After a bit of research over the weekend, I came up with a Google Earth project revolving around Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McClusky.
I saw one group of first graders yesterday and another today. Today went better. Yesterday, I printed out the text of the story (one set of facing pages for each child). In the original execution, I had a) one child to hold the book and show the pictures b) a printout of the story to follow along annotated with the stops on Google Earth c) the remaining children each reading a section of the story.
The problems with this method were a) the children read very softly and it was hard for everyone to hear b) more words were difficult for the children than I anticipated c) the book was a bit big for the chosen child to hold easily.
Yesterday's group did enjoy the Google Earth images, but it wasn't a great class.
Today, my second set of first graders arrived. I pretty much did it all. I started up Google Earth at our school address. I asked if they knew what they were looking at and how many children had seen Google Earth before. A handful had seen it before.
I read the first pages of the book and we talked about how far Boston was from our school. A couple of children had been to Boston. We "flew" there and looked at the pond in the park.
It was much better. All the children could hear the story and see the pictures. I held the printout behind the book so I could see the words. We looked to see if Beacon Hill, the State House, or Louisberg Square would be good places to raise ducklings.
We flew to the Charles River and looked at the island that Mr. and Mrs. Mallard chose to raise their ducklings.
When it was time to walk to the Public Gardens, we looked at the street and were amazed that the ducklings could walk so far.
It was a much better experience. I'm curious to see if anyone who reads this entry has tried something like this. What worked for you?
Cullivan, Lee. "make way for ducklings." shoothead's photostream. 2007 Jan 24. 2008 Mar. 4.