Thursday, January 22, 2015

Using Google Maps to Extend Book Comprehension

I just started "book club" reading with my students. I have been wanting to try this for a while as a way to mix the students of different reading levels (experience?). I was also looking for a way to extend some of my second graders thinking.

For this, the first week of our book club, I assigned the books. I wanted students to choose their own, but I also wanted to make sure the students were comfortable with their reading materials.

So, for now, I made groups of like-leveled (experienced) students.

The second graders finished their book much faster than the others. Their book was a fable called The Mouse Deer and the Crocodiles.

When my students finished reading and their plenary activity, I asked them to use Google Earth to find a place on the world where they thought the story took place.

One student asked how. So I asked him where the story happened, and the group tried to find clues in the book. I had them list all their ideas and one was a jungle. That brought us into a conversation about what jungles were, and where they are. We searched the map, talked some more about the equator, and looked for rivers.

It was great, but I felt like we were moving too far from trying to find where the story really could have taken place.

That led me to ask where crocodiles lived and where mouse deer lived.

I divided the group into two groups, so they could research both and then overlap where both animals live and come up with a location.

The first results they found about each animal's habitat was on Wikipedia and it was difficult for them to understand. I wish I had explored the page more before directing them to Enchanted Learning, but that was less help.

Then time ran out and it was recess time.

This gave me a great idea for the future. I think there are a lot of possibilities with this project since there were many skills involved.

  • search skills
  • map reading
  • scanning for information
  • reading comprehension
  • knowledge synthesis
  • cooperative learning

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