Featured Post

Winter Olympic Shidonni Lesson

What it is: The Winter Olympics is here!  There is so much learning to be done.  In my computer lab, my students will be completing the following assignment using Shidonni and various Olympic websites for research.  I have created a Weebly site as a research landing page for students. Please...

Read More

8 of the Best Research Tools for Inquiry

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Anastasis Academy, Apply, Classroom Management, Download, Evaluate, Inquiry, Internet Safety, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Technology, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 03-01-2017

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2

8 of the best research tools for inquiry

As an inquiry based school, Anastasis students (and teachers) spend a LOT of time researching. Our students essentially build their own living curriculum as they follow a line of inquiry. Below are my very favorite research tools for students.

Research platforms:

1. Kiddle– This is a kid-friendly, Google Safe powered search engine. What I appreciate about Kiddle is the ease of use for younger learners. Kiddle searches safe sites that were written FOR kids. Kiddle editors hand choose sites that deliver content that is age-appropriate and written in easy to understand language. Best of all, Kiddle’s image and video searches brings about the results you would expect it to for kids. When a student innocently types in “kitten” looking for cute pictures to add to a presentation, they get actual pictures of the feline variety rather than the scantily dressed woman named “Kitten.” So, winning!

The downside to Kiddle: if you have older students doing research on social justice issues, “sex trafficking statistics in America,” they will get an “Oops” message for questionable language. It might not be robust enough as a research tool for jr. high and high school students depending on the issues being explored.

Kiddle- Safe visual search engine for kids

2. Boolify– The best thing about this Google Safe powered search engine is the way it teaches learners how to correctly use a search engine and how to refine their searches. Boolify teaches this skill by asking them to use keywords and Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) in a search to refine results using a drag/drop interface. Students drag elements and follow prompts to learn how to correctly complete a search to get the best possible results.

Boolify- teach students to search smarter

3. Wolfram Alpha– This is not really a search engine, but more of a computational knowledge engine. It is a fantastic tool for comparing information (think people in history, weather in different parts of world, etc), exploring mathematics, units and measures, data/statistical information, science, geography, technology…truly you should just go play with this knowledge computational engine because my description isn’t doing justice to the cool things it does! This is a powerful addition to inquiry. My favorite feature is the ability to compare things side by side. The nature of inquiry often has students exploring relationships between events, people, places, etc., Wolfram makes it really easy to do this!

Using Wolfram Alpha for Inquiry Research

 

4.  Creative Commons– This is a great place to search for images, videos, sounds that are listed under the Creative Commons license that lets learners find content they can share, reuse, and mix into something new. The caution I would add here for kids: Anyone can list content under the Creative Commons license and depending on the search, some questionable material may pop up. This one is best used with supervision! Creative Commons is a great place to start a conversation about licensing and using content created by others.

Creative Commons Search

Resources to help learners work through research independently

5. Michael Friermood who writes The Thinker Builder has a great graphic organizer to help learners work toward independence in their research. You can find it HERE.

Inquiry Research Graphic Organizer from The Thinker Builder

 

6. Create a culture of thinking by giving your learners the tools to help them through a variety of thinking routines. This is an awesome resource when students hit a wall with a “closed” inquiry question (one that is too narrow and has one answer). It is equally useful when students aren’t sure how they can expand their research. These thinking routines will help them “open” questions and think from new vantage points and angles that may set them off down a path of new or expanded inquiry.

Tracy Ann Clark created this fun-to-use, and great resource for helping learners explore these thinking routines…because who doesn’t love a cootie catcher?! Find it HERE.

Visible Thinking Routines Cootie Catcher Tracy Ann Clark

 

7. Anatomy of a Google Search- this PDF helps learners understand the how and why behind a search.

Download the PDF HERE.

Anatomy of a Search- Free PDF Download

8. Google Modifiers cheat sheet- this is a good one to explore with students and then hang on the wall as a reminder!

Download the PDF HERE.

Google Modifier Cheat Sheet for Students

Want to learn more about how we run our inquiry powered k-8 classrooms at Anastasis? Join us for our conference in February! 5Sigma Education Conference

Qwiki Creator: Create the textbook of the future with a few clicks

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, Create, Foreign Language, Geography, History, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 28-06-2012

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

0

Play the Qwiki: Anastasis Academy

What it is:  I first wrote about Qwiki in 2010 when they launched their search service.  I just got word that you (and your students) can now create your very own Qwiki.  When students search using Qwiki, instead of coming up with a list of links to websites, images, and videos, a slide show of images and videos begins complete with computer voice narration.  It is truly an incredible experience.

With Qwiki Creator, it is easy to create your own Qwiki to share.  Creating a Qwiki is really easy and intuitive.  First, you find the content and media you want to add to your Qwiki.  This could be web content, video, images, maps, content from your computer, text or even a tweet.  Next you add narration and set your timing.  Finally you can preview your Qwiki and publish it.  I created the Qwiki above in about 5 min.

If you are looking for the original Qwiki, you can get to it at http://qwiki.com/reference.

