And so I decided to take a good hard look at the next two inquiry steps and make them work for my junior students. The following is just my interpretation of how Gathering and Organizing can work with Interpreting and Analyzing - after reading a number of resources I put this together with student input and thought we could give it a try.
First step: We built guidelines for...
GATHERING AND ORGANIZING INFORMATION FOR GOOGLE QUESTIONS
- Find two different websites that say the same answer to your question and write them down
- try to use websites that end in .org, .gov, or .edu
- no Wikipedia websites
But how do we know if webpages are legitimate, especially if we use a .ca or a .com page? My students were all over this when I asked them. We had already done a lot of work on Digital Citizenship and being safe online, and were working on moving from not just being Digital Citizens, but Digital Leaders, with the fabulous lessons from Common Sense Media https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators. I highly recommend this resource because the lessons are set up according to grade level and they have assessments built right in.
So together, as a whole class, we co-created a list of questions to ask ourselves about the websites when we Interpret and Analyze the information we collect.
INTERPRETING AND ANALYZING INFORMATION ON WEBSITES
When we open up a website, we need to ask ourselves:
- Who created this website?
- When was this website created?
- Are there a lot of advertisements on the page?
- Does it seem accurate and reliable? Is the writer biased?
- What is my gut feeling about the information?
The last question they came up with was my favourite - my students discussed how sometimes you read something and INFER that it just doesn't sound right, and we have to use our own judgement to decide what's real. Smart little cookies these kids! We also had just learned about bias, so I was happy that they added that one in there too.
And so while the Grade 4s were getting a teacher directed lesson to give them some more background information about the regions of Canada, I gave my Grade 5s a scavenger hunt of the GOOGLE QUESTIONS they had come up with about the government to look up on the internet. They took about 40 minutes to come up with the answers, and wanted to do more! This process seemed to work well, and I will try the Scavenger Hunt next with the Grade 4s.
Woo hoo! Just got back from BIT15 so more will come from Laura and myself on the resources we got from that wonderful conference soon....