Project Title: Internet Trash or Treasure: Evaluating Internet Sites
Software Used: Internet
Subject and Grade Level: English 9-12
Intergrated Subject Areas Also Covered: History, Speech, or any subject a student may need to research
Standards: 12.1.2, 12.1.8, 12.2.4, 12.2.5, 12.3.1
Suggestions: I usually have students create a bulletin board that teaches the other classes how to evaluate Internet sites before beginning a research paper. This could be a review to emphasize the importance of evaluating information or an introduction using the information that you want the students to really master. The bulletin board format forces students to reword information to the basics that stress the important information. This same concept can be used for a mini-lesson in using research tools like SIRS, steps to writing a research paper, etc.
Materials needed: Construction paper, scissors, glue, etc.
Lesson Plans/Directions: I usually begin the unit with a mini-lesson on evaluating websites. I introduce it by going to a really funny website that is bogus like malepregnancy.com (I usually approach it as an ‘interesting tidbit’ that I just discovered like I don’t realize it’s bologna.) Students really get involved in the discussion because it’s so outrageous. After that we talk about what it takes to post web sites. The students brainstorm ways that they can tell that evaluate the information to be sure it’s factual.
After the students brainstorm for the factual information, we go over my ‘hints’ for evaluating. Most of the hints can be found on the web evaluation category of my Jeopardy board. Students then create their own bulletin board to teach the other classes about the subject. We focus on the purpose of bulletin boards and discuss how the intended audience and expectations of a bulletin board play into the design we will create. I emphasize that it must be visual yet teach someone that reads it the main information that the author feels is important. Students then brainstorm how they would like to present the information. This year’s class came up with the ‘Trash or Treasure’ theme.
I allow them one more day to create the bulletin board. I try to have it on a Thursday or Friday so they can have time to make any visuals that they feel would enhance the project. The following week, I have them take about 15 minutes to put up the bulletin board. (I’ve taken down the old one so they can start with a clean slate and use the rest of the class time for beginning research.)