This project just came home with my fourth grade daughter and it reminded me that it would be a good thing to share with teachers of that age group for back to school. This is actually the sixteenth year this project has been done by some or all of the fourth grade in my town. It was actually thought up by my friend Sara who used to teach fourth grade with me (and now teaches drama at the high school!). The thought process behind the project is pretty simple, but reveals so much about your students. Students are given a full size green construction paper and are asked to draw freehand (not trace) the continents’ outline on the paper. They then cut them out, glue them to a full-size blue paper and label them with the correct continent and ocean label. What’s the big deal you might be wondering, but I’m always amazed what I can find out about a child when they do this project. This project was traditionally done during the first six days of school during individual reading interviews.
How is their eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills when it comes to drawing and cutting?
Can they copy labels from one source to another?
Are they careful in their work habits when they are working on the project?
Who is done in 30 minutes (the rusher) and who is not done in three days (the perfectionist)?
Anyway, you get the idea. Nothing very time consuming, expensive, or fancy, but very information rich in the getting to know you part of the year.