Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Aargh! Exploring Maps: Pirate Style!

I am knee-deep in maps, and I am loving it!  I am in the middle of tweaking/teaching a unit about map basics like the parts of a map, the difference between maps & globes, and a whole slew of other fun stuff!  The kids are LOVING the pirate theme, and I am too!  I'm hoping to make the unit available by the end of the week, so keep your peepers peeled.  In the meantime... here's a peek at what we've been up to!  {Forgive the cell phone photos.  I didn't plan ahead!}  This is our hula hoop compass! I usually have the kiddos gather around me on the floor in a big oval when we do anything involving a hula hoop except for the clock on the white board.  As an alternative, I played around with the idea of hanging the compass up as the kiddos shared out directional schema.  :) You can find the pirate goodies HERE!  Happy Map-making!

The kiddos used our classroom examples to fill in their own compass template, and then they came up with their own mnemonic devices to remember the cardinal directions.  Sure, we've all heard the saying, "Never Eat Soggy Waffles", but what about, "Never Eat Sweaty Wrestlers" or "Never Explode Soggy Watermelon"?!?!  Those were pretty new to me... and of course... humor is totally brain compatible and aids in memory retention.  :)  Just sayin'. Give them five minutes to get their creative juices flowing!  I promise, you won't regret it!

In other news, we completed Amy Lemons' adorable Camilla Cream craftivity today to work on cause & effect.  It was the perfect anecdote to give my kiddos more cause & effect practice prior to their big test on "Wings" in Reading Street.  {Plus, third grade RS buddies, it fits in nicely with the theme of Unit 4: being unique and being yourself. Cha-ching!}  You'll definitely want to snag a copy of Amy's adorable freebie!  We are running out of basically every kind of paper imaginable, and we are on a white paper ration in particular, so please forgive our mish-mash of papers.  I am pretty sure we never have black construction paper, so we improvised!  You just make it work, ya know!  :)  "You get what you get, and you don't throw a fit!"  I try to practice what I preach!

We also spent a little bit of time doing a President's Day activity.  When I say "a little", I mean it.  In third grade, we don't exactly have a lot of extra time to delve into holiday fun, so I pulled out the President's Day Popsicle Stick Interactive Lesson from Lesson Plan S.O.S.  Instead of following the rules and following their lesson, this year, I decided to pull the kiddos back to the floor and simply make a Venn together.  We've been comparing and contrasting like crazy lately, so of course, it was only a matter of time before one little peanut said, "Mrs. Nickerson!  This is Social Studies and Reading... all... together... whoaaa!"  It's sometimes the little things that blow their minds, isn't it?! Anyway, this is a great resource to have on hand.  I am looking forward to taking the presidential study a little deeper once we hit our Government unit later in the year!  For now, I'm going to hit the proverbial pause button.  :)  Have a great week, friends!  Happy Hump Day!


  1. Thanks for sharing all your creative ideas! Love your pirates!

    First Grade Brain Sprinkles

  2. I love the pirates theme! Your class must have eaten the lesson up. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I completely {heart} the pirates! What a great lesson to engage everyone :) Camilla Cream is one of my faves too :) Thanks for always sharing your fab ideas!

    Lisa :)
    Made In The Shade In Second Grade

  4. I totally want to do a Pirate week in May (otherwise known as the longest month of the year) so I will be keeping an eye out for your pirate unit!


  5. I love the pirate theme too, probably since my home school growing up was the Pirates. :) We're doing pirate stuff right now and I just created a Marshmallow Matey graphing unit to go with it (similar to Lucky Charms graphing we've probably all seen). My kids loved it. If you haven't seen the cereal before, it's usually with the bulk generics.

    Ms. Fultz's Corner

  6. Thank you so much for sharing all your creative work. Your Pirate map unit will be perfect for next week. I hope it works out for you to finish it up. I can't wait to buy it!!

  7. I haven't thought of using a pirate theme when talking about maps! I love that idea!


    Apples and ABC's

  8. I love this! I can't wait to see this posted in your store. We do maps at the beginning of the year, and this looks like a terrific unit to use with it. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Thanks so much for sharing! I love the pirates and maps! I'm your newest follower :)

    Please come check out my blog as well!

    ;) Chrissy

  10. Okay, I am in love. You have been on my blog roll FOREVER and I am so, so, sooooo sorry I have not stopped by and left you comments.

    Amanda, you are an inspiration to me. I feel blessed to have found your blog because your amazing ideas help me be a better teacher to my kiddos and for that there are no words to tell you how much that means to me.

    I truly believe God brings certain people into our lives to touch our hearts and you have done that to me. Thank you.

    I am so excited to go grab your maps unit. We are going to be doing bossy r soon and the 3 sounds of -ed. I have some activities with the Pirate Tweets that will go so well with this. I would love to send it to you and have you tell me what you think. =)

    Bloggy blessings to you!

    Heather's Heart