By Julie Coiro
2012 Literacy for All Conference Speaker
The second part of this activity sheet invites the child who originally posed the question to work with an adult (e.g., a teacher’s aide or volunteer parent) during center time to type the class sentence and add another summary sentence about what he/she learned individually. Together they search for and insert images or photos that best depict the important details of all the ideas. In this case, the child was Justine, a kindergartner who wondered, “What do cherry blossom trees look like” during a read aloud. The class generated the sentences, “Cherry blossom trees are pink and white. There are a lot of cherry blossom trees in Washington, D.C.” and Justine added (with help from the teacher), “I learned that cherry blossom buds grow in stages.” Justine was thrilled when she found the photo of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial (they talked about this in class the day before) and she included images of the three stages of cherry blossom development as well.
For the final part of this activity, Justine is invited to the author’s chair to share her sentences and the photos she collected. Both parts of the activity are added to the classroom notebook and Justine can print another color copy of her work to share with her family at home. You can imagine her pride, and other children’s pride, at the end of the year when the classroom book of Things We Learned On the Internet This Year, with 30 different contributions, is added to their classroom library collection and a copy is donated to the school library and the children’s section of the community library.
Other teachers sometimes explore the books looking for website ideas for their own students, and the children, of course, spend lots of time reading and re-reading their work and the information they learned. And during the process, young children are introduced to the exciting world of the Internet and the skills required to use it effectively in a safe and engaging way. I would encourage you to try this activity with your own students and watch the excitement and learning unfold.
Julie Coiro is speaking at our upcoming Literacy for All Conference in Providence, RI on Monday, November 5, 2012. Her sessions are, “Making Space for Online Inquiry in the Primary Grades” (10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.), and a 3-hour session for middle school educators, “Instructional Strategies for Critically Evaluating Online Information in Middle School” (Grades 5-8), 1:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.