Wednesday, April 15, 2020

An activity I'm doing this and next week in Google Earth

I'm long past processing that April School Vacation Week isn't happening. We all have bigger fish to fry, right? But here in MA it is always a rite of spring that brings the Marathon and some momentum leading up to the end of the school year...all that unclear as well.

However, we can simulate. Some of you know I am a Google Earth nerd, from way back when it was an application to download and you had to take a two-day class to understand it. Now, it's much easier. In Google Chrome, just launch Google Earth (or Google it); you can also use on iPad. But, Google Earth being so visual and interactive, it makes a great tool for telepractice. Consider using Google Earth for traveling to locations and working on descriptive language, situational awareness or the story grammar element of setting.

The activity I am doing is to have group members give a "tour"- could be a place they have gone to, are planning to go to, just want to go to, or even their neighborhood. I provided one- roughly main idea of place, 3 details and a story- as a model in groups. As a scaffold and also so that the activity makes social sense we talked about how a tour is a kind of conversation (thanks Anna Vagin for this and Conversation Paths, one of which I modified below- you should go purchase her amazing product on this, see a video here).

Students were given the roles of asking questions or making comments during or after my model tour and then I asked them to:

-use "future thinking" (see work of Ward/Jacobsen)
-think about a place to give a tour
-look it up in Google Earth and make sure it is searchable/navigable for an overview (main idea) and 3 details (places within it).
-think of a short story of your experience.
-at group you will verbally tell me where to go.
-please do not spend more than 10-15 minutes preparing for this
(this sent in email to parents)

Here's a video showing some of the navigation controls in Google Earth in Chrome which you can also find by, well, Googling! Typing a ? when in Google Earth will also display the shortcuts.

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