Dinosaur Science

The grade 2 students went to Dinosaur World this week, so they are excited to learn anything about dinosaurs. Today they investigated the dinosaur videos on PBSkids.org. One of the girls turned to me after a few minutes watching the videos. She pointed to the man on the screen and said, “He is a paleontologist!” I was amazed that she knew the word and could pronounce it. They obviously had learned more than that the T. Rex was a large dinosaur. They had learned which scientists study old, extinct plants and animals, that some animals become extinct and about being careful searching for fossils. It seems the fossil search was a highlight of the trip.

Creative Arts: Purpose and Culture

Grade 8 Project
Enduring Understanding:

  • Visual art reflects individual, community, and cultural differences throughout the world.
  • Visual art can portray different views, opinions, and interpretations.
  • Art influences technology and technology influences art.

Guiding Questions

  1. What is the purpose and meaning of your art? What is the purpose and meaning of the art of the artist or museum you selected to study? How does it represent you and your culture?
  2. What are the purposes for which cultures create art?
  3. Who owns art? How is art saved, displayed, distributed and licensed?

Design Cycle

  • investigate
  • design
  • plan
  • create
  • evaluate

Technology Standards
Communication and Collaboration: Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others. Students:

  • interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.
  • communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.

Critical Thinking, Problem-Solving & Decision-Making: Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources. Students:

  • plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.

Digital Citizenship: Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior. Students:

  • exhibit leadership for digital citizenship.

Technology Operations and Concepts: Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems and operations. Students:

  • select and use applications effectively and productively.
  • transfer current knowledge to learning of new technologies.

View rubrics and student products on the wiki: http://icscreativearts.wikispaces.com/home

Art Book pages by E. Prendergast

Florida Research

Grade 4 Florida Research Project

Enduring Understandings:

  1. Studying history helps us to understand Florida today.
  2. Geography, location and climate affected the development of Florida.
  3. Florida was settled long before the Europeans arrived in 1492.
  4. European influence on Florida had a lasting impact.
  5. Good citizens work together to solve problems and to make a difference.

Guiding Questions

  1. Who were the first people of Florida and how did they use their environment to meet their basic needs?
  2. How have the different cultural groups in early Florida influenced our state?
  3. What are the characteristics of the geographic regions of Florida?
  4. Why is Florida’s location important culturally, politically, and economically?
  5. How has Florida’s physical geography and resources contributed to people’s decision to make Florida their home?
  6. How has Florida’s physical geography and resources contributed to people’s decision to make Florida their tourist destination?
  7. How do the citizens of the state work together to solve problems?
  8. How can citizens make a difference?


Student Products are on the class wiki: http://icsflorida.wikispaces.com/

An Anhinga dries its wings after fishing in a fresh water pond


Be a URL Detective

Tip #1: Use the URL to identify the domain name and web extensions and what they represent.

URL is an acronym for Uniform Resource Locator. The domain name is located after the http:// in the URL. For instance, the domain name for Incarnation Catholic School is icstampa.org. The domain name for Incarnation Catholic Church is icctampa.org.

The extensions in the URL provide additional clues to the identify and authorship of a website.

  • .org – organization
  • .com – company
  • .sch – school (used outside of US)
  • .k12 – most US school sites
  • .edu – US higher ed
  • .gov – US government (add country code for outside US)
  • .ac – higher ed outside of US usually used with country code, example, “.ac.uk”
  • .net – network
  • .mil – US military
  • .co – Company (if paired with a country code, example “.co.uk,” the state of Colorado or the country, Columbia)

For a list of country codes view Web Country Codes

Tip #2: Truncate the URL section by section


to  http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/ to learn that the information is hosted on and part of the University of California Berkeley Library web site. Knowing the documents are part of the official Berkeley library gives it authenticity.

Practice Truncating: What is the domain for each of the following:

Tip #3: Observe the URL grammar.

If a tilde (~), %, or a person’s name or the word “user” after the domain name is in the web address, it is a personal directory and not an official part of the website. In the following example, http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets/plagiarism.shtml, the information on plagiarism is in the personal directory of wts. It is not part of the official indiana.edu website. This means the information must be evaluated based on the information contained within the web page, and is not automatically valid because it appears to be on a university web site.

Identify the web grammar elements in this URLs. What is the domain? Who created each web page? Is each an official part of the domain website?

Tip #4: Find who links to a site.

In Alta Vista use the “link web addess” command. This shows who links to the site and also shows how many sites link to the site. Look at the Ova Prima site, then use link www.ovaprima.org in Google or link:www.ovaprima.org in Alta Vista search windows to how many and what type of sites link to the Ova Prima site.

