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Running Head: Maps and Mapping Components Teacher Work Sample 1

Teaching Maps and Mapping Components for Understanding

John W. Orsborn Jr.

School of Education, University of Alaska Southeast

Running Head: Maps and Mapping Components Teacher Work Sample 2


This paper is an outline and reflection of teaching mapping and map components.

Included in this document is a description of the teaching placement with student

diversity, UbD unit plan, the learning goals, teaching strategy, assessment plan, pre and

post test data, and a reflection of student learning. Second grade students in a Dunseith,

North Dakota Title I school were the participants in the following study. Student pre-test

scores were analyzed to create instructional learning for all students. Overall

improvement was evident even though some students did not achieve passing grades.
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Maps and Mapping Components: Teaching Understanding


Dunseith Elementary School is a Title I public school in Dunseith Public School

District #1. Not reflecting the diversity of the state, Dunseith Elementary has little

diversity in the classroom. My host teacher’s second grade class is no exception.

Dunseith Elementary Ethnic Diversity

Two or
American More
Grades Total White Black Hispanic Asian Indian Races
PreKindergarten 6 0 0 0 0 3 3
Kindergarten 36 3 0 0 0 15 18
Grade 1 28 1 0 0 0 28 0
Grade 2 25 0 0 0 0 25 0
Grade 3 38 0 0 0 0 38 0
Grade 4 34 0 0 0 0 30 4
Grade 5 30 2 0 0 0 28 0
Grade 6 38 2 0 0 0 30 6
Total 235 8 0 0 0 197 31
Data Source: Institute of Education Sciences (IES), United States Department of Education

Mrs. Marty’s Two or

Class American More
2012-2013 Total White Black Hispanic Asian Indian Races
2nd Grade 12 0 0 0 0 11 1
Data Source: Dunseith Public School, District Office

The rural town of Dunseith sits adjacent to the Turtle Mountain Indian

Reservation and is surrounded by Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Housing and farmland.

Eight of the twelve students live below the poverty level; ten of the twelve students live

in BIA Housing. Three of the students live with both parents, two live with a single

parent, seven live with either aunts or grandparents or in foster care. These students live

in what Charles (2008) calls, “an economic disadvantage” or living in poverty (p. 28). In

addition to the poverty is the lack of parental involvement in the students’ activities and
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lives. Charles (2008) relates this to a feeling that suggests selling out older traditions in

favor of “white man’s ways” (p. 27). An average of three caregivers show up for

conferences, daily student planners are looked at by an average of 5 households, and the

rest have no idea what is happening in their student’s lives.

Of the twelve students, five are female, and seven are male. The academic

abilities of the students range from three students below grade average to three students

above grade average, with the remainder performing at grade level.

The majority of the students in the class have never been more than thirty-five

miles away from home, and have no concept of where they live in relation to the rest of

the world.

My host teacher has three students on Individualized Education Plans. The first

student is only in the classroom for one hour a day and she is on the Autism Spectrum.

Her IEP goals are counting to 10 and saying 20 basic words using pictures by the end of

the year. The second student is on an IEP for speech therapy and is on a pull out program

daily with a special education specialist. The third student was recently diagnosed as

being LD in reading and writing and is on an intensive pull out daily. Part of his IEP is to

use a class scribe and have someone read to him when it is time for individual work. At

leveled reading he is in a group by himself where he gets one on one instruction for an

hour in the classroom.

There is one student in the class who was held back last year, and there are two

students this year that will be held back as well. The student that was held back is now

performing at grade level, and the two that will be held back were tested and did not
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qualify for an IEP or a 504. Those two students have behavior and academic issues,

which slow their learning process as well as disrupt the classroom during instruction.

The unit that was used for this Teacher Work Sample was designed to

meet North Dakota State Standards in Social Studies. The unit was designed with my

teaching theory in mind as well as theories that support the diverse learning capabilities

of the classroom.

The unit builds upon itself using the scaffolding method of Vygotsky. Wood and

Middleton (1975) believe that Vygotsky's concept of Scaffolding is most effective when

the support is matched to the needs of the learner. This puts the learner in a position to

achieve success in an activity that they would previously not have been able to do on

their own. I believe there is no one strategy to teach, so I incorporated direct instruction,

specific instruction, and peer to peer instruction. Along with the building of lessons to

meet the previous, I used visual as well as verbal learning, and lots of hands on material.

