Saturday, September 8, 2012

Map Work, Version 2.0

This post might be a "duh" post for many of you.  If so, just you can just give me a patronizing virtual pat on the head, and I will totally understand.

Sometimes, I can be a bit slow.

We've been happy consumers of black line maps for many years now.  We've used various online ones (especially when Ben was young) such as these, these and these. Since we began using Tapestry of Grace, we've gone ahead and purchased MapAids, which exactly matches what we are studying.

One of the historical atlases we own
Even while working in our history group with two other familes, I never felt 100% about how I was using the maps.  I felt like I was spoon-feeding the kids locations.  I would typical pull out my teacher's key map and just point to locations that the kids needed to find and replicate.

Look here.  Copy this.

Not very exciting. Probably not very educational.

Last spring I had a revelation that I really wanted to transform our map work. I'm 100% certain that this idea is not original -- it probably came from one of the other Tapestry users.

My thought is that I want my kids -- even Levi -- to use the blackline maps to learn about geography and history by referencing all the variety of atlases we have -- historical map atlas, online maps, and contemporary geo-political maps.  My thinking is that I want the boys to be fluent using reference materials.  I want them to be able to interpret the information and use it in other situations.

This year, we are having geography day (Wednesdays).  I grab all my atlases (three historical atlases, two geo-political ones). The boys grab the colored pencils; sometimes, I use the label maker to type out labels for Levi when there are tons of things to find.

I pull out the targeted map points from our Tapestry guide and sometimes take a peak at the teacher's key (just to make sure).  Then we go to work!

Here's what today looked like:

The boys did awesome.  Not only did we map the Dardanelles Strait and the Gallipoli peninsula, we talked about why these geographical features were important in The Great War for both the Turks and the Allies. Levi and Luke discovered how cool Istanbul/ Constantinople is (it's on two continents!) and how important.  Gosh, my 6.5 year old can identify the Black Sea better than I could when I was 40!

The boys worked so hard and shared our resources well.  They showed interest in the atlases and in discovering history and the world.  I loved working with them.

Today's lesson -- for me and the boys -- was just great.  Lights went on for us all.  Learning occurred for us all.  And memories were made that I will treasure forever.

Even if the boys cannot remember what a peninsula is tomorrow.

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