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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Teaching World Geography: New VA Standards

Hello All! 
Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. What a great one it was! I've got my sights on Christmas next and am itching to start decorating. But, I'm so behind on my posting and have tons of pics to share so first things first.  
This year I have been a bit consumed with this: 

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VA teachers know what this is and what I'm talking about. These are part of our new social studies standard of learning objectives. We have had a major overhaul to what we teach in the area of social studies. We no longer teach the explorers or famous Americans...all gone.  Instead our focus is on the Ancient Civilizations. 
My team decided it would make sense to begin with our geography standard. In this one students need to be able to identify the major land and water features of 5 of the 7 continents. 
We have no resources to teach these standards with, so here is what I managed to put together:  :
I decided to combine my language arts standards with this new one and have my students make a third grade atlas. We began by studying ones I got from our library and students went on an Atlas hunt during their reading station rounds. This helped me hit the language arts standard: 3.7 Students will demonstrate comprehension of information using a variety of print and electronic resources. 
From there we began looking at each of the continents and adding maps into our own atlases. 

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Students used a map key to color code each feature and then cut and glue words on as well. 

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Here are the landforms and water features found in the United States that our VA third graders need to know.
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We took a look at photographs of these different areas around the world and then drew our own representations of them in our atlas. Students recorded key information about each one. 

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Here is our European page: 


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More essential knowledge: 

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We use Benchmark Literacy in our county. We pulled any and all resources we could find to help support and extend learning. We didn't want kids to just memorize facts that they would later forget. 
This Benchmark Literacy book contained information about the different regions in South America and the animals that live there. I love it when I can integrate!

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I got my kids on computers to research one of these physical features and collect information. 
This helped us hit our main idea and details target in reading. Students worked on asking and answering questions using nonfiction text. We have access to the Kids World Book through our library system. SO good! It gives students the ability to research all kinds of topics using kid friendly text. There is even a function that reads the text aloud to students. 

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The students used a four square organizer to answer questions and then reported on their findings using this sheet: 

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Each student became the expert in one of these physical features. 

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We posted it here to share and for everyone to read. 

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Students compared and contrasted the different landforms and shared their opinions using this "Would You Rather" writing idea. They had to justify their answer using the information they read. 
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Their atlases make a great study guide and then will become a resource we go to when we work through our Ancient Civilization units.  

I've got this posted to my Teacher Pay Teacher store if interested. Check it out here:


I'd love to hear from my Virginia friends! 
Have you found good resources to support the teaching of our new curriculum pieces?
Please share! Email me at youngdor8@gmail.com or comment below.





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