Tuesday, February 16, 2016

What if we made a map?

This is a Tuesday Slice of Life for Two Writing Teachers
Check out their website for many more reflections on teaching.

We had such a crazy start to our day, today. Yesterday's 'wintry mix' concluded with torrential rains this morning, causing a two-hour delay for school. My commute was exhausting. I arrived at school completely soaked, having negotiated sidewalks flooded with melting snow and running water, and I witnessed my umbrella breaking into three parts due to the high winds. Yes, it was a wild walk from the metro to school. I am thankful that I had a day with preschoolers, who would readily accept me in wet clothes and socks but no shoes. We could have fun together!

I knew that arrival time would be frenzied for families, too, with children arriving at varied times. I also knew that our time at centers would be truncated...we needed to get right into the fun.

I cut a large piece of cardboard to cover our table, and this, in and of itself, delighted the children. We had never done this before! I got out our markers and our rulers. I challenged the children to think about the maps we had seen in Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton. What if we drew a map of our city? Of course! Yes! We can do this!

The children traced the contour of found objects to create buildings, houses, stores, ballparks (Go, Nationals!), and playgrounds. The rulers made great roads and train tracks, plus the children could measure which roads were longer, which were shorter. The children searched through the found objects to create make-believe people (marker caps were particularly good), and the children counted steps as these 'marker people' walked the roads. The children also enjoyed drawing people, animals, sunshine, and other features on the map.

Before we knew it, it was time to clean up. Tomorrow, we'll continue our work - writing labels or perhaps using the map as a base on our floor in the block corner...maybe we'll build 3-d buildings for the map, out of our small blocks. We'll see!


  1. Would love to hear a description of that eventful walk, sounds like it could be a story in itself! Love the cardboard idea, brilliantly 'durable'

  2. What a challenge to the students! Sounds like a great day and more fun to come.

  3. I am in awe of you being able to make maps preschoolers!

  4. Sounds just terrific. I know she's older, but our school is out this week & Ingrid spent the day with me. She spent much of the morning creating a map of my house, complete with an invasion of zoo animals! The imagination & silliness was a joy to see, & she added details after details. There is something about maps that delight, even in my very much older young adolescents. Thanks for taking the time, even wet, to document for us, Maureen. Hope the weather clears!