After our initial discussion, in which we set the stage for why England chose North America to begin with, the students used their social studies books to create all EIGHT Thinking Maps....relating them to the Colonies in some way.
We first brainstormed ideas for each map. How could we use the Circle Map? What would be the best use of the Bridge or Brace Map? How would a Tree Map best be applied? The kids came up with some creative answers, which I listed on the board, and then set off to execute them. They had free range to do pretty much anything they wanted from the board. However I did stipulate that all 8 maps needed to be correctly used.
Now, I have to say, this took f.o.r.e.v.e.r. to do (about a week), but was well worth it in the end. The kids were applying their new found general knowledge about the colonies in a very specific way. Instead of just jigsawing and coming together, each of them were digging into the text book and coming out with some great ideas! I really feel like the Thinking Maps helped to focus them and, as a result, they really have this nice foundation for use to build upon.
The students then cut out and backed each of the maps, creating a poster of the maps. They fit a few on the front of the poster and a few on the back. I am displaying them in the window (I am lucky in that I have 4 huge windows with 8 panes each) so people can see the maps from both inside and outside the classroom. A book would be another way to present them all, if space was an issue. :) Here are a few pictures.
These first pictures are of the front and back of one of the posters.
|Front of the poster|
|Back of the Poster|
|Brace Map of colonies|
|Tree Map and Double Bubble|
I am so excited about this unit! I can't wait to see where we go with it this year!
On a side note, we got this amazing new US Map rug from Lakeshore.....and it has been SO SO SO helpful at the beginning of this unit. I am so grateful to Donors Choose for this wonderful resource. And, yes, I have a rug in 5th grade. I LOVE it. (you can read about it here ;) )