Tolisano Guestblog Part III: Maps to Show the Big Picture

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We’re back with Silvia Tolisano, Technology Integration Facilitator at San José Episcopal Day School in Jacksonville, Florida, for the final of three posts about her Global Studies program. Silvia concludes with a  message on the power of maps to facilitate learning and build bridges between prior and newly constructed knowledge.

“Making connections” is a primary goal for educators.
Understanding is directly related to being able to connect new material, facts,
ideas, and concepts to previously learned knowledge.

1

Using maps is a great way of allowing these connections to
grow. Our Global Studies curriculum is taking advantage of many different ways
to incorporate maps into the program.

While studying China, fourth graders were
assigned a specific province. It was each group’s goal to research particular characteristics
of their province. Agriculture, animals, population and industries were some of
the characteristics they focused on.

10

A giant map of China was placed on the wall. Each group
received a large puzzle piece in the shape of their province, which they
decorated with information they had learned.

11

As the culminating project, the students presented the
research of their assigned province and added the puzzle piece to the big map.
Once the map was completed, the teachers and students discussed the importance
of each province in relationship to the country and world. Answers to questions,
like “What would happen if this province with its agricultural production did
not exist?” or “Why do these two neighboring provinces farm the same types of
crops?” suddenly became clearer to the students as they were able to make these
connections.

12

Throughout the school, maps were placed on walls and
bulletin boards to show students where the traveling teachers and bear were on
a daily basis.

13

Teachers printed out images from the photo stream on Flickr
(http://www.flickr.com) and created
connections to the geographical location on the map.

14_2
This
Bulletin Board was the analog companion to the digital Google Maps (http://www.googlemaps.com) version the
teachers created while traveling to China and Egypt. They added their locations
and images to bookmarks to show travel routes, which then could be exported into
Google Earth (http://www.googleearth.com). Google Maps allows these maps to be embedded, while Google Earth files can be
saved and be placed as a link on a website or blog. Both options let students
access the created maps from home, which in return gives them the opportunity to
explore the locations and area of the journey in more detail.
15

Clicking on a bookmark will open up a window, revealing an
image,  video, text, or link to a specific blog post written by the teachers
from that location.

16

 

Another school-wide collaboration project was an Egypt map,
which was placed in the cafeteria of our school. The map was decorated with
text, images and artifacts created by different grade levels. The map
symbolized the connections made across grade levels, the learning that took
place in each classroom, as well as a visual of our school’s collaborative
knowledge.

17

One of our talented teachers, Lori Menger, took it upon herself
to compose a theme song for our Travel Bear, called “Come Along with Me.”
In our school, Geography
is indeed all around us…

You can listen to the tune of the song on this website: http://sjeds.com/blog/teddybear/joses-travel-song/

Come along with me
Come along with me
There’s a great big wonderful world to see
Come along with me
Come along with me
We’ll travel over mountains, deserts, and seas

We’ll meet lots of friends and see lots of sights
Our big wonderful world is full of delights
We’ll see the Eiffel Tower and the TajMahal
The Great Pyramids and Angel Falls
The Coliseum and Big Ben
Macchu Pichu and the Grand Canyon

Come along with me
Come along with me
There’s a great big wonderful world to see
Come along with me
Come along with me
We’ll travel over mountains, deserts, and seas

We’ll learn lots of new ways to say hello
And taste exotic foods on every shore
New holidays to celebrate will be found
We might find the world is flat instead of round
Hello-Hallo-Hola-Ni Hao- Alo-Jambo- Al salaam a’alaykum

Come along with me
Come along with me
There’s a great big wonderful world to see
Come along with me
Come along with me
We’ll travel over mountains, deserts, and seas

Want to hear more from Silvia? Check out her  "Langwitches" blog at http://www.langwitches.org/blog.

Images courtesy Silvia Tolisano.

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