Monday, May 23, 2011
U.S. Geography Done
Geography was one of the combined subjects the girls did this year. While they were reading from the same material and asked to each keep a journal, they really made the learning their own and created very unique work. My fifth graders journal has much more written in it than my second grader; whom has many more illustrations than her older sister.
Every Monday and Wednesday they would pool together the books for their study and begin reading. It was fun to see the system they developed for doing this. One read the head line, the other the body; then they'd switch. Sometimes I happen to be in another room and could hear them laughing over something they were reading or I would walk in and they would immediately want to start telling me about their readings: joint narrations can be lots of fun. As part of the study I had my oldest do a couple of extra projects, which served as part of her end of term exams. The first term she wrote a state report for our own state (and her younger sister was eager to help with some drawings), so she did do a little extra reading and research on it. The second term I had them both create a 3D shoebox presentation of any state they wanted and be ready to tell me about the state. I honestly haven't decided what we'll do for this term's exam, but I'm thinking along the lines of just a simple map drill.
I did not require that the girls memorize every state and capital or every admission date, but I'm pretty confident that if quizzed they would know most if not all of them (I've already heard of someone trying to stump them). The reality is that I tried to provide them with some very interesting living books on the subject: DK State-by-State Atlas, National Geographic Quilt of States, United Tweets of America by Hudson Talbott, and Discover America State by State series (as of last week we've collected all 50 books!). Then I just let them create a connection with each other and the states following a weekly routine. The connections to the states become clear when we are in the middle of a reading or talk about a different subject and they interject with some fact about the location mentioned.
I'm sure that they enjoyed this subject (and each other) much more than just filling in the blanks for every state and memorizing facts. Although, let me be honest, it is nice to know that many facts will stay with them as a result of making those connections.