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    Ambleside Hints: Geography in Paddle-to-the-Sea

    July 11, 2008 by Brandy Vencel

    I have been thinking lately that when I find little tricks for Ambleside that work for me, I should share them here in case anyone else would find them helpful, or has a comment for me that will help me improve what is already working and make it even better.

    I say this a lot, but one of the beauties of blogging is collaboration.

    So anyhow, we are in the midst of our first week of school. It is going great, we really love Ambleside as much as we thought we would, etcetera, etcetera

    Paddle-to-the-Sea isYear One’s learning-geography-by-reading-literature book. Today was our first day reading it. So far, so good.

    What I wanted to share here was our collateral material. First, we have a giant foam puzzle-map of the USA that some relatives gave us. I am sure that any USA puzzle-map would be helpful, but it is fun when it is giant and made of foam.

    Just ask my three-year-old.

    Anyhow, we started with this because I wanted them to see the big picture {being the US, not the world}. So we looked at the map, and I had the six-year-old point out where we live, were Gigi lives, where his Great-Grandparents {in Florida} live, and so on. And then I asked him to look up at the top and find the Great Lakes area. I described it to him and he was able to find it on his own. We talked about the Great Lakes, how they are big enough to be mistaken for oceans when you stand on the shore, how Canada is on the other side of them, and other details. The point was for him to focus in on the Great Lakes in the context of the whole USA.

    At this point, he and the three-year-old {who is not about to be left out} were each handed a blank map, which I attained for free thanks to the Googling power of my incredibly handsome husband. Want a free Great Lakes map that is blank? You can have one, too! I copied and pasted it into a Word document so that I could enlarge it a bit.

    I had the children begin to color it. I put blue dots in the Great Lakes and had them start by coloring the Lakes blue. To the children, all these black lines mean nothing, so I tried to assist their coloring so that they actually make a map and not just a piece of modern art. They didn’t get through it all, but that is good because the map will be a work-in-progress which we get out each time we read a chapter of the book.

    Whatever they were able to color today, I labeled with a black marker. Eventually, we will trace the path traveled by Paddle-to-the-Sea on the maps which they have made.

    Incidentally, I discovered that my three-year-old is suddenly very good at coloring.

    Anyhow, these are just a couple simple tools, but I definitely saw them enhance the geography-learning experience.

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  • Reply Julie February 22, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    My son is about to start Y1 in the fall. We started AO this year with Y2 for my 7 year old. I absolutely have fallen in love with CM and so glad AO exists to make CM so accessible for us. Anyway, I stumbled upon this post of yours while getting things ready for next year and thought I would leave a comment:)

    • Reply Brandy Vencel February 22, 2015 at 10:23 pm

      Hi Julie! Glad you’re here. 🙂

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