Cutting across the content areas

Challenge:
Cutting across the content areas

Scenario:
I met with my tutee again. She has been remarkably good with attendance and we’ve never missed a session. Since she is working on maps in her class, I thought that we would reinforce some of her vocabulary by doing a map activity. We read the book Me on the Map, which is a cute little story that starts out in a bedroom and gradually expands to the world. This book is good because the language is simple, the pictures are interesting and it really makes the difference between a picture of a place and a map, clear. My tutee really likes books so we read the book and she described all of the pictures to me. While she is fairly solid in the concept of mapping I think the pictures, coupled with the map equivalents side by side in the book, really helped clarify the overall subject.

After we looked at the book, we looked at pictures and maps that were more relevant to this area. I have a digital camera so I took a picture of my bedroom and showed that to her. Last week we took a walk around her school to look at the neighborhood so we talked about what we saw and went outside to quickly refresh our memory. I also showed her pictures of San Diego from a tourist guide that I have and then pictures I took while living on the East Coast and while driving cross country. Then we looked at maps of all of these areas and tried to find correlations. This part proved a bit difficult becuase it’s hard to identify something from a photograph on a AAA map, but we managed by looking for big landmarks like rivers, oceans, and mountains. Unfortunately, I did not have a globe, but we improvised by using a ball and drawing the relative positions of each continent and then talked about flattening the globe to produce a map.

Our last mapping activity extended the story we read by having us make Me on the Map books for ourselves. We started with our bedrooms and got as far as our state. She did a really good job with her drawing and I encouraged her to label as much as she could in her picture. We used a picture dictionary to look up the words she didn’t know, but she really tried hard to incorporate all of the new vocabulary we’ve learned in our sessions so I was really proud of her.

Possible Strategies:
What a great idea to take a picture of your bedroom to personalize your lesson. The only times that you may not want to show too much where you live is in the case of having students who are homeless or very poor, especially is you have a fancy place. Again, that hinges on knowing the background of your student and being sensitive to his/her environmental realities.