Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Creating An Interactive Map With Our 2nd Grade Friends & Nick For The Winter Around The World Project

Last week my friend Jane Harvey posted a tweet with the @RosemontEagles Winter Around The World project.  

They were beautiful illustrations the 2nd graders created showing their winter in Virginia. Their teacher Nicole Garzia, teacher librarian Jeanette Reynolds, and Jane, who is the instructional technology specialist, collaborated and created this project with their 2nd graders.  
They added it to our Winter Around the World global winter story, which will be published early next week for everyone to see.  

For now, you can take a look at the Google Slides presentation that contains winter projects from all over the world. 
One thing that caught my eye when I looked at Jane's tweet was their use of the map in the center of the display.  They were making a physical map to show the connections and creations being made around the world.  

I happened to be with my friend Kat Coughlan, who is the project manager for Cantata Learning. We started talking about what an awesome project it was and then Kat told me about an idea she had to tie in with our project.  
Kat's husband Nick works as a GIS specialist for the United States Geological Survey Department. As she shared our Winter Around the World project with him, they thought it would be great to have Nick create, along with students involved in the winter project, an interactive map that will contain the different school communities included.  It could even include the individual projects created by these schools too through links embedded in the map. 
So I sent a tweet back to Jane to see if the children she worked with on the project would be interested in taking their work one step further to help Nick create this map. 

As she tweeted me back I could tell Jane was as excited as me.  We set up a Skype for the next week and today....

we Skyped with Nick, Iris Streeter's 2nd graders at Salem Elementary, which is where Jane and teacher librarian, Lindsey Olinda, were located at, and Jeanette and Nicole with the 2nd graders at Rosemont.  Jane works with both schools so it was fun to bring these students together on Skype to share their winter ideas and connections.
To start the Skype, Nick introduced himself and asked the 2nd graders in both locations what they enjoyed about the winter season.
Their winters in Virginia were different from Nick's in Colorado so this was a wonderful conversation for all of them.
Then Nick shared a book about maps.  They looked inside to find Virginia and Colorado.  It was fun for all of them to talk about the things that were included on each to represent the state.
He then took the 2nd graders into Google Earth.

Nick showed the children where they were on the map.  He talked about making a map in Google Earth and adding different locations and information.  Nick started with their locations and added links that even took them to more information.
Then he found his neighborhood.
They enjoyed seeing where he lived too by clicking on a link he embedded.

Afterwards we asked the 2nd graders if they would like to help us put together an interactive map for the project with winter pictures, stories, and more.  They were excited to help.

We are going to have our 2nd grade friends in Tracy Ferguson and Staci Braun's classes in Van Meter, Iowa help too.
It was really amazing to see how far away, but also how close, our classmates, teachers and friends can be.  A project like Winter Around the World, along with Skype, can help us make these connections and opportunities.

We can't wait to see the map these wonderful 2nd graders create with Nick....and we can't wait to share it with all of you.

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