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Continental Thrift April 25, 2009

Posted by alwaysjan in Art, Teaching.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


I’m still working on my epic post about teaching Sex Ed, but wanted to put up a new post just to show off  share the cool map my students made. They cranked it out in a day for our school’s upcoming International Day, and in case you’re geographically challenged, it’s South America.

I gave my students a pile of what I thought were G-rated magazines (Really, how racy could Family Circle be?) While I individually tested students’ reading fluency, the rest of the class sat out in the hallway tearing out pictures to match the colors on a physical map of South America in the atlas. (The finished map is 3′ x 6′.)

One boy took me aside to let me know he saw something “nasty” in one of the magazines. I asked him if he could be a little more specific. (I’m big on asking kids to be specific – that’s probably why one kid thought it was called the “Specific Ocean.”) The boy mumbled something about a naked woman. I told him it was probably health related and hoped I was right. But, in third grade, kids are easily grossed out. I was more grossed out by all the pharmaceutical ads.

That red strip is the Andes. I thought about sharing the story of Survived! with my students (a want vs. a need), but didn’t want to broach the subject of plane crashes and cannibalism – at least not before lunch.

Speaking of continents, (How’s that for a whiplash-inducing segue?) I found a rhyme that helps students remember the names of the continents.

The 7 Continents

North America, South America, joined in the West
Europe meets with Asia, and on Africa they rest.
Australia stands alone, floating down below
And Antarctica is the loneliest, where no one wants to go.

The best part is acting it out.  Ask for seven volunteers and assign each one a continent.  Have the “continents” line up (left to right): North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Antarctica sits in front of the group.

When we say “North America,” the child who is South America drops to one knee and the continents join by locking arms.  When we say “Europe,” the child who is Africa drops to a cross-legged position. “Europe” and “Asia” shake hands above Africa, then lean over and place an elbow (gently!) on each of “Africa’s” shoulders.

“Australia” drifts off to the right and pretends they’re floating. (All teachers have a kid who’s a natural Australia.) Antarctica crosses their arms and shivers. The audience loves to get in on the shivering action too.

At the end of the year, I give students the rhyme, and they can fill in the names of the continents.  Of course, then there’s the issue of spelling. Cue shivering.


1. janelleholden - April 26, 2009

Beautiful map! I love the continent play too. It’s interesting how rhymes and songs that teach us something stick with us in a more powerful way than rote memorization. I remember learning how to spell rhythm (robin hood yelled to his men). Wish I would have had something as good for the periodic table of elements. Can’t wait for the Sex Ed post.

Janelle – What a great way to remember how to spell rhythm! That’s one of those words I always have to look at twice/thrice. Get cracking on something catchy for the periodic table of elements. Jan


2. Catherine Sherman - May 3, 2009

This is so cute! You are a wonderful teacher. I don’t remember doing anything so fun. And Janelle, thanks for the spelling aid for rhythm. I actually used it just this minute. Just last week, I had to look up rhythm. I always want to put a “y” between h and m. The peridoic table would take a very long sentence!


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