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 Enkidu's Message: 1. Pre-test to see who already knows what, and differentiate accordingly. Students who already know the states can do more in depth study of one state, or even have them start on North America. For students who are challenged in this area, have them focus first on their state, then the bordering states or bodies of water(or countries), then to their region. 2. "I Have Who HAs" at the beginning of every class. I call it Capitalympics, and I time them. I start with half of the states, which is perfect for most class sizes. (Handing out the cards is a huge deal for some reason. The other students try to cajole the card person into giving them their favorite state or capital.) 3. Human map. Break students into groups, or work with the whole class, to "be" the United States. Have one person be your state, then have the bordering states connect until you have a region. If done in groups, you could, again, time them. (I need to write a Scholastic book on The Power of the Timer.) As a challenge, make them orient their maps to N, but point to different places in the room and say "The flag(bookshelf, door) is North: go!" 4. Centers centers centers. There are tons and tons of books at all levels, puzzles, games, and online activities that can easily be used as rotating centers, or leveled group work. 5. Latitude/longitude bingo. Give the lat/long of state caps and they all have to find it and check it with their bingo sheets. Great practice for latitude/longitude, and it is a good way to learn the states. 6. Most important: Make it fun, because it is fun.

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