by Dee Porter, Librarian at Vandegrift High School, Leander ISD
Interactive maps are powerful collaboration tools that librarians can use to support teachers and engage students. Placing data on a map provides a visual aid which helps students connect learning to their own lives and helps them find relationships between data.
High school English language learners, their two teachers and I worked together to create a map of schools they previously attended as a get to know you activity. The answers ranged from Canyon Vista Middle School in a nearby school district to Concord College of Sino Canada in Tongzhou, China. Each student placed their information on the map. When all the points were entered each student unmuted themselves one at a time and shared information about their school with the group. The map ignited student conversation filled with engaging stories about ancient Chinese musical instruments, long car rides, uniforms and cafeteria food.
One early stage English acquisition student answered the questions on the form and a teacher read his answers aloud. He responded to questions via the chat. More fluent language acquisition students examined the points on the map and discussed patterns in the data and reasons for those patterns.
I created the map using Survey 123 which you can learn more about here. Alternatively you can do the same lesson in Google My Maps.
Use this form to collect information about one previous school
Save the resulting spreadsheet as a .csv
Go to google my maps and import the .csv as a layer
Switch the view from satellite to street and students can talk about parks, restaurants and other landmarks they have visited. Students and teachers can also use the locations on the map to ask the presenter questions.
So contact a teacher and create collaborative maps by asking students simple questions like name one school you have attended in the past. If you need more ideas please see the ones listed below. If you have any questions please contact me; I love to talk about maps!
World Geography story maps detailing Central American current events
Colleges teachers on one campus attended
Cities represented at a librarian conference
Changing setting of a character’s journey
Where student t-shirts were made
Local community helpers