How to integrate Qwiki Creator into the classroom:  Qwiki Creator is a fantastic way for students to create impressive presentations about their learning.  Students can quickly create mashups of web content and record or type narration to demonstrate understanding of material.  Qwiki Creator is also a great tool for teachers, create customized content for your students.  This is textbook 2.0 for sure! It can be tailored to the exact needs of your curriculum and can become an additional way for your to “flip” your classroom.

I love the idea of students creating their own digital textbooks as they learn about a subject. Throughout their learning and research, students can keep a table of contents of items they want to be sure to include in their Qwiki.  Students can create a Qwiki about the information they have learned, add text/voice/video narration to help describe the learning and publish it for classmates to learn from.  The Qwiki can be shared easily or embeded on a student blog or website.

Create your own series of Qwiki’s for your classroom blog or website where students can further their learning.  They can access any of the websites or resources you include in your Qwiki for a majorly upgraded version of a webquest.

Qwiki Creator could be used for digital storytelling.  Students can find images, videos and maps that help them tell their story and narrate the creative story for others to enjoy.

In a foreign language class, students can give a web tour where they narrate in the language they are learning.  This would also be neat to do in a geography or history class.

If you teach students who are younger than 13, consider creating Qwiki’s as a class using an interactive whiteboard and teacher account.  Students can help put the Qwiki together and the finalized Qwiki can be put on a class blog or website for students to learn from any time.

Tips:  Students must be 13 years old or older to use Qwiki Creator according to the Terms of Service.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Qwiki Creator  in  your classroom!

What do you love: Google’s multi-search search engine

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Blogs, Evaluate, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, web tools, Websites | Posted on 23-04-2012

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1

What it is: What do you love is a nifty little search space from Google that I ran across today.  Apparently I’m late on this one, everyone was blogging about it a year ago!  Ah well, can’t win ’em all.  With What do you love, students can type in a search term and instantly get results grid-style from Google images, create an alert, find patents, look at trends, email someone about the topic, explore the search in 3d with SketchUp, find books, watch videos, translate into 57 languages, organize a debate, find blog posts, maps, call someone, start a discussion group, plan an event, view it in Google Earth, create a instant bookmark to the search, or make the search mobile.  This is a super way to help students organize and view information and options for sharing from one place.

How to integrate What do you love into the classroom:  What do you love is a great tool for helping students learn about how searches work.  Students can instantly see a variety of search options and can begin comparing/contrasting results from the different streams.  Ask students to consider which types of searches lend themselves to each type of search (images, video, web, blogs, maps, etc.).  It is nice to have a one-stop shop of search results all within one page like this.  Students can quickly look at the top items from each available stream and decide from that one point which option best fits their search needs.

As a teacher, this search option is incredibly valuable for the time it saves.  Working on a new thematic unit or unit of inquiry?  Type it into the search terms and immediately find related books, videos, and other resources to help you maximize your time and effort.

I think that the trends are fascinating to look at and speculate about.  Are your students studying current events or an event in history (Titanic anyone)?  It is really interesting to see how the trend of the search topic changes over time.  Ask students to speculate and think critically about the rise and fall of certain topics.

Did you know that Google will help you organize and start a debate with moderation?  Me either.  It is a pretty neat little service that gives everyone a voice and lets students gather input from a large audience.  This could be a great way for students to get help with brainstorming, collecting public opinion or in preparation for a presentation they are giving.  This is an option I would only use at the high school level (it is for 13 and above).  I haven’t played with it long enough to receive inappropriate responses, but I’m sure they slip through.  This is also a great way for students to get more opinions or input about a topic they love.  Right now the top topic on the Moderator site is about Minecraft.  This is HUGE with our students right now, they cannot get enough!

What do you love would be a great site to bookmark on your projector-connected computer or interactive whiteboard so that students can do searches about topics they are interested in as a class.  Using What do you love this way gives you the opportunity to help students wade through results and practice discernment in what is accurate and good information for the topic being searched.  I don’t know about you, but YouTube is the first place my students head when they are going to learn something new.  I think this is because the video medium is preferred over the text results where they have to wade through information to find what they are looking for.  Most students tell me they go to YouTube first because it is easy to know within a few seconds whether a video is going to give them the information that they want (forget deciding if it is a credible source).  YouTube IS a wonderful place to learn something new, I often go there myself, but it is nice for them to see other results along side the video.  As educators it is our job to teach students how to be discerning about the information they collect and how to use that information appropriately as it relates to the task they have been given.

Tips: Fair warning, this is a search engine.  You can’t always guarantee that what a student searches will come up with appropriate results.  I often remind students that if they come across anything that makes them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused they should tell a trusted adult so that we can sit down and help them work through what they found and offer recommendations for a better search.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using What do you love in  your classroom!

