morocco stayed with me. So, I waited until I was old enough, saved up, and saw them for myself! If it weren't for my father, I don't think I would have ever developed an interest in the world outside of my hometown. I am certain that I would not have as great an appreciation for different cultures and for what I have at home.
So, what does this have to do with teaching? Well, as our schedules become more and more regimented, and our content areas integrated into our literacy and math blocks, it can be hard to find time to expose our students to the world outside of our classrooms. As I return to third grade this year (after six years in first grade), I am looking forward to sparking the travel bug in some of my students. How? Well, by doing what my father did for me… asking challenging questions that encouraged me to look closely at maps! And with that, here is my newest product:
What it Looks Like in the Classroom
There are forty questions included in this product so that you can ask one question per week. It’s a fun routine that engages and challenges students. To set up this routine, I created a little shelf by the door of my classroom so that students have to walk by it often. On the shelf I have:
- A frame where I can slide swap the question of the week in and out easily
- An up-to-date globe
- A stack of atlases that cover U.S. and world geography
- A small tray with photocopies of answer sheets (included in the product)
- An answer box with a small slit at the top
My past group of third graders LOVED it, so I am hoping for a repeat performance this year! In honor Two for Tuesday, today it will be marked as 50% off!
For Two for Tuesday, I think I will be starting a new routine. If you missed the Two for Tuesday the previous week, the discussed product of that week will be offered again the following week for one more chance at 50% off. Win/Win! You can check out last week's post here and click on the image below to bring you to the product.
Enjoy and Happy Tuesday!