Over the years (from Elementary to High School) , I cannot tell you HOW many times each of my own daughters had to find news articles to bring in to class to share. These assignments came in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they were required to write a summary, print out a representative image and hand both in to the teacher to receive an all important check mark each week that they had “done it”. Other times they had to stand up in class and actually read the article, maybe even answer a question or two from the teacher about it to show some kind of understanding of what the article meant.
The social studies teacher at my new school has the same assignment for her middle school students….
Simply cutting out or copying and pasting, then printing an article to hand in is not enough for that teacher. She wants her students to make connections. she wants them to connect dots to geography, cultures and categories and how they are interrelated to each other.
In comes Google Maps.
Each news event is added with a placemark to a Google Map. Students are categorizing the events as well as providing a short summary which are added to the placemark. We are striving to make the summary to be 140 characters or less in an effort to practice precision and focused writing.
The map provides an incredible visual and is a medium to further explore geography, information literacy and global awareness. Questions such as these arise:
- In what category do most news events we added fall?
- In what continents and countries are the news items in?
- What area of the world do we know or hear the least about? Why?
- How can we expand our horizon to cover more areas of the globe?
You can follow the map as students continue contributing and expanding it during the school year.
View News Events Around the World in a larger map