Saturday, May 24, 2008

Map Making

The second graders study map making (I actually think every grade does this a little) so we did a little map art project that was really fun.

First I handed out about 20 books with maps in the end sheets. These were great fantasy and travel books. We looked at the illustrative qualities of the maps and the kids compared maps to see how the artists had portrayed the features differently. We also talked about the ornate borders that surrounded most of the maps, and the decorative compass roses. The students agreed that map making can really be an art form.

Next I had the students listen to a wonderful audio recording of Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are while we followed along in the book. You can hear the recording here and by the way, my kids LOVE all of these songs so much. Please check them out. They are wonderful.

Then we listed every place from the book that you could put onto a map. The list included things like Max's house, the ocean, the place where the wild things are, the tent that max sat in as king, the cave at the beach, mountains, forests, the coast, and many more.

The students and I worked together to come up with symbols for these different places. We talked about how making symbols is a way of being creative and that we could all have different symbols standing for the same things.

Then we started actually making our maps. The kids drew the major land masses and the ocean. It was so awesome to see how they all imagined the story differently. Some kids placed Max's home on a continent and the wild things lived on an island. Some kids put both places on islands. My favorite was one boy who put Max's house and the wild things on opposite sides of a large island.

We colored in these places with pastels. They had to make sure to put the colors of each place on the map legend correctly.

Next the drew symbols for the places we listed on the board. I asked that they each get a few specific places onto their maps, then they were allowed to choose a few more features to add. I LOVED seeing what they came up with. They also decorated their compass roses at this point. Some made them quite ornate. We drew these with fine tipped sharpie markers.

Next we drew in the path of Max's voyage. Some of the kids got really creative here and had max zig-zagging all through the ocean. I loved it. Then I handed out small color images of Max sailing in his boat and they glued this onto their maps, somewhere along the voyage.

The last thing we did was glue our maps onto larger sheets of paper and drew decorative borders around them, like the ones that we saw in the end sheets of the books.

My favorite part of the project was listening to the kids explain the story to their neighbors as they worked. Actually, that's my favorite part of all of our projects, but in this instance, it was especially pleasing. They loved adding their own little details to a story that is so familiar to all of us.

I only have one picture of this project, but they were all so delightful and all so different.

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