Maps

Ideas:
This website allows you to really interact with Google Earth. It gives you different lesson activities to use in the classroom. You can also explore different lessons based on your subject or just browse their database of premade lessons.
http://sitescontent.google.com/google-earth-for-educators/classroom-resources

This website allows you to get familiar with Google Earth and all the things that you can do with it. There are also lesson plan activities that you can use along with a variety of ways to teach with Google Earth.
http://serc.carleton.edu/sp/library/google_earth/index.html

This article talks about how teachers are using Google Earth in the classroom. They say that it is a great way for students to get a better understanding of Japan by "walking down the street" using Google Earth rather than just looking at a picture in a textbook. It was more interactive and hands on for students. Some teachers have created scavenger hunt like games, having their students search through Google Earth to find various locations.
http://thenextweb.com/google/2011/01/20/how-teachers-are-using-google-earth-in-the-classroom/

This link is off of Google Maps and it talks about how you can use Google Maps in the classroom to visit various places in the country without ever leaving the classroom. It also talks about the different things that you can use with Google Maps and apply it to the classroom.
http://maps.google.com/help/maps/education/learn/index.html

Samples:

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GR8CTZ- Great Cities of the World Game
I really liked this website. It was a lot of fun to try and guess the different location in the picture. It was more than just a still image; you could rotate around from a point that you were at and see everything around you. I thought that that was a really nice feature. Students would enjoy using this website.
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Google Maps is such an amazing site. I was able to see where the Statue of Liberty is located and other points of interest around it. Students would enjoy using this if you were talking about a specific location in class. You can get directions to various places and it also has a nice feature of giving you directions to return home quickly. I use Google Maps frequently.

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Locate Street is an interactive website where you can choose the country and then can select either the whole country or a state/region. Then it will provide you with an image and you have to select the city the image is from. It gives you a few options to choose from. I really enjoyed playing this game. Locate Street, unlike GR8CTZ, is only a single image that does not move around. I will highly recommend this to anyone; it is a lot of fun.

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Get Going: Mapping Teachers' Favorite Field Trip Spots is a very neat website where you can see a variety of different field trips that you can go on throughout the country. I found some very cool places on this website. Students would really enjoy this too.

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Google Earth is such a great tool for the classroom. You can literally go anywhere in the world and you can see things from all angles which I think is very neat. Students will love using this and seeing different things that were talked about in class, especially during social studies class.


Thoughts:
Maps are such a great way for students to see things that they normally wouldn't have the chance to. If teaching older elementary grades then I will for sure use Locate Street and GR8CTZ to have students learn to look at different places. During a social studies unit of the states, I would have students use LocateStreet and choose different states within the US to help them understand the differences between each state.