Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Evaluating Websites- fourth grade

The fourth grade students are in the middle of a big research project.  They are going to be allowed to use websites to fill finish finding facts but first they must learn how to evaluate websites.

The first thing I did was go over the ABC's of Website Evaluation. I cannot recall where I orginally saw this but I would like to give credit where credit is due:

Students and I evaluating a website together so they can learn some of the new vocabulary such as "bias" and "coverage".

Then I let them go on their own assigning each group one of the following websites below. Take a look, they are great:

1.  http://www.peepresearch.org/surgery.html
2. http://home.inreach.com/kumbach/velcro.html
3.  http://www.weathergraphics.com/tim/fisher/
4.  http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/
5.  http://www.geoffmetcalf.com/bread.html
6.  http://www.buydehydratedwater.com/ 

Students present their findings to the class in the end.

I have since found a few more haox sites 
- http://www.improb.com/airchives/classical/cat/cat.html- (to advanced for my 4th graders I think)
http://zapatopi.net/afdb/ -(love it! because it has links, a how to, and more)
http://www.brookview.karoo.net/Stick_Insects/Care/care.html- (this too has pictures and links. Great!)
- http://www.thedogisland.com/photos.html- (You just want to believe it is true as a dog lover) 

And All About Explorers is full of lessons on how to evaluate sites, compare websites to book, and much more. Be sure to check out the teachers' page first.  http://allaboutexplorers.com/

Monday, October 1, 2012


The Problem:

Looking at old records, the last time the books were weeded was 7 years ago.  Looking at the books in the non-fiction it is safe to assume that 7 years ago the only books that were weeded were probably broken or had inaccurate information.  The average age of the non-fiction collection is 1990, sadly 13 years old.  Fiction chapter books had the average copyright date of 1978 and Easy Fiction books 1982. 
These books are what was weeded from the 000s, 100s,  200s, and beginning of the 300s. Some of our smallest section in the library


 The Need:

Common Core requires students to read more information text.  The selection of non-fiction books is vast but of little quality.  Staff and students need a smaller better quality selection of non-fiction books.

The Solution:

First I analyzed the collection and choose the maximum age of books I wanted in each collection area.  This is a personal preference and as I weeded I learned it does not work for every book.

Maximum Age (yrs)
Easy Fiction

Once I learned the number of books I needed to pull knew my funding could not rebuild my collection so I wrote a grant for $5,000 to purchase books. ::Fingers Crossed::

  After pulling all the books the fun comes, BUYING! I cannot wait.

The Books:

Once I pull all the books, I will have boxes, and boxes, and boxes of books.  The last thing I want is for them is to take up space in my library.  Classroom teachers will have first grabs but then what...

Recently I have been sending my books to Better World Books. They currently do not pay school libraries for the books but they do pay all shipping costs.
Other options are Blogistics . This company will sort your books, sell them, and split the profits with you. 
Got Library Books also offers no out of pocket expenses but a return.  The big bonus is that you do not have to pre-scan your books.
ALA created a Delicious list for like resources: https://delicious.com/alalibrary/bookdonations