I spent a good chunk of my day at Laurentian Public School yesterday. I had been invited to the school by one of the grade 7 teachers, to work with two of her classes. I was fortunate enough to be able to have two full periods with each class. I had a great day and the kids were very eager to get started on their research.
For the first period, I spent some time showcasing our Library Learning Commons http://library.wrdsb.ca.
It continues to amaze me how many oohs and ahhs I receive when I show students and teachers how much great stuff they have at their finger tips. I spend most of the time in the research section, showing the students all the graphic organizers available for them as they move through the research process. We focused on the following ones for their inquiry task.
I then spent some time in the Virtual Library, showing the students the various resources available to them and we spoke at length about choosing the right source for the types of information they were looking for, e.g., general reference encyclopedias provide that important overview when researching a topic. I chose a few resources that I wanted to go in-depth with and had the students explore on their own.
For the second period with the students, we spent time talking about the importance of evaluating websites. I handed out the graphic organizer- Website Checklist and we talked about the need to think critically about the web pages we visit. I had also created a handout (going to revise it again shortly) explaining the importance of understanding the components that make up a URL e.g., .ca vs .com or what does .org actually mean.
The students were going to be completing an inquiry task on the infamous criminals of Alcatraz. Prior to this project, the students had been participating in a read aloud, Al Capone Does My Shirts. Each student would be researching an inmate of Alcatraz and creating a biography. Before visiting the school, I had found three websites that were suitable (and legitimate) for them to begin exploring. I also gave them a copy of the Website checklist so that if they found other websites they wanted to use, they could review the content through a critical thinking lens.
When I left at the end of the day, the students had chosen their inmate and were eager to get started on their biographies.