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TeachNet Grant: Amazing Asia
Mary Kate Blakeman

P.S. 88
1340 Sheridan Avenue
Bronx, NY 10456

Grade/Subject: 3rd Grade Social Studies/E.L.A.
About the Grant:

Project Title: Amazing Asia

Subject area/s: Reading, Writing, Social Studies, Science and Technology

Grade Level: 3

Materials: Microsoft Word, WorldBook Online Membership, Groliers Online Membership


  • Students take on the role of the many different faces of Asia.
  • Students will use multiple kid friendly texts, websites, and search engines to conduct research.
  • Students will collect information on the geography, people, government, lifestyles, and culture of their chosen country.
  • Students will write in the 1st person and pretend to be a person in Asia. Some options are a pilot , government official, parent, child, tour guide, artist, musician, chef etc.
  • Students will create a book with their group that they will publish using a Microsoft Word.
  • Students will illustrate and use photographs to support their work.
  • Students will then celebrate their speeches at a travel expo where they teach other classes to about their specific country.

How it Works:

  • Students will learn how culture, geography, government and the people in various communities of Asia represent it as a whole.
  • Students will be able to use a wide variety of solid resources to collect information.
  • Students will learn how to navigate websites, use text features, and take notes from texts, charts, and pictures.
  • Students will write in the first person and take on the role of someone in Asian society depending on their chosen country.
  • Students will strengthen their computer skills-typing, using Microsoft word, navigating sites on the internet, experimenting with font styles and colors, as well as inserting images into a text.

Final Project/Product:

  • Students will create a Book on Life in Asia using Microsoft word.
  • Students share their work at a travel Expo and they get to teach other students about their lives!
How This Grant was Adapted:

Overall Value:

  • This project gives students the motivation to learn information and do something fun and creative with it by pretending they live in a specific country and taking on the role of a person who is a part of a different society.
  • Students get to choose their own country and try to choose what type of lifestyle that person leads based on their research!
  • Students are not just collecting information and taking notes to spit information back out. They internalize the information and use their creativity to display their new found knowledge.
  • Students navigate the internet, using many different websites that specifically cater to various reading levels and ELLS.
  • Students get to design and personalize their own work by choosing actual names of people from the countries for themselves and live in their shoes.
  • Students can feel proud of themselves at the travel Expo where they can teach others about life in another continent.

Tips for the Teacher:

  • Teacher can take this project and implement it in any grade level by adapting the topic!
  • Students can write in the first person by pretending they are animals, community workers, or even historic figures.
Project URL

Project URL: http://questgarden.com/86/03/5/091021095343/index.htm



  1. Students will know how to use and navigate through different resources on the internet and in actual books, magazines, and newspapers to collect information.
  2. Students will know how to look at photographs, charts, subtitles, captions, and diagrams to collect information.
  3. Students will be able to identify the level of importance of different notes.
  4. Students will know how to use their notes to write in the 1 st person.
  5. Students will know how to use Microsoft word to create and publish their writing.
  6. Students will know how to insert images, vary the size, color, and style of font, and placement of the text and pictures on the Microsoft document.
  7. Students will know how to write texts using interesting language specifically related to the content.
  8. Students will know geographical features of an Asian country.
  9. Students will know cultural features of an Asian Country.
  10. Students will learn about different people and the government of an Asian country.
Websites Used

This website is very easy to navigate. It is a great starting point for collecting basic information on a country. The website displays both a map and flag of the country as well as fast facts students can quickly learn. It also provides additional fact monster encyclopedia links that give further information on a country. Some of the topics students can research are land, people, economy, government, and the history.

http://worldbookonline.com/student/home (need subscription but actual site is included here from my own)
This edition of worldbook online if for the more advanced readers. The text is more challenging but provides more valuable research opportunities. Students can research by keyword or content area subject (narrow and broad). Aside from the basic information, this website provides students with hundreds of encyclopedia articles, various maps, tables, pictures, articles, and more research websites that can be of additional support. If students just choose to click the link on their country they will find information on the country, facts in brief, government, people, land regions, climate, economy, and history. Students will be able to view pictures under each topic. Students can even save specific articles in a research folder right on the website.

http://worldbookonline.com/kids/Home (need subscription but actual site is included here from my own)
This edition of worldbook is for readers who need more support. The website is a bit more simple when navigating although it does provide students with both a keyword or content area subject research option (narrow or broad). Students will find information on their country broken down into topics such as introduction, land, people, resources and products, and history. Students have the opportunity to read other articles, view pictures, and analyze maps. The text is both easier to read and more simple when navigating.

http://worldbookonline.com/eeh/Home (need subscription but actual site is included here from my own)
This website is a Spanish edition of the worldbook online. This site is great for those ELLS that speak Spanish and need extra support. It is similar to the previous two websites that students can conduct specific or general research. It also provides students with articles, photographs, and maps.

http://auth.grolier.com/login/go_login_page.html?bffs=N (need subscription but actual site is included here from my own)
This is a great research tool for advanced readers. The text is challenging but very thorough.