These different opportunities provided all my students the ability to have some type of

instruction that fit their needs. The use of visual aids, and whisper phones allowed my

students with language issues to be able to work with the students that needed the hands

on approach. The pairing of students for classroom work increased the learning of new

topics and gave them the ability to succeed.

By gaining and maintaining the learners interest, making the task challenging yet

entertaining, and demonstrating everything at every opportunity, it allowed my students

to see how the lessons interacted with the previous set, and how the world came together

from the city to the continent. Also by pairing my students myself I could control the

frustration levels that may arise if they were to make the decision themselves.
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Learning Goals

The learning goals for the unit are as follows:

1) Students will be able to identify a globe, map, and atlas(CG-3)

2) Students will be able to describe the difference in a globe, map, and atlas (W/L)
3) Students will be able to identify, describe, and use a compass rose and map key (MS-2/A-
4) Students will develop creativity through drawing and designing and develop understanding of
how maps are useful in the world around us (A-4/W/M-2)
5) Students will obtain information through illustrations, text, titles, and captions; answer
questions about information; follow one- to two-step written directions; Express own opinion
about material (RL/W/L)
6) Students will be able to organize and write thoughts in a variety of complete, simple sentences
with proper punctuation and capitalization; rearrange and/or add supporting details to improve
clarity; give/receive appropriate feedback about written work (W/L)

The pre-test was given before any part of the unit was discussed. The students

were told this was not a test only a view for me to see what they knew and what they

didn’t. All of the students went into panic mode because they had no idea or concept of

what the questions meant or how to respond. Through the whole process I had to

reinforce that there would be no grade on the assignment and it was only for me to see

how to teach them best about maps and map tools.

The goals of the unit were created based on the answers of the pretest. Knowing

that no one student had mastery of any part, this enabled me to create a plan that involved

writing, manipulation, and art to bring all the pieces together.


As the lessons were taught, almost all work was group oriented work. This

allowed me to pair up students of varying academic level and let them experiment with

ideas which led to a rich learning environment. Walter C. Parker’s guidelines for flexible

grouping state, “Group children in various ways, always with a clear purpose, and change

the groups often” (Parker, 38). The ability to see which children had prior knowledge of
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the subject allowed me to develop a teaching plan that was beneficial to all the students.

I found through previous work that the students worked best if they had the ability to

learn from each other as well as a teacher guiding them in the classroom.

For the slow processers in the class, they were paired with students who normally

performed at a higher level and could work with them at a pace that was challenging yet

productive for both parties. The faster students are good about helping the slower ones

and they make them answer the questions and think outside the box.

The students that showed high interest in areas were paired together as well, and

then through the unit those students would be paired with students that had other interests

to get each other to think more about different ideas and ways of doing things. This

approach also worked well for the learning of all students involved. Parker also states

that cooperative learning in small groups of three to five children for tasks that are

complex (Parker, 39). This was true for several exercises in map work where students

had to find specific objectives. The groups enabled the slower processers to function on a

higher level and the reward was in the test scores.

The next area was to teach the students how to take an assessment. Strickland

(2002) believes that research has demonstrated that teaching students how to answer

questions is a valuable way to help them learn to think about and comprehend the

learning (p. 115). It was important to teach them to find the information that was not

important and remove it by crossing it out. When it came to answers, they were taught to

read the question and then cross out the answers that made no sense. If there things they

had never heard before, it was a good bet it was not important. This strategy helped

several students dissect the learning checks and the post-test and improve their scores.
Running Head: Maps and Mapping Components Teacher Work Sample 8

Everyday the students in my class have 30 minutes of center time. The time is

used to re-teach an area missed during the day, improve learning, or cover material in a

different way to gain learning. The Center time was used daily for my three low

performers and sometimes for my higher performers. This allowed me thirty minutes of

uninterrupted time to work with individuals and try different methodologies to improve


Assessment Plan

During the teaching phase, I used learning checks after each major section (maps,

city, state, continent, and oceans) to see what information was being retained and where I

might need to go back and re-teach an area. The learning checks allowed me to go back

to the pre-test and see if gains were made over the original sample. On the pre-test there

were no word banks where during the learning phase they were used and slowly removed

for student retention.

