I’ve noticed that a lot of adults, let alone children, have a terrible knowledge of political geography. Many have not even heard of some countries, let alone know their capital cities or where they are in the world. To help my class get one up on the world I’ve been running ‘country of the week’ where we have a small display and link each country, however I can, to the current topic. A lot of the work we put up is now done at home by choice and therefore doesn’t take up any class time.
To start with I used my guided reading sessions and had one group focusing on sentence work using information books on that country. I still do this now but also offer team points for any work brought in from home which encourages the children to write at home.
We started with European countries during the Autumn term. This half term we are doing North America and after the half term holiday we will cover South America. For now I’m going to recap the links I made for some of the countries and after this post I will start writing a weekly, detailed post on each country we cover; this week is Mexico. Since the photos of my displays are on my phone I will also post a separate, photo only post to go alongside this one (apologies for this being text only, I always find them less enthusing).
For our first week back in September, we focused on our own country so the children could write about places they had visited within Great Britain over the summer holidays. We also recapped and discussed the Olympics.
France + Norway
The topic for Autumn term was ‘Defending the Realm’ with a starting focus on the Norman Conquest therefore it was ideal to have our 2nd and 3rd countries as France and Norway; this way there was an instant link with William the Conqueror and Harald Hardrada. We also did some French since this is the language our school uses for MFL.
One of our children is originally from Bulgaria, so this was an opportunity to explore their culture and it helped them overcome some reluctance to writing. This is a good idea for any classes with a large proportion of children with English as a second language.
Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Iceland
We went through these Scandinavian countries towards the end of the term so there was a good link to descriptive writing and winter scenery. It was also possible to link Christmas activities to country of the week through reindeer in Lapland.
This term the science topic is space. To hook the children into this topic I used NASA as a link to country of the week. There will be a post shortly on some of the science lessons I’ve taught around the national curriculum ‘Earth and beyond’.
Photo’s to come soon 🙂