This website gives specific information on the countries. It provides enlarged maps of each country with various site seeing places that can be clicked for more information and photographs. It provides a history timeline, opportunities to learn the native language, and a quiz to help students see what information they have learned.

This website shows many different virtual tours of different countries in Asia.

This is another great website that provides information and shows virtual tours for just about any country you are looking for.

This is another great site that students can begin with collecting information on a specific country. Students will learn about the location, geography, climate, people, religion, language, history, economy, and other industries.

This website breaks down a lot of information into basic categories. You can find flags, maps, and many photos of each country. There is information from geography, people, transportation, economy etc.

Standards Addressed:

Standard 1:

3.1b: draw maps and diagrams that serve as representations of places, physical features, and objects
Grade: 3
Subject: Social Studies

Standard 2:

2.1c: study about different world cultures and civilizations focusing on their accomplishments, contributions, values, beliefs, and traditions
Grade: 3
Subject: Social Studies

Standard 3:

2.4c: view historic events through the eyes of those who were there, as shown in their art, writings, music, and artifacts
Grade: 3
Subject: Social Studies

Standard 4:

2.3a: understand the roles and contributions of individuals and groups to social, political, economic, cultural, scientific, technological, and religious practices and activities
Grade: 3
Subject: Social Studies

Standard 5:

2.3b: gather and present information about important developments from world history
Grade: 3
Subject: Social Studies

Standard 6:

3.1c: locate places within the local community, state and nation; locate the Earth's continents in relation to each other and to principal parallels and meridians
Grade: 3
Subject: Social Studies

Standard 7:

3.1d: identify and compare the physical, human, and cultural characteristics of different regions and people
Grade: 3
Subject: Social Studies

Standard 8:

3.2a: ask geographic questions about where places are located; why they are located where they are; what is important about their locations; and how their locations are related to the location of other people and places
Grade: 3
Subject: Social Studies

Standard 9:

3.2b: gather and organize geographic information from a variety of sources and display it
Grade: 3
Subject: Social Studies

Standard 10:

5.3a: understand that citizenship includes an awareness of the holidays, celebrations, and symbols of our nation
Grade: 3
Subject: Social Studies

Standard 11:

Students will read, write, listen, and speak for information and understanding.
Grade: 3
Subject: E.L.A.

Standard 12:

Students will read, write, listen, and speak for literary response and expression.
Grade: 3
Subject: E.L.A.

Standard 13:

Students will read, write, listen, and speak for critical analysis and evaluation.
Grade: 3
Subject: E.L.A.

Standard 14:

Students will read, write, listen, and speak for social interaction.
Grade: 3
Subject: E.L.A.

Standard 15:

Students will apply technological knowledge and skills to design, construct, use, and evaluate products and systems to satisfy human and environmental needs.
Grade: 3
Subject: Math, Science, and Technology

Lesson 1:

Title: Locating Places of Interest in South America

Project Objectives:

  1. Use a map of Asia to locate three different places of interest.
  2. Use the compass rose to navigate location of oceans and bordering countries of the chosen countries.


  • Post its,
  • pencils,
  • maps of Asia (website can be used as well)


  1. Teacher tells students they will begin to study Asia as a class. Teacher tells students they will take on the role of a person from Asia to tell about their life.
  2. Teacher and students interactively find Asia on a map. Teacher prompts students to think about locations of oceans and specific countries using the compass rose.
  3. Teacher tells students they will get to pick three different countries that they may be interested in researching. They will get one of their choices.
  4. Students look at maps independently and choose three different countries that they would be interested in researching for the brochure project. Students write their choices on post its.
  5. Share - Teacher and students make research groups according to areas of interest.


Teacher informally assesses if children know how to use the compass rose to locate specific places.

Lesson 2:

Title: Researching and Collecting Information Using Various Websites, Books, Magazines, and Newspapers

Project Objectives:

  1. Students will be able to use multiple resources to collect information on their specific country.
  2. Students will differentiate between significant and insignificant information when taking notes.
  3. Students will take notes on focused subtopics such as land, culture, people.
  4. Students will learn to navigate the different websites to locate specific information.
  5. Students will use photographs, text, tables, and other features of nonfiction to take notes.


