Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Little Man in the Map: Teaching the States

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If I had to name and place all 50 states I could do an ok job at it...those midwest and northwestern states sometimes throw me for a loop, and I am determined that my kids will do better where I am lacking.

We've been using a book called The Little Man in the Map published by Schoolside Press with our girls to help us along with this project...and I'm hoping that I will pick up a few tips along the way.

The Little Man in the Map uses rhymed verses to help teach the kids the various states. There are handy little "memory clues" throughout the book to help recall how the various states are located. The map is broken up into five sections: Northeastern, Southeastern, Midwestern, South Central, and Western States, starting with the Midwestern and the Little Man. Grouping the states into sections really helps the kids - essentially putting the information into bite-sized pieces their little brains can process.

Here's a look at how the illustrations help the kids (and me, ahem) place the states and their locations:

And he has a fun little rhyme to go along with him:

"A little man is standing there with boots, pants, shirt, and face. See how the hat upon his head is perfectly in place?"

The memory clues are already helping me remember how the states are positioned (because there are some places that get a little fuzzy, especially if you didn't grow up in those parts!). UCAN is the acronym clue for where the four states touch: Utah, Colorado, Arizona and Nevada.

Right now, we're reading the book every few days and just reviewing the rhymes and the kids are definitely picking up how the states relate to each other and are having fun learning them in the process. They enjoy the pictures and the rhymes in the book (and letting me know when they hear a rhyme).

From the word of MIM (the man in the map)

"Imagination is the magic key...To help unlock the clues you need ...To learn geography."

You can view a video about the book here and also purchase the book on Amazon or an autographed copy from Schoolside Press. There is also an illustrated wall map that goes along with the book available. The author of the book, E. Andrew Martonyi, has started a blog also where you can ask questions and find out about other books he has in the works.

Just wanted to share a little something that is working for us in our house. Be sure to check out other Works for Me Wednesday posts over at Rocks in My Dryer.


  1. That books like such a fun way to learn Geography.Thanks for sharing.

  2. How fun! I love when I teach my kids something and it helps me, too. Thanks for sharing this!

  3. I absolutely LOVE this. I am going to get it for my kids for Christmas. Thank you!!

  4. Ooh, awesome! I'm off to see if our library has it yet!

  5. This looks great! I'm so glad you posted about this because I plan to focus a lot on US Geography next year. I will keep this in mind and snag a copy somewhere along the way between here and next fall. :)

  6. That sounds like a great book! Any chance I could drop by and see it sometime soon? I'd rather look at it before purchasing it. We're using GeoSongs right now which works well for memorizing the states in order but I'm not sure how much will stick with their locations. :)


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