In this project, kids create a historic web page of their school’s community, researching explorers and significant events from its past.
Carol LaRow, a Google certified teacher and Smithsonian Laureate, is the site administrator. She invites teachers to submit projects that include historic events, explorers, and voyages tied to their local communities. She asks for proposals, links to completed projects, or even just lesson plans. She can even arrange hosting of your class’s projects and lesson if you do not have hosting resources available.
Use Google Tools
You’re asked to include a few Google resources in your projects. Some of the many choices include Search (a natural), Picasa for pictures, Maps, Drive (word processing, spreadsheet, presentations), and Google Earth. The website has links to the broader list.
Another natural tie-in for this community history project is the free version of Timeglider, an interactive timeline that can be embedded in your web page.
LaRow’s website has many examples of projects to help you with ideas for your own class’s community history project.
Historic Sites of Kingston, NY – created by the 4th graders of George Washington Elementary School – is one of my favorite examples of how various online tools have been incorporated into their Google Map tour of historic sites in their town. It provides videos of each site narrated by a student. And it has the elements essential to a project-based learning environment. You can also see what standards the teacher incorporated into the project and her lesson plans.
Google Historical Voyages and Events is an inventive way to incorporate technology into the classroom and engage in project-based learning. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to bring in local experts, such as someone of the local or state historical society. You could ask that the completed project be made available in the society’s online resources, or perhaps those of the local library.
My name is Carol LaRow. I’m the site administrator for “Google Historical Voyages and Events.” I’d like to thank you for your kind words. I found out about your review of our site from Elaine Habernig, one of the tech integrators from Kingston Schools, the school you mention. The 4th graders in Kingston were thrilled to see your review of their project. What a great thing for the students – to see a comment about their project on the WEB. You sure helped show them what an “authentic audience” is.
In fact, that’s really the goal of the site – to showcase what teachers and students are doing, to publish student work for authentic audiences, to encourage them to take pride in their work. I have made an effort to post lesson materials so other educators can replicate the projects.
The site has gone global, something I never expected. We have schools from around the World and across the United States. There are no advertisements on the page, and it’s FREE. As I write this, the site has had 23,500 visitors.
We also have resources for teachers at the bottom, with links for social studies projects. And, we have educational non-profit organizations on the site.
I also invite you to take a look at the historical literature project on the novel, My Brother Sam is Dead. It’s a complete unit, and teachers can download it. The discussion questions were written by my 7th graders. (There are no recall questions, only dicussion questions). We use Google Earth to take the students where the characters walked and the battles took place. I have been fortunate to have a Google SuperModeler, Ron Hall, add 3D models to our project, and an historian in CT, Brent Colley, do a companion guide to the novel. Our next project will be The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.
Again, thank you for recognizing this site and the work the teachers and students around the World are doing. I think this is so important for the students to see. I am going to pass your site onto the schools that took part in the project. By the way, the students in Kingston were invited to one of the museums they wrote about for their end-of-year picnic. Another school, D.H. Brown M.S.in Madison, CT, was recognized by CECA (CT Educators Computer Assoc_ at a tech expo for their project on the site. They met their state senator. Another school in Norton, MA (J.C. Solomonese Elem School, was able to get a grant for Flip Cameras by being part of this project.)
We invite others to join the project. All are welcome.
May 18, 2011