I did two sessions for fifth grade students covering the 5 W’s of Website Evaluation: Who, What, When, Where and Why (Kathy Schrock’s outline) in order to be sure they are getting good information in their internet searches. I wanted them create a PowerPoint (some had never done one and others had rudimentary skills), but I didn’t want them to have to do research in order to have content. So I combined the website evaluation lesson and PowerPoint.
After taking notes about these strategies, they created a PowerPoint presentation to let others know how to find credible, useful websites for their information needs. As I stated, most of the students had created one, maybe two PowerPoints, so there was plenty of room for additional skill acquisition.
After an initial basic overview of creating slides, inserting images (and resizing them) and transitions, I turned them loose while circulating among the students. Students each have a Dell tablet and I requested that they bring their keyboards and mouses to make the process run more smoothly. Students with more skills helped out their classmates.
I created a rubric with the requirements which were very basic. Besides a minimum number of slides, they were to add 2 images and give credit to the owners of the images. I was more interested in them learning new skills than having a polished project.
Hands on: Dictionary
Near the beginning of each school year, I introduce second grade students to two reference tools, dictionaries and encyclopedias. I plan the topics they look up around something they are already covering in the classroom (if possible).
First, they used a dictionary to look up words about Jimmy Carter, such as submarine, peanut, and governor (they are currently studying Carter). They were instructed to copy down one definition for their word. They had practiced alphabetical order and guide words the week before but it was a bit of struggle for most to actually find their word. Their teacher and I provided lots of support in this part of the activity.
I saw a couple of students all excited after the structured activity was over. It is so heartening see students get enthused over library skill lessons, however, my heart was destined to be dashed just a bit. These students had continued to browse the dictionary and were gleefully pointing out that the word “zombie” was in the dictionary! But hey, they found out there are interesting things to be found in dictionaries!
World Book Online Encyclopedia
The next week I showed these second grade students a print version of an encyclopedia and we compare the amount of information found in a dictionary with that found in an encyclopedia article. Then I have them use an online encyclopedia, World Book (the Kids section), to look up facts about one of three historical figures: Jimmy Carter, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jackie Robinson. These three individuals are part of the Georgia Standards of Excellence: Social Studies. Some of the children were so into this activity that they didn’t want to stop with just one fact. The students really liked the very large photograph at the top of the World Book Kids entry for each historical figure. They were also making connections with what they were reading in the encyclopedia to what they had learned in the classroom.
Third grade students used atlases to find places located on the prime meridian and the equator. After locating London, England and Nanyuki, Kenya, they took photos of those places with their tablets in order to document their finds. I showed them a photograph of me and my husband standing on the equator in Nanyuki, many years ago so that they could see what it looks like at the equator. I also told them about the water draining demonstration the guides did while we were there.
It was good practice in taking photographs using the tablets (which I don’t think they get the opportunity to do very much) as well as figuring out where the photos are stored.
We went on to see how Google Maps works and looked at satellite maps. I looked up the two locations again on Google Maps and projected onto the big screen and we discussed the differences between the maps in the atlas and Google Maps.