Tag Archives: World Book Encyclopedia

2nd Grade and Reference Tools

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.



Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized, Students using technology, Information Literacy Instruction

4th Grade and World Book Online Timelines

Last week I asked the 4th grade chair what skills that they might want me to cover over the next couple of weeks.  She mentioned that she needed the students to complete a timeline of events leading up to the Revolutionary War.  In the back of my mind I remembered something about timelines on World Book Online and when I checked there is a very easy to use timeline generator.

First Create Student Accounts in World Book Online

First I had to have each student create an individual account in World Book Online, which was easy but time consuming for 4th grade students.  This took about 15-20 minutes by the time everyone gets their tablets up and running, logged on, connected to the internet, keyboards plugged in, blah, blah, blah!  For 2 classes I went into the classroom and used the interactive board to demonstrate how to fill in the blanks and the students followed along.  I did it in the library for the other 2 classes and think it worked better in the classroom, partly because it is a smaller space and I could get around to help the students more easily.


Searching for events in World Book.  Students used their Dell ProVenue tablets, with keyboards and mouses.



student using tablet to create timeline in World Book Online.

Searching and saving images to add to an event on the timeline.

Creating a Timeline Is Fun and Easy

After they had their accounts, I demonstrated how to use the World Book Timeline.  It is easy to search the encyclopedia’s content for events and add them to a timeline, but it also very easy to create your own event.  I showed them how to add images and edit any event.  They really enjoyed it and I think the previous experience they have gained throughout the year making PowerPoints and Prezis in the library (saving images, finding out how to ascertain the owner of the image’s rights, etc) paid off by increasing their skill in navigating this digital tool.

World Book Online Timeline is Versatile

This timeline generator is so versatile in that you can take advantage of the massive amount of data in the encyclopedia, but you can also use your own content to create timelines.  I showed them how to print the timelines, but I guess I’m a little disappointed that there is no way to share the timelines (sharing links, emailing links, etc.).  But, I understand as this tool is only available to subscribers and they need to protect their product.  I will definitely being sharing this to other grade levels (probably just 3rd and 5th grades).

Leave a comment

Filed under Information Literacy Instruction, Students using technology, Uncategorized

2nd Grade Dives into Reference Books: Dictionary & Encyclopedia

Second grade students come in with very little experience with reference sources, so we usually kick off with dictionaries. I try to give them an opportunity to use them near the beginning of the year.  We kick off our lessons about reference tools with a traditional paper dictionary.  They were assigned a word that related to Jimmy Carter, one of the historical figures they were studying in their unit of inquiry.  They looked up the word and I asked them to copy the definition.

Guide Works-Necessary Skill

I had them practice using guide words the previous week with some laminated guide letter pages and actual words.  After an overview of how dictionaries are arranged and a review of alphabetizing words the students work in pairs, receiving 3 words which they put in alphabetical order.  They then proceed to the guide letter sheets which are spread out on low book shelves.  That’s all we do that week.

Guide letter sheets and words

Guide letter sheets and words

A teacher snapped this photo of me.  She said there are never any pictures of me as I am always the one behind the camera!

A teacher snapped this photo of me. She said there are never any pictures of me as I am always the one behind the camera!

Using the Dictionary

The next week, we reviewed the form and function of dictionaries.  I had them work in small groups again, as they looked up the word and chose one definition.  They indicated the part of speech the word they were looking up was and proceeded to write down a definition.


Graphic organizer for dictionary lesson

Graphic organizer for dictionary lesson


We moved onto encyclopedias the next week.  Once again I chose an historical figure they were studying, Tomochichi, as our subject.  We used the online version of World Book Encyclopedia, as they can all be looking up the same subject and we are only limited by the number of computers we have (or tablets they bring with them).   I asked them to search for Tomochichi and read through the article (only 3 brief paragraphs) which is on an appropriate reading level.  They then decided which fact to record on their sheet.  I also added a spot for them to record which source they were using (they just had to write, World Book Kids or World Book Encyclopedia), as I want them to get in the habit of citing their sources.

Encyclopedia graphic organizer

Encyclopedia graphic organizer

2nd grade students using our World Book Encyclopedia online subscription

2nd grade students using our World Book Encyclopedia online subscription

Next week we moved onto atlases.


Leave a comment

Filed under Information Literacy Instruction, Students using technology