When it comes to social networking my generation left me in the dust in 2006 after I signed up for Facebook, so this will be my first experience as a blogger (makes me feel very techy). I say that I was spending all of my time coming up with creative and innovative ways to teach social studies and didn’t have time for the online social world!
I just finished my first year teaching on Friday and to say it was a learning experience is a huge understatement. One of my favorite lessons from the year was a simple, cheap, and easy idea that the students loved so much I did it twice! On the first and last day of school, I grouped the students up and gave them a blue balloon and a green marker and we made globes. Every 30 seconds they had to switch who was drawing so that everyone had a hand in the completion of the globe, and it gave them a chance to get to know each other at the beginning of the year.
The improvement from the beginning of the year to the end was amazing. At the beginning you would think they had never seen a map of the world before, inevitably Antarctica and Australia fell off the face of the earth, North America consisted of only the United States, and most of Europe and Asia were eaten by China. By the end of the year however, their mental mapping abilities were so much more advanced that we were back to seven continents and all was right In the world.
My favorite part about this activity was the reaction of my students and how much they changed from the first time to the second time. What started out as “Shouldn’t there be a big bump there” turned into “You forgot about India.” At least I can say I taught my students that much this year!
There are lots of balloon globe lessons out there. You may want to start with these: