Google My Maps – Learning for the Year

I wish I had started this early in the year, but now I have something to try and get teachers to use next year!

Google My Maps (Introduction here) allows you to create your own maps and add content like placemarks, draw lines and shapes, organize with layers, and style the content.

One of our state social studies standards that goes through almost every grade level is constructing maps and charts to display geographic data. My Maps allows students to that easily.

It would be great if students created map that had geographic data for the entire year. They could put placemarks in for each subject and add it to the map to see connections between subjects. Below is a “6th Grade” map that has placemarks from some of our first quarter curriculum maps!


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Capitol Building

Social Media and Field Trips

group photo - supreme court This month we took thirty-seven eighth graders and five adults to Washington, DC for 5 days. We left our school in Phoenix at 3 AM on a Wednesday morning and returned at 11:30 PM on a Sunday night. I couldn’t even put all of the sites and memorials we visited in order without using the agenda. It was a very hectic, but very well organized trip.

I wanted to use social media to connect with parents and to let them know where we were and what we were doing during the trip. Below are my tips for anyone that is going on a field trip for an extended period of time.

1. Choose Your Purpose

What are you going to try and tweet or post out to parents or the community during your trip? With such a large group, getting a photo of most of our students at each stop along our trip wasn’t a feasible option. I wanted to make sure that parents knew where we were at and that we were safe. I posted a photo and the location of where we were at as soon as we arrived at a monument. Parents told me that this helped them feel better about the trip because they knew where their kids were at any given time. If time allowed, I took photos of students and posted them as well.

If it was a smaller group, I would have tried to take more photos of the students. Parents want to see photos of their own children smiling and having a good time. If you decide on trying to get photos of every student on the trip, you run the risk of missing someone and worrying parents.

2. Who will post?

Who will have access to the accounts that you are going to publish content? Is it one person on the trip or an entire group? With our group, I was the only one that had access to the accounts. I wanted to make sure that the posts were put up in a timely fashion and that the information wasn’t being repeated or told in more than one “voice”. I was also the person on the trip that was the most comfortable with the technology that we were using.  It may have been better to have more than one person posting so that I could have enjoyed the monuments, but it really wasn’t that much time to take a photo and post it quickly at each place. I was taking photos already, so it wasn’t much more time to post them online from my phone.


 3. Which service will you use?


Hopefully your school already has some social media accounts in place that you can use during your field trip. We have a Facebook Page and a Twitter account that we started using this school year. I wanted to use Facebook because most parents have a personal account and you can check in to places. Unfortunately, as a page you are not able to check in to specific places. Twitter does have the ability to geo-locate your tweets, so I used that instead. It would not put the monument name with the post, but it would put a marker on a map.

I also connected our Twitter account with our Facebook page (instructions here). This allowed any post on Twitter to be automatically put on the Facebook page. This made it easy for one person to post, and also gave access to all of the analytics and insights that Facebook offers for the amount of people that saw the post.

4. How will you share it with the people that should see it?

Making sure that you share the field trip posts with parents and community members before, during, and after the trip are important. We sent out an email to all of the parents with students going on the trip with links to both the Twitter and Facebook accounts. We also made sure to tell them that they do not need an account to be able to view the posts.

I also used a hashtag during the trip. This allowed me to easily find all of the Tweets that pertained to the trip. I also made a Storify of all of the Tweets and put them in chronological order so that parents, teachers, and community members could go back and look at the posts from the trip. Next year I may give the hashtag to students to use, but we did not do that this year.


Overall, the trip was great! Students acted appropriately and were able to see many monuments and museums in the Washington, DC area. The only time we had a problem was during our bus ride from the airport to dinner. A car that was parked on the street pulled out of their parking spot and grazed the side of our bus. There was quite a bit of damage to the other car, but our students didn’t even notice that it had happened until we stopped. I told students that if they were going to text or call their parents to lead off with telling them that no one was hurt or injured and to use the word “grazed” when describing the “accident”. Some decided to not even tell their parents at all because they didn’t want them to worry.

If you would like to see the Storify from our trip, check out this link:

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Why do you write?

It’s an odd idea for someone like me to keep a diary; not only because I have never done so before, but because it seems to me that neither I — nor for that matter anyone else — will be interested in the unbosomings of a thirteen-year- old schoolgirl. Still, what does that matter? I want to write, but more than that, I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried deep in my heart.”

Yes, there is no doubt that paper is patient and as I don’t intend to show this cardboard-covered notebook, bearing the proud name of “diary,” to anyone, unless I find a real friend, boy or girl, probably nobody cares.”

Where are these quotes from? Saturday, the 2oth of June, 1942 – The Diary of Anne Frank.

The book is now considered one of the key texts of the twentieth century. As of 2004, more than 25 million copies of the book had been sold; the book had also been translated into more than 50 languages.

Why do you write?

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Geometry Lesson – Shapes in Google Earth

Here is a lesson we will be working on over the next couple of weeks in Math.

It is a Geometry (basic shapes) lesson in Google Earth. We will be classifying shapes and finding their perimeter and area. There are also some bonus questions (geography, etc.).

When I get the worksheet finished I will also post it here.

If you want to download the file to take a look at it, click on Geometry.kmz below. You need to have Google Earth (download here) installed on your computer to view this file.


Geometry.kmz (0.04 mb)

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What do you want from technology?

Open a Word Document. Watch the first video then answer the questions below it in the word document.

Video 1 -0:30 –

1. Is this video interesting to you? Why or why not?
2. Write a paragraph about the ways you use technology to communicate with others.

Watch the second video then answer the questions in your Word document.
(Watch for technologies that you recognize. You can watch the video more than one time.)

Video 2 – 1:32 –

3. What technologies did you recognize?
4. Which of these technologies have you used before?
5. Which of these technologies would you like to use or learn more about?

Save the Word document in the class assignments folder. The file name should be your name.

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