  • Note taking sheets,
  • pencils,
  • various websites for research, books, magazines, and articles on Asia.


  1. Teacher tells students that today they will begin to use different resources to find information on their Asian countries.
  2. Teacher models how to use a book to take notes. Teacher shows students how they can use the table of contents and the index to have a more focused note taking session. Teacher models how to look at the subtitles, photographs, and tables to help jot down important notes.
  3. Teacher models how to use the multiple websites (different world book online sites, Time for Kids, groliers, and atlaspedia etc.) Teacher shows how to locate information by keyword and general searches.
  4. Students take notes across a few days, weeks depending on how much time is available. Students recognize which information is significant and insignificant. Students also decide which websites work best for their reading levels.
  5. Each day students focus on one portion of their notetaking: culture (arts, sports, recreation, food, clothes); lifestyles (education, family life, jobs); government; geography (landforms, climate, plants, animals, waterways).


  • Teacher conferences with groups of students.
  • Teacher assesses student strengths and weaknesses when taking notes.
  • Teacher jots down noticings as which resources students use and how well they navigate the internet.
  • Teacher makes noticings on how notes are conducted.
Lesson 3:

Day 3: Drafting out our Brochures Using Persuasive Language (over days) 

Title: Drafting our Writing Using the 1st person

Project Objectives:

  1. Reread notes to decide the role of the person you will take on.
  2. Use voice of the 1 st person to make our writing realistic and exciting.
  3. Use notes to create writing.
  4. Edit and Revise our Writing.
  5. Conference with teacher and Publish writing.


  • Examples of student work,
  • lined paper,
  • pencil,
  • note taking sheets


  1. Teacher and students read some student examples of writing in the 1 st person to make observations.
  2. Teacher models how to create a voice using appropriate language into writing the draft. Teacher shows how to use the notes to write about the topics with the convincing language.
  3. Students use their own voices to draft there writing.
  4. Students continue to revise and edit their writing when conferencing with the teacher.
  5. Students get ready to publish their work using Microsoft word brochure templates.


  • Teacher conferences with students at various stages of their writing.
  • Teacher makes sure students have properly revised and editing writing before publishing their work.
Lesson 4

Day 4: Publishing Writing Using Microsoft Word 

Title: Creating the Brochure using Microsoft Word

Project Objectives:

  1. Use Microsoft word to type published writing.
  2. Utilize the various text styles, fonts, sizes, and colors to differentiate and make each brochure individualized by creativity and physical appearance.
  3. Insert images into the document.
  4. Save work to the computer before printing.


  • Microsoft Word,
  • Google and other image capturing sites


  1. Teacher models how to open up Microsoft word to begin publishing.
  2. Teacher models how to type the text using the different alignment buttons for centering the title etc.
  3. Teacher models how to vary the font style, size, and color when typing the text.
  4. Teacher models how to insert pictures by dragging them to the box, using cut and paste, or inserting clip art and google images.
  5. Students work on these steps across days.
  6. Students learn to save and print their document once it is complete.


  • Are students able to experiment with the font style, size, and color?
  • Do students incorporate images into their document? 
Lesson 5:

Day 5 Mapping Out Our Books (over a few days)

Title: Mapping Out our Books

Project Objectives:

  1. Work collaboratively with a group to decide the sequence of each person's writing.
  2. Create a table of contents.
  3. Complete personal illustrations to be added to the book.
  4. Decide on a dedication.
  5. Collaboratively write an About the Authors section.


  • art supplies for illustrations
  • construction paper for each backing of each page of the book
  • published work


  1. Teacher tells students they will work together to decide the order of which the groups writing should be. Teacher and students look at different examples of table of contents to decide the order.
  2. Teacher show students examples of cover pages, dedications, and about the authors for students to get ideas from.
  3. Teacher tells students they will also illustrate the image they printed off the computer.
  4. Students work over days to complete the various activities before binding it all in the book.


  • Did students work together collaboratively?
  • Does their book have all of the components?
  • Do students organize the book in an appropriate manner?

Mary Kate Blakeman graduated from the Fordham University Graduate program with dual certification in general and special education for elementary students. She has been working as a third grade teacher at Public School 88 in the Bronx for the past four years. Using differentiated instruction to assess and drive instruction has become essential to her teaching style. By developing and implementing a new literacy and social studies curriculum on her grade she has strengthened her work in the content areas. Mary Kate has become very interested in using technology to increase motivation and maximize student learning. In recent years, she has taken multiple courses that support the use of technology in the classroom. She has previously published the webquest “Tourism in South America”.



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