Today grades 3 and 4 learned all about strategies for effective internet searching. Students tend to type long questions into the search bar of search engines and click on the very first site that comes up, regardless of the quality or relevance of the site. Over the past few years I’ve been trying to convey to students the importance of selecting a few important words from their questions (keywords) and using those to bring in targeted results. I have also been trying to get students to use some of the many excellent kid-friendly search engines to narrow their searches to results that are geared to their grade level.
Students worked through some research questions and experimented with keywords to find good results. For example, with the question: How many teeth does an adult dog have? The keywords were teeth and adult dog. After a bit of practice they picked up finding keywords very quickly. The keyword worksheets are available through the marvelous resource Common Sense Education.
Ms. Bennett and Ms. Mellenthin are going to practice this each day in the classroom. I think it will have a really positive impact on the quality of student research.