Thing 9: Databases & Search Tools

This past week has had my favorite activities from Cool Tools. I have added quite a few new search engines to one of my LiveBinders links for students. Until recently, I have not realized how much I rely on databases as extensions for lessons. This year, my students have used PebbleGo, Culture Grams, Brain Pop Jr., BookFlix, TrueFlix and TumbleBooks Library. We haven’t used too many search tools, except Google and Wolfram Alpha. For curation tools, I love LiveBinders as it provides an effective yet inexpensive way to provide resources to students for projects.

Option 1: Databases

My school is fortunate to have dozens of databases available for students to use for research. There are some we have not used much this year, but that is something I want to change for next year.

For this assignment, I decided to look at Kids InfoBits. This database has hundreds of subjects for grades K to 5. Right when you log onto the homepage, there are avatars that highlight categories that range from animals to health to plants. Once you click a category, more subtopics within that category show up.

Within a topic, you can look at magazine or newspaper articles, images, charts, graphs, maps, seals and flags. There is a chart that shows reading levels and lexiles are listed. Users can add articles to a folder to reference later.

Browsing through this site, I noticed numerous topics that are covered in the modules from EngageNY. Since our district has chosen to adopt the modules, this site will be another resource to share with teachers and use in library lessons to support student learning.

Right now, fifth-grade students are learning about the importance of sports in American culture. There is an excellent section of famous athletes on the database. For the main project in the fourth quarter, I’m going to review biographies with students, then have them select and research a famous athlete using Kids InfoBits. After research is gathered, students will create a digital trading card using virtual labs. I love how lesson ideas pop up when new sites are explored.

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