GradesK to 12
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In the ClassroomThis is a great site to use if teaching about communities, local government, map skills, or local history. Demonstrate how to use Community Walk on an interactive whiteboard. Together with your class map out community sites in the neighborhood. Bookmark the site on the classroom computers and have students practice marking locations. Ask the class to identify important government buildings or historical points of interest. Have the class research and mark the location of animal habitats such as forests, grasslands, deserts, tundra's, and oceans. Embed these maps into multimedia presentations on a class wiki about Biomes. For more information on wikis check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. Compose history lessons that ask students to synthesize military strategy with geography. Track the historic marches of opposing forces and mark battle locations, encampments, natural resources, transportation systems, and significant ports. Color code each category and create a map legend. Link the journey's sequence of points and measure the distance in both kilometers and miles. Share these maps on your class web page for students to access as a reference and assist review before tests. Foreign language students, speaking in the language they are learning, can record narratives about points of interest in foreign countries. For example, students learning to speak French can upload narrative reports about various locations in Paris.
Create a map with or without an account. More features are available to those who register. Manipulate the map as you would on Google Maps (zoom, drag, etc). Add a place marker by either entering the name of the location, or address, or latitude and longitude. Community Walk automatically saves markers from previous made maps. Title each location and create a main category and subcategory to help with sorting later. You need to know how to upload files and images or insert an HTML directly into the description box. Adjustable settings will permit users to set privacy permissions and to disable comments from the public.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Grades2 to 12
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In the ClassroomStudents and teachers will want to keep a written record or map URLS and passwords for future reference. Model this for students so they do not lose hours of work! Teachers can prepare partially-made maps or maps for students to make corrections and changes by giving the students the URL, then having them SAVE the map with a NEW ID. To SAVE the map with a new name and URL, click "Save map" in the menu, then enter your OWN map ID. Students could use a code including their initials, such as SJ12-3-09 for a map made by Sally Jones on Dec 3, 2009. Teachers should PASSWORD protect their originals so changes can only be saved under a new name. Similarly, if a student saves the map with a map password, they don't have to worry about other students vandalizing their work. But they DO need to remember the password! Wise teachers will keep a class list of maps and passwords for forgetful students! In primary grades, make maps of your local community together on your interactive whiteboard as you teach basic map skills. Create your own "key" with symbols you choose for playgrounds, etc. Have students help map locations of favorite playgrounds, grandparents' houses, stores, etc. as they gain basic understanding of map skills. Make sure you allow students to operate the tools! Save the map and share it as a link from your class web site (or embed it there). Keep names generic so it is "safe." Other ideas to challenge gifted student beyond the curriculum or elevate challenge for small groups include: natural resource maps, immigration maps, maps of civil war battles day by day, maps of key sites in the life of a famous person, artist, or author, maps of the settings in a novel, landform maps of a continent or state, "My life" maps of places important to an elementary student's family, annotated watershed maps of pollution sources, maps of the water cycle, maps of constellations in the night sky created by students to demonstrate understanding, maps of a dream community to be built in a vacant area (desert), including the water sources, etc. that will be needed, maps of a redesigned city/town on top of its current map. Teachers can provide map challenges or templates to be completed or corrected, including maps where students must label distances and cardinal directions between points (using map scale and skills). Or provide a teacher-created map with labels in the wrong places for students to correct the landforms, resources, etc. What will YOU do with Scribble Maps?
In the ClassroomMake this site part of your personal professional development or pair up with a teaching buddy to learn more about Google Earth (GE) and plan activities for your classrooms. Share the link with your students, as well, so your class can become GE experts together. Even if your access to GE is limited to a single class computer, work together with a small team of student "GEniuses" to prepare class placemarker files, then have the team teach other students, as well. If your school has personal professional development plans or allows teacher to suggest topics for professional workshops, include this link, along with other GE resources from TeachersFirst, as your inservice day agenda.
In the ClassroomPlan your personal professional development on your own or with a teaching buddy to learn more about Google Earth (GE) and plan activities for your classrooms. Even if your access to GE is limited to a single class computer, work together with a small team of student "GEniuses" to prepare class placemarker files, then have the team teach other students, as well. If your school has personal professional development plans or allows teachers to suggest topics for professional workshops, include this link, along with other GE resources from TeachersFirst, as your inservice day agenda.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse tutorials from this site to learn more, or try some Google Earth files from TeachersFirst's Globetracker's Mission to get a taste of what the program can do. Get started by exploring the different LAYERS available in the left side and searching a location you know. Locate and try the tools to drag, tilt, zoom, and even measure distance. Extensive user forums are available through the help menus.
