I'm am pleased to say that I have posted two more map sets on my store at Teachers Pay Teachers!
1. The Prairie Provinces
One of the challenges of drawing maps, besides finding reliable sources, is choosing what to include or not include. I have lived in various places, and like many other people, I lived in Winnipeg for a short time. I graduated from high school there! I remember that year (1979 to be precise) when the Red River flooded. I remember flying over the flooded fields when our band went to Kelowna – my first exposure to BC. I remember Brandon, Winkler, Steinbach and even the name of Flin Flon. Manitobans know that you can't drive to Churchill and that you can ski on the Red River Spillway in the winter. My experienced gave me a bias as to which places I should include on my maps. But the problem is that my experience is limited to Manitoba.
I had some ideas for Alberta since it's our neighbouring province and I hear stories from my in-laws and friends. Saskatchewan had me stumped, though. So I took to the internet and tourism sites to learn about Saskatchewan. And you know what? It was interesting!! I learned a bit about the Rebellion at Cypress Hills, and the Doukhobor Dugout built in 1899, and about Fort Qu'Appelle and the fur traders, about Claybank Brick Factory, and even a bit about Swift Current petroglyphs. And that's just scraping the surface. My friend, Dale, had just cycled through the prairies and he mentioned various places (and ghost towns) along the way. So with a limited amount of research completed, I put together a map of The Prairie Provinces. Included are maps with and without cities, lakes, or rivers so the maps would be useful for Grade 3s learning about the regions, to Grade 5s learning about explorers and fur traders, to high school learning about significant places in Canada's political history.
I look forward to drawing detailed provincial maps, like the one I did for BC. Perhaps I can even do some written work at low-level reading or some Canadian-based editing paragraphs on our fascinating history. I love learning!!
2. A Political World Map
When I was teaching Socials in Grade 6, I was often hard pressed to find a decent printable map of the world. It took me hours of research to find one that I could use as my source.
I struggled to decide which map projection I would use, and I just may draw the others in time. I like the Interrupted Goode's map that looks like an orange peel. It represents a more accurate land area. The Mercator, used by Google Maps, is great for navigation but makes Greenland look larger than Australia. I was not happy with the distortion. I settled on the Robinson map, which is what Rand McNally atlases use.
After a couple of tries drawing the map on an 11x17" paper, I decided to draw this map a bit larger than the final product. It took two large sheets of my particular paper. The extra large map allowed me to outline the tiny nations with greater precision. Even still, some of the countries are so small that even my 0.3mm pen was not fine enough. I could use a 0.1mm pen, but the lines disappear in the reduction process. Drawing the map larger then reducing the size in InDesign gave the small countries better representation. Please note that this map is created by a human – the accuracy is not perfect. But for education and showing data, it will do perfectly.
Once complete, I formatted the map for Tabloid size (11x17") and created four versions of it in that size, with and without various labels. Since letter-size is not perfectly scalable, I laid out the map in Letter-sized and then again in Legal-sized formatting.
Now for some theory. Map literacy is not about colouring the countries, although that can be fun. It's about showing relationships. This map can be used in a variety of ways: colour French-speaking nations or Spanish-speaking nations, or colour countries according to population density. Do you notice any patterns? Perhaps draw lines showing export and import relationships or according to Gross National Product. These are the data that will begin to teach kids mapping literacy. It's more than teaching the 'alphabet' of maps, like lat/long, symbols, compass, etc. Now more than ever, students need to evaluate maps and decide on their validity. I'm afraid I've started on a slippery path that will end up in another unit "Teaching Map Literacy." Back to work!!
I am thrilled that my maps are starting to sell on Teachers Pay Teachers. It motivates me to create more beautiful maps. I've uploaded another map that teaches students about watersheds. A watershed, on a small scale, is a distinct area of land the drains into a river. That river flows to a larger river and so on until that water dumps into an ocean. These large areas we call basins.
