Where I’m From – A Wanderer Who Likes Home

What I would like those who view my map to take away from the experience is the tension I feel between how much I love adventure and how much I love my home, the Pacific Northwest. I grew up just east of Portland, visited my grandma in Mt. Angel on the weekends, and vacationed with family in Lincoln City. For me, Oregon is the most important place because it contains the most important people and experiences to me, but I have been formed by other places, of course. Spokane, Washington treated me to my education, both in academics and relationships. Florence, Italy awakened my independence and gave me the confidence I need to negotiate all of the other places in my life. I hope my description of all of these places conveys a sense of fun, too, which can make any place in the world feel close to you. I view this map as a work in progress, as I become a part of more places and those places become a part of me.

The application of this project to our lives as educators and our practice in the classroom is clear. First, if computers are readily available for students (like in a 1-to-1 school), this could be a really powerful beginning of the year activity to introduce students to each other and the teacher. Allowing each student to make up their own map and show others around the place(s) that are most important to them would generate a sense of community and cultural responsiveness that would benefit the class dynamic. The opportunity for the individual student reflection that would be required to complete this project would also be invaluable. I can also see this having academic uses as well. For example, this could add a lot more depth to a lesson on the geographic concepts of location and place. Maybe a history lesson on WWII could benefit from a collaborative effort by groups of students to map the movements of different armies through Europe, Northern Africa, and the Pacific. In terms of educational technology, Google My Maps seems to be of very high value, most especially in its versatility.

7 Replies to “Where I’m From – A Wanderer Who Likes Home”

    1. I think I mentioned it in the point, but it may have been a failure of mine to save which I did a lot in this project. I spent a lot of time there growing up, almost every weekend. In that way, I think her house was kind of my place as well.

  1. I love the ideas you gave of how to utilize MyMaps in the classroom! I especially love your idea of using this program for collaborative projects.
    I appreciate how you acknowledged that using programs such as this one is only a reality for schools with the technological resources. For schools that do not have one-to-one technology in the classroom, do you think replicating your project ideas with some good old fashioned maps and craft supplies would be as educational? As engaging?

  2. After a two weeks of intro activities, I have to say that I really love the idea of using GoogleMaps for a get-to-know-each other assignment at the beginning of the year. Assuming the school has the resources to make sure the necessary technology is available to each student, I think it would be a very accessible activity. My students were really enjoying making maps of their lives, but some of the less artistically creative students seemed to have a hard time engaging because they had a harder time expressing themselves in the visual medium. Having something more like this idea, more accessible but still visually creative, would have been awesome.

    1. You had some great ideas for how to use this in a history lesson. One of the teachers at my school is also using it as a get to know you activity. He said that the students have really enjoyed it so far. My teacher wants to use it as a tool for students to understand absolute and relative location. There are many ways to utilize this program, which is awesome.

  3. Clarice,

    I connected with your love of travel, adventure, and home. Looking at your map it made me wonder of the experiences you had that shaped you as a person. I also connected with the power of this activity. Students can learn about each other and where they are from. I can also see this being use for activities to map out location of past to present historical events. For example tracking the migration of people and their journey.

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