May 10, 2012

World Tour: Travel, Communication & Climate

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Read First Rain which is also integrated into the Next Time section of this unit's literacy lesson.

Ask questions such as:  Why was the family traveling?  Where is Israel?  How did they get there?  What do we know/want to know about life in Israel?

Everyone experiences travel in some capacity.  Travel can be navigating across town, country, or globe.  Accompanying the different distances we travel are the different ways we travel.  Walking, biking, driving, and the subway or bus are appropriate ways to travel across town.  In some cases, people might even take a boat, but they would never take a plane.  Likewise, a person can travel by plane or boat to go across the globe, but driving is not always possible and walking is most definitely inefficient.

Work with the children to develop a tree map (Thank you Thinking Maps for your brilliant cross-content graphic organizers!) about the ways people travel.

     1.  "Ways People Travel" will be your overarching theme written at the top of the map.
     2.  Use "Across Town", "Across Country", and "Across Globe" for the secondary headings under the overarching theme.
     3.  Under the secondary headings is where you will put input from the students: the method of travel used.  You can list all the options that are within regular possibility.  If someone offers something off-the-wall like taking a rocket ship to travel between states, discuss why that wouldn't work, but be sure to reveal when it would work.  Consider adding a fourth category to the tree map: travel across planets!  

(It is helpful -as usual- to include pictures along with the text.  You can make these up ahead of time, as you already know what type of input the students will offer, or you can make simple sketches as the students offer answers.)

Hang the thinking map in a place where the children can come back to it later in the week.

I've been looking for a children's book about forms of communication without any luck.  Maybe I should write one!  Really though, your children should have no problem thinking of the ways people communicate.  The thing that may be more difficult is sharing with them the ways people used to communicate in the past.

Review First Rain.  In what ways does the family in Israel communicate with the grandmother?  (Answers:  Phone, Email)

Ask the children, in what ways their families communicate with friends and family.  (Possible Answers:  Home phone, Cellular phone, Email, Skype, Text messages, Facebook, Blogs, Letters, Cards, Postcards, Notes on the kitchen table or in the lunch box, Shouting across the street, etc.)

Can they recognize what sort of device is used for each of these modes of communication?  Combine in a box items to symbolize each mode of communication.  In addition to actual phones and stationary, you might use pictures of logos or (a picture of) a computer.

Hold up each object and encourage them to identify it and say for what it is used.  Notice how many mode of communication involve a computer!  You might also include items or pictures of items for modes of communication from the past:  typewriter, telegraph, an old style phone, telegram, etc.

Next Time
When we consider travel across town, country, or globe, we must also consider the climate of those places.  It may be the same or different from where we are now.

The book First Rain describes the climate found in Israel during the summer and fall:  hot dry summers and raining coming in the fall.  It also tells about the food grown in this climate:  figs, dates, vegetables, pomegranates, etc.

For each place in the world, its climate determines the amount and type of precipitation it receives when and for how long during the year.  Climate is also what makes places cold, warm or hot when and for how long during the year.  Precipitation and temperature determine what kind of food can be grown, the types of houses people will live in, the clothing they will wear, and sometimes the work the people will do.

Read:  On the Same Day in March:  A Tour of the World's Weather written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Frane Lessac.  This book is a wonderful introduction to the various climates of the world, and will help open children's eyes to the fact that others in the world are experiencing very different weather right at this moment.

     1.  Provide children a wide array of books about climates of the world to flip through and skim.  You probably already have a few, and your library almost surely has many more.  Help them study the pictures.

     2.  Encourage children to casually share with each other what they find as they flip the pages.  Through your conversations, help them draw conclusions about the pictures they see.  Which things go together in one climate?  (i.e. polar bears, ice, snow, seals, glaciers).  Which things do not go together in the same climate?  (i.e.  lions, oceans, snow, big cities)

     3.  Have children choose one type of climate to draw a picture of.  Make sure they include only things that are really part of that particular climate.

Other good reads:  Somewhere in the World Right Now by Stacey Schuett, A Drop Around the World written by Barbara McKinney and illustrated by Michael S. Maydak, and A Child's Introduction to the World:  Geography, Cultures, and People - From the Grand Canyon to the Great Wall of China written by Heather Alexander and illustrated by Meredith Hamilton.

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