Saturday, November 15, 2008

geography challenged

after noticing the kids had a lot of trouble with the difference between cities, states, countries, and continents, i decided to do a program called geography challenge. i didn't know exactly what geography challenge would entail, but i figured it would start with the very basics.

i painstakingly drew a map of the world on the white board and asked the kids, "what's this?" the specific answer i was looking for was "the world," but i would have accepted "the 7 continents." they said stuff like: land, a map, countries, cities. they pretty much just yelled stuff out until they yelled the right thing. eventually we got "world."

then i asked "and what are these big land masses here?" they knew that one. it was the continents. and then we went through the continents and the kids came up and pointed to where each one was. so far, so good.

but then i took it too far when i suggested that the kids should name some countries and we'd figure out what continent said countries are on. no response. "name a country," i continued, "any country in the world ... there's several hundred to choose from. just name one." nothing. oh, why must my educated soul be crushed like this?

the kid who hates hoboes said "alaska," which although is incorrect i can at least see why someone might think it was a foreign country. sarah palin certainly seems like an alien to me. then someone said hawaii and i informed them that hawaii was also a state.

then this one girl said "new jersey" and i had a minor breakdown. "new jersey?" i asked, "where is new jersey?" no one knew. i then explained that you could pretty much take a subway train to new jersey from manhattan.

then i asked what country are we at war with. silence. "what country are we at war with? right now? thousands of our troops are over there?" no answer. and i'd like to add that one kid present had a sibling in the army who was about to be sent to iraq. but there was no response. finally i just told them iraq. when asked where iraq was i got answers ranging from canada to europe. and it turns out the phrase "middle east" is completely unknown to them as well.

then i took a deep breath and prayed for patience.

i turned to a girl from africa and said, "Girl from Africa, name a country. any country in the world." she just shrugged. "what country are you from?" i asked her. "africa!" she said proudly. "yes," i said, "you are from the continent of africa, but what country are you from?" then i swear to god she just went blank. and then finally some other kid chimed in and said, "aren't you from zambia?" which she is.

i think you can tell where this is going ... it was all pretty much a huge downward spiral from there. urgh.


*Bitch Cakes* said...

In the kid's defense, even Sarah Palin thought Africa was a country.

You're a good and patient woman. I don't know how you do it!

*Bitch Cakes* said...

PS I am by no means excusing Sarah Palin- that is simply embarrassing and I despise that woman.

Peonys said...

At least you are showing them "the world" and getting these kids a bit of a leg up over those who aren't attending the geography challange. It sounds like they were starting to grasp the idea of countries....