At one point in the school year, my transitional kindergarten students expressed an interest maps. Some kids came to school with hand drawn maps. They were excited about the fact that we were following a map when we did a school wide “snake” through the campus the day after open house. I thought it would be neat to pursue this interest of theirs in a new context.
My students inspired me to create this Google Sheet template, where they click and drag clip art from marginal areas in the spreadsheet to design whatever they want in the center grid!
I took my kids to the computer lab to complete this activity. They followed me to the front of the lab where I displayed the activity on the screen and modeled how to move the clip art. My directions to the kids were: Use your imagination to design something, it could be a map, a game, a city, or anything you can think of! Before I released them to their computers, we did our ritual of reviewing how to login and navigate through Google Classroom, and then they were off to create!
Tell Us About Your Creation
That same day, I gave my kids the opportunity to share their Google Sheets designs with their peers. I accessed my Classroom folder in Google Drive (it is automagically created when you make a Google Classroom) and I used Alice Keeler’s Drive20 Chrome extension to open up all of the students’ spreadsheets in their own tabs in my Chrome browser. Using that extension made it easy for me to keep track of which students already shared, because I would simply close the tab when the students were done sharing. To learn more, check out Alice’s blog post “Drive20 Chrome Extension.”
This activity nicely supports one of the Speaking and Listening standards in which students need have opportunities to express their thoughts. It was interesting to see observe my kids share. Some of the kids stated which objects they put next to each other, while others shared stories about the reasoning of why they placed certain objects where they did.
For kindergarten, the activity ties to the social studies standard where students need to construct maps that include neighborhood features (fire stations, markets, hospitals, etc.) and identify symbols (water, roads, traffic signs). This activity provides opportunities for students to create, share, and establish community vocabulary. It can also serve as a great first GAfE activity because students can practice using the track pad or mouse to move the cursor on the screen and click and drag the clip art.
Modify as Necessary
I encourage you to take this template and modify it for your students. You do not need advanced spreadsheets skills to recreate or modify this template. Find the image icon (located in the Insert menu) to insert clip art. Use the paint bucket to change the color of the cells (squares). Change it up so it relates to something the kids are learning. Here’s another thought: have the kids insert their own clip art!