Here at Maps for the Classroom/ Map of the Month, one of the things that our maps do best, above and beyond geography learning, is reinforce the hand-to-paper skills. Handwriting. Labeling. Coloring and shading.
One of our most-read newsletter posts of the past year included this New York Times article that considers what would be lost if we did not reinforce the hand-to-paper handwriting skills. So we know it is a topic that teachers are pondering! The title of the article is — and as an educator, you may have asked yourself this very question — WHAT’S LOST AS HANDWRITING FADES?
A quote: “…psychologists and neuroscientists say it is far too soon to declare handwriting a relic of the past. New evidence suggests that the links between handwriting and broader educational development run deep.
Children not only learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand, but they also remain better able to generate ideas and retain information. In other words, it’s not just what we write that matters — but how.”
Experts are realizing that these skills helps students learn in ways that they do not when using computers and other digital material. Sure, we believe in computers– we have digital products that go hand in hand with our maps! But we also feel — and know from selling maps nationwide for 25 years — that this hand-to-paper activity is still of great importance to educators all across the USA.
Students love using activity maps that allow them to add their own cartographic touches while they are learning and reading about new places. These maps are part of our new CartoCraze! Expanded Map Workshops which both teach as well as reinforce that still-important skill of hand-to-paper.
One of our most popular maps, and one that challenges your students creatively both as map-makers and writers is our TREASURE MAP (subject of next month’s MAP CHALLENGE on our site!). Following the activities included on the map, students shape an island that includes many land forms, then write a story about how to find a hidden treasure! Hand-skills, geography learning AND literacy (reading and writing)– all in one map!
What better way to really learn by doing than labeling one of our large desk-top size continent maps, like this one of AFRICA. All of our maps are 16″ by 20″, large enough for practicing handwriting and labeling skills.
Consider how incorporating our maps into your classes and curriculum, can help you, as a teacher reinforce this all-important skill that may be disappearing from the lives of our students.