Hey everyone! I don’t know about you, but I sometimes like to travel the world with Google Maps or Google Earth and explore places that I otherwise would never have seen. Yesterday I was traversed the streets of Bangladesh, went and saw the Great Wall of China, took a detour through a small Mongolian community and was home in time for dinner! Thanks, technology and Google!
As I was exploring the earth, an idea flew by, and I caught it just in time! The idea: use Google Maps for writing prompts!
Basic Instructions: (feel free to change as needed in your situation!)
1. Allow student 15-20 minutes to find a “prompt place” (The place that they want to write about 🙂 ). You could even give them a specific country to look for a “prompt place” in. ( i.e. “Find a place you would like to write about in Italy”) (If you already know how to use Google Maps, skip the instructions in the purple text below)
Instructions for using Google Maps for beginners:
Go to www.google.com/maps and enter in the location you would like to ‘go to’ in the search box in the upper left corner. It will ‘take you there’, and on the left side under the search bar it might show some information about the location you entered. If you would like to change your view from map to satellite or vice versa, click the box labeled ‘map’ or ‘satellite’ that is near the bottom left corner.
Click on the little yellow/orange man in the bottom right corner. ‘Photo Spheres’ ‘See Insides’ and ‘Street Views’ will show up on the map. (See the key in the bottom center of the screenshot below) You can drag-and-drop the little yellow man to any of those, and you can use the “Street View” “See Inside” or Photo Sphere” (See the screenshot under the one directly below)
You can use the mouse to drag the screen and look around inside a photo sphere.
Those are basically all the Google Maps skills you will need for this activity!
2. Once they have found a place and viewed it with ‘Street View’, ‘Photo Sphere’ or ‘See Inside’, set a timer for seven minutes for them to write a story about what they see on ‘Street View’, ‘Photo Sphere’ or ‘See Inside’. Don’t limit them! If they want to turn the Great Wall of China into an extensive palace barricade in Finland in their story, let them! If the Taj Mahal becomes a secret hide-out for Alien Spys, go along with it! Don’t shun their ideas or make fun of them or tell them it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t have to! Let them stretch those creative muscles after they have been doing the more structured subjects, or before they start the school day as a way to start their day off with their creative juices flowing!
3. After the seven-minute timer has gone off, give them three more minutes to finish up if they need to and to check for any errors.
Tip For Younger Kids:
If the kids you are working with children are younger and/or write shorter stories that take less time, and the seven-plus-three minute timers are too much time for them, you could instead set a five minute timer and a two minute timer. If that is still too much time, you could shorten the timers even more.
Links to different Google Maps locations:
As you travel through the streets of Bangladesh, you will see many people driving or riding rickshaws. (The text below in quotation marks is taken from www.gfa.org/donation/items/bicycle-rickshaw/)
“Rickshaws are like the taxis of Asia. For many low-caste people, being a rickshaw driver is the one opportunity they have to provide for their families. However, many have to rent a rickshaw every morning because they can’t afford their own. Up to half of their daily income can go toward renting this vital piece of equipment. With their very own rickshaw, these hardworking people can keep all that they earn to help pay for their family’s basic necessities.”
Help a family in Asia and Buy A Rickshaw To Help Support Them.
I hope you enjoyed this post and learned something from it! If you liked it, or if you have any ideas for unusual writing prompts or Warm-Ups, let me know in the comments section below!
God Bless You!