"Do you want to learn more about countries and where they're located?" I asked. The answer was pretty clear. So, yesterday, we spent some time in the computer lab with a large, blank world maps and Google Earth. The goal was to enter as many European countries onto their map as they could, since that's where our Social Studies lessons are heading.
Some students had trouble translating what was in front of them on their computer screen to what was on paper, but once they got started, they did a great job. Later, they looked for their homes, and were so excited to see the street levels for familiar places. In the end, I let them play around on the site, and before I knew it, some of them were touring the White House, some were in Europe, and a couple were in outer space.
Leaving the computer lab that day was a sad moment for many of them. But I reassured them that we'd spend lots more time exploring the world in the days ahead. Nothing warms my heart more than seeing kids get excited to learn more about the world around them!
And so I've updated an old gem that I used several years ago, but haven't used since. I developed it as a way to review measures of central tendency with students, but this time, I think I'll use it to do that and to extend their understanding about the world around them. Maybe it will even lead to further reading and writing about another country.