Watsons Go to Birmingham

“Why do I need to know this?” How often have you heard that question? Geography is not the firstreach resource for most English Language Arts(ELA) teachers, but I’ve found the use of geospatial technology quite powerful with my students. As one of my 7th graders said, “Everything’s mappable, Mrs. Duke!” How do you teach your students to think? I used geospatial technology cleverly laced among the traditional and required content to bring my ELA class into the 21st Century and get my students thinking!

In 2009, I created a cross-curricular lesson plan with students activities, maps and an opportunity for students to analyze historic data and experience change over time. The original lesson is my archives but these activities have stood the test of time with elegant and easy updates at the software level.

A new story map version of the popular lesson

Thanks to Story Maps and ArcGIS online, students can experience this story and the many lessons it offers in their browser window. This example is a great way to see how geospatial technology can enrich student learning and give students connections to content.

I’m always adding to these types of resources as I find new things that apply.  In June of 2016, I found some great lesson material for The Green Book and some fine connections with a children’s book, Ruth and the Green Book. Both are worth exploring!