Friday, November 25, 2016

World Map Project

          So major surprise here but I like maps. A lot. They tell as much about the country or culture that made it as they do what they're describing. I enjoy using them to teach but not if you're trying to describe current events and the only maps available have Yugoslavia on them.  I was dismayed the first time I entered a classroom and saw that the maps that were being used still had Yugoslavia and the U.S.S.R.  Now I do love a classic map but not when you're trying to teach current events!  So I waited to see how I could remedy that. My solution, make your own, came from a volunteer who painted a world map just before she finished her Peace Corps service last Fall. 
          So I began thinking about how to initiate my vision for a world map at my school. I decided that it would be done in three phases. The first would be to just get everyone used to painting. With help I painted the school's door windows as the seasons changed.  The following semester I asked if we could do a student led art exhibition. My coworkers took that and owned it, creating the first annual Lakocerej Art Exhibition. You can read that story here.  
          It was after the Lakocerej Art Exhibition that I asked about painting a map on the wall. I was told that they'd think about it in the next school year. So I waited and waited and then school started and I waited another couple of weeks to let everyone settle and finally asked about it again. My coworkers laughed and said sure ok.  (I'm pretty sure they agreed just so I'd stop asking). We pooled our money, bought the supplies and decided to use the school's projector to trace the map. 

Biljana, the geography teacher, was the first to being tracing. 
It wasn't too difficult.
Especially with everyone pitching in.
The students spent every break watching us.
You can see the outlines with a few colors.
Helping out with the borders. 
It quickly began to fill in.
Beti, the math teacher, was great on filling in the smaller countries. 
Milena put in the compass.
Alexandar, our new music teacher, hummed along as he worked.
Jovanka was very detailed as well.
Surveying their work.
Our paint mixing station.
Naumche, our do it all handyman, and I told jokes while we painted.
As you can see not one country is painted blue. That's so the ocean wouldn't compete with the countries. 
Everyone learned how gigantic Africa really is.
Everyone chipped in whether they had five minutes or fifty.
Phase I is complete. 
Phase II would be to fill in the oceans and paint the Macedonian flag and Peace Corps logo.
Marija, another English teacher, was very focused on the borders. 
You might be wondering why there's ocean around Antartica. Well it's simple. Antartica is at the bottom of the world but you can still sail around it or walk over it. To have a small amount of blue around it reinforces that fact. 
While painting Biljana came up with more ideas for Phase III of the project. She wants to create a book from the map to use in her classes. I'm all for it. 
Now the students helped a little but the teachers really wanted to have them help from the sidelines. This was one of those things I compromised on. 
Notice the chalk outlines for the Macedonian flag and Peace Corps logo. 
Phase II is complete. (I have since added in Crete, Cyprus and corrected Malaysia's borders). 
          After completing Phase II I was asked by the Peace Corps Third Goal office if I would participate in a Google+ Hangout discussing how someone can make their own map back in the States.  That video is here.   Next week we're going to start Phase III which is labeling the countries and creating a geography book. I'll update when we're finished. Happy Thanksgiving! 

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