Have you ever used Google Maps? Probably most of you have when you’re trying to find directions to that new store. But did you know you could create your OWN map to use with your students? I’m not talking about Google Earth (though that too is great for creating maps…though somewhat more complicated), but Google My Maps. Go ahead and Google “my maps google” and you’re ready to start!
In this 10 step tutorial, I will show you how to create a Google My Maps to use with your students that you can assign directly through Google Classroom. If you’re not using Google Classroom, you can still email the link to the students. However to create a Google My Maps you will need a Google account. It would be best that you and your students already have Google accounts (they are free to setup!).
At the end of this post, there are several important links! There’s a link to the tutorial in PDF form, a link to the Martin Luther King, Jr. map I created, and links to a FREEBIE and a special Pinterest Board. Be sure to read through to the end!
Once you’ve logged into Google Maps, go ahead and click on “Create a New Map,” which will then let you create your own map for any occasion. Right before the official Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday I will be teaching my students about Dr. King’s impact on our lives today. But I wanted to show them WHERE history occurred. I wanted to show them actual pictures and videos of historical sites associated with Dr. King. Google My Maps is perfect for this because not only can you add your own location markers for the sites you choose, but you can also add images, videos, and text!
Let’s get started with adding a location. In the search bar, search for a location. In this instance, I searched for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Once found, you add it to your map by clicking on “Add to Map.”
Now comes the part in which you can personalize this location with a custom marker. Click on the paint bucket to change the color of the marker (makes it easier to group locations or for your students to see it on the map). Then you can also choose a custom icon. I used the filter to search for “monument” and found an icon for it. Google gives you lots of different icons to choose from and you should be able to find what you’re looking for!
Then next step involves adding videos or images. I chose to add a video that explains and shows the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. You can search YouTube for videos, add your own videos, use webcam videos, or use a YouTube URL. When you select a video from YouTube, students will watch it in the location marker box. They do have the option of watching it directly on YouTube in full screen. However, we all know that can sometimes be tricky because students will be able to see the comments left or other recommended videos. Unfortunately, it does not give you the option of using safeshare.tv to strip out everything but the video. I use safeshare.tv to strip out comments and other videos from the YouTube link. So it might be something you talk about with your class beforehand about staying in Google Maps to watch the video.
Also, in my district, the teacher must approve the YouTube video before students are able to watch it by clicking on an APPROVE button. If not, the link will not work for my students. Because of this, I search for YouTube videos directly on the YouTube site so I can approve it before assigning the link. Once approved, I just grab the URL. Google Maps gives you the option of just pasting in a URL of the YouTube video as well.
If you search directly from Google Maps, just type in what you are looking for in the search bar and a list of videos will pop up. You can watch them and select the one you want. If you have a YouTube URL, then you can just type that in as well. Then hit “select” and it will add it to the location marker. Unfortunately, Google My Maps does NOT let you add videos from other sites outside of YouTube. You would have to download the video and add it as an Upload.
After adding the video, you might want to go back and add a description in the text box. You can also add more videos and also photos. To add a photo, click on the camera icon again and you can do a Google Image Search or add your own.
Keep repeating this process for all the locations you want to add. I’ve added these locations to my map about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.
- Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthplace and home in Atlanta, Georgia
- The Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama
- The Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery, Alabama
- The Lincoln Memorial
- The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee
- Martin Luther King, Jr.’s tomb in Atlanta, Georgia.
To see how your map will appear to students, click on “Preview” to see the preview.
Finally, it’s time to share the map with your students. Click on “share” and it will give you the link to share with your students. You can email them the link or you can add it as a link in Google Classroom.
As promised, HERE THE DOWNLOAD LINKS to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Map, My Maps Tutorial, an MLK FREEBIE and a special Pinterest Board.
If you would like to see and use the map I created with your students, click on the link below:
You can also download the Google My Maps Tutorial in PDF form from HERE.
If you’re looking for additional resources for teaching about Martin Luther King, Jr. check out these Shades of Meaning Discussion Cards FREEBIE available from my TpT store.
Also, check out my Pinterest Board:
How do you use or will use Google Maps with your students?