Archive for Thursday, October 13, 2005

Students welcome back map

October 13, 2005

A group of Lansing Elementary School parents and students, plus two high schoolers, got up early Saturday morning to restore the image of the United States.

The group, organized by Lansing Parent-Teacher Association member Julie McBroom, repainted the large map of the country on the school's playground after it had been newly asphalted this summer. The task required two days' work.

"It's been a lesson in geography," PTA member and volunteer Mary Wood said. Wood, sister of McBroom and mother of kindergartner Natalie Wood, said redrawing the Northeastern states was the most difficult part.

McBroom later agreed that the job was a lesson, adding, "I didn't realize Michigan was split by a Great Lake." At one point McBroom, parent of fourth-grader Baylee and first-grader Blaine McBroom, left and brought back a map to consult in drawing borders.

McBroom said the entire job took seven hours - four on Saturday and three on Sunday - for the crew that included her daughter; Wood; Neil Schoenfelder, Lansing High School freshman; Megan Winstead, Leavenworth High senior and niece of Wood and McBroom; and Stevie Sherard, a third-grader at the school.

The project sounds simple enough, given that the old lines of the map were still, just barely, visible under the asphalt. But before the lines could be repainted, pebbles needed to be swept off before the chalk lines could be drawn.

Some of the Northeastern and Great Lakes states' borders were hard to make out. And it took some time to locate Alaska and Hawaii.

Only after the chalk lines were drawn could borders and state initials be painted with traffic paint.

Additionally, McBroom made one change to the map from the original design: Lansing is now marked on it.

Nancy Collard, LES first-grade teacher, organized the original painting of the map 10 to 15 years ago, she said. Collard had received a grant from Southwestern Bell Telephone for the project, which she used to buy the supplies. Collard said the job took an entire weekend, and the map's design was accomplished with a grid made of string and nails that corresponded to a portable map divided into the same number of grids.

Collard said Monday the children were happy to see the map was back.

"I'd had parents whose kids asked, 'Where'd the map go?'" she said.

Collard said she and other teachers used the map to teach students about the states and their locations relative to Kansas.

Abby Davis, first-grader, said "we like to follow the lines" on the map for a game. Collard directs another game for the children, in which she says a state and the children scramble to get to it first, running willy-nilly from one side of the map to the other, sometimes in the wrong direction.

"I was just so happy that those parents (who re-painted the map) were so self-reliant," she said. "I just mentioned the idea and they took it from there."

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