We west coasters are familiar with the Great Continental Divide that splits North America in two. The Continental Divide creates the southern portion of the BC/Alberta provincial boundary but extends from the Arctic Ocean all the way south to Central America. We have seven basins in North America, one of which doesn't even lead to an ocean: Pacific Ocean Basin, Arctic Ocean Basin, Mississippi River Basin, Great Basin, Atlantic Ocean Basin, St. Lawrence River Basin, and the Hudsons Bay Basin.
Studying the drainage basins can be part of any number of areas of study: How do landforms affect the ability to settle land? What part did rivers make in settling North America? To what extent does the treatment of a watershed affect the areas downstream? How does water quality differ in various parts of a watershed?
Project Based Learning has been mandated by the Ministry of Education. Here's an idea of what this could look like. Divide the class into several small groups assigning a different drainage basin to each group. Have student imagine that they are traveling from the top of the basin to the ocean or outflow (except for the Great Basin which has no outflow). Choosing an area of interest (shelter, food, clothing, Indigenous groups, population density, etc.), students will discover the changes along the way.
Another Project Based Learning Idea could include having students create a map of the European drainage basins to see if drainage basins correlate with political borders. In North America, political boundaries are not dictated by drainage basins, but in Europe, it is more common. Why is this?
This mapping unit includes two maps in letter and tabloid size, with and without legends. There is a mapping assignment page along with a jpeg of a finished map. It's only $2.00US at TPT.
I was challenged by my son-in-law, a historian in his own right, to create a map of indigenous peoples without political borders. Land ownership, to the aboriginal people, was not a concept that was used. The land provided what they needed, and when it couldn't, they simply moved. It wasn't until the European explorers came that the concept of land ownership was adopted. Understanding history helps us to understand the emotion behind a culture.
I created a mercator style map of North America so that Greenland and Iceland were more accurately represented in terms of land mass. From there, I researched and found 12 cultural areas within North America. Each area is actually identified by its geographical area, and the indigenous people developed their cultures based on what the land could provide for them.
This peeked my curiosity and I started to research how each geographic area was used to meet the indigenous people's basic needs. When I taught Grade 6, we studied cultures. When studying a culture, one of the first things we would do is look at how a culture meets their needs of food, clothing and shelter. These needs are highly influenced by the environment. Other areas we looked at was how a society organizes themselves be it family or government. Finally, we looked at how a culture expresses themselves. This is language, art, and religion.
Based on the target grade level (Grade 3 for Canada and Grade 5 for the US), I chose to centre my writing on how the tribes of each region met their basic needs. I touched on how they organized themselves as I could without going into too much detail. Again, focusing on what students with limited life experience could understand - families and villages.
The unit is 34 pages large. The maps and charts are in both letter and tabloid size to accommodate younger students or students who struggle with dexterity. The text is written in short sentences to accommodate younger readers and each page has an illustration that will be of interest to young students. I've included lots of suggestions on how this unit can be used, what kind of extended learning can be supported, and what inquiry based projects can be assigned given the new BC curriculum standards. Below are some thumbnail images of what is included in the unit.
If you end up using it, please let me know how you used it and fire me some suggestions to make it better. Thanks so much for your support. Click here to go to the unit on my TeachersPayTeachers store.
My store is up and running. I am resurrecting my mapping skills to create maps for teachers to use. For years I was frustrated with the lack of helpful blackline maps and the ones I found didn't have the information I wanted. With some input from my good friend, Debbie, who has taught Grade 3 for many years, and my experience teaching Grade 6, I have put together some maps of Canada.
Mapping was something I was always good at it. Shortly after university, I was fortunate to be employed by the Dewdney-Alouette Regional District where my primary responsibility was to update the various maps. So using those latent skills, and my newly developed skill of laying out (courtesy of PNW Diver Magazine), I've put together this series of 11 different maps in two sizes. These maps are hand-drawn and artistically designed to delineated land from the ocean. There's even a sea serpent in the corner!