The students were assessed with almost every lesson using worksheets and

writing samples to gage understanding. Because there were worksheets with almost all

lessons, the students had the ability to self assess those lessons. The material that was

used was almost always in a group format to increase learning. The assessments used in

the learning checks were formative assessments, the students were not graded but the

information used for them and myself to understand where they were in their learning. I

chose the formative assessments for the learning checks because Daniels and Bizar

(2005) make the case by saying we assess this way primarily to ensure that students learn

better and teachers teach more effectively (p. 227). I felt it was important for each

student to have every opportunity to succeed in the unit and feel like a winner.
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The pre and post-test had the same questions in a different order and were from

the material that was covered in the unit. The questions were multiple choice and fill in

the blank. A sample of the assessment is as follows:

A Globe is a _______

1. A book of maps or charts

2. A model of the earth
3. A drawing of a place or area from above

An Atlas is a _______

1. A book of maps or charts

2. A model of the earth
3. A drawing of a place or area from above

A Map is a _______

1. A book of maps or charts

2. A model of the earth
3. A drawing of a place or area from above

I go to school in _______

1. Dunseith, North Dakota

2. Belcourt, North Dakota
3. Bottineau, North Dakota

Using the cardinal directions North, South, East, and West, Label the Compass Rose below.

A Map Key is a ______

1. Tool to help you get into a map

2. Set of symbols to help you find things on a map
3. Set of words that tell you things on a map

The oceans surrounding North America are _______

1. Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean

2. Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Arctic Ocean
3. Atlantic Ocean, Southern Ocean, Pacific Ocean

What countries are in North America ______

1. United States, Canada, Mexico, and Iceland

2. United States, Canada, Cuba, and Mexico
3. United States, Canada, Mexico, and Greenland

The country north of North Dakota is ______

1. Canada
2. Mexico
3. Alaska

A border is a separation between ______

1. Towns and schools

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2. Counties and townships

3. States and Countries

North and South America are connected

1. True
2. False

Mr. Orsborn came to Dunseith from _______

1. Alaska
2. Montana
3. Colorado
Using the map on the following page:

1. Label Three Countries in North America

2. Color the United States Green
3. Label the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean
4. Label the continents

Using the Map on the following page:

1. Color North Dakota red

The Assessment for the post-test was 1 point for every question or piece of

information used, for example, the compass rose question was worth four points. This

gave the students opportunities to choose answers they were most comfortable with in the

fill in the blank section. For the written portions of the project, students were given a

“student friendly” version of the rubric to allow them to make all corrections before

handing it in. The rubric was designed as basic as could be, capitalization, punctuation,

and indention of paragraph. The students knew what was expected of them before they

even started writing. Daniels and Bizar also state bringing the students into the creation
Running Head: Maps and Mapping Components Teacher Work Sample 11

of the rubric makes the use more meaningful (p. 232). The rubric used was created as a

class for English Language Arts, and is used in science, social studies, and even art. The

students helped to create it based on the common core state standards.

The last assessment type that was used was the Q & A when we would transition

to music, or P.E., and even at breakfast and lunch. I could question them while we

waited in the bus line at the end of school and when we had bathroom breaks. This type

of assessment is used daily with every subject including social studies. My host taught

me that every minute is a learning minute. She taught me to use every event as a learning

event. I used which direction are we traveling when navigating the halls, and which way

is north while waiting at the library. I do believe that all these little tests helped the

students remember what was covered the day before, and the week before.

At the end of the unit I had one final piece for the students. I had them write what

they liked, what they learned, and what they wanted to learn more about. The majority of

the students came back with wanting to know more about the atlas. During the

introduction, I had shown them an atlas of the oceans, the planets, the state, the country,

and the world. I had no idea how enthralled they were with that information. The sad

part is no one ever said I want to see that again. And unfortunately I never asked.


The following graph shows the pre-test scores as a whole for all the students:
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A.S. B.C. B.D D.P. J.M. K.M. K.V. L.L. P.L. R.C. S.D. T.D

The three top performers are the top three students in the class, A.S. is an at grade

level student who can think outside the box. When asked when she learned about maps,

her reply was, “I hadn’t before, but I answered with what made sense”. The four lowest

performers are the three lowest students in the class and the fourth K.M. is a slow

processer, who performs at grade level with lots of visuals and hands on material.

The unit was then built around the most missed questions and the visual pieces

that were not understood on the assessment.

