My Maps: Underutilized Tool in the Classroom

It’s no secret to anyone that knows me that I LOVE Google My Maps. Yes, there is a difference between Google Maps (the tool that tells you how to get from place to place) and Google My Maps (customizable maps).

Screen Shot 2017-07-20 at 4.34.45 PMGoogle My Maps is found in your Drive. It looks a lot like Google Maps, but as I’ve said, you can customize it. You can put points of interest, photos, directions, lines, shapes, customize the icons, etc. (a list of how to use the tools can be found on my YouTube Playlist).

When people hear about Google Maps (or My Maps), they automatically think it’s solely a geography thing. Teachers are no different. Yes, My Maps lends itself to geography and history quite easily, however, I have used it with Social Studies, ELA, and even Math!

In Social Studies, my students studies Pre-Columbian Peoples. I decided to split them into groups, create a Hyperdoc to find information and then use My Maps to record information. Their final Maps were placed on a Google Site. They created layers, drew shapes, recorded information, inserted pictures and videos, collaborated, learned, and shared.

In Math, students practiced fractions using My Maps. Yes, adding and subtracting fractions with both like and unlike denominators. In Math, there is practice using the measuring tool, comparing distances, it will even tell you perimeter and area of a shape.

In ELA, mimicking Jerome Burg’s Lit Trips, students can retell the story, learn about places, ideas, and the like that appear in the book. Next year, I would like to do this with Bud, Not Buddy, a book I have my 5th-graders read every year.

In another example, I created the HyperMap, same principle as Hyperdocs using My Maps. My students are required to learn about the 13 original colonies. In it, I created layers and gave the directions on the map. The students were then tasked with learning and recording the information (in groups).

If you are a fan of Hyperdocs, then this is a beautiful addition to your lessons. Think about how you can use Google My Maps in your classroom next year. Be sure to share your ideas in here and if you create something fun and exciting, share it on the Hyperdocs website!

 

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