Help my fifth graders learn about the state where you live.

I want my students to learn about the United States from people who live in the different states, instead of just using travel web sites. If I put together a list of questions for each state, (such as, "What are the most fun places an energetic 10-year-old can go in your state on a Saturday in the summer?") I am hoping people on this web site will respond with answers. Is this the right place to post the questions? Are there other good web sites or web tools that would hook me up with teachers/students who would respond to my fifth graders questions? I know what I want to do but not how to start... Help!

Tags: States, United, research

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Have you tried the Distance Collaborations group on this site? I would like to participate in this as well. I am a fifth grade teacher in Detroit, Michigan.
No, I am brand new to this site, but I will now check out Distance Collaborations. I am really excited to get your response, as I didn't know how long it would take to connect with people here. Thanks for replying so fast! I taught fifth grade for 8 years, but now am an Instructional Tech Facilitator at my school, so I'm doing this project with Marcia, a fifth grade teacher. My email is Would you like to email me and maybe you, Marcia and I can exchange some ideas about how we can collaborate?
Gayle Cole
Sounds like a great idea. You could setup a wiki or blog and ask for responses - or how about voicethread?
If you posted your URL here, I am sure many would participate (or pass it along to the teachers in their schools).
I teach in a gifted program in Kansas, we'll join in! Email me when you start nbosch at aol dot com. You could start a blog and put the different questions in different posts. We're using Moodle for an online book discussion and it's a series of questions, so about the same. I posted my trials and tribulations about what tool to use for the online book discussion, you can see it on my blog. There might be some advice there that will help you decide on what tool to use.

We also discussed all the pros and cons of threaded discussions in the forum some months ago. I wanted to be able to respond to each responder so I needed a threaded discussion, you might not need that option if you are only collecting information Good Luck, N.
You could join a postcard exchange. You send out a bunch of postcards about your state and in return you get 49 postcards about the other states! Maybe you could set up a "virtual postcard exchange?" I am in FL if you need my help. Good luck!
I just heard from one of my fifth grade teachers (Maine) that would like to join a project like this. What about a Ning area? Teachers could register once for their class. Then students could post to a forum (under that login) as well as easily upload pictures of their area.
Hi Gayle,
Have you considered Community Walk Maps? It is similar to Google maps with the added benefit of being able to catagorize markers. My class used it for part of an immigration unit last year. Community Walk is free and fairly easy to learn. It might work for what you have in mind. Map markers with photos become the picture side of the postcard and the description becomes the writing on the back side of the postcard. An added benefit is the recipients can add comments to the card. The downside is the ads, unlike wikispaces and some other sites, Community Walk will not remove ads for educators.
Nice, this is what I like to see--technology with a purpose and not just for technology's sake. Keep up the good work,
Hi Gayle and others here,
We are just getting our wikis started with my integrated-technology classes. I am looking for 5th grade classes too. My students are learning and practicing safe internet communication by researching and then writing their own internet rules of safety and etiquette in wikispaces. For now it is a private site so students, 5th grade teachers and I have time to learn the nuances of creating and participating in wikis. In a few short weeks we plan to be ready for "outside" communication. Your question-sharing looks like a great way to begin.
Please feel free to contact me too. , in SC
OK - I have a fifth grade class ready to work with you either on this project or on something else. Perhaps through a wiki. Do you want to team up? send me your information - I would be happy to get the wiki rolling for you (or help you do it).
email me at work:
Thank you so much, Sharon! I would love to collaborate on a project using a wiki, which I have never done before and am eager to do this year. I facilitate technology integration at my school, which means I need a classroom teacher willing to join in and participate, and then I can support the class through all the phases. I don't know which would be the best way to begin; either I would happily take you up on the offer to get a wiki started together on a topic that we both find will support the curriculum for both our schools, then I could pull a teacher/class in, OR I could get you and a classroom teacher emailing together and then I could jump in once you had an exciting idea to pursue. What do you think? I will email you this as well. Best, Gayle
Hi Gayle, if you end up doing a list of questions, you might try creating an online survey. It will make your data collection a lot easier! I recommend using's basic (free) account. This isn't super interactive since you'd just be distributing a survey, but it's pretty easy to get responses if the survey is fairly short (less than 10 minutes). Let me know if you have questions or ideas about this! ~Rebecca Foley



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