The following graph of the post-test is a representation of using scaffolding and

cooperative learning for all the students:

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15 Post-Test


A.S. B.C. B.D D.P. J.M. K.M. K.V. L.L. P.L. R.C. S.D. T.D

Analysis of Student Learning

The following graphs of the pre and post-test, and the learning gain scores per student

show the progress of each individual over a three week period:

Running Head: Maps and Mapping Components Teacher Work Sample 14




15 Pre-Test


A.S. B.C. B.D D.P. J.M. K.M. K.V. L.L. P.L. R.C. S.D. T.D

Student Pre- Post- Individual

Assessment Assessment Student
Score Score Gain Score
A.S. 53% 93% .85
B.C. 23% 90% .87
B.D. 26% 70% .59
D.P. 6% 73% .71
J.M. 63% 100% 1.00
K.M. 13% 93% .91
K.V. 60% 100% 1.00
L.L. 10% 60% .55
P.L. 66% 100% 1.00
R.C. 30% 86% .80
S.D. 20% 86% .82
T.D. 10% 60% .55
Group Average Gain Score .80 or 80%

The students T.D., L.L., and D.P. all performed better after the unit completion

but were still below a passing grade overall. The three top performers in the class all

scored a perfect exam with A.S. nearly perfect. The result of grouping and regrouping
Running Head: Maps and Mapping Components Teacher Work Sample 15

for learning was successful. It is also important to include that during the unit work; the

learning checks allowed the students to test their own knowledge and allowed me to see

what needed to be recovered either individually during center time, or as a whole group.

The three students that did perform below passing grade, had the most one on one

instruction, the most re-teaching with different methodology, and all three had the

questions read to them during the exam. The fact that they each had over a 50% increase

was incredible for my host and myself. Two of those students will be retained next year,

and the third will most likely go to the BIE Day School.


As a whole the class had a group average gain score of 80%. I did not have any

idea that it would turn out so well. I do believe that the reading help for D.P. allowed

him to move forward in his progress. I also believe that being his scribe and his reader

for the assessments made him more relaxed and ready to work.

In using the grouping and regrouping, I feel it reinforced the learning between the

students. I also feel it allowed the slow processers a chance to feel like winners when

they came up with the answers and it was solidified by a peer. This type of learning in

the classroom allows the students to experience other students learning styles, and it also

gives them ideas of what might work for them in the future. The group work is used

beyond social studies in the classroom and it is effective each time. The regrouping of

students allowed the kinesthetic learners to be paired with the auditory and that brought a

whole new dimension to the experience.

Because the unit used verbal, audio, video, visual, and manipulative tools, every

student had a hand up on a lesson. The use of technology as a tool also helped the slow
Running Head: Maps and Mapping Components Teacher Work Sample 16

processers because they could see how I got the answer. They were able to draw, and

piece together maps and that allowed them to see why things looked the way they did.

For students growth is uneven (Wood, 2007), so the use of center time and map

games to re-teach the lower performing students also aided in their understanding of

where they lived and how that looked on a map of the world. When I first started this

unit, most of the students did not know the difference between a town, a state, or the

country. The only reason was they never experienced it before. These students do not

live in households where there is rich conversation, or where there is travel outside of the

local community. They had no idea what is outside of their world that they live in. I

believe I changed that with the pictures, and the maps. Students began to write during

ELA classes about being explorers and finding buried treasure. I believe this is a way for

them to say we want more.

I do believe that moving forward, I will incorporate the atlas every chance I get in

reading and science. The students loved it and I did not spend enough time with it. The

alas is a great learning tool and can be incorporated in stories, and used as a writing

project outside of the social studies class.

As for the pre-test, this group of students has a hard time doing work that they

have never heard or seen before. It becomes a shock to the system and they want to shut

down because they feel like they are failures. Even though I continued to reinforce that it

was a tool for me to help them learn, they felt as though they were failing at something

they had never had before. I think next time, I will give them an idea of what to expect

and that no one will ever see their papers but me. To reinforce that there is no grade and

this is only a tool isn’t enough with a group of kids like this.
Running Head: Maps and Mapping Components Teacher Work Sample 17

Works Cited

Charles, C.M. (2008). Building Classroom Discipline. Pearson: New York, NY.

Daniels, H., & Bizar, M. (2005). Teaching the Best Practice Way: Methods that Matter,

K-12. Stenhouse Publishers: Portland, ME.

Parker, W. C. (2009). Social Studies in Elementary Education. Pearson: New York, NY.

Wood, C. (2007). Yardsticks: Children in the Classroom Ages 4-14. Northwest

Foundation for Children: Turners Falls, MA.

Wood, D., & Middleton, D. (1975). A study of assisted problem-solving. British Journal

of Psychology, 66(2), 181−191.