I have more maps on the go and will soon upload a map of BC. Then I'll work across the country. I also plan on developing some grammar based editing units that will have a Canadian focus. Much of what we use in our lessons are American based, but it seems that our Canadian students could stand to learn a bit more about our incredible history since it's not explicitly taught until Secondary school. But I won't just stick to that. I'm working on one article about the History of Mac & Cheese. What's not to love about that? It's time to make editing paragraphs a little more relevant.
If you are curious about what I'm creating, click on the link 'TPT Store' on the menu above. If you are a teacher and would like to request a particular map that you want to be drawn, please let me know!
As I began my journey to rekindle my love for drawing, a few things got in the way. So my drawings may need to take a back seat for a few weeks. Bummer!
I took a short-term contract teaching grade 6 for the month of January. It's full time. I'll be teaching primarily Math and Science with a bit of Art and French thrown in for good measure. Math is easy for me and we'll be learning about negative and positive numbers, so that's fun. Science will be a bit more interesting. We'll begin by learning microscope parts, doing a short lab on using the microscope which will wrap up their unit on Diversity of Life. Then I will introduce electricity starting with static electricity. Too bad I can't use my newly acquired knowledge on the light spectrum.
I think I'll do some painting with a bamboo brush, if I can find enough brushes that don't cost too much. I thought it would be fun to learn how to paint bamboo and leaves and maybe a chinese character. That plan depends on the integrity of the students.
French is always awkward since I don't speak it. At least my accent is OK courtesy of my Portuguese. Mostly, I need to teach them not to hate it. I think I can manage that. haha. I'm looking forward to getting to know a class for a change. As a TOC (Teacher On Call) that's a rarity.
On top of school preparation, January is the month that the magazine, PNW Diver, is supposed to be published. I have most of my material, thankfully. I'll need to use my evenings to work on the articles. I'm not sure when I'll get it out.
So, wish me well. I'll try to get some dives in to maintain sanity and post any artwork I do or some really good stuff the kids do. Cheers.
It is indeed getting harder and more tempting to skip a lesson. We tend not to like to do things that are hard, and when one is self-learning as I am doing with this adventure, the motivation isn't always there. This is the reason for putting it in blog format. You are my teachers and hopefully you'll keep me to task should I wander.
The drawing lesson wasn't too difficult. Cubes and variations of the cubes. In this case, what it's teaching me is patience. I'm also working on adding silly features to my drawings to make them more fun. This lesson actually incorporated several days worth of lessons. It is similar to my emergency art lesson when I teach middle school.
This was the hard one. Pencil is by far my medium of choice. Watercolor, however, confounds me. There seems to be such little control of watercolour with surprising results. Usually, I'm not pleasantly surprised. This lesson involved a bamboo brush and ink to create a wash. The idea was to create gestures, not an exact replica. That's a stretch for me. Instead of doing a person, I drew my sleeping cat. The first image is without the pen and ink added. I'm not sure which I like better. I'm not unhappy with it. Read between the lines there. ;)
This post shows three lessons using three different mediums: pencil, pen and ink, and charcoal.
The first one is an extention of Kistler's sphere drawings. My task was to create a fanciful situation where spheres are built upon spheres. Based on Kistler's sample, I created this other-world land. Using really soft pencils I tried hard to get really dark shaded areas. I'm pretty happy with how it came out.
The next assignment was a pen and ink using a calligraphy style pen. Although not truly calligraphy, this nib gave me line variation. I discovered that for me, it's easier to be more free flow if the subject is right in front of me and not a photograph. Interesting.
The last assignment was the toughest for me: charcoal and people. Charcoal and animals would be better, but if I'm going to learn, I should stick with the assignment. I know the proportions are wrong – baby's head is way too smalI. I have so much to learn when it comes to portaiture. But it's a start. Yes?
I found myself really looking forward to drawing today. I wasn't called into work (at first) so I spent some time in my jammies with a cuppa, drawing.
Here are the drawings for today. The bamboo ink was particularly enjoyable. I look forward to using that medium again!