Career Map

Let’s recap…..

1. Research projects that I teach should be short or I lose my mind.
2. I have kids who don’t like work.
3. I try to plan authentic instruction.
4. I try to teach information skills without being all “let’s learn the Dewey Decimal system.”

So I planned the State/Career project. Used a research guide. Collected books about jobs. Kids are actually interested in their topic. Not so much in the work.

And here we are to the product! I promised pictures and I finally have them!

Each student was charged with creating a simple 5×8 card with a title, image, paragraph, and colored border. I encouraged them to use color, but not to make their card messy. I’m a firm believer in white space. I also encouraged them to write at least 5 sentences related to their research questions.

I got a few that said “The army protects people. They shoot guns. It is a cool job.”  Ugh. In these cases…..their product didn’t reflect what the resources provided. But for these students it was a good conversation starter and I hope that the discussions I had with students were more meaningful to their life than maybe the research process was. I sat down with a few, opened the resources and pointed out the humanitarian efforts of the military, the variety of jobs actually involved, and the training needed.

Waaaayyy back when planning this unit, I had this idea for a visual presentation of our product. I have a great wall in the library that is underutilized. I keep colored foam panels on the wall and occasionally think to staple something to them. Here’s what I made and put up on my wonderful wall:

It looks a little bland, I know. But the idea in my head seemed impressive and when you look at it in person it’s not bad. I took a map of our state, divided by six (the number of panels between the cafeteria windows), and cut the map into strips. I used our Elmo document camera to enlarge each strip of the map. I traced it on bulletin board paper, used a really stinky marker to outline the edge and then laminated. Just in case you’ve never laminated something so wide, here’s how you do it. Fold it in half so the good side is on the outside. Run it through the laminator. Then carefully cut down the edge so that the paper unfolds. The top of the paper will be laminated and the back will be paper.

Getting the panels to stay on the wall was the tricky part, but little bits of Command Strips finally did the trick.

Once the map was up and the students finished their products, they put their cards on the map in the general area where they thought the job occurred. We put the football and NASCAR information near Charlotte, and jobs like firefighters, vets, and fast-food workers anywhere. The picture here is just the cards from one class. I still need to have the students in the other class add theirs.

The white background is why I stressed to the students that their card needed a colored border. I’ll be putting up a sign explaining the project at the end of the map.

Overall, this is a project I’ll try to repeat again, and improve!

April 16, 2011
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