Placemarker files created by you "live" on the computer where you make or save them and are not shared on the web. Note that your computer will ask whether you wish to save your "temporary places" (any places you have marked during a session) each time you close Google Earth. If many students use that computer, you may find you have a disorganized mess of saved places. Be sure to direct students to either name their saved places logically and file them into folders or NOT to save them to My Places! Students and teachers can create placemarker (.kmz or .kml) files and share them as email attachments, files on a USB "stick," or any other means you would use to share a file, just like a Word document.
Another practical tip: if students are using Google Earth on several machines at the same time, you may put a heavy load on your school network. Plan accordingly, perhaps having groups alternate their Google Earth time if it becomes sluggish.
Use Google Earth to teach geography or simply give location context to class readings or current events, especially on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Ex. you can tilt to show the peaks scaled by Lewis and Clark or volcanoes that rise in the Aleutians. Have students show the locations of historic events or literary settings and create placemarkers with links to learn more. Placemarker text is editable by going to the placemarker's "properties" or "info," so students can enter the text description, place title, and any inks they want to include, such as a link to a certain passage of text, an image of a character, or news image/article for a current events map. Students who know html code can get even more sophisticated in what they include in placemarkers. Have students/groups create and play a "tour" of critical locations for global warming, a comparison of volcanoes, or a family history of immigration. Navigate the important locations in a work of literature using Google Lit Trips or search the web for placemarker files connected to civil war battles, natural resources, and more. Turn layers on and off to look at population centers and transportation systems. Teach the concept of scale/proportion using a tactile experience on an interactive whiteboard and the scale and measurement tools. See more ideas at the teacher-created Google Earth 101 wiki reviewed here. Even if you do not venture into creating your own placemarker files, there are many already made and available for use by teachers and students. TeachersFirst's Globetracker's Mission includes a weekly file to follow the Mission.
Grades2 to 12
Once students or class find the map location, they can choose to try other maps or send a map "quiz" to others. The real power of Place Spotting is that students, teachers, and whole-class groups can also create their Own Place Spotting "quizzes" with accompanying hints using the "Create" page. Here is a sample made by the TeachersFirst review team. This site also includes a blog and search option (i.e. to find maps in specific languages).
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In the ClassroomClick Create to create your own place spotting "quiz" for others to solve. The simple steps have numbered directions. Be sure to enter the security "code" and click "Store" for your quiz to be saved. Note that you may decide whether to make it "private" (invisible to others except by invitation). Share the quiz you create by copy/pasting the URL that shows after you click "store." You can always find it again using the search tool, but knowing the URL allows you to give it to others as a link. You might want to "collect" your class Place Spotting links in a Word document (for safe keeping) or on a class wiki.
The only safety concerns are if kids write questions or use places that might lure people to their school or identify themselves (their own house, for example). Check the box to make the quiz private if it is so revealing that you want to keep it only for those you know (GET THE URL and be sure the teacher keeps the list. Private ones cannot be found using the search!). Kids can use them to quiz each other if the teacher/kids shared the group of "private" ones as links on a teacher web page, class wiki, or in a word document (clickable).
Use this site when studying the concept of satellite imagery and map skills. Contrast this site's technology with that of a hand held GPS device. Discuss the map skills needed to use it, including the comparison of the ZOOM tool with a map scale. This is a great activity for ESL and ELL or weaker readers since there is little language involved! Share the site on an interactive whiteboard or projector for a daily "map challenge" or as an anticipatory set/activator at the start of any place-related lesson. Choose places as a class and create your own maps, or have students work in cooperative learning groups to create their own maps about places in their community, landmarks of local history, or cultural sites of countries they study in world languages (be sure to mark private, if they are maps that reveal too much information). Classes could build a community treasure hunt of local history or a landform "find-it" on their wiki, simply by including the URLs -- even add digital pictures of the actual location with each "quiz." You will want to us the areas with higher-resolution images for landform study! Older students can put links or embed the quiz on their blogs or wikis, too. Literature lessons could include Placespotting quizzes for major sites in the stories (assuming they are real) or important places in the author's life. You may want to list this site on your class website; families could map out vacation spots, countries of ancestry, and more.