What we are using

08 December 2007

Around the World in 8 1/2 Days - Geography unit designed by a first grader and Megan Mcdonald

CC loves reading Judy Moody books by Megan Mcdonald. They are at just below her reading level and she loves feeling competent when she reads them. There is a good deal of debate about how much and what children should read and the quality of literature that they should read. This post is not about that. This post is about how a book can inspire a child.

Next week, CC and I are going to begin a journey around the world. I have intended to do a geography unit this year, but it has slipped so I did what always seems to work around here. I asked my daughter for advice about how she would like to study geography. She, of course wanted to do it the way that Judy Moody did.

We are going to read about Nellie Bly, woman reporter. We are going to watch Around the World in Eighty Days. We are also going to learn about 11 countries in 8 1/2 days. We will learn where they are, what their flag looks like, we will cook a dish from that country, learn a little language, and learn what games are played in the country.

We will start the unit with a paper mache earth which we will make, paint and label during the week. CC is going to read Around the World in 8 1/2 Days as her daily reading. We have the list of countries that the class studies in the book. Each day we will look up one or two countries, find them on a map, draw the flag, research our other topics and find a recipe from that country. I also ordered It Can't Be Done, Nellie Bly! which we will be buddy-reading during the next two weeks.

This whole plan for geography came from my first grader. She was inspired to learn more based on something she had read for fun. I am not an advocate for child-led learning; however, I can't argue with a good idea when I hear one. There has to be room in education for ideas, inspiration and delight.

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