Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Finding Images to Hammer Home An Idea: It's Not As Easy As It Sounds

The Standard:
The Common Core State Standards ask 2nd graders to "add drawings or other visual displays…to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.5 )."  It also asks 2nd graders to understand how "specific images contribute to and clarify a text (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.2.7)."  

The Challenge:
Getting students to find digital images that match their writing can be a hefty task for a young child.  Take a look at the many steps that a child must process before simply finding a quality image:

  1. Imagine an image that closely matches the text.
  2. Determine search terms that will help you find that image.
  3. Browse the images that pop up after your search.   
  4. Find the image that best matches your text.
  5. If you can't find an image that matches your text, re-think your search terms and try again.  

The Lesson:

In February, the 2nd graders in Ms. Collins' class read biographies of famous US presidents and inspirational African Americans.  

After completing their research, the 2nd graders sketched out a timeline using pencil and paper.  

In March, student created an interactive digital timeline.  To do this, we used a 30-day trial of Glogster EDU and set up each student with a temporary account.  Students then were expected to:

  1. Pick 5 important events in the life of that individual.
  2. Write a sentence about each event.
  3. Place the events in chronological order.
  4. Write down key words or phrases that would help search images that best matched these events.
  5. Plug the search terms into our school's online subscription of Britannica Images.
  6. Copy the image URL of their chosen image and paste it into Glogster.
  7. Re-size the image and place it in chronological order.
Tips and Tricks for Supporting Students:
  • At the beginning of at least 4 student work sessions, I explicitly taught and re-taught the technical aspects of copying an image URL in Britannica and adding the link in the Glogster.  It's a 7-step process that needs re-visiting: copy URL, switch tabs, paste link in Glogster, find image under Glogster Image tool, use image, re-size image, move image.
  • Some students will need help entering search terms.  They will want to type in a whole sentence like "Jackie Robinson got married."  Conference with these students to teach them how to shorten a sentence to a phrase like "Jackie Robinson wedding" instead.
  • When students can't find the actual event, encourage them to find a symbol of the event.  For example, a student couldn't find a photo of Teddy Roosevelt's birth, so I asked the students to think of a symbol of a child's birth.  One child suggested a baby blanket.  Other children suggested a newborn baby.  
Any other tips on helping young children evaluate and choose images that match their writing?  

Links to All Student Timeline Glogs (please give each Glog a moment to load and press "reload" if it gets stuck):

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