Saturday, February 9, 2013

Where in the USA...

So I have this whole system for teaching the states to my kiddos...I'm sure there are others out there that are doing it better differently, but this really seems to work for my students!  In a typical week we learn about three new 3 states.  We have a cute little travel bag that looks like a suitcase with travel stickers and all on it!  It's made out of a full size paper bag and we use it to store all of our continents, oceans, and states materials in.  It ends up having two pockets inside that can hold 8 1/2 X 11 sized paper, including several mini books, one for each region we study - it's all a lot of fun!  We do half for world (continent and oceans) and the other half for the United States. We put maps, travel stickers, continent poems/songs, etc. all over it.  Here's what it looks like undecorated. 

Here's the sheet I send home with students when we return from winter break.  On the other side is a note to parents explaining my system.

During the time we are learning about each region I have this bulletin board set up in the hallway.  (The Penelope part of it comes from SuperTeacher Worksheets) 

Students have the entire time we are studying about the region to figure out which state each set of clues is for and hand it in.  At the end of each region we use The Mailbox's Mystery State series and spend a day or two (of Social Studies time, not the WHOLE day) researching to figure out which state is the mystery state.  We just finished the northeast region and ALL 5 groups guessed the state correctly.  They weren't very happy with me when I told them they would have to wait until we got to the end of the southeast region to do the mystery state again! 

When we are all done learning about our states we have a fun license plate bulletin board challenge.
Students try to figure out what the license plates mean, and then we do a drawing from all the entries.  The winner gets a copy of this book:


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