Have each student take out their Atlas. Show them the gazateer and how it is an index of geographic locations. (Depending on your Atlas, it may show Latitude and longitude and you can use this for upper el.)
Now pick a location (river, city, states, mountain...) and have them find it in the Gazateer. Now have them look at description and then the page number with the map and the stated location. The students then turn to the map and and find the location on the map. The first one to point it out stands up and says "By george, I think I've found it!" After I check it, (they have to keep their finger on it) the student gets a sticker. Then we start over.
A couple of housekeeping things:
1. I usually have the kids close the atlas and put their hands one top of their heads before I give out the new location.
2. Kids are not allowed to talk during the search phase.
3. for some hard to pronounce and more difficult locations I write the location on the board.
4. Once a student receives 5 stickers s/he cannot play anymore and helps check the locations.
My students love this game and beg to play it.
As they get better and read the descriptions of the location they know to look for geographic clues on the maps to help them. Also, if they are older using latitude and longitude will be helpful and quicker for them.