50 States Progress Trackers

Our 50 States memorization work is coming along nicely, alhamdulillah. My 7th grades is working her way through memorizing the 50 state names, capitals, and postal abbreviations, as I mentioned in my 10 Ways to Learn the 50 States post.

Our State Study Mastery Goals:

  • Correctly identify a given state on a blank outline map (and/or on state shape flashcards)
  • For a given state, give its capital
  • For a given state, spell its capital
  • For a given state, give its two letter postal abbreviation
  • For a given capital, give its corresponding state
  • For a given capital, spell its corresponding state

My daughter studies them on her own each day with the help of the free Sheppard Software and then later on in the day I quiz her. Besides quizzing her on where each state is, I also give her dictation to help with the spelling and capitalization rules and that has helped greatly because she is more conscious of correctly capitalizing the capital names than she was before we started.

To help keep on track, we've done a few things to track her progress:

  • Progress map - as she learns the state name and it's location, capital name, and postal abbreviation, she colors in the state on a blank outline map (in this case, she studies them by region so she colors in regions as she masters them--3 more regions to go, woo-hoo!):

  • 50 States Progress Tracker - I created this so that not only does it act as a tracker, but also a reference chart should she need it.  As she learns a state, she records the capital name and its postal abbreviation. When she has mastered each of these pieces of information, she can check it off on the tracker:
50 States Progress Tracker

It also acts as an aid for me when I am quizzing her so that I don't have to sit there and think up a state name and capital off the cuff.

Maintaining the Knowledge

Once/as the states have been memorized, it will be important to keep reviewing them on a regular basis to commit them to long term memory.  So, I'm borrowing a review system idea that I have seen used for things like memorizing scripture.

Basically, once a fact is known, review it:
  • Daily for five days
  • Then, choose an odd or even day and review the fact for a whole week on odd or even days
  • Next, choose a day of the week, say Sunday, and every Sunday for a month, review that fact
  • Finally, choose a day of the month (say the 26th) and on the 26th of each month review that fact.  
Since we are studying states by the region, I would keep them chunked together and review the capital name, state name, location on a map and postal abbreviation on assigned days.

You can make the review system easier to follow by using index cards with tabbed dividers marked (daily, odd, even, one for every day of the week, and then 1-31 tabs). Then, you would simply make a card for each state and move the card to the appropriate tabbed section).

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