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March 17, 2021

Practicing States and Capitals...

Okay... Since I'm trying to share everything I've been doing since moving to 5th grade, I figured I would share about the orange folder in my file cabinet.  When I first moved to 5th - four years ago, I had no clue what I was getting into.  


I mean I knew the 5th grade teachers always looked like they were on the brink of a little crazy... but they seemed like they were always having so much fun too.  

I then jumped head first into the craziness and am absolutely loving it.  

I love the hands on projects, the community service, and the teamwork that comes from being part of an amazing team.  Even if it's a bit extra.  :)  

I also learned about States and Capitals. There are many ways for kids to practice identifying their states and capitals.  I have also learned over the years that thrift stores usually carry a lot of ways to practice the states for super cheap.  My room is full of flash cards, erasable maps, floor puzzles, and even a huge rug that I was gifted through Donors Choose.  

Well not this year... the rug and all that stuff are tucked away because the kids can't use them... :( 

But we are watching the Tour the States video from Youtube.  If you haven't watch it yet, then do it.  That's your homework today.  The song may drive you a little batty when you've listened to it a million times, but it's so catchy that you probably won't care.

Now for the tests, in our grade level, we have an organization of 10 weeks of states with approx. 5 states each week. We have the Western States for the first 1-24. Then we have the Eastern States with the last 26. Each week these specific numbers are matched onto a blank map of the USA. Those maps are what's tucked inside that orange folder...  We also do a cumulative quiz after the Western, the Eastern, and a full 50 at the end.  

We give them a week or two to practice the specific list.  Just the 5 to focus on.  This year I'm adding them to our Weekly Breakdown. Usually the kids write them in their planners. 

We usually start at the beginning of the year and alternate a set of states for 2 weeks, and a spelling list for the alternating 2 weeks.  I liked that system a lot.  

Then this year started and there was no way we could add that into the plan right away.  Too much other stuff.  So I waited until we were in our Colonial American unit and started the states with identifying the 13 colonies.  

Yep - it felt super weird starting on the other side of the country since my brain is engrained Western States first, but the kids were able to identify the colonies as we were already comparing and contrasting between New England, Middle, and Southern. 3 weeks. That was in December.  

Then in January my class started with the Western set, and this week started on the Eastern.  We took a couple of weeks off with the end of the trimester.  Life has been kind of crazy.  

How are we doing this online?  I'm still using those same map tests each week.  I add an assignment into our TEAM with the list of the states, and then I post the map in our Friday meeting.  I snap at picture of the map with my phone, and upload it into our meeting conversation using the phone app.  The kids identify the states/numbers from the map and put it next to the specific state in the assignment page.

I know kids can easily cheat on this online platform, so I have added in another layer.

To get full credit they also have to submit a screenshot of their clicks over from this website. Each week their goal is to improve their number of clicks.  If they improve each week over there, then they get that extra point to bump their final state quiz to the top level.  

Most of my class is now at 50 clicks for 50 states.  And they love to practice. So much so that I sent messages to my 50/50 kids to give them a week off, and they wanted to keep practicing.  

Hope you had a great day!

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