Infotopia: A great way to search
One of the best analogies I’ve heard about searching for information on the internet is this:
“Googling information on the internet is like taking a drink from a fire hose.”
So true, and it has become increasing frustrating for students and teachers to try to narrow down the information a search produces as well as check for accuracy, currency, and authority. Well, along comes something to help–Infotopia.
Infotopia is an academic search engine that searches with Google but accesses only trusted websites previously selected by librarians, teachers, and library and educational consortia. Automatically it has the Safe Search filter on. It is maintained by Dr. Michael Bell, former Chair, Texas Association of School Librarians. It is easy to use and narrows significantly the number of results you get with your search. Check it out.
Fifth and sixth graders this week got the chance to do just that. They learned about Infotopia, bookmarked it on their laptops, and then did a short research project using it. They drew a random card from a hat and then searched the topic written on the card. These were interesting, but not quickly recognized subjects, such as linnet or vicuna. They enjoyed the ease with which they found reliable websites and images and all said they would use it again in their own research.
Also in the Library this week…..
Kindgergarten–Pamela Duncan’s Livingstone Mouse is a charming story of a little mouse in search of his own home. He decides to find China which has been recommended by his mother. After many false starts (ones that the students have fun recognizing) he finally finds a china teapot–just the “China” he was looking for. This is a great introduction to homonyms.
First Grade–Leo Lionni has always been one of my favorite authors and illustrators and his books have stood the test of time. First graders were mesmerized by the story of Alexander and the Wind Up Mouse, a gentle tale of envy and sacrifice with a lovely happy ending.
Second Grade–Stanley’s Wild Ride by Linda Bailey was a California Young Reader Medal winner a few years back and it’s obvious why. The rollicking story of a dog who escapes his yard is told with great insight into the dog’s point of view and the illustrations are very much part of this very entertaining story. This is a great read aloud and a good starting point to discuss point of view.
Third & Fourth Grade–Teaching about the different reference books is not one of the most fascinating library lessons but we spice it up a bit with a game called “Name That Book.” After looking at each type of book–atlas, encyclopedia, dictionary, thesaurus, and almanac–students are given “scenarios” and have to pick which book might give them the answer they need. For example, “Your mother’s birthday is coming up and you’d like to give her something with her birthstone in it. In which book or books could you find out what her birthstone is?” Students really enjoy this and the funnier the “scenarios” the better.
Fifth and Sixth grade–see opening post