Tip #5: Study historical information about a site.

Use Way Back Machine at www.archive.org to find the history of a site. Enter the URL of the site in question. You can see when the website was revised. If you have a link that is no longer active but you know the URL, you can enter the URL in Way Back Machine to view the contents. Think about the implications for FaceBook and MySpace users! Yes. What you put on today will still be sitting on some computer, possibly years from now.

*** View ICS Digital Help Web Search Strategies ***

Web Site Evaluation 5Ws

5 W’s: Who, What, Where, When, Why


  • Who published the website?
  • Who is responsible for the content found on the website?
  • What are the qualifications of the web publisher?
  • Is contact information provided?


  • What is the purpose of the site?
  • Is the information consistent with other sources?


  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is it a primary or secondary source?
  • Are sources cited?


  • When was the site created?
  • When was the site last update?
  • Is the information recent enough to be useful?
  • Are the links up-to-date or are they broken?


  • Why would you use it? Did the site give you with the information you were researching?

Summary: OK to use? Be prepared to defend the source of information. Can you annotate the information website with a statement about how you know this is a valid, reliable, up-to-date source of information. Yes or No?

5Ws: Based on information from: Web 2.0 Applications for Children’s Services Summer/Fall 2007 – This material has been created by Bonnie L. Peirce for the Infopeople Project [infopeople.org], supported by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian. Any use of this material should credit the author and funding source.

*** View ICS Digital Help Web Search Strategies ***

Internet Search – Where to Start?

Search in more than one search engine. The list on NoodleTools website provides an excellent summary of places to look depending on your research topic:

Kid-Safe Search Engines

Frequently Used Search Engines

  • Google
  • Yahoo!
  • Bing
  • Ask
  • Alta Vista
  • Technorati is a search engine that searches blogs. Example of use: Technorati is a better place to find information about “Alan November” than Google because if you search for him in Google, the top links are owned by Alan November, so most of the information was written by Alan November. In the blogs you can read what people are saying about Alan November, not what Alan November is saying about himself.

*** View ICS Digital Help Web Search Strategies ***

U.S. States & Regions Wikispaces

Essential Understanding: Citizens of the United States must be familiar with basic facts of all of the States.

This year grade 5 students study the U.S. States but next year the topic will be moved down to grade 4. This year’s grade 4 students are using technology class time to develop a database of information about the U.S. States using Wikispaces, so they learn basic State facts. I created a page for each State and entered the labels for the data needed for each State.

Students in the two grade 4 classes were divided into 5 groups to study the 5 regions of the U.S. There were groups of students in each class working on each region. I created a username and password for each student and added them to Wikispaces as members. Students each selected a State within the assigned region to start to research. As they completed the information for each State, they determined which other States needed to have information added and then worked on that State. This allowed students to work collaboratively even though they were not in the same technology class. Students will create the 5 summary pages for the regions and will decide what information will be on the page.

Most of the information is from factmonster.com. Students learned to manage data, moving it from one location to another and to sort and sift through a larger database to find what is needed for the Wikispaces project. The project also allowed the student their first opportunity to work collaboratively on a project. The project is not yet completed but it is in the final stages. icstampa.wikispaces.com

Paraphrase Practice – Health Topics

Grades 6 and 7

  1. When “an idea is expressed in a complicated way, it can help to think about how you would explain it to somebody else. Retelling something in your own words, or paraphrasing, also helps you to remember what you read.”  Paraphrasing (Time for Kids)
  2. Select one of the articles on Staying Healthy to read or listen to.
  3. Open a new OpenOffice text document. Enter your name and the name of the article you read.
  4. Write a paragraph summary of the information, paraphrasing the information in your own words.
  5. Write in complete sentences using correct punctuation and grammar. Spell all words correctly.
  6. Select and Copy the URL of your source information website. Go to EasyBib. Paste the URL of the information source website into EasyBib to create a bibliography entry. Add an annotation. Select and copy the bibliography entry and the annotation.
  7. Paste the bibliography entry with annotation into the OpenOffice document. Make sure it is a hanging indent paragraph.
  8. Add a bullet note under the bibliography entry with annotation indicating how you know this is a valid source of information.
  9. Go back to the summary you wrote. Cite the source of the information using a parenthetical citation.
  10. Save the document in My Documents. Name the document with your last name and Health (for example, Smith Health)
  11. Place the document in the Paraphrase Health assignment in the class dropbox on Sycamore.

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