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Creating Worlds

In my classroom, we are well and truly launched on creating our own worlds!

As a culmination of our Earth science unit, our literature studies, and our social studies emphasis this year on government circles of influence, responsibility and authority, each student in our class is designing a world of their own.  There are four main parts to the project:

First, students had to make a map. Each person thought about and then drew the physical space of their world. The worlds range from single islands to solar systems. Our science unit on biomes in the fall came in handy, since students needed to create a map legend and color code the biomes of their world.

Second, they needed to devise a constitution. Each student is designing a government, specific to their world’s needs, to ensure equality and peace for their citizens. This ties in with our unit on informational writing: the constitution is written formally, plainly, with details where needed and correct grammar and punctuation. This is a big challenge, and we started by brainstorming a list of things a government *could* be in charge of, ranging from wars to elections to a transportation system.

In reading groups, we’ve begun a unit on mythology. We’re focusing on origin myths / creation stories. Once we’ve spent a few weeks reading myths from around the world, we’ll talk about the patterns we see, and then each student will be responsible for writing an origin myth for their own world. Where did the people come from? How did they arrive? What were they given to help them make their way in their new world?

Finally, once all the maps, constitutions, and myths are completed, each student will have a choice of one final piece to create for their world: a recent history, a poem, a piece of artwork, a piece of music, or a detailed drawing of some place in the world itself, using the drawing skills they’ve been practicing in art.

Renata McAdams

is our grade 3-4 classroom teacher. She has taught in a variety of public, charter, and independent schools, including a combined 3-5 classroom in Ann Arbor, Mich., for two years. Rentata graduated from Vassar College and received her M.S.Ed. from the University of Pennsylvania. She grew up in Oberlin, Ohio, and moved to Chicago from Philadelphia with her husband (then-fiancé) in August 2014.

In her free time, Renata enjoys singing, acting, dancing, and reading.

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