How I Use It
I found a few Lit Trips on line and have used them with my students. This is a pre-created path that follows the location of characters in a specific story. I started off using the Make Way For Ducklings Lit Trip and used it with Kindergarten. We took a trip to Boston and were able to see how it is different from where we live. The best part is that there are pictures and videos provided, by random people, of some of the stops the characters take. The students get so excited to make the real life connection to the story. Lit Trips also provide meaningful questions to the story to get the students to infer and connect to the story. Depending on the computer you are using, Google Earth can be clunky and not move from place to place smoothly. Additionally, I have created my own Lit Trip and this can be somewhat of a challenge if you have not plotted points on Google Earth before. I am not sure if Lit Trips are supported in the ipad version of Google Earth, but I know for sure it works on the desktop. Once a Lit Trip is created or found, it can be saved on your hard drive fore future use.
Almost all students have heard of Google Earth, but using it to support literature has added so much more to the books we have read. Lit Trips on Google Earth can provide background knowledge for places mentioned in books. It can also be use for students to discover the setting of a story where they can gather information as the "hook" to a lesson. For struggling learners, there are plenty of pictures and videos provided by Google Earth visitors. Student can use the pictures or video to gather information. I find Google Earth on a desktop computer hard for the students to control. The ipad version is easier for them to navigate with out zooming in and out by accident, or going to street level unintentionally.