On April 29th my fifth grade students had the unique opportunity of hanging out with a famous newscaster, Willie Geist. As part of their English Language Arts unit involving research, persuasive writing, and fluency practice, students have been creating and producing their own newscasts each week. To make the activity more applicable, I decided to reach out to a few newscasters and see if they'd be willing to Skype/Google Hangout with my students. Within a few hours of tweeting Willie Geist, I heard back from a production assistant from the Today Show wanting to help get the wheels in motion. It turned out Willie was excited about this opportunity, and two weeks later my students were interacting with him through Google Hangout! Students asked questions they had prepared ahead of time about teleprompters, college, on air nerves, and his first day on the job among others. The thirty minute session flew by, and the fifth graders enjoyed meeting another famous role model!
I recently presented at the Iowa 1:1 Institute, and briefly shared how I have used Google Maps Engine Lite to create Google Lit Trips. The attendees had not heard of this resource, and I decided to write a blog post explaining how I have used Maps Engine Lite. The example pictured, and embedded in the Symbaloo below, is from our English Language Arts (ELA) study of Peak by Roland Smith. I first learned about Google Maps Engine Lite in November through Grantwood AEA's On Air session shared by Gina Rogers. From that first explanation, my mind began spinning as I contemplated how I could integrate this Web 2.0 tool into my ELA instruction. To begin, I decided to have my students use the map as a digital reading response journal (see directions below), where students wrote a summary of the section, made predictions, and included any other relevant information. Students enjoyed this form of journaling and as a teacher the management and assessment was quite simple as I put everyone's map on one Symbaloo (seen below) and could easily check student progress and comprehension of the story.
If you are not ready to have students create their own Lit Trips, check out Google Lit Trips, a website full of premade trips that can be downloaded and run in Google Earth.
How to Directions:
1. Go to Maps Engine Lite, you'll need to sign in with your GAFE account
2. Click "Create a new map"
3. In the upper right corner, change "Untitled Map" to "_____'s Peak Map"
4. In the search box, type in the location you wish to add to your map. (The first one is the Woolworth Building, NYC, NY)
5. Click the green map marker, and choose "add to map"
6. Next, click the now red map marker, and edit the post by clicking the pencil icon at the bottom.
7. You will now add a summary or reflection of the events that have occurred at this location. For the Woolworth Building, you could include that it was Peak's sixth skyscraper to scale. Also, you could include details regarding Peak's ascent and subsequent arrest.
8. As you read Peak, you will follow steps 4-7, being sure to include relevant information and summaries about Peak's journey up Mt. Everest.