The objective of this grant is to provide up to date and accurate world maps and globes to each classroom at KBE. This grant will increase students access to, and understanding of, world maps, geography, Spanish place names, and map skills. By having a large world map present in every classroom, teachers will be able to better incorporate geography into many lessons including: literacy, social science, history, science and even math. Currently many classrooms either do not have a map at all, or have an outdated map with borders and countries that no longer exist. Additionally, all of the wall maps at our school are in English, even though we are a Spanish language school. When we need to use a Spanish language map, we either copy one, or use a few atlases. All students cannot peruse and view them regularly. With current wall maps and globes in Spanish readily available, students will be able to access them to make connections, understand where things are happening, find the distance and relationship between places, and become more knowledgeable about our world.
According to the US News and World Report, in America, "Nearly three-quarters of eighth-graders tested below proficient in geography on the 2014 National Assessment of Educational Progress – also known as the Nation's Report Card – and that's almost exactly the same result as in 1994."(Oct. 2015). The geographical understanding of our US students is appalling. We need to do better. When I went from classroom to classroom to see who had maps and who did not, and the state and use of those maps, it became clear to me that we needed high-quality, large, visible, Spanish-language maps in each classroom. We are a language school that teaches in Spanish and English. Spanish is widely spoken on three continents and English is spoken on every continent. When students or teachers read stories from other countries, they need to be able to reference IMMEDIATELY, where that country is, so they begin to see relationships about places and language and culture, and feel connected to the people and stories in a more meaningful way. Teachers can incorporate geography when they talk about math games - Mancala is a game from Africa - find Africa! When we teach about Día de Los Muertos - have students find México! Students can find the place(s) where their parents and grandparents came from, and find the places they have traveled. Maps are a physical way to visualize a very abstract concept - distance and place. By utilizing maps in our daily teaching, we can connect students with experiences, stories, lessons and activities that help them see themselves as global citizens. I have placed a small satellite map and a cheap physical map on my wall, and I refer to them daily. Students always want to refer to them and point to where we are talking about. It is a constant source of information and connection, but I can't encourage them to read it, since I teach in Spanish and the map place names are in English (with tiny text). We have some atlases in Spanish that simply say the continent names and few other details. Even for my first graders, they are not sophisticated enough to answer the questions that students have - daily. With large, easily readable and accessible world maps our KBE students will NOT grow up ignorant of our world geography!
Success for this program would be having and using the world maps in each classroom at KBE. Students would be able to point out and read about places, make comparisons and learn so much by connected the "where" to all of the content they learn. So much of science can be related to geography - from the study of physical sciences like rocks and volcanoes, to the study of life sciences like where animals live. When maps are utilized to make connections to literature, science, math and art as well as of course, social science and history - students will be enriched and our curriculum will be exponentially enhanced.
When the maps arrive, they will be delivered and placed in each classroom for immediate use. The teachers at KBE are excited and motivated to use and incorporate the maps into all areas of the curriculum.
This grant will be shared with every teacher at Kings beach Elementary including the support teachers who teach science, music, PE, and our Reading Intervention teacher to use in their classrooms.
Our parent organization (PACE) and Measure A funds are currently going toward funding experiences, like field trips and assemblies, and art, classroom and science supplies, as well as purchasing new technology and making sure each teacher has access to the same technology as all others. Neither group can fund these maps at this time with the prior commitments they are already funding.
Although at first glance it might seem like this would be something that the district should fund, unfortunately geography is not directly in any funding category. They aren't textbooks, literature, supplies, or even classroom furniture. I believe the last ones we received came with our remodel, so I looked into ordering educational, classroom maps in Spanish. The only ones I found were produced and made in Spain or Germany, and would come with a very high cost ($1200/map!). Additionally - they were too big, and took up too much wall space. We don't use pull-down maps. The whole point is for them to be seen and used while reading/teaching/discussing other matters. The maps and globes in this grant are economical, usable and available shipping-free!