Thursday, September 5, 2013

Mr. G's Class In New Hampshire Teaches Our 4th Graders In Iowa About GeoGuesser......Let The Games Begin!

Yesterday Mr. G's (Steve Gagnon's 5th graders in New Hampshire Skyped with our 4th graders in Iowa.  
After receiving this tweet from Ben at @mrgclass asking if we wanted them to teach us about GeoGuesser, I couldn't wait!   I tweeted back and planned a time around 1:00pm when Cindi Byrnes 4th graders were coming in for library and technology time.  

With our work on the United States, maps, distances, and numbers in 4th grade, I knew this would be a perfect fit for connecting these two classrooms.  

Also, I couldn't wait for another group of students at Steve and I's school to become friends.  This is our 3rd year for connecting our schools and we are really excited for everything we are planning this year too.  

You can read about our adventures and connections on our blog, Seven States Away. 
When they called us on Skype, Ben was the one that was there on the other end.  This is a picture that Steve took of Ben talking to our 4th graders in Van Meter.  
I loved how the kids all acted like he had been part of their classroom from the very start.  Ben did an amazing job teaching all of us about how GeoGuesser works and how they are using it in their classroom.  

As he explained GeoGuesser, 
 he also held up his ChromeBook to the camera to show his new Iowa friends how to play.
In GeoGuesser, different photographs taken around the world are shown to the viewer.  You have the tools to move you around the photograph and also zoom in and out.  It is fun to try to zoom into signs and different landmarks that have symbols or writing.
You make a guess by clicking on the Google Map to the right of the photograph.  It drops a pin in that spot.  Then you click "Make guess".
It then brings up a Google Map that tells you how far your guess was from the correct location.  

As you can see from this can sometimes be WAYYYYYY off.  
A Game is 5 rounds....After the rounds, GeoGuesser gives you this awesome map marked with each location you guessed and your total points.  
It is also very easy to share your score with the url or let others challenge your score with the url too. 
When I was writing this post, I even challenged Mr. G to a little game of GeoGuesser on Twitter just by sharing the url I was given.  So easy to do and super fun.  
GueGuesser also has an option to "Set time limit or create a challenge!" 

You set the minutes and seconds....Then you can share the url it generates for you and others to play. When you do a challenge it gives everyone the same five locations and time.  

I am excited to use this with our students....Especially when we play tomorrow with Mr. G's class and the other 4th grade class at Van Meter. 
Yesterday we had the kids use their iPads to play GeoGuesser.  It was so fun watching them move around the room and talk to each other while they tried to figure out the different locations in the photographs.  A few of them also got out laptops to search for clues as well.
They worked together and talked about what they saw as clues and landmarks.  They talked about distances and what they knew about the different continents.
 When they got their scores, the kids yelled them out to everyone else.  Their teamwork and enthusiasm  was contagious.
We also had TweetDeck up on the big screen in the library and were talking back and forth with @mrgclass and @vmlibraryvoice.  
Brooke, one of the 4th graders, was tweeting for us and created a Google Doc on her iPad to share with them of everyones score at Van Meter.  
Our 4th graders really loved playing GeoGuesser on their iPads.  A lot of them made a new bookmark on their home screen for the website so they could get to it easily.  
By the end of the time in the library we were all hooked.  We even got our administrators in both schools excited about playing GeoGuesser.....We will see who gets the high score now!

This is one website that can bring new knowledge, engagement, excitement, and global connections to our young people.  Try it out and let us know what your students get too.

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