Electoral College Map Activity

I have to admit, I have been excited about this map since the end of last year. This giant map of the United States stayed in my trunk all last year. Its partner, the world map, was proudly hung on my classroom wall all last year. Students labeled the world map at the beginning of the year and used string to draw the equator, prime meridian, and time zones in the continental United States. Throughout the year, we placed current events from around the world on the map, all while the U.S. map stayed in my trunk. Then at the end of last year, I finally thought of what to do lwith the U.S. map!  I was going to make a giant map of the 2016  election results. Every state was traced in both blue and red and then laminated.

Below are step by step pictures of how I made the map and the final result.

Trace each state.
Draw and cut each state in the color you need.
Laminate the states


All of the states, traced, laminated, and cut. You now have them to use in the future.
The completed map. Students’ predictions are along the top and side of the map. Numbers are written with expo marker because it easily wipes off.


The completed map. Students’ predictions are along the top and side of the map. Numbers are written with expo marker because it easily wipes off.

US History II – Quarterly Update 2016-2017

Teaching juniors at my school is bittersweet. Some of my students have been students of mine since 9th grade and now, they are juniors! It is humbling to watch them grow over the years and it is one of the reasons I enjoy teaching juniors. The year began with studying the Reconstruction Era, possibly one of the hardest units I teach.  That didn’t stop my students from having deep conversations about how the events of this time period still affect us today. They are able to connect so much to the world we live in today. The next unit focused on The Rise of Big Business and the Progressive Era. Students researched a modern business of their choice and created presentations. I am proud of their creativity and how they showcase their knowledge.  We briefly over viewed World War I, and will come back to study it more in depth before studying the Jazz Age and the Great Depression in marking period 2. We closed out the marking period with the election. You’ll find that post here.

Global Studies – Quarterly Update 2016-2017

2016-2017 was off to a great start! The 9th graders began the year with a review of Ancient Civilizations. I am always amazed with this unit every year I teach it. I find it fascinating that the people from this time period made such great advancements in art and science to the point we can still appreciate it today. The 9th graders created their own piece of papyrus and wrote their names in hieroglyphics. I love challenging the students right away with a fun project.  Students make the paper from mashed up pulp that I make in my food processor. Both the students and I love bringing out our inner child and getting messy with a hands-on project. The final projects are always a success. The next unit was the Beginning of a Global Age and the Renaissance.  This time, students created a menu for a restaurant using only items from either the New World or the Old World. Students use what we learn in class to demonstrate how they master the material; creating projects is an effective way to keep them engaged. You’ll be surprised how tasty a menu can be using only certain items. We closed out the marking period with the election. You’ll find that post here.

Below are some pictures of the students making paper.


Pressing the water out.


Ready to dry



US 1 – Quarterly Update 2016-2017

US I students started the year learning about colonial America. We dug deep into the reasons Europeans began exploring the Western part of the world.  Students easily connected that Spain, France, and England were competing for power and that geography played a key role in the success or failure of a colony. Students also explored Native American cultures and examined how contact with Europeans greatly affected their lives. This will continue to be a theme throughout the year.

Jamestown is probably the biggest project we do all year in US 1. I love this project and the students really look forward to it. They start asking about it in 9th grade when they see it completed and I always tell them, “You’ll do it next year”.  This year’s projects were AMAZING! Here are some pictures.

We closed out the marking period learning about the events leading up to the American Revolution and of course, the election! You’ll find that post here.

Below are some pictures of student work from this marking period, including the projects about Jamestown.

A map of the colonies with information cards created by the students for each colony.



Election 2016

It is finally here and America has elected a new president.  My students and I have been talking about this election since last year and we still can’t stop talking about it. All last year, they wanted to know who our next president was going to be, but each political party had to nominate a candidate. First, we discussed how candidates campaign and primary elections.  One by one, candidates dropped out of the primary race and we narrowed down the choices.  Since both conventions were over the summer, we ended last school year still not knowing who the candidates were. However, once we returned in September, the race to the White House was in full swing.

My students are too young to vote, but that didn’t stop their curious minds. Students asked questions about the candidates as well as the election process. Perhaps they were invested this year since the winner may run for re-election in 2020 – when most of my students will be eligible to vote.  All 12 of New Jersey’s congressional representative were eligible for re-election.  We spent time learning about why we have 12 congressmen and 2 senators and about the Electoral College. We played an engaging game using Airhead candy and an interactive map from 270towin.com. Fun and interactive classes tend to be the greatest lessons. Next, students made their predictions.  Some states were harder to predict than others. In order to make their predictions, we analyzed the results from the 2004, 2008, and 2012.

The day after the election we compared our predictions to the actual results. Yes, we were all surprised, but we looked at the data to see how it all unfolded. Then, we created a giant map to display the results and use as a reference for future lessons. We said we will pay attention to the transition and it will continue to be a topic of discussion; just because the election is over does not mean we don’t stop learning and caring.

Students analyzed data from the past 3 elections and from the current predictions to then make their own predictions.
The day after the election, students created a giant version of the Electoral College to display in the classroom. For more about how to create this map, click here. Their predictions are posted along the top and side.