I recently came across a post by the Comprehensible Input Classroom featuring a special guest, Benjamin Tinsley, discussing Map Talks. I love how he suggested having a script ready for the Map Talk. Although I’ve been using Google Earth™ for this purpose with my students, I never considered providing a script to guide our conversation. Typically, I engage my students in quick Map Talks, prompting them to guess temperatures in different parts of the world. Following their guesses, we virtually explore pre-selected locations to ensure the images spark curiosity among my elementary students.

Benjamin recommends changing the language to the target language in Google Maps™ by clicking on the three lines, then selecting the target language. Ben also recommends starting with your school community first if it’s your first Map Talk. I find this genius! I encourage you to check out Benjamin’s Map Talk and explore his blog for more insights and ideas to bring to your classes. Although he teaches high school French, much of what he shares can be adapted for different grades and proficiency levels.

When using Google Maps™, you can explore different layers to view the map. I personally love using the Global View and Satellite map types because, in my opinion, they provide more details.

After completing your community-focused Map Talk, consider broadening your horizons. I extend an invitation to explore Cali, Colombia—a city nestled between breathtaking mountains. Here are some of the questions you might ask during your Map Talk:

  1. Vamos a visitar Colombia.
  2. Colombia está en América del Sur.
  3. La capital de Colombia es Bogotá.
  4. Los colores de la bandera de Colombia son el amarillo, el azul y el rojo.
  5. El idioma oficial de Colombia es el español.
  6. Colombia celebra su independencia el 20 de julio.
  7. En Colombia hay ciudades grandes y pueblos pequeños.
  8. Una ciudad importante en Colombia es Cali.
  9. Cali está en el suroccidente de Colombia.
  10. Cali es una ciudad entre montañas.
  11. Cali es famosa por la salsa. A muchas personas les gusta bailar salsa en Cali.
  12. En Cali hay muchos lugares especiales: (these are some landmarks you can type in Google Maps and explore) El Museo del Oro de Cali, El Zoológico de Cali, la Biblioteca del Centenario, y el Barrio San Antonio.

You can also show the map and talk with your students about words they might already identify, and what things they can find in the city.