When the Map Stole the Show…


When the map stole the show, I knew I was going to have to change our next few weeks around.

In my last blog post, I wrote about how important and beneficial it is to create a community in our classrooms.  I acknowledged that this shouldn’t be just a few beginning of the year lessons and games, but a conscious commitment to make, model, and strengthen student/teacher relationships on a day-to-day basis.  My goal in this blog is to reflect and write about ways I can build a strong sense of community in my preschool classroom, one experience at a time.

This week I took my class on a field trip to the Eno River to experience a day of “camping”.  It’s amazing how many of our pre-kindergarten learning objectives this field trip covered (but don’t tell them, to these guys they were just having a super fun time!).

Activities at the Eno:img_4227img_4291

  • Map/location skills-Following a map down the trail.  Pointing out locations depicted on map (river, bridge, crossing trail, cabin, camp site)
  • Environment- camp/fire safety, Leave No Trace, pollution
  • Changes- exploring seasonal change, animal adaptations, how humans adapt
  • Cooking -following directions to cook our lunch (hot dogs), assembling s’mores, cooperating in a group
  • Reading/Observing- nature scavenger hunt, classification, physical properties
  • Listening/Speaking- enjoying a story in the tent, making predictions, singing around the campfire

The list of what we did at the Eno and how it relates to our learning objectives could go on and on, but what the majority of my students LOVED the most was following the trail map!

A crucial part in developing a community in my classroom, is being flexible and intuitive enough to see what excites my students and CHANGE my plans and expectations to fit their needs and curiosities.  Because my class is so fascinated with maps, I have been thinking about how to support this inquiry into my classroom. (Disclaimer:  I kinda have our next two months planned out, and they did NOT include mapping activities!)  This is the point that I, teacher, have to force myself out of my comfort zone to try some new things to keep my classroom a community that is shaped from the students’ interests, not my agenda.

In my reinveting planning I have found these books, so far,  to use which are developmentally appropriate for the students in my class.

I also have found these following sites to be helpful in creating activities to bring mapping to life inside my classroom! Map making in prek and 3D Penny Maps

Also, another great resource I’ve found: The Early Math online environment.  It’s full of ideas to support real-world teaching. One of their goals is to “provide resources that have practical implications for teaching, affecting attitudes and practices as well”. Find lesson ideas from pre-k to 3rd grade. Check it out!Awesome Math Resource

So,  inspired by my students excitement about maps, I am off (and excited too!) to bring these new lessons and ideas to my classroom.  Because my students had an authentic experience with using maps at the Eno this past week, we will have a lot of vocabulary and memories to scaffold upon!

If anyone has tips or suggestions in mapping in early grades that you tink might benefit our pre-k classroom, I’d love for you to share with me your ideas!


One thought on “When the Map Stole the Show…

  1. brennalche October 18, 2016 / 3:39 pm

    I love how you were able to take your students on a day of camping. This is so awesome because it allows the students to learn so much. This will be something they remember for a long time. It’s so great that you have recognized what your students find interesting and adapt to their likes.


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