Mapping Historical Presidential Sites

We’re in the midst of one of the greatest teachable moments in recent history, the 2008 Presidential Campaign. It’s a great opportunity for helping our kids to understand our politicial history and the electoral process.

Over the summer, I started building a wiki to house resources and projects related to the election. The purpose of this site is bipartisan in nature, and simply to serve
as an aggregator for resources and collaborative projects. I’d love to see stuff added from other countries, so that all students could compare and contrast political systems. I hoped that people in my personal learning network would jump on board and that this site would become a hotbed of activity… there’s still time to make this happen, so let me know if you’d like access to the wiki and I’ll send you an invitation.

In the meantime, I was inspired to make a new Google Map of historical presidential sites after seeing this article in the Chicago Sun-Times. My plan is for teachers, and hopefully students, from around the country to mark their own local presidential historical sites on this map. Part of my work time is spent at North Kenwood/Oakland Charter School, and I’m planning on having students there mark important places in the life of Barack Obama. Last spring before election matters really heated up, I was shocked to learn that many of our students did not know that he lives blocks away from our school. Hopefully, this map activity will give them a greater awareness of presidential history in Illinois.

To edit this map, you probably will need a Google Account. Click on the map below, and look for a button in the right-hand corner labeled Edit. Once you select that button, you’ll see tools pop up in the left-hand corner of the map. Next, use the search box to find a particular location. Many historical sites already have listings and should pop up as red tear drop markers. For instance, try searching for "John  F. Kennedy Library MA". Click on the link to the library in the left-hand side of your page, and a placemark will pop up on your map. Next, select your placemark and click on the Save to My Maps link. If you already have maps in your My Maps collection, you can then select which map you want the placemark to appear on. Click on Save. Ta da! If you have questions on how to do this, please let me know. I’m looking forward to seeing more additions from you and your students.

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