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.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomDivide students into groups to peruse a given theme or an ancient civilization. Student groups can ask additional questions to begin a search for even more information and present their findings to the class. Discuss parallels among ancient civilizations through the discussion of these themes as well as comparisons and contrasts with present society. Create a visual display of life in these societies or share food and traditions that might have existed. Try some multimedia projects like a Venn Diagram comparing a certain theme of ancient civilization to present society using an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here). Have cooperative learning groups create podcasts demonstrating their understanding of one of the themes. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomShare one or more clips (selected from a full episode) on a projector or interactive whiteboard as part of your study of a time period in history or assign students to research different events, asking them to answer big questions such as, "What role does climate play in a community's growth and government?" or "What might have happened if the weather had been different on this day?" Have students write a blog post as an eyewitness to the events or create a class wiki on the impact of geography, climate, and other "earthly" factors on the decisions that humans make. Create one wiki page per event and assign small groups to write the pages as newspaper articles at the time and another page using historical perspective. Don't forget to add mock news pages about what might have happened if the weather had been different! Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. The same assignment could also be done on video as a series of podcast "news" stories. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).
Use these videos as part of your science study of weather so students relate the hard data to human events. Have students use a multi-angle approach using both scientific data and human data about the event to create a weather wiki or multimedia project such as mock interviews at the time of the event and ten years later.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomThe sky is the limit for potential and possibilities with this website. There are some minor warnings. If you want to allow your students to post to a blog, you will need to create a class and then have them enroll. The great news is that is free. As the teacher, you can moderate or delete posts before they are public. There are lessons available on the site as well as a "Teacher's Lounge" where lesson ideas can be exchanged. In a language arts classroom, students could be assigned to read and blog as a weekly writing assignment. The teacher can assign a specific article or have students choose. Have students read their articles on a podcast using podOmatic, reviewed here. In science, articles from this site could be used to supplement science textbook reading with current articles that better interest students. Articles are short and provide quick practice pieces for non-fiction reading comprehension. Project a story and ask students to write their own sentence for the main idea or to summarize. These quick pieces would fit well on your interactive whiteboard. SmithsonianTweenTribune Espanol allows students to read daily news articles in Spanish and post comments about the stories they read. Teachers moderate all comments before the comments are posted.
Grades3 to 12
Registration does require an email address. Tip: rather than using your personal or work email, create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. This is explained here, and tells how to set up Gmail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. Using Gmail subaccounts will provide anonymous interaction within your class.
tag(s): countries (77)
In the ClassroomUse this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start your study of any country or culture. Another obvious use of this site is for any type of country research projects. This site allows students to explore their previous beliefs about cultures, in the "exploring your cultural baggage" section.This site is excellent for enrichment. Include it on your teacher web page for students to access both in and out of class. This site does include the ability for the general public to submit their own cultural information. Be sure to preview for content inappropriate for your classroom. You may want to limit use to whole-class activities or prohibit accessing the "add to the guide" portion of the site. ESL and ELL students will be proud to make reports to the class about their own countries using this site as backup and illustration. Share this site with language teachers who are taking students on trips beyond the U.S. or as a general resource for cultural information.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomEncourage parents to use this site as a study-at-home tool for their students. Link your blog or website to this site by entering your url at the bottom of the homepage. Make sure your guidance counselor at your school is aware of this site as a tool for studying those college entrance tests. Be sure to save this site in your favorites.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomShare this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector, if individual computers aren't available. If students are working in groups or individually, don't forget the headsets!
Students can pass through the scenes by recording vocabulary words. Have students identify the minor and major difficulties that soldiers during world War I faced. Research how the needs of soldiers were met those days and the agencies or people that helped the troops. Have students create a podcast, or other multimedia project to share their findings. For a podcasting site, try PodOmatic (reviewed here). Compare and contrast military stories today with those of the past to find parallels and differences in military service throughout history. Have groups create an online Venn Diagram comparing the similarities and differences, try a FREE site like this one, (reviewed here). Create class discussions of propaganda, expectations of the military, and different ways that soldiers are portrayed by the media, the public, and in other print materials.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomSearch for your state and see what this site has to offer. Looking for a specific topic (i.e. Civil War or Pearl Harbor), search using topics. Take advantage of these ready to go lesson plans. Infuse your lessons with technology by creating a class wiki about the lesson/topic being discussed. Maybe make a wiki guidebook to your state. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. Save this site in your favorites, and check back as you plan throughout the year.
GradesK to 12
Click the "Go" button to start your activity. Click on the correct answer to the question and then a new question appears. Prompts to try again appear if the answer is wrong and a percent right appears on your screen as you progress. Click on the teacher's link in the upper right hand corner for more information on becoming registered. Once registered, teachers can create their own games for the site. Your teacher ID can be entered by students to access created games.
