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!

 

#rOxnard Reflection

Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 1.58.00 PMLast week I had the privilege of being a part of the #cuerockstar #rOxnard faculty. And what an amazing group they were! As tradition, we all had one minute to ‘sing for our supper’ also known as ‘Shred Session’. Yeah, that one-minute time limit? It meant nothing to me! In true RockStar fashion, I went a tad over. In all fairness, Mike Vollmert warned me that my time would soon be up. My response? “I don’t care,” and kept going. That was the first time I ever did that.

Day 1, I shared one of my passions: HyperMaps. Imagine creating a map (using Google My Maps – found in Google Drive) where students learn and the teacher is truly a facilitator. Or having students record their learning on maps. Combine My Maps with photos, websites, documents, etc and the possibilities are endless! I was inspired by the participants. Randi, had the brilliant idea to link a street view image in her map. She teaches her students about pyramids and was setting up a Hypermap that allows her students to experience the sites they learn about. I LOVE sharing the joy that is Hypermaps!

Day 2, for me, was all about green screens and the fun you can have with them! Check out my shred:


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Lots of creating happened! Lots of problem-solving and collaborating. Participants were App Smashing in ways I had never thought of before! I learned so much from everyone this day. Check out this crazy creation by George Carganilla.

If you haven’t been to a CUE RockStar yet, there’s still time!

(Unofficial) #CUE17 Foodie Map

Last week a few thousand educators descended upon Palm Springs for the National CUE Conference. About a week before everyone was set to arrive, Brian Briggs made a comment about getting a crowdsource doc going listing food around the event. So between Brian, Tracy Walker, and myself, we thought it was a GREAT idea. Me, being a My Maps lover, decided to take it to the next level and create a crowdsourced foodie mapScreen Shot 2017-03-22 at 6.49.23 PM

As it had nearly 3,000 views, I’d say it as a hit. And it was something that was needed. When I created it, I pinned 1 restaurant. Looking at how many pins are on it, I’d say the crowdsource part was also a success.

In order to crowdsource it, I had to make sure that it was open for anyone to place a pin. Generally, I wouldn’t open a map up for anyone to place a pin, but this was necessary. And there were no problems. Everyone was respectful. There was even an early morning hike one day! I would have never known about that had it not been placed on the map. I will definitely try to do this again. I love it when things like this are embraced by the masses. What a great resource. Thanks Brian and Tracy for the idea.

Lesser Known Geo Tools

It’s no secret that I LOVE Google My Maps and incorporating them into lessons. Whether it’s to have students document their learning like in the Pre-Columbian People’s lesson, or a self-guided lesson on Marco Polo (with additional tasks to show understanding); My Maps are the bee’s knees for me! But there are some insanely cool, yet lesser known, Geo Tools out there?

Smarty Pins – This fun game combines screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-6-31-27-pmtrivia and location skills. Players are given a trivia question, which correlates to a place in the world, that they then must place Peg Man on the map. This game was developed by Google. The closer you are to the location, and faster you are, the more ‘miles’ you earn. You are given 1000 miles to start the game. However, if you are not accurate you lose ‘miles’. So if your answer is 149 miles away, that’s how many ‘miles’ or points you lose. Once you are out of ‘miles’ the games ends.

GeoGuessr –screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-6-30-03-pm This is a super fun, highly addictive game (if you’re a nerd like me!). There are 2 modes and several GeoGuessr Maps to choose from. When you arrive on the site, the first game is ‘Explore the World’. Using Google Maps Street View, you are dropped in a location. Using clues (signs, vegetation, cars, etc.) you need to place a pin on the map as to the location of where you are. Scrolling a bit further down on the page, there are several maps focusing on countries, cities, and continents. I clicked on ‘North America’ where game maps for Canada and United States, along with some cities, appeared. You can set a timer for minutes and seconds. I mentioned a second mode: Challenge. This is where you can challenge a friend.

GeoSettr – This is similar to GeoGuessr, but YOU create your own GeoGuessr game. You start by dropping Peg Man in a location on the map on the left, zoom in as far as needed to find your desired location. You can see the view your players will see on the right screen. Then, set the pin for that round. You have 5 rounds. Once you have completed your GeoSettr, the game will give you a unique URL to share. You can check out mine. This could be fun for 5th Grade States and state capitals.

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History Pin – This is a new one for me. This combines my love of historical (or family shared) photos with maps. I have only browsed some collections and was in nerd heaven! Again, using Google Maps and Google Maps Street View you are shown the Street View image of what the location looks like today with an insert of a photo, or image, from the past. Check out this example from Eastern Market in Detroit, MI.

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Tour Builder – One of my all time favorites. This lets you create your own map story. The story is a bit more linear than using regular Google Maps. You choose all destinations in the order you want. You can add text, photos, and videos. Here’s a quick ‘Cheat Sheet‘ I created to help get you started.

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