Card #35: Park Map

Oral Language Teaching Strategy:
Promote Piggy-Backing
Encourage the expansion of conversation through ‘piggy-backing’ (adding to another person’s ideas).

Time: one 30-minute lesson or two 15-minute lessons
– Map Card #35
– Turtle and Frog BLM
Grouping: whole class or small group
Assessment: Kindergarten Oral Language Assessment Scale



  • What do you see in the map? What do you think is happening?

    Show students the map. Ask them to look at it carefully and think about what they think is happening.

  • After students have had adequate time to examine the map, invite them to share their ideas with a partner. 

  • It is important to listen to what your partner is saying because sometimes they notice things we didn’t see and have different ideas than us. By listening to your partner, you can add to their ideas. That’s why discussions are so great. They allow our thinking to grow.

  • Provide time for partner discussion and then invite a few partners to share their thinking. Ask them if their partner helped them see things they hadn’t noticed on their own.

  • Offer prompts to stimulate discussion:
    • What do you think this map shows? Why do you think so?
    • Who are all the people in this map?
    • How would you move around this place?
    • What clues can we use to figure out what is happening in this map?



  • Now that we have had time to look at this map, let’s begin to explore. Let’s start over in the left corner where the woman with the purple hat is running. Can everyone see her? Marlo can you come up and point to her?

    Tell the students that you are going to use the map to explore the park.

  • Hold up the turtle figure (see the Turtle and Frog BLM) for students to follow as you explore the park. Tell a story such as the following about the turtle and act it out as you move the figure around the map:

  •      Now that turtle is on our map, I am going to tell you a story.
         Turtle is lost. He needs to find his home but he doesn’t have a
         very good sense of direction so we have to help him. Turtle is
         slowly moving forward when he hears a girl squealing as she
         goes down a slide. Where do we need to move turtle now?

  • Have a student come up and move the turtle to the playground.

         Do you think the turtle’s home is the playground? No? Okay turtle,
         we have to keep moving. As turtle moves across the playground
         towards the teeter totter, he hears a dog barking and hides
         behind a tree. Turtle waits behind the tree until the dog and
         children pass and then he begins to walk towards the parking lot.
         Turtle looks at the parking lot and says to himself, “Is this my home?”
         Do you think the parking lot is turtle’s home? No, we better keep
         looking. Turtle turns left and then turns right. As he moves along
         the path, he hears kids playing. What are they playing? Who could
         come up and show me where turtle is now? How do you think Ahmed
         knew that? That’s right; he was listening carefully and following directions.
         Way to go, Ahmed! I see sand in the baseball diamond but I don’t think
         this would be a good place for turtle to live. What do you think?

  • Have students turn to an elbow-partner and share their thinking. Ask a few partners to share their ideas with the group.

         Turtle decides to take a sharp left, towards the soccer field.
         Suddenly he hears water. He turns left and heads towards the
         water fountain. As turtle gets closer to the fountain, the sound of
         spraying water gets very loud. Turtle doesn’t like loud noises. This
         isn’t where turtle lives. Turtle is feeling very sad. Will he ever find
         his home? As turtle stands by the fountain, he hears a familiar
         sound—ducks quacking. Turtle remembers that he shares his
         home with the ducks that live in the park but he doesn’t know
         where the sound is coming from. Can you help turtle find his way
         back to the pond? 

  • Have students turn to their elbow partner and work together to find a way home for turtle. Remind them to use directional words such as ‘left,’ ‘right,’ ‘behind,’ ‘across,’ etc. Have a few partners share how turtle could get home. Follow their directions exactly, helping them to see if their directions worked. 
  • Invite students to tell another story by taking turns to move the frog figure around the map (see the Turtle and Frog BLM) .

Teaching Tip: All positional words are in bold. You may choose to introduce the terms beforehand to ensure that students understand the positional words.

You may conclude the lesson at this point and do the second part on the next day, or you may decide to continue and do Connecting and Predicting as part of the first lesson.


Teaching Tip: If you decide to do Connecting and Predicting on the second day, begin your lesson by reviewing the picture with the students.

[Making connections]

  • Ask students to connect their personal experiences with a local park. Prompts might include:
    • Do you have a favourite park?
    • What types of things are in the park?
    • What is your favourite thing to do at the park? Why?
    • With whom do you go to the park with?
    • What wildlife do you see at the park?



  • What do you think will happen next? Why do you think this?

    Ask students to think about what could happen after the scene shown in this map.


  • Bring students outside to the playground with paper and pencils. Working in pairs, have them sketch something in the playground (e.g., swings, slide, bench). Students can cut out their pictures and use them to create a map of the school playground. (You might choose to have students paint their pictures first). This activity could be extended by helping students create a label of what they drew. Students can use the turtle puppet to point out objects in the playground map during centre time.

  • Take a nature walk to a local park and invite students to look for wildlife. Have students explain where they saw wildlife, encouraging them to use positional words.

  • Introduce simple mapping to your students. Have them create a map of their classroom, the school, or the streets around the school. 


  • Create a mapping centre where simple maps are displayed with word cards such as ‘next to,’ ‘over by,’ ‘under,’ ‘beside,’ etc., so that students can try to manoeuvre their way around the map.

  • Invite students to use puppets to act out activities in the park as they describe them orally.

  • Students can create simple icons that they feel represent their neighbourhood such as apartments, houses, trees, parks, school, etc. Once a variety of icons have been created, a community map can be assembled.