When we were planning this unit out we were not going to do a map, but then Cotton's Journey came and we decided to enlarge the map from the curriculum guide and use it.
We traced it with light pencil and drew the map while the kids sat and watched. If you are a teacher, then you know how difficult it is getting first graders to just sit and watch something (unless of course it is a movie), but there is something about drawing in front of my class - they LOVE to watch me draw! Even so, this was A LOT to draw and I should have broken it up into two days, but I didn't and we survived. I wrote United States of America first and we discussed our country then I drew the outline of our country. I then told then I was going to draw something on the map about what we have been learning - I drew the outlines of all of the states that you see below. Then we discussed what I just drew - they finally guess it was something about cotton and I told them it was called the cotton belt and that is where cotton grows in the US.
Then, came the long part . . . I wrote in the name of each state. This took a while! I started with our state (California) and had them repeat after I said the state's name. When we got to New Mexico they started talking with each other about their mom going to New Mexico and this and that - So, I challenged them to read me all the names of the states I had written. This worked to quiet them down (they loved it) and I did this after every state I wrote. It worked well, then I drew in our city and a compass to complete the map.
I am glad we added the map to our unit! Our kids have no idea what a country or a city or a state is - no matter how many times I tell them, so the more practice they get with maps the better off they will be!
What do you think?