Web 2.0 Library

Posted by admin | Posted in Classroom Management, collaboration, Create, Grade Level, Teacher Resources, Web2.0 | Posted on 13-06-2011

Tags: , , , , , , ,

3

What it is: Many of us are heading into the summer vacation months, a time when our non-education friends and family view us with envy over our “2 month break”.  I don’t know about you, but I NEVER had a summer where I wasn’t working on education in some capacity.  Summer is a time to prepare for the next school year, dream up new projects and explore all of those things we didn’t have time for during the school year.  Web 2.0 Library is a fun one to explore this summer for some new resources for your classroom tech tool box.  Find web tools that will help teachers and students connect, collaborate and create.  When you choose a topic, you will be taken to a login page.  Click “login as guest” to proceed.  Icons accompany each tool that offer additional understanding for each tool.  The i give more information about how to use the tool, the @ gives activities that can be done using the tool and the video icon includes a video that teaches more about the tool.

How to integrate Web 2.0 Library into the classroom: Web 2.0 Library is a great one-stop shop for Web 2.0 tools that can be used in the classroom.  These tools are well organized and the supporting information makes it a snap to find the perfect tool for your classroom.  Quickly get ideas for activities, get more information about the tool and view a video about the tool.  You are sure to find some new goodies that can make your classroom more connected and creative!

Tips: Don’t forget to login as “guest” to access all of the web 2.0 goodness.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using  Web 2.0 Library  in your classroom!

Search Me

Posted by admin | Posted in Internet Safety, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 28-05-2008

Tags: , , , ,

0

What it is: I have been testing the Beta version of a new search engine called Search Me for the past few months and today the public beta was released for everyone. Search Me is really unique…it lets you search webpages the way that iTunes cover flow works. Their motto is “You’ll know it when you see it.” The engine is very easy to use and brings up great results with the ability to narrow down a search by category. For example, when I do a search on “dogs” It brings up the websites to browse through as well as icons to narrow down my search and gives me options of searching “dogs”, “pet stores”, “hunting”, “pet health”, “savings and bargains”. This is a great engine for teaching your kids how to search effectively for what they are looking for. The best part is the cover flow like feature that lets you flip through actual websites. Yellow squares appear on each site where your search word pops up and when you hover over a site, the site description pops up. There are safe settings so that adult content is automatically filtered out and you can flag a website as inappropriate right from the search results without actually traveling to that website.

How to integrate Search Me into the classroom: Search Me is a really great way for students to perform searches on any subject. They get instant feedback based on the sites that come up if their key words were too broad, narrow, etc. They can also preview sites right away and can often tell if it is what they are looking for without actually traveling to the website. The ability to narrow down a search by category is also a great option! Try Search Me out with your students, I know they will love it!

Tips: Search Me has a free tool bar that can be integrated into your web browser with the click of a button making it simple for kids to perform a search in one step.

Leave a comment and share how Search Me is working for your students.

Teacher Book Wizard

Posted by admin | Posted in Language Arts, Middle/High School, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 27-03-2008

Tags: , , , , ,

2

 

What it is: Teacher Book Wizard is an amazing free tool from Scholastic. It provides teachers with the book search tools you have wished for. Search the 50,000 book data base (from all different publishers, not just Scholastic) with several searching options. Search options include: leveled reading (grade level, Lexie Framework, guided reading, or DRA), a quick search when you know what you are looking for, Book Alike to find similar books at the reading level you need, and a list exchange where you and other teachers can share book lists. The Teacher Book Wizard has quizzes and other resources to use with the books you find.

How to integrate Teacher Book Wizard into your curriculum: Do you have students who have one favorite book that they read over and over but never venture out to other books? Use the Book Alike feature in Teacher Book Wizard to find similar books at the correct reading level. You might just find your students a new favorite! Create your own leveled reader library in the classroom using the Leveled Reading tool. Keep track of your book lists and look through other teachers lists with the List Exchange. This is an awesome tool for teachers and librarians, you may find yourself using it on a daily basis to hunt down the perfect book for every student!

Tips: Click on the Take a Tour button for a full video tour of all that the Teacher Book Wizard has to offer.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Teacher Book Wizard in your classroom.

Google Posters

Posted by admin | Posted in Internet Safety, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 25-02-2008

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

0

What it is: Google Posters are printable posters offered by Google for educators. The posters can be printed in different sizes and teach students how to perform better searches.

How to integrate Google Posters into the classroom: I am realizing lately just how clueless students are about performing a quality search. Teachers are not exempt from this, I have had many educators tell me that it took them 3 hours to perform a search to find a state flower. What this tells me is that they don’t know how to search. Google Posters can be handed out as an individual handout, hung around the classroom, or both. The posters are found in Google’s Educator section. The posters teach students (and teachers) how to use modifiers to refine searches for the best results, the anatomy of a search, how to find a book using books.google.com, and examples of how to go about a search. Use these posters to teach your students how to do a quality search and then pick a topic for them to search and have a Google scavenger hunt. Students will learn how to use search engines and increase productivity.

Tips: Make sure that you have tested your scavenger hunt before you let your students loose, sometimes you will get results that aren’t appropriate for your students.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Google Posters in your classroom.