Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Did you know there is a city in Texas named Melissa?

At times I find the comments after an online article more interesting than the article itself ...

I think it is quite interesting to see people's responses to the information being shared.  There are times when I learn things from reading the comments, and there are times when I don't learn anything (other than that people in general need to think more about the comments they leave and their word choices at times, but that is another topic).

The things I learn are not always related to the topic of the article ...

One day I was looking at the comments in response to a news article online (I actually don't remember which one I was looking at but I do remember what I learned from the comments section). One of the comments caught my attention ... so I looked to see who wrote that comment and I saw where they were from ... Melissa, Texas!

I have no connection to Melissa, TX other than the fact that my first name is Melissa, but I decided to find out more about it. When I found out that there was a Melissa Public Library, Melissa Police Department, and a Melissa Independent School District, I started sharing that information with my coworkers ....

For some reason, they did not find it as interesting as I did ... :)

The City of Melissa is a small community about 35 miles north of Dallas, TX. Along with its population of about 5,200, it has an exemplary rated Independent School District.  This city also has a very informative website as well as facebook and twitter accounts. Melissa even has its own YouTube channel!

The more I learned and shared about the City of Melissa, the more proud of it I became!

My finding out information about this city began as just a fun project ... but I began to think of ways this type of activity could be used with students in so many different subject areas ...
  • introduce research methods ... especially ones for online and offline research
  • find data to compare with other cities
  • use as prompts for various projects (informative, persuasive, descriptive writing)
  • teach the five aspects of geography using specific locations
  • design a logo or flag for a certain area based on the information found
  • create a commercial 
  • use as a setting for a story
  • create word problems with data found
  • contact the town by writing a letter of request
  • explore the wildlife/plant life there related to the geography/habitat of that location
The many times I have mentioned Melissa, TX inspired some of my coworkers to start finding cities with names close to their first and/or last names ...

For example, one of the guys I worked with, Marty, found several places named Martin .... there is a City of Martin in Tennessee and a Town of Martin in Georgia (which if we are going to make connections .... that town in close to Toccoa, GA where I used to live and is located in Stephens County ... we work with another guy named Steven ... spelled differently but sounds the same).

What are some online or offline skills that you can use to find a location similar to your first or last name?

Wouldn't it be beneficial to teach students those research skills?

What are some activities students could do with the information they are able to find using those skills?

I do have an uncle that lives outside of Dallas, TX, so maybe I can get him to get me something from Melissa, TX! :)

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