Monday, October 19, 2015

Drawing Around the World: USA {Schoolhouse Review Crew}

For Lauren's fourth grade history/social studies class, she's continuing with her study of American History. One of my goals for this year was to have her learn all the states and capitals. Unfortunately, while I had gathered flash cards, games, and even a state map puzzle, I did not have a plan.

Thankfully, I found a book from Brookdale House that is helping make sure my vague geography goals are achieved this year. Drawing Around the World: USA teaches students to illustrate the 50 states from memory and label them with their capitals.

Drawing Around the World: USA focuses on one or two states per week. (One week had three small states in the same region of the country for Lauren to study.) On the first day, the student traces the state, draws it, and then completes a brief table of basic state facts. Some of the facts were not easily found in the our student atlas so Lauren just skipped those questions. The student also traces the state on blank maps of the United States, one map with state outlines and one that just has the latitude and longitude lines.

For days two and three of each week, the student again completes the two different maps. On one map, they trace and label all the states and capitals they've learned thus far. On the second map, they draw the states and capitals on a map only showing latitude and longitude lines. (Lauren sometimes just tells me the states and their capitals instead of labeling them on the maps.)

On the fourth day, the student lists all the states they've learned (from memory) and writes the correct two letter postal abbreviation for each one. The map work for this day is a large blank area for the students to draw and label all the states and capitals they've learned.

I printed out the first 8 weeks of lessons for Lauren, approximately 80 pages worth (out of 282 in the entire book). I also grabbed some clear sheet protectors and fine point dry erase markers. The introduction to the book suggested using the sheet protectors if the student wanted to do additional practice with either tracing or drawing.

In hindsight, I wish I had looked more closely at the materials before printing it all. The blank maps for each day are identical from one week to the next. I could have put many of the pages in sheet protectors and reused them throughout the book. As we move forward, Lauren will work on reusable maps to do the tracing and drawing exercises for the first three days of the week. I will print new maps for her to do on the last day of each week so that I'll have a record of her work. I don't need to keep a copies of all her map attempts throughout the year.

Lauren says she enjoys her Drawing Around the World:USA. It usually only takes her 10-15 minutes per day, and she can work independently on both the research in the student atlas and in doing the drawing practice. She said her favorite part was learning about states that we haven't lived in.

Drawing Around the World: USA is available in ebook form from Brookdale House for $22.95. A printed copy of the book costs $25.95 (plus shipping). This curriculum is suitable for students from grades 4-12 and could even work for adults that want to learn how to draw a US map from memory.

 Brookdale House Review

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1 comment:

  1. Excellent! My favorite book for learning states and capitals is _Yo, Sacramento!_, but it is only a mnemonic tool and doesn't do much to teach geography. This sounds cool!



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