Innovative thinking in students will flower when we design classrooms that absolutely can’t survive without it. Same with critical thinking, self-direction, creativity, and so on. Until we reach that point, it’s on the shoulders of the classroom teacher to tease it out of students through a combination of inspiration, modeling, scaffolding, and creating persistent opportunity.
I used a PowToon template to make a short introduction for my 7th grade orientation. Since most of them are returning students, I wanted to make it fast, and I didn't want to talk as much. I print out numbered instructions, with plenty of roles for students who don't volunteer for the big jobs, or who are new to the school. Here are my instructions.
I will show this short video, hand out the instructions, then use this Bruno Mars parody, as the video in the instructions, since they didn't see it as 6th graders.
We're speed dating this week. Several 6th grade teachers want their students to explore different fiction genres. I decided to make some personal ads (pictured above) for different genres or subgenres. I already had resources lists in Destiny for these genres, so it made it easy. We have eleven tables, which we'll load with books and an ad. Students will have to rotate through at least 4 tables. They'll be discussing genres in class, but I made an exit ticket so I can track which are the most popular (I still have one more book order to place.) If you're interested, here's a link to the ads, and a link to the exit ticket. The ads document has the titles listed separately at the end, to make it easier for my aides to cut them out! :)
This is the second post in the new series I’m introducing on The Cornerstone called Real Teachers, Real Tips. Each month, I’ll invite one educator to share a few classroom management tips that have worked in his or her classroom. I’m hoping to feature a wide cross-section of teachers from all different parts of the…
Museums and libraries from around the world are participating in #colorourcollections week from Feb 1-5, 2016. Search both #colorourcollections and #colourourcollections for the best results. If you're on Twitter, check the full list here:
So, I posted about this great search engine on LM_NET. Gary Price of InfoDocket then pointed out that NO search engine is completely safe, and that promoting Kiddle may give teachers, parents and students a false sense of security. Kiddle also had a judgmental snark to it: when students searched "penis", the response was something like "Oops, looks like a bad word." The folks behind Kiddle are very responsive--today when I looked up that "bad word", I was told instead "Oops, try again." A few weeks ago, you were out of luck if you wanted information about breast cancer from Kiddle. (Another "bad word.") Now, if you type in "breast", you'll get links to Butterball turkey, KidsHealth.org's article about breasts and bras, and lots of information about breast cancer. So, Kiddle is trying. Not perfect by any means, but trying. Perhaps worth keeping in your pocket when World Book is too elementary, but your students struggle with the reading level in a database. (My middle school SAI students hate the portal for World Book)
But here's where things got weird. Last week, I saw several people tweet and post about Kiddle as "Google's new kid-friendly search engine." It was amazing how fast that incorrect tweet spread. Most librarians I know who shared it later corrected their blogs or tweets, but a lot of folks didn't. (A quick look at the URL should give you a clear indication Kiddle is not part of the Google family.)
So, bottom line: 1. Kiddle isn't perfect. 2. No search engine is. 3. The people behind it, anonymous though they may be, seem to have good intentions, and are constantly working to improve the site based on feedback. 4. WE can do a better job helping students think about searching and directing them to more targeted sites, rather than general search engines (Thanks for that reminder, Gary Price!) 5. We all need to be careful about sharing and retweeting without verifying. And 6. That Butterball turkey link made me realize dinner isn't going to cook itself.
I used Kiddle today with a specialized academic instruction class. The large thumbnails with plenty of white space made it easier for students to decide which sites they would look at first. Kiddle developers rank websites as follows:
The first 1-3 sites will be written specifically for children and are chosen by Kiddle editorsThe following sites (usually 5-7) will be safe sites with content not specifically written for children, but at a reading level they can understand. These are also chosen by Kiddle editorsThe remaining sites are filtered by Google Safe Search, not geared to children, and possibly harder to understand.
Kiddle would be great for elementary students. The filters are very strict--search for information on breast cancer, and you'll be told you're searching for "bad words." Still, I think the visual aspect of the search would appeal to many students, so I'll continue to use it with our SAI classes.
*** Update ****
I wanted to share some feedback I received from Gary Price of InfoDocket.
when words are misspelled, safety filters are for naught, i.e., "beheaddings" (although the images that make it through the filters when it's spelled correctly are pretty graphic, too.)the filters can block appropriate searches, such as "breast cancer" or "adult education".
So, as with any other search engine or website, we need to teach students about safe searches and critical thinking!
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