Taking a Google Lit Trip is an easy process once you learn some of the basics of "flying" in Google Earth. To get started:
1. Download the latest version of Google Earth to your computer (it's free) if you haven't done so already.
2. Search the Google Lit Trips website for a completed trip that fits into your curriculum. To do this just click on the grade level tabs along the top of the page. Each level has at least a dozen completed trips posted.
3. Once you find a trip you would like to try, press the download button. A .KMZ file (a file which opens up in Google Earth) will be downloaded to your computer. Make sure to save it where you can find it again!
4. Finally, just open Google Earth, press File, then Open and click on the the .KMZ file that you downloaded in the previous step. Google Earth will automatically bring up the file and you will see it appear in the Temporary Places panel on the left side bar of Google Earth. By clicking on the file folder, you will bring up all the placemarks contained in that trip.
5. "Fly" from placemark to placemark by double-clicking the number of the placemark in the Temporary Places panel, or clicking on the placemark itself in the main panel of Google Earth. You will see Google Earth "fly" you to that location as the Earth rotates and zooms in to where you are going and a pop-up will be displayed with information.
6. In order to view the trip easily, don't forget to set up your Layers panel, also on the left side panel at the bottom. To avoid confusion, just "unclick" everything BUT borders and terrain. If you leave items such as Geographic Web or Places of Interest, Google Earth inserts all sorts of icons which can get confusing when you are looking for your lit trip's placemarks. Don't forget one more thing, you WANT to click on 3D Buildings to get some awesome views!
7. That's it, enjoy your lit trip, follow the placemarks and take your students on a virtual tour of a fiction book!
8. If you are interested in creating your own Google Lit Trip for a novel which isn't posted on the site, review some of the tutorials contained on the lit trip site itself for step-by-step instructions, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.