After a couple of days of going crazy making sure that kids could log in and get going…well yesterday wasn’t as bad as the day before, today the fun began. While I still had to help a little with those kinds of things, most of the kids had that part down and were able to begin working on their projects. The project involves tracing the history of a technological artifact.
“What’s an artifact?” I heard 15-20 times. “That’s a vocabulary word,” I responded with a smile. “Oh, yeah!” Then they rushed to get their Engineering Notebook so they could check out their vocabulary page. Not having to respond to calls for help, I could walk around the perimeter of the room while kids were working on their projects and observe their progress and hear the laughter as they found a picture that would be great for their presentation or learned something interesting about their artifact. We talked about making sure they cited their sources and I finally found one that I would accept with “google” as part of the URL. (The actual webpage no longer existed and the picture only existed in the annals of google.)
I do remind kids that when they cite sources, the words “google” or “bing” should almost never be there. I remind them that saying you found something on google is like saying you found information in the library. This year, it seems that the kids are getting it a little faster and they seem to like the idea of finding the actual URL instead of getting the google directional URL. (If you don’t know what I mean, just ask and I’ll show an example.)
One of the things I enjoy more than anything once we start our projects is giving the kids some basic skills training and then letting them loose to explore. Usually they are highly creative and come up with some great ideas. Next week, we begin taking the information and putting it into a presentation to share with others. Will they use PowerPoint? Prezi? Publisher? Something else? It will be exciting to see. It’s so much fun to turn them loose and guide their thinking processes than having to lecture all the time or make them turn out cookie-cutter projects.