Thursday, October 6, 2011

All About Explorers

Now that the initial website reliability (or lack thereof) lesson is completed, I can share with you about our "All About Explorers" Project that fifth graders are completing.  This summer, I attended the ISTE conference in Philadelphia and was fortunate to sit in on a presentation given by a SLMS from Centennial School District and a principal from Cheltenham School District.  They collaborated to create a series of lessons called "All About Explorers".  They developed a website with a webquest for groups of students to complete about different explorers with information from real and reliable websites and one not-so-real website.  The entire point of the assignment is for students to compare the information and realize that the facts don't match up.  You'd be amazed how many students wrote down an answer just to write down an answer, even if they DID realize that the two sites had conflicting information.  Our next two lessons will follow up with All About Explorers and how to find REALLY reliable information on the web and in books as well.  This project worked so well for this group because Explorers are a part of the Social Studies curriculum and I asked that it be on the front end of the year so that I could streamline this project in and students would come to class with some prior knowledge.  This is a powerful lesson as students realize that it's near (no, it is) impossible that Columbus was born in 1942 if he sailed the ocean blue in 1492.  And, how often they go with the site that "looks good."  Together, we'll find the sites that ARE good.

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