Sunday, December 03, 2006

News From the Library--December 3

How Good is That Website?

This week fifth graders had a chance to put their critical thinking skills to use as we delved into what makes a good website. Our challenge is to sort through the enormous amount of information available on the internet and decide what is accurate, authoritative, and non-biased--especially if the information is being used for research purposes. Our lesson started with my telling the students 5 facts about myself (in an authoritative voice) and they had to determine from their prior and common knowledge which of the 5 facts were true and which were not. For example, I told them I love working with computers. Obviously true. Then I said my wedding anniversary was on April 31. After realizing that there are only 30 days in April, they concluded that that statement was untrue. Next we went to the Cold Spring School Library Skills Blog. After visiting the first site on the blog lesson, we evaluated it using a worksheet with specific criteria. We checked the domain type, the author, the author's credentials, the copyright date, the last update date, and looked for advertisements or commercials. If you go to the Skills blog, you'll see that the two sites we studied were both about the planets but their "goodness" was quite different. Next week, on their own, students will evaluate several sites listed in part 2 of the lesson. Sixth graders will do this lesson after the first of the year (there were several holiday conflicts for them this week and the next.)

I feel very strongly that becoming "information literate" is a critical skill in the world in which our children are today and will be in the future. We'll keep working on it during the school year.

Kindergarten--In Kitten's First Full Moon, a Caldecott Award winning book by Kevin Henkes, we not only enjoyed the story of a kitten mistaking the moon for a bowl of milk, but we studied how Mr. Henkes made the kitten's expressions go from sad, to curious, to happy with just the change of a line. These wonderfully expressive pictures are done with the simplicity of a true artist and it was fun for the children to see how they mirror the spare, yet eloquent text.

First Grade--In Rosemary Wells' book, Shy Charles, a quiet mouse resists all his parents efforts to make him more outgoing. From ballet to football, they try their best to bring him out of his shell, only to have Charles remain his shy self. But when the chips are down, and he needs to rise to the occasion, Charles comports himself with great success. This is a lovely story that children can relate to, especially its message that not everyone is outgoing but that doesn't mean they aren't competent and successful.

Second Grade--Second graders met Strega Nona this week in Tomie dePaola's classic story of the Italian "grandmother witch" who takes care of the town's needs. After hiring some help in the form of Big Anthony she leaves town with the admonition not to use the magic pasta pot. Students loved the humor of what happens when (of course) Anthony disobeys and after finishing the story, they understand the phrase "let the punishment fit the crime." Poor (fat) Anthony!

Third Grade--We had fun researching famous people using the World Book Encyclopedia. After a review of how to use guide words, they chose names out of the hat and then busily found their person in the encyclopedia and then wrote three facts about their person. Shoeless Joe Jackson was one of our favorites!

Fourth Grade--When fourth graders came into the library an image of Leonardo DaVinci's Mona Lisa was projected on the screen. We began our lesson by telling what we knew about this famous painting but no one had heard about the strange thing that happened to her in the early 1900's. The Stolen Smile by J. Patrick Lewis and Gary Kelley is the true story of how the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in 1911 and wasn't discovered again for 28 months in the possession of an Italian man who felt she should reside in Italy. Beautiful illustrations and the first person narrative of the thief made this a very enjoyable tale.

Fifth Grade--see first posting.

Sixth Grade--After reviewing how our atlases are organized, sixth graders had a good time researching several facts about any state other than our own. We had quite a variety of interests ranging from Hawaii to Massachusetts. Do you know that the motto of the state of Hawaii is: Ua mau ke ea o ka aina I ka pono? Better yet, can you say it?

Until next week....(we're getting reading for holiday stories....)

~Mrs. Pedersen

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