Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Preparing for Our U.S. Geography Unit

I am so happy to be wrapping up my immigration unit!  Although teaching it is fun, ending it is even better because our culminating activity for the unit is always the "Cultural Foods Event."  I don't require students to bring in food that represents their own ethnic background (I tell them, "Even though I'm not Italian, I love lasagna, so I'm allowed to bring that in because I feel confident cooking it and I'm proud to share it).  However many often bring in "Grandma's famous ____" from the old country.  What better way to embrace other cultures and create community than to have a feast?

Here are the flags we've been working on to decorate the room.  I make it into a contest to see who can remember the most flags.

You can read more about my immigration unit here.  However, with this unit winding down, it's time to start looking ahead to our next unit on the Northeast Region.  They're already had a taste of U.S. Geography back in November, when Neil Nichols of the Geography Game Show came in to wow them with his talk/mural drawing:

Yes, he drew the whole United States from memory while giving us tricks to remember dates and landmarks!

And to keep their interest piqued I showed them this amazing video from Marbles the Brain Store:

When I was a kid, I thought the Animaniacs singing the states and capitals was the BEST.  This one is like that, just a little bit more "current." And the kids beg me to play it every week during our computer lab time.  Just today when they were getting ratty with each other (they need to get back to outdoor recess FAST) I interrupted another one of their hissy fits arguments with, "Hey, want to hear a song from our blog?  We can use those new speakers."  They dropped everything and asked, "Can we do the states and capitals?"  Before I knew it they were happy, dancing, and singing along.  Woo!

In order to prepare myself for the kickoff to our unit, I'll be updating my old concept maps.  Although I love them for organizing information for a big content area concept they are looking just a little bit ratty:

This background used to be blue :/
Next week once we get into the full swing of things I'll show you the new and improved version in action.  I also hope to show you our first project by then.  It's a fairly quick pre-reading activity, but it makes a big impact because we leave it up and build on in for the rest of the year.

Until then, if you are looking for materials on U.S. Geography, famous Americans, and patriotic holidays I've teamed up with some fellow teacher-authors for this amazing Educents bundle.  Not only is my Northeast Region unit included, but for $30, you get a total of 21 products!  And if you've never purchased from Educents before, I've included a referral link so that you get an additional $10 off.  The entire bundle is normally valued at $128.84 so definitely take a look if you're crunched for time. Otherwise, come back next week for more U.S. geography.

Although this deal has ended, you can still get my U.S. Regions Bundle for $25!  All 5 regions units are included.

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