Kindergarten: Have passport, will travel

Eiffel Tower (Medium)I have been back in the Kindergarten with Ms Louise (and the other wonderful teachers on our K2 team), using Google Earth with the K2 students.

What is great about using Google Earth is that it gives the students practice with logging onto the computers, keyboard familiarisation and mouse-control skills in a thoroughly engaging context.

I  did an initial lesson with Ms Louise’s class, showing how to navigate and input places into the search bar, and we also checked out some places using Street View. The students really enjoyed experimenting with zooming, going to locations they had been on holiday, and finding our school.

Ms Louise’s brilliant idea (which tied in with their unit on Journeys) was to create task cards for a number of famous places around the world, which the students would have to ‘travel’ to in order to get a stamp in their passport.

Using Jing, she created the task cards (see below), which were an enormous success, as they helped scaffold the learning for the students. The text they had to type was on each task card, and a picture of the place they had to find was also included. When their screen showed what we could see on the task card, then they got a stamp in their passport.

Some were harder than others, requiring a bit of searching, zooming and clicking-and-dragging to find the locations. This just helped us reinforce the skills we were hoping to cover in this unit.

It also gave us an opportunity to talk about commas and spaces, as both were needed when typing in locations. The students quickly learned that after each comma, you need a space.

I know the K2 teachers were impressed with how much the students could accomplish in a few short lessons. The levels of enthusiasm have been great, and some poor teachers have been hounded by students wanting to complete their passport.

We have had neat feedback from a number of K2 parents saying how their children are making them use Google Earth at home, so it’s lovely to hear of the home-school connections that this type of lesson is creating. It reinforces to me how fabulous it is to use an open-source, cross-platform tool such as Google Earth to make links between home and school.

With Ms Louise’s permission, I have included the Google Earth Task Cards & Passport below. I hope you take the time to try it out!

Google Earth Task Cards

Google Earth Passport

**If you are using the same computers with different children, then I would encourage you to get them to click on Edit then Clear Search History at the beginning of each session, so that the place names don’t start appearing automatically!**


I guess I’m admitting to being 7 different kinds of geek now, but I am really excited about some tools out there that enable kids to share their learning with an online audience in a range of forms. What’s absolutely awesome about these tools is they are free for educators.


Glogster’s tagline is, ‘Poster yourself’, and while this is a noble enough start, the educational possibilities for such a tool are endless. I plan to use this with my Grade 4s as a means of communicating findings and ideas about their upcoming unit on Think Global, Act Local to a wider audience.

Education | Glogster

Students can upload video and audio files as well as typing/pasting in their own text to share their ideas. What I think the kids are going to LOVE about it is that Glogster allows you to bling your work in a way that makes everything look pretty amazing. A perfect way of fine-tuning their skills of presentation.


I was so pleased that Animoto decided to let educators have free full-access accounts for themselves and their students, enabling them to produce full-length videos and download them. I used Animoto in a presentation to staff on professional development in technology, and had loads of comments about the quality of the teaser trailer I produced. Most refused to believe my assertions that it was a piece of cake and hardly took any time. I love it when that happens!

– Animoto For Education –

I hope to use this with my kids to make a video about their year in review. I figure it will be a nice memento of their school year. My only concern this time is the time it takes to upload photos – albeit resized ones – en masse. I’ll be sure to post about how I get on.


Google Earth continues to be one of my favourite tools for use in the classroom. From Google Lit Trips to  Real World Maths and everything in between, Google Earth is one of the most versatile tools on offer today. It’s also fantastic for every age group. My 3 year old daughter likes visiting her Nana & Poppa’s house in NZ and seeing where we live in Singapore.

To get a free Google Earth Pro account: Check here for Kevin Jarrett’s blog post that contains all the details you’ll need. Google Earth Pro allows you to download movies of your Google Earth tours, which is great for sharing learning.