I wanted to say that I am thinking and praying for all those affected the severe weather on Wednesday. It is truly heartbreaking to see such devastation. I live in an area that was hit pretty hard, and I'm so thankful to have come through the day safely.
...but, I'm so excited about geography! That has always been one of those units that I only taught because I had to. I have certainly always believed that it is important, but I've always had a difficult time making it fun for my students. However, I finally feel like I have found a way to make it exciting through the use of an independent study project for my high achieving students. I have created a geography enrichment unit where students complete three different activities from a choice board. Each of the choices on the choice board are from the three highest levels of Bloom's Taxonomy (analysis, synthesis, and evaluation). The unit includes teacher directions, check points to ensure students' progress, independent study contract, daily work log, choice board, student directions for each task, and a rubric.
Despite the fact that I have absolutely zero artistic ability, I still try to include art in my instruction. I believe that art helps engage my students, allows them to retain information better, and it's a lot of fun! During our Famous Americans unit I like to incorporate art through the creation of our American Heroes book. We have 9 different people that we study during this unit, and students complete one art project per person. Their art work in placed on one page in their American Heroes book, and informational writing about the person studied is attached to the opposite page.
For the Paul Revere picture, I print out a small picture of Paul Revere and then students glue the picture on a white piece of construction paper and complete the picture. They not only finish drawing Paul Revere, but also finish the scene of Boston. They typically try to include things in their picture to show what they have learned about Paul Revere (silver smith store, bell in church steeple, red coats, etc.).
The Frederick Douglass picture shows a small piece of a large quilt that students make to represent Frederick Douglass's life. Students draw an important event from his life in each square, and then they glue the squares together to make a quilt.
The school picture shows a scene from Mary McLeod Bethune's school in Daytona, Florida. In that project, students have to cut out and glue every feature of their picture. Not only do students have to think about what they might have seen at Mary McLeod Bethune's school, they can also learn about depth perception in this activity. The other picture shows a student's crayon resist of a fireside chat given by Franklin D. Roosevelt. The picture also shows how students glue their information below the picture. Some years I've had students write their own research, while other years I've had students copy a prewritten passage for handwriting practice, and this year I simply printed out the passage. There are many more projects in this unit!