Thursday, October 15, 2015

Share a Google MyMap!

If location is important to a lesson or unit you are teaching, I encourage you to use a Google MyMap!

I did this today with California History with my 4th graders. For them to understand the importance of the different regions in California (Coast, Desert, Mountains, and Central Valley), they need to SEE it. We have a few small maps in our Social Studies workbook, but I knew that there had to be a better way...

What better way than to do it:
1. In the context of a shared, interactive map that they can zoom in and out of
2. By seeing actual satellite imagery, showing the different vegetation in each region
3. By placing a marker on the cities that are in each region
4. By coloring the markers to the appropriate, agreed-upon color (blue, red, yellow, and green)
5. By noticing when classmates make errors, and fixing them in real-time

I started with a Google Classroom assignment:
1. Find a city in each of the Regions of CA.(Desert, Mountains, Coast, Valley)2. "Add to Map"3. Change the color of that marker to match this Legend:Desert = redMountains = yellowCoast = blueValley = green4. Edit that marker by clicking on the little pencil icon - Add your name in the little box.
Once you have placed 4 markers, of cities in CA, and colored them appropriately, you may "Mark As Done".
Then I attached the link to the shared "MyMap".

I plan to add a layer to the map where we label the areas where the Native Americans (Native Californians) lived. This will be much more visual, interactive, and "in-context" than previous methods.

I learned what steps were harder for them - what parts of the process I might be slower and more explicit about next time. For example, in the screen shots below, you'll see that they had trouble changing the color of the marker to the appropriate color. This, of course, is a crucial aspect of demonstrating that they've learned about the regions, so I'll work on this more in the coming days. I had a couple students that were ignorant of state borders (that a certain nearby state was not, in fact, in CA). This might not have been corrected without a lesson like this.

Next time, maybe a little video showing each step, and more detail in the assignment itself will make the experience better for all.