So I LOVE Social Studies and I always have. There are certain things that as a student of social studies.. you just NEVER do. I don't know what engrained this in me SO deeply but... sweet moses when a kid makes this mistake it's like Miley playing Mother Theresa in BioPic... just WRONG.
COLORING LAND ON A MAP WITH BLUE!
Agh just writing it makes me cringe. Before we get out ANY map, my students and I discuss the expectations and they know to NEVER use blue on a map. Here is my spiel:
"YOU NEVER use BLUE for LAND on a MAP! What does Blue represent? (Class: Water!) Right! So if you use blue on a map you are telling me that land is water. IF you use blue for land on a map YOU WILL write me a four page paper about this post-apocolyptic America you live in where some sort of environmental tragedy has struck and part of America is under water and even more mysteriously how you are the only one that can see this!"
The kids laugh but take it seriously! They will call out their friends WHENEVER they use blue on a map! They quote it to people all the time! I also think it is HILARIOUS that whenever there is blue used for land on a map in a presentation they FLIP! I even had one kid so excited with the prospect of this essay he wrote it without putting blue on a map :-)
This year I had ONE kid that used blue on a map. It was a day that I was out and after chatting with him about it and the quality of work that he turned in... I had him write this instead. Less fun but I don't know that he would have gotten as much out of the creative assignment.
I hope this is helpful in your classroom!!!