Incorporating Geography in K-1 Classrooms with Maps and Technology

Foam map with push pins marking the different countries my students encountered in the CKLA stories we read.


How do you help your students understand geography in K-1?


                                 Foam map to track the different countries we encounter in our CKLA lessons


We started using CKLA Amplify this year and my students and I are really enjoyed it. I realized quickly during our Fables & Stories unit, that I would need to find ways to support their understanding of geography and where all the different countries they would be learning about are located.



Globes or Maps?

I have two globes, but it can be hard for my students to find things easily on them, and it is impossible to mark the locations. 


                                    Foam map to track the different countries and stories we encounter in our CKLA lessons


I found this gorgeous foam map on Etsy from Happy Place Art, and bought these bamboo push pins, (Amazon affiliate link) so that I could write a number on them. I wanted my students to be able to go back and reference the different countries we had learned about independently. 


Then I made a key to help my students see which country it was and what story or lesson we talked about it in. 


The key we used to keep track of the stories and the countries where they were written


Google Earth

We also use Google Earth to preview where each new story or unit will take place. My students share what they may know about the country and then we "travel" there!


A Google Earth image of France


France on Google Earth

You never know where you'll land -  in fact, one time we landed in a Home Depot store in France - of course when my principal stopped by for a visit! We usually try to do a city location and a countryside if possible, to give them a better idea of what each country looks like.



This really gave my students a better understanding of different regions around the world as the year, and the lessons, progressed.




Looking Up Close

Lakeshore Magnifying Glasses


During arrival time, my students love to look at the maps and globes up close. They use Lakeshore's magnifying glasses (Amazon affiliate link) to explore and find new cities and countries. I have a lot of EL students who love showing their classmates where their family is from.

How do you teach geography to your K-1 students? 

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