Project 2: Developing Theme-Related Lists of Links on the World Wide Web

  General Information

Lead Teacher: Kit Roberts
Participating Teacher(s): Therese Wareham, Carol Sturge, Diane Morawski, Diane Crewe, Veronica Walsh, Diane Davis, Lorna O'Reilly, Annette O'Reilly, Karen Thibeault, Marilyn Bry.
Grade Levels: Grades Three and Four
Number of Students Involved: 225
Project Start and Finish Dates: October, 1997 to June, 1997

  Project Overview

This submission for a Stellar Schools Project for Gander Academy is based on the following beliefs:

  1. Searching the Internet for resources to support theme-related teaching and learning poses two problems. First, considerable time is spent searching databases for links to resources that are often too advanced for younger children. The language is either too difficult for them to read or the site does not contain material that can contribute to the fullfilment of curriculum objectives. And, secondly, often too much time is lost because some links no longer exist or have been moved to other servers.
  2. Teachers today are encouraged to use a resource-based approach to teaching all subjects. Using many different resources enables the teacher to provide a variety of learning experiences for their students. Consequently, teaching and learning is more than text based. Videos, CD-ROMs and additional print materials all help to lessen the linear look commonly associated with textbook based programs. Today, the Internet has become yet another resource teachers can use to support the resource-based approach.

To overcome the problems associated with the Internet outlined above, the grade three and four teachers will, through this Stellar Schools Project, create webpages which list links to Internet resources appropriate to the themes being covered in class. These pages will allow students to:

  1. access pre-selected sites deemed suitable for grade three and four students in both content and language level.
  2. spend valuable class time searching for resources that exist and eliminate time wasted accessing sites that have nothing to offer.
  3. spend valuable class time accessing sites that are quick downloading.

These preselected web sites will also be of value to the teacher. The teacher can:

  1. develop curriculum support material (students activity sheets for example) based on the content of sites visited.
  2. create a number of web resources that can be used by other teachers in this province or throughout the world.

Such resources already exist. Some have been developed by other schools. Some have been developed by Gander Academy. Late in the 1995- 96 school year, Gander Academy, in partnership with CITE (the Centre for Innovative Technology in Education), developed theme pages to support studies in Space and The Ocean. During the 1996-97 school year, over twenty additional pages covering such topics as Explorers, the Solar System, the Moon, Whales, Birds, Rocks and Minerals and Natural Disasters have been added. Two of these pages contain lesson plans associated with Web Resources on Australia and on Myths and Legends themes. These pages can be viewed from the main list at the following URL :

http://www.stemnet.nf.ca/Schools/Nova/CITE/themes.html

Upon the completion of phase one of this project, grade three and four teachers will have:

  1. created a list of themes page that can be launched from the Gander Academy homepage on Calvin at STEM-Net.
  2. created a series of webpages that contain lesson plans related to on-line and off-line activities associated with this theme.

  Curriculum Connections

There are three curriculum areas being addressed by this project. They are Science and Technology, Social Studies and Language Arts.

This project fits in with the overall curriculum plans of Gander Academy. The resource-based approach used by teachers in this school will include access and use of Internet resources. It will be considered as yet one more resource that can be used to provide students with a variety of learning experiences.

Intended Learning Outcomes

The intended learning outcomes of the project and their relationship to provincial learning outcomes are listed below.

1. Research Skills:

The grade three and four teachers of Gander Academy will have prepared a series of learning centre activities that will cover basic research skills using books, reference materials, magazine indexes, CD-ROM multimedia software, and the Internet. These activities focus on the use of a wide variety of school resources and were created cooperatively with the school’s learning resources teacher.

2. Science, Social Studies and Mathematics

The grade three and four science and social studies programs contain several themes for which considerable Internet resources exits. While doing these themes, skills such as classifying, reading diagrams and creating and interpreting graphs are taught. Accessing Internet resources on these and other themes will enable students to collect information that can be used to develop these skills and to gain knowledge about the topics. Some of the information gathered can be used with software to create word puzzles, graphs and reports.

3. Language Skill Development

In these formative years, the development of reading and writing skills is very important. The resources available from the theme pages on-line will compliment the work done in the classroom. Students will, for example, take notes on their favourite sea animal from webpages and use them to write stories and reports.

4. Cooperative Learning

Grade three and four teachers at Gander Academy use cooperative learning extensively in their classrooms. Because of the student to computer ratio in the lab at Gander Academy, accessing and using Internet resources will be a cooperative activity.

Intended learning outcomes for Technology Education

The use of computers and computer related equipment will require students to learn basics computer skills such as using a mouse, proper keyboarding, using Windows, navigating the Internet using a web browser, image processing, using a word processor, using a webpage editor and understanding the fundamentals of networking. In addition, all computer related activities will be monitored to ensure that the expectations as outlined in the sections on the nature of technology, communications technology and production technology as presented in A Curriculum Framework for Technology Education; Living in a Technological Society are accomplished. Specifically, this work will help students:

  • demonstrate knowledge of the nature and evolution of communications tools and processes.
  • use a variety of communications technologies and tools
  • use communication tools to access, evaluate and select appropriate information and to create, modify and disseminate information.
  • choose and use appropriate tools.
  • develop a vocabulary of the language and terminology of selected production technologies.

  Resource Connections

School and Other Resources

The Stellar Schools project will enhance theme teaching in grades three and four. It will give Gander Academy students access to resources on the Internet and the World Wide Web that will compliment those that exist in the school’s and town’s libraries and the resources teacher have added to their classrooms over the years.

  Evaluation

The evaluation of this project will be done two ways. The first will include a variety of worksheets and tests used as part of the evaluation and reporting process of the school. In additional to testing teachers will observe their students’ behavior during on-line session and note on-task time during web browsing activities.

Below is a list of learning outcomes. The results of tests, marks for projects, tests and quizzes can be compared to those of previous years when this unit of student was done without the resources the Stellar School Project will provide.

A Checklist of Learning Outcomes

_____ students will be able to use a web browser to access the desired theme-related page.

_____ students will be able to answer questions related to the theme using the resources on-line.

_____ students will work cooperatively in completing on-line activities.

_____ students will acquire the specific knowledge about the topic being covered.

The second method of evaluation will be based on the monitoring of access the list of theme webpages. URLs of the webpages created in this project will be submitted to all World Wide Web search engines for entry into their database. To evaluate the success of the project in providing lists of links for students in Newfoundland and others throughout the world, certain webpages will carry counters to record the number of accesses. Mail hypertext links will also be included. This will give users an opportunity to provide feedback on the value of this site to their work.

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