Saturday, February 1, 2014

Sparking Motivation & Currently February

Happy February everyone!

It's time for another Sparking Student Motivation Saturday with Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching. 

Here's a little peek at how I've been motivating students in Social Studies. Lately, we have been working on our Maps and Globes Unit. Let me tell you, maps aren't too exciting.

We have been discussing the parts of a map - title, compass rose, cardinal/intermediate directions, key/legend, and a scale. This week, we have been discussing how to use a globe by following the lines of latitude and longitude, as well as how the earth is divided into hemispheres. One of the first things that I made was my own map of the United States to model the important parts of a map.

To combine our concepts, I wanted to come up with a culminating activity that they would be motivated to do - not just another "make a map" project. I assigned them a challenge to create their own 51st state! They needed to include a scale, compass rose, map key/legend, a title, and extra information about their state. We presented them on Friday, and I have to say, they look fantastic! My students are so creative - take a look at how they came out!

Also, to celebrate the start of a new month, I'm linking up with Farley from Oh' Boy Fourth Grade for her Currently February!

My 2 Truths and a Fib: 
Truth: I've swam and kissed a stingray. 
The two times that my family has been fortunate enough to go to the Cayman Islands, I've been able to swim with the stingrays in Stingray City. While my poor mom was dragged into doing this the first time, I think she actually came willingly this summer when she realized how cute and friendly the stingrays are. It's such an amazing experience - and you get seven years of good luck for kissing them! 

Truth: I plan to do my first marathon this year. 
Last fall, I did my first 5K at Color Me Rad. This year, I'd love to do a full marathon. I'm not going to go too crazy on the training aspect, but I am going to start training in the summer in hopes that I can run in the fall in my city!

Fib: Sorry Colorado fans, but I'm not rooting for ya'll to win this one.
While I don't follow football much (at all), I am rooting for the Seahawks. Eli the Ape (who has correctly predicted the Super Bowl for six years in a row) picked them too, just for the record. While I'm not sure what this means, ESPN thought it was a big deal. 

Okay, now it's YOUR turn! Head on over the Farley's blog to link up what you're currently up to!


  1. Swimming with a stingray. What an amazing thing!! And good luck with the grammar fun you are planning.

  2. Isn't it ironic that Eli the Ape didn't pick Peyton Manning's team for the win... I mean come on Eli is the name of Peyton's brother right??? thanks so much for linking up..

  3. For the record, I was not dragged. We sailed the nearly five miles to Stingray City on a catamaran, and, yes, I loved every minute--both times. --Mom

  4. Your map is gorgeous! Great job Stephanie! How motivating to create their own state-I'm loving Dancetopia!!! Creative! Thanks for sharing and linking up!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  5. I'm currently teaching 4th grade in Florida, but the past 4 years I taught 4th grade in NC. In SS we studied our state, and I WISH I would have heard about your great idea during that time! Seriously, create your own state? Genius! It makes them learn all about a state first, and then incorporate that information into their project. Awesome job, lady! :)

    The 4th Grade Journey

  6. I loved that you had students create their own maps... I used to do a similar project and the students always loved it! They turned our really well!

    Well, I guess my Broncos are going down if Eli picked the Seahawks! I love superstitions. I didn't know he was currently the reigning orangutan of the Super Bowl! Thanks for sharing!

    Have a great weekend!
    My Shoe String Life

  7. What a clever idea to have students create their own 51st state! Great way to think outside the box!

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  8. Hi there! New to your blog, and found you from Farley's linky! I'm excited to read more. I love your currently February about running. I wish I could make myself do a half marathon. This last year I ran my first 5K and it wasn't horrible.... Then I did a Color Me Rad race as well. It was so fun!! I am currently pregnant so I'm not going to start training now, but maybe that's a good goal for this summer. Can't wait to hear how everything goes. Make sure to keep us posted!
    Mrs. Bentin's Blackboard

  9. Love the student maps - letting them be creative is a great way to teach mapping skills! Good luck on the marathon training. Woohoo Seahawks!!

  10. Love this idea! I will have to use it with my kids. They love projects like this!
    I {Heart} Recess