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Slipper's Message:

I am a long time reader - first time responder. I do not have an account so hopefully this will work.... This topic called to me, it was part of a huge discussion at our district grade level curriculum meeting during workshop this August. We spent last school year looking at what our students are expected to learn (standards) and how they demonstrate they learned it, in other words, what we require of them. After a year of reflection and matching our lessons to common core standards then evaluating for proof higher understanding,there are many aspects of our requirements we are questioning. A hot topic became of memorizing and labeling states and capitals on a preprinted map. The newer teachers had us older ones thinking of the real purpose of this requirement. Was it to ensure the students knew all 50 states, their capitals, and exactly where they are located on a piece of paper OR should we be doing something else entirely that requires student to actually learn about each state and/or the region it is located. Maps can be easily reached through the informational technologies we all use on a daily basis. So, why memorize for a test that is quickly forgotten. We all know tests are not a good, accurate measure of knowledge. After spending a great amount of time evaluating and passionately discussing our very loosely worded standards, we have determined that testing for memorization does not match the language of our standards or the expectations of all teaching and learning that takes place in our 4th grade classrooms. Our standards state, "Students should be able to complete a mental map of major areas of the United States......(major lakes and rivers, mountain ranges, states, capitals, ect.)". To us this means a general knowledge and appreciation for location of these major areas.

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
Lionpaws 09-23-2015 05:17 PM

It is part of our 5th grade curriculum, and I think it's extremely important for them to know. It's appalling how ignorant people are of our country and where the states are actually located. I am originally from Iowa and now living in Florida, and it never ceases to amaze me how many people think I'm from Ohio or Idaho and have no idea where Iowa even is.

My 5th graders have to memorize the capital of each state. I divide the country into four regions and cover one region each quarter. At the end of each region, they are quizzed using a blank map projected onto the smart board. Each state is numbered and they write the number on a piece of notebook paper and write the capital and the state. By second quarter, the quiz covers region #1 and #2. By 3rd quarter, they have to do all three regions, and by the end of the year, the quiz is over all 50 states. I don't require perfect spelling, but it does have to be phonetic.

We use the book Yo Sacramento and it is a hoot. They love it! Each state has a goofy illustration to help them memorize the capital and state. I put it on the camera and we look it over. I usually do 2-3 states per week. Each new week, we review the previous week's illustrations to keep everything fresh. Florida has a Tall Lassie standing on a Floor of Dots. Tallahassee, Florida.

Roz 09-12-2015 09:16 AM

Not in my gr. 3 curr., which is focused on our state.
The U.S. is addressed in fourth, where there is a big states project.
I beleieve they are supposed to know the states and capitals, too.

Patty 09-11-2015 01:37 PM

I have my students learn the states and capitals as we study the regions.

sailorsue 09-07-2015 01:45 AM

https://youtu.be/_E2CNZIlVIg

My kids LOVE this and we watch at cleanup time Friday afternoons if we've had a good week. They sing along and it helps. I do not test their knowledge.

doingitall 09-04-2015 03:54 PM

We don't require it in third but my students learn them. When we line up to go somewhere I say the name of the state and they say the capital back. This means turn around, face the front , and be quiet. I repeat the state and they say the capital until everyone is ready to go. This year we are doing it in alphabetical order. I move to the next state when they know it and review it every so often. We study the 5 regions so it does fit in. It keeps me from repeating procedures. You could also use math facts for this.

Slipper 09-04-2015 02:24 PM

I am a long time reader - first time responder. I do not have an account so hopefully this will work.... This topic called to me, it was part of a huge discussion at our district grade level curriculum meeting during workshop this August. We spent last school year looking at what our students are expected to learn (standards) and how they demonstrate they learned it, in other words, what we require of them. After a year of reflection and matching our lessons to common core standards then evaluating for proof higher understanding,there are many aspects of our requirements we are questioning. A hot topic became of memorizing and labeling states and capitals on a preprinted map. The newer teachers had us older ones thinking of the real purpose of this requirement. Was it to ensure the students knew all 50 states, their capitals, and exactly where they are located on a piece of paper OR should we be doing something else entirely that requires student to actually learn about each state and/or the region it is located. Maps can be easily reached through the informational technologies we all use on a daily basis. So, why memorize for a test that is quickly forgotten. We all know tests are not a good, accurate measure of knowledge. After spending a great amount of time evaluating and passionately discussing our very loosely worded standards, we have determined that testing for memorization does not match the language of our standards or the expectations of all teaching and learning that takes place in our 4th grade classrooms. Our standards state, "Students should be able to complete a mental map of major areas of the United States......(major lakes and rivers, mountain ranges, states, capitals, ect.)". To us this means a general knowledge and appreciation for location of these major areas.

parker 09-04-2015 04:44 AM

Check your standards; it may be mentioned in them, or maybe not.

In my state, NC, there is no social studies standard at any grade level that requires students to memorize states and capitals. However, I do require my 5th grade students to learn where each state is located as a part of our map skills standards. I do not require them to memorize the capital. I don't require them to spell the state correctly, but they do need to learn the state abbreviation. I think everyone should at least be able to recognize the region of the US where a state is located.

It is very easy to teach this when you belong a postcard exchange. The students love to send and receive the cards and want to learn where each state is.

However, I do not think 3rd graders are ready for this skill.

kerteach2 09-04-2015 04:30 AM

It's not part of my curriculum in 3rd is it in yours? Not sure what grade you are teaching.

SS Newbie 09-03-2015 07:22 PM

Just Wondering...

How many of you still require students to memorize state and capitals?




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