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California Maps

As I’ve mentioned before, I absolutely love teaching California history! I also love getting fabulous ideas from my sweet friend LeAnn, who is an expert at teaching about California!
When I saw the amazing maps of California that her students had created a couple years ago, I knew I wanted to have my students make them as well!
Here’s a close-up of the final product:
We started the maps after learning about California’s regions. Then, students trace the regions on their piece of foam board using templates (also cut from foam board). After the regions are traced, we label the surrounding states (and Mexico) and then color in each of the regions. I have them all do the regions the same colors:
Coastal Region: blue
Mountain Region: brown
Central Valley Region: green
Desert Region: yellow
They can choose to color the surrounding states and Mexico any color they would like.
Next up is watercoloring!
Then we add a little extra touch to a couple of the regions!
First, we add “snow” (white glitter) to the peaks of the mountains.
(At this point my kiddos are beyond excited about the California maps!!)
Then we add sand to the desert region!
After we are done with that, we add in our capital, Sacramento, as well as a map key that has the colors/symbols for the regions, capital, and cities, as well as some space down below for us to add Native American tribes, missions, etc. later on in the year!


Each map is fairly large (15 x 20 in), and made of foam board, so I have always had a hard time figuring out how to display them. This year I am happy to have had a wire hung up against the back wall of my classroom, so they hang perfectly from there!

I am so thankful for LeAnn for sharing her wonderful, creative idea! My kiddos have so much fun making their California maps, and it is a great learning process! 
  1. Emily says:

    Those look awesome! I do maps with salt dough. 馃檪

  2. Kristen says:

    Those are gorgeous Molly!!!

  3. Those are beautiful!

  4. Mrs. Tyner says:

    Molly, what size of foam board do you give to your students?

  5. I love these projects! I am teaching CA. History for the first time & am a little overwhelmed. I want my lessons to be engaging and fun; not dry and boring. If you have any other ideas you are willing to share I would be more than thrilled to use them.

  6. I love these projects! I am going to teach CA. history for the first time, & am a bit overwhelmed. I want the students to have fun was they interact & engage in the process. If you have any other ideas you are willing to share, I would love to implement them in to my lessons.

  7. Cathy says:

    How can I get the template of CA that you used for this project?

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I'm Molly!

I support teachers with implementing classroom organization systems and building a positive classroom community + environment that exude joy! 

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