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    Blank Maps

    February 19, 2010 by Brandy Vencel

    My aunt was kind enough to get us a large, wall-sized laminated map for our geography lessons. However, I was still looking for something that was lap-sized, something they could hold an touch during our reading of Holling C. Holling’s Seabird.

    Seabird is lovely, teaching geography through story as only Holling could. Generally, during a Holling reading, I trace the path of the main character {in this instance, an Ivory Gull whose journey begins in Greenland} on the map on the wall using a whiteboard marker. If the children have a blank map on their laps, they can copy what I have done onto their own pages, reinforcing the lesson. Once they are tall enough {or I have it set up better, perhaps}, they will be able to take turns drawing the journey paths on the wall map.

    Anyhow, I have been on the lookout for a one-stop website from which to print maps. In the past, I believe I posted a link to some blank maps that would work for one specific Holling work, but I wanted something better. I wanted to be able to print whatever I needed, all from one source. North America? The whole world? A specific state?

    I wanted it all.

    And I do believe I’ve found it.

    Enter National Geographic’s MapMaker. This site is designed for map printing. There are three levels of “zoom,” as I like to think of it: the whole world, by continent, or an individual country. I can’t zoom into an individual U.S. state, but I assume that I could figure out how to cut the map down to what I want and then blow it up to fit a page if I really needed something so specific.

    This is going to be perfect for when we study the journeys of Marco Polo in Year Three.


    For those of you who wonder about this sort of thing: an average geography lesson, in which we read one chapter from a Holling book and trace the journey discussed, takes between ten and fifteen minutes. We average one of these lessons per week, though I do notice the children “practicing” with their maps on their own at times.

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