Wikipedia–Yes or No?
Using the Visible Thinking Routine, Tug of War, sixth graders discussed the pros and cons of using Wikipedia. First, we talked about how Wikipedia works. Then I told them they were going to look at an article from Wikipedia and see if they could find the error. I chose an article about something we were all familiar with and one in which we would have some specific local knowledge. I had copied pages of the article for them to see. (The error has since been corrected). This article is about the Tea Fire of 2008 that occurred only a few miles from our school. Most of our students faced several days of evacuation and 14 families (including mine) sadly lost their homes. It took them a little while to find the mistake–it had stated that the fire containment date was actually the day before the fire started. A small error, but nonetheless, I wanted them to see how easily an error could be made and how long it might remain uncorrected.
Next, we went to the history tab on Wikipedia and found the date that the error had been corrected. They were amazed that the error had been on Wikipedia for 4 years!
Finally, we did the Thinking Routine. We still had lots of opinions, pro and con. Each student placed an “x” on the rope to indicate their position and then they had to support their opinion with specific reasons.
Our conclusions? Wikipedia is here to stay. It’s a source for quick information. It’s a good idea to look at the history tab to see how many corrections have been made and by whom. It’s a way to get information about a recent event. It should always, always be verified by another source. It’s not to use in a bibliography.
The beauty of this thinking routine is that it gives students plenty of opportunity to express an opinion and also see other’s opinions–both of which are backed up with specific reasons.
Also in the Library this week…..
Kindergarten–Poor Mr. Greely. He finally decides to plant a vegetable garden and three pesky rabbits come every night and destroy his crops. Kindergarteners loved watching all the ways the bunnies got into the garden in Candace Fleming’s Muncha, Muncha, Muncha. This book is a wonderful way to introduce prepositions and the bunnies go over, under, and through every barrier Mr. Greely devises. Great message at the end, too. Sharing is better!
First Grade–First graders are working on a project regarding the history of our school so this week I read them a book I made using original documents we have dating back to the 1880s. We used our visible thinking skills to compare how things are the same and how things are different between our school today and back then.
Second Grade – Fifth Grade–We reviewed reference books this week and talked about how they are becoming “dinosaurs.” However, we talked about how important it is to know what kind of reference book to look in, even if you are doing your searching online, and they are great resources to verify information you might find online. We won’t get rid of our “dinosaurs.” They will always have a place in our Library!
Sixth Grade–see opening post.