Sunday, March 16, 2014

Where the Google are We?

Sometimes I get lost...  
                Not lost in the woods or lost in the mall...  
                                             I get lost in the expectations for me as an educator.  

I get lost in the new content standards, state social studies standards, next generation science standards...  and just when I think I've found my way through the maze of it all... someone somewhere decides to mix it all up again.  

I guess optimists would say that it keeps us on our toes.   I would agree, except sometimes I come up with some really good ideas or just get something figured out and then... POOF! It's gone, not needed, changed to another grade level...  It can be disheartening.  

That is how I felt at the beginning of this year as I looked through our state's social studies standards and the science standards.  I hate to admit this, but some of the Next Generation Science Standards are just plain confusing... I had to do quite a bit of research just to make heads or tails of them.  Luckily, with the help of and Chevron I feel like I have most of my science year mapped out, but that is for a later post. 

TpT unit for 4th Grade Oregon Teachers

One of our social studies standards is relative and absolute location, which we tackled in November.  In the midst of those three weeks we had report cards, conferences, and Thanksgiving (along with a budget reduction day), so that three weeks was more like one and half.  But we do what we have to do.  And what I had to do was teach the students about relative and absolute location AND have them locate places in Oregon using them.  

That is where Google Earth came in.  What an amazing tool!  I'm lucky enough to work in a school that has a decent computer lab, so after teaching the students about the two types of location, we headed off to explore the earth, or at least Oregon, Google Earth style!

Now, if you haven't used Google Earth yourself or with your students, you really should.  

The students ooohed and Aaaahed over every single moment of it.  They located the points I had assigned with relative ease and a lot of excited gasps and giggles... 
Even my more struggling students had a wonderful experience. 

When students completed the task I had assigned them, which was to locate The Seven Natural Wonders of Oregon, they were free to EXPLORE THE WORLD!!  Some even went to outer space!  

So, at the end of this week, as students were handing in their completed social studies papers, I had a feeling of accomplishment... like I had found my way through an Amazon Jungle and come out the other side virtually unscathed.  

One standard down, a bazillion more to go!  

Is your school working on the Next Generation Science Standards?  If so, what kinds of resources are you using to accomplish them?  

Thanks for stopping by!  
*I moved this post from my old blog, Living a Teaching Life, to this one.*


  1. Thanks for the terrific post about using Google Earth to teach students about relative locations. I especially enjoyed the part where you stated that even your struggling students enjoyed the experience. Kids love technology!

  2. This post was great! I have heard about using Google Earth in the classroom but have never been able to see how it would work. I am a brand new teacher and will be starting in August with my first bunch of 3rd Graders. Visit my blog to help me with any suggestions you might have!

  3. I just thought of this as I read Carol Garden's post, but another great way to use Google Earth would be to look up land formations. We just finished studying volcanoes and I could have had my students find volcanoes using Google Earth!! DARN! I'll need to remember that for next year. :)