Mentor Text: Scrambled States of America

This week we started our Social Studies unit on the geography of the United States. The students learned details about each state in 4th grade, so this is a review chapter to see how much they remember. We work specifically on where the states are on a map, as well as the correct spelling of the state name and capital.
To kick off our unit, I showed the students this fun video:
It's an awesome video of a guy hand-drawing the states and then adding in details of the state names, capitals, and a picture to represent the state. 
My students were so impressed - and so was their teacher! :)

I also read my students the book:

Amazon description: A wacky cross-country adventure starring the fifty states! "Well, it was just your basic, ordinary day in the good old U. S. of A. States all over the country were waking up, having their first cups of coffee, reading the morning paper, and enjoying the beautiful sunrise...All the states, that is, except for Kansas." At the first annual "states party," Virginia and Idaho hatch a plan to swap spots so each can see another part of the country. Before the party is over, all the states decide to switch places. In the beginning, every state is happy in its new location. But soon things start to go wrong. Will the states ever unscramble themselves and return to their proper places?"

This book is AWESOME!
The illustrations are so cute - and each state has it's own personality.

There are a lot of humorous (and slightly sarcastic)
asides in the book:
 I love this book so much I'm linking it up with my buds, Collaboration Cuties, for their Mentor Text linky:
After we read the book we did some fun activities from my friend, Rosie's, packet:
The Scrambled States of America- Activities to go with the book
I gave this fun State Search to my kiddos and had them see how much they knew off the top of their heads:
Then, I let them work with partners and use their textbooks to fill in the page completely.
Rosie has lots of other great activities in her packet to accompany the book - cause and effect organizers, sequencing activities, and capital-states match-ups.

Rosie also includes two differentiated report form options, one for the younger grades and a more challenging version for the upper grades:
I am giving my students the "State Questionnaire" as an extra credit research project.
I've also created a States and Capitals MEGA Packet
 to enhance our study:

Click HERE to check out this great packet.
A group of my students have been working hard to memorize the capitals, so they've had a lot of fun playing this version of "Concentration" together in small groups:

Do you teach United States geography?
Do you have any fun lesson ideas/activities to help your kiddos memorize them? 
If so, I'd love to hear about it! :)


  1. My students love that video and that book! We work on learning all the states and capitals as well.

  2. I love that video. We are working on learning the capital cities of our provinces and territories - there are only 13 but it is still so hard for so many - I can't imagine doing 50! Your unit looks great!

  3. I love that book! When I was student teaching I used it. Each student got a state (I taught two classes) and for their report they had to draw the state, label the capital, and draw illustrations in the state that represented their state (state bird, flower, parks, etc). It was really cute! I had to memorize the states and capitals when I was younger. I am awful at geography. Something fun like this MAY have helped haha.
    Third Grade Tidbits

  4. That book looks great! My kids have already done USA geography, but I'll have to keep it in mind for next year!

    Sara :)
    The Colorful Apple

  5. This looks so cute! I don't have this book!! All of your packs always look amazing! I can't wait to check out the video! Thank you for linking up!!!
    Collaboration Cuties

  6. I love that book! It is hilarious. We are in Kansas and so it makes it personal for us. Do you have the game that goes with it? I use it more as a question and answer game about the states and capitals. We divide up into teams and they try to see who knows the most.
    Fourth and Goal in Fourth Grade

  7. Wow, just wow!! That video/song was awesome!! I have no need/interest in teaching the states of America (in New Zealand) HOWEVER, when I watched the video (which was awesome) there was a world tour one too!! Which is amazing, and so helpful for my world focused teaching this year!! Thanks for sharing that was AWESOME!!!
    Learning to be awesome

  8. That is one of my favorite books to teach about the United States and Geography! LOVE it!
    Miss King's Enchanted Kingdom


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