1) Naming the Continents:
My primary class has been working on mapping skills since coming back from Chritmas break. After reading Follow that Map by Scot Ritchie, we looked at the world map and went through the continents. To help us learn their names, we watched "The Continents Song" on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apIzM6rywf0&safe=active (Thanks to Kathy at My Spare Moments for the idea.)
2) Tear Paper World:
Next, I provided each student with a sheet of 11 x 17 paper. We folded it in half and tore along the fold line. We put one half aside and folded and tore the second one in half. We kept folding and tearing one of the halves until we had 7 pieces of paper, the smallest 2 being the same size.
We again looked at the world map and compared and ordered the continents according to sizes. As well, we took note if the shapes of the continents were tall or wide. We labeled the pieces of papers starting with Asia as the largest one, down to Europe, one of the smallest ones, being careful to turn the papers either to portrait (tall) or landscape (wide). E.g. Asia is a wide continent, so we turned the paper to landscape.
Next, we discussed where the continents are situated in relation to the equator. I provided each student with a metre long piece of yarn, to represent the equator. Using the world map as a model, they laid out their yarn on there tables and placed their "continents" above, below or on the string as they appear on the map. We used the direction words throughout the the activity, as well as the continent names. For several days, at the beginning of each social studies class, my students repeated the above activity, becoming more and more familiar with the layout of the "world", which was necessary for the next lesson.
3) Paper Mâché Globes
I mixed 2 parts water white glue with 1 part water and cut newspaper into 1-2" strips. My students dipped the strips into the watery glue and covered the balloon with several layers of strips, criss-crossing as much as possible. It took us 2 classes to get it hard enough with students working in pairs.
4) Painting and Labeling:
The following day, the students again to took out their "continents", drew the shapes of the continents on them and cut them out to use as patterns. We traced them on with markers as pencil was difficult to see on the newspaper. They painted the continents green and oceans blue.
During the next class, they glued labels of the continents, oceans and the equator in the appropriate places. Finally, we invited one of the taller teachers to come and hang our creations from our fluorescent light. My students proudly admire their work each time they enter the classroom and eagerly tell all visitors the process of the project.
Not only do we have the best of both worlds in my classroom now, we actually have the best of THREE worlds, as that is how many paper mâché globes we created!