Plant the Right Seed

How will students be using the Internet? Will they use a search engine, a web directory, or start with a couple preselected websites? What you plant depends on your time and experiences.

Choose what's best for you. You might start with a seed, a bulb, or a plant.

Start off running. It's faster to buy the plants than start with seeds. Consider your goal. Do you want students to locate information, use information, create information, or formulate solutions? For example, if you're studying the First Ladies of the United States, it's probably easiest to give students a starting point like First Ladies.

Get a head start. Potatoes start with a chunk, not a seed. Consider joining established projects. Look for content and activities that will fit your grade level and subject area need. For example, the Weather site provides separate sections for older and younger students.
Find search helpers. It takes a zillion plants for one serving of lima beans. Is it really worth it? Maybe not. Let someone else do the searching for you! For example, use the Blue Web 'N site to locate quality instructional projects.
Locate activities. Tomatoes love the heat. I hate to weed in the summer sun. Find a friend that likes to get a suntan. Find help for the things you don't like to do. For example, one teacher might work with searching the Internet, while a peer designs creative activities. If you can't find a teacher connection at your school, try working through a website that promotes teacher collaboration such as the Alphabet SuperHighway.
Pick the best. Pick a sunny spot. Use the best as a model. The Ph Factor is an excellent example of a well-organized site.
Choose good sites. Choose a site with good soil, sun, and water! Look at reading level, interest level, ease of use, and the link to the curriculum. For example, some sections of the Enchanted Learning Site would be effective at one grade level, but not another.
Evaluate the Ph Factor.
  • Is the site easy to use? Why?
  • Is the site well-organized? How?
  • Are the "e-words" an effective way to categorize the steps in learning?
  • Could this approach be used in another subject area?
Evaluate an instructional resource in your content area using the links at the Blue Web 'N site.

Developed by Annette Lamb, 4/99.