I came across this classroom idea while I was playing with Pinterest. Ms. Noble has a great method for reviewing concepts and challenging minds that she thoroughly explains on her website. Although I would probably modify some of the activities, and add some more higher order thinking skills, this shows a lot of potential for motivating students and making sure that learning time is maximized.
Today’s post comes from the same people who provide “Boolify”, which I highlighted yesterday. In Comparison Search, the researcher gets the added benefit of searching for web sites that may have different points of view on the same topic. It allows you to type in a keyword or phrase, such as “genetic engineering”, and to then choose the positive and negative search terms you would like to use, such as “advantages” and “disadvantages”. The search results are then given in two columns, respective to your search terms. As I mentioned yesterday, these searches are not “safe searches”, so teachers in primary grades probably should not let their students loose on this tool. However, it can be quite valuable in trying to teach a lesson on the objectivity, or lack of it, on many websites.
Considering that the first part of its name is “Boo”, Boolify should probably have been yesterday’s Halloween post. It is still a timely site, however. Boolify is a simple tool for teaching students how to do web searches using basic Boolean Search Operators. There is the tool, itself, on the home page, as well as a few other resources under the “Lessons” link. The search results come from Bing, so this is not a “safe search” tool. However, it would be good to use for demonstration purposes with younger students. Older students may enjoy the simplicity of the tool, as well. This might be a good tool to use with Kentucky Virtual Library’s “How to do Research” site.
Museum Box is an intriguing resource for a different type of student product. The site describes itself this way, “it allows you to build up an argument or description of an event, person or historical period by placing items in a virtual box. You can display anything from a text file to a movie. You can also view the museum boxes submitted by other people and comment on the contents.” Unfortunately, the site does not work with iOS, but if you have internet access, and your students are doing research, this is a unique way for them to collect their supporting materials in one place.
S.C.O.R.E. Cyberguides is a site that was produced by Schools of California Online Resources for Education. It is based on California’s Language Arts curriculum, and offers a multitude of literature units at levels from K-12. The units include teacher and student resources. They could be used as supplemental materials, or as jumping off points for Literature Circles or independent study assignments. There is a disclaimer on the site that lack of funding has resulted in some of the units being out of date (broken links, etc…). However, it appears that even those units are still available on the site under “Retired” sections. This is helpful as a teacher could scavenge them for curriculum ideas or website suggestions.
UPDATE 7/6/14: It looks like this link no longer works. If any of you find a link to these guides that does work, please let me know, as they are a valuable resource!
This great resource from the Kentucky Virtual Library is a fun-looking map that graphically outlines the steps a student should take when doing research for a project. Each part of the map is a link to a new page explaining that particular stage in the process. The graphics are appealing to kids and the information is very readable. This is a good site for students who are doing independent research projects.
Wonderopolis is a very engaging site that elementary school students could use to find out more about their interests. It features a Wonder of the Day, but also has a catalogue of “Wonders” listed by category. For example, under “Animals”, there is an article called, “Why do Cats Like Catnip?” This site encourages curiosity and independent research. It includes videos and fun facts that are sure to entertain and educate. There is a widget teachers could embed into their own sites and blogs.