ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: Teaching with Ticia: Arkansas and Michigan

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Teaching with Ticia: Arkansas and Michigan


Arkansas was a state that our library didn't have much on so in our personal studies we weren't able to do as much, but I have some fun ideas to tell you about afterwards.

Rosie's Fiddle- the state instrument of Arkansas is the fiddle, and I found this wonderful book about a fiddle.  Rosie challenges a visitor to a fiddling contest only to discover it's the Devil.  After reading the story we wrote down how we would win in a challenge against the Devil.

Arkansas Flag- Most state flags have specific reasons behind their creation, but I'm not always able to find the reason behind them.  In the case of Arkansas I was able to find some great resources on their state flag, and so we learned all about it and then made a flag to represent ourselves.

Diamond production- Arkansas is the only state in the contiguous United States that has a diamond mine, it's actually one of the big tourist draws for that state.  So we did a lot of talking about what you can make with diamonds, and then made our own "jewelry."

Other ideas
Hot Springs- there are natural hot springs that are a big draw.
Bill Clinton- honestly I didn't have a good book about him at our library, which was rather shocking to me


Clever Beatrice- a set of tall tales from Michigan, if your library has a copy I highly recommend getting these tall tales.  They're clever, well written, and highly entertaining.  After reading them we worked on puzzles and brain games.

Log Cabin Quilt- We don't tend to think of Michigan as a frontier state, but once upon a time it was, and this book is set during that time.  Most of the plot of this book revolves around chinking a cabin, filling in the empty space between logs.  For our activity we drew what our cabin would look like if properly chinked.

And that was the TWO books I could find, as I said my library had practically nothing for these two states, so we had 2 activities for each of them.  So, here's my other suggestions:

Make a car, Detroit is the car capital of the world
Kellogg's is based there.  You could poll your students for favorite cereals.  My kids don't like cereals which is why I didn't do this activity.
Ginger Ale was invented there.  You could make a homemade soda using water, dry ice and lots of flavoring of your choice, then compare it to the traditional sodas you buy.

What would you do to study Arkansas or Michigan?  These studies need some serious boning up, but my resources weren't able to do it, at least not without breaking my budget.


  1. I'm from Michigan originally. There is a great series of books on Michigan Legends available right now. They are not all by the same author. Kathy-jo Wargin and Trinka Hakes Noble wrote most of them... The Legend of Mackinac Island, The Legend of Michigan and The Legend of Sleeping Bear Dunes are a few of the titles.

    Here are my Michigan blog posts.

  2. One more thing - to study Michigan is to study the Great Lakes. So much of the state has to do with them. You could study shipwrecks of the Great Lakes - Edmund Fitzgerald - There is also a folk song about it. Paddle to the Sea is a wonderful book about the Great Lakes.

    You mentioned the auto industry - How about a biography on Henry Ford?

  3. As a life long resident, and huge fan of, our Great Lakes State I have to mention that president Gerald Ford is from MI. Perhaps a biography of his life could be included in your study.

    We also love the "Legend of..." books. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Shoreline was named the most beautiful place in the USA in 2011.

    The city of Grand Rapids, MI (my hometown) is home to the world's largest art contest. Checking out this year's pieces and talking about various types of art and artistic expression could be an interesting addition too.

    There is a series of books for later elementary/middle school students called Jody's Michigan Adventures that bring Michigan History alive for students.

    The Gun Lake Adventure Series is also written by a Michigan author and all of the stories take place in Michigan Lakes.

    Both the Cherry Festival, in Traverse City MI, and the Tulip Time festival, in Holland MI, are nationally recognized events that highlight our history and agriculture.

    Our state rock - the Petoskey Stone, is very beautiful and a unique geological find.

    I could go on and on :)!!

    And a random fact, in light of today's US election,
    Mitt Romney was born in Detroit, Michigan. He is the son of former Michigan Governor George Romney. ...take it or leave it ;)

  4. we have studied Arkansas and Michigan. here is our AR study:

    here is our MI study:

    FYI we are doing states studies in alphabetical order and are now on the Ns. i do them when my 7 yr old and i can fit it in.