In the ClassroomUse these activities for review of concepts or terminology with your class on specific topics/subjects. Wish there were a review game for a missing topic? Request a teacher ID, and have groups of students create the questions. Enter the information for the game and students can review by playing their game or one created by another group. Share the student-created games on your interactive whiteboard or projector.These games would be great to both help students review and help them figure out what kind of study methods work best for them.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomShare HOW to use this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students try out the site on individual computers. Make sure you provide headsets! Be sure to list this site on your class website, blog, or wiki for students to use as a review for their study of planet names, solar system planet order, and speed of rotation. Music teachers can use this site as an example of musical description as students explore the planets. Be sure to turn up the speakers!
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomNavigating this site is rather simple. Simply click on one of the tabs across the top of the website: Home, Focus Areas, Projects, Connect, Forums, How-To, and ePal Tours. Parts of this site require log-in. Registration does require an email address. The site does offer SchoolMail, the leader for FREE "kid-safe" email.
A lot of safety features are already put into place at this site. The SchoolMail (email service offered at this site) offers monitored mail, instant translations, spell-check, anti-spam filters, and virus protection. To learn more about the safety features at this site, check out the ePals Tour link.
This site offers an amazing assortment of class activities and possibilities. Collaborate with schools in Africa (or 200 other countries) for a geography project. Have your students find ePals to correspond with and practice writing skills in English or in a language you are studying. Use the ready to go lessons and interactives at the "Focus Areas" and "Projects" links. Get additional ideas for projects, by visiting the "Projects" link or propose one of your own based on ideas from TeachersFirst suggestions you read in other reviews, lesson plans, and articles. After viewing one of the informative videos, challenge your students to study one of the topics available at this site and create their own videos. Use a tool such as TeachersTube, to share the video clips, reviewed here.
Includes an education-only area for teachers and students
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
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
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
Includes teacher tools for registering and/or monitoring students
Grades3 to 7
tag(s): landforms (47)
In the ClassroomUse this site during a unit on landforms, or for research about the landforms. Have students create multimedia presentations about landforms. Have students use a mapping tool such as Zeemaps, reviewed here, to create a map of local landforms (with audio and pictures included)! Share the Zeemaps presentations on your interactive whiteboard or projector.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomSearch the site for your content area. Take advantage of the free lesson plans. If you aren't familiar with Google Earth check out the site (reviewed here). There is a lot to explore with this multi-faceted tool, Google Earth. If you do not have it installed for FREE on your school computer, use this lesson blog to demonstrate to your administration why you should.
GradesK to 4
Although much of this site is free, there are links to purchase the maps and other "extras." So be sure to warn students NOT to click on those options. Flash is required at this site. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomUse this site to reinforce map skills using students' own personalized maps! If you have a classroom wiki page, link the student maps to share with viewers. Challenge students to write stories to go along with the maps and email them to grandparents and parents along with the map link. Print the maps for a creative bulletin board on map making skills.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site is ready to use in class. Have cooperative learning groups explore various aspects of the holiday and Mexican culture.If you have time, have them make their results into a class wiki with a page for each angle. Have students write a journal entry (as a blog) from the perspective of someone living in Mexico during the 1800s. Share maps of Mexico on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have cooperative learning groups create commercials highlighting what they have learned (be sure they include some new vocabulary words) or even a video advertisement for your class's Cinco de Mayo celebration. Share the videos using a tool such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomWorld language and ESL/ELL classes (using a whole class account) or individual students (if a specific school permits students to join sites) can maintain their own word lists with pronunciations. They can submit words to hear them pronounced by native speakers or pronounce them themselves. A teacher could submit words or assign students to explore and find a list of personal words to learn each week. Students can also compare pronunciations of the same word by several different speakers coming from different countries (Mexican Spanish vs. Spanish from Spain etc.). ESL students will no doubt enjoy disputing the pronunciation of words from their native languages! This is a perfect collaboration of geography and world language classes. Share the maps on your interactive whiteboard or projector. This site could also be useful as a learning center, for students to practice pronunciation. (Don't forget the headsets!) List this link on your class website for students to use for at-home practice!
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomShare this map on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use with your ESL/ELL students to show the class where most settlers from their specific countries go. Talk about your American students' origins and check to see where their ancestors may have settled. Use this interactive map to teach about various kinds of map making and map keys. Use this site to reinforce your students' understanding of timelines. Have cooperative learning groups investigate a specific decade. Challenge the groups to create multimedia presentations to share with the class: blog post from a settler during their "decade" or maybe an interactive timeline of a fictitious settler family using a tool such as TimeRime (explained here).
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomThe long term nature of the treasure hunt would make this a good enrichment activity or extra credit project for students. Alteratively, the class could act as a team and undertake one chapter at a time as an ongoing project. The project might also make a good summer enrichment opportunity for students, be good for home schools, or work well with summer day camp groups.
Grades2 to 12
Be aware: this site does include some unobtrusive advertisements. Some of the slideshows and videos require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.