Each day, I begin my ELA class with Reading Time. This is a time for students to access a range of texts. I use this time to conference with students, collect data on class patterns and trends with independent reading and to provide individualized support.
Students have previously been exposed to defining credible sources in this lesson. The next step is to give students time to determine credible sources on their own as they continue working towards writing a research project. Students need to work on these concepts on their own so they can begin to internalize them. Since one of the Common Core objectives is determining credible sources, I want students to master this skill on their own. It's enough for me to tell them what a credible source is. They need time to practice the skill on their own. Individual practice is the first step towards mastery. Today's lesson allows students to see credible sources in context of sources they will research.
To start the lesson I refer back to the handouts on determining credible sources from the previous lesson. The first handout, Credible v. Non-Credible Sources, lists six different questions. This resource can be used for lower level students. The other handout is from the web-site Criteria To Evaluate The Credibility of WWW Resources. This handout can be used for higher-level students as it break down the questions into further concepts and has the students think about internet sources in a deeper manner. I think it's important to try and differentiate instruction when possible. It can definitely be challenging by finding little ways can be extremely rewarding. Most of the differentiation I do is similar to this lesson. It may not be on a large scale, but subtle works well for me by passing out different articles, asking different questions, or looking at different assessments. For today's class I briefly review the questions so students can refresh their memory.
The rest of the lesson will allow students to answer these questions from the handouts based on four different web-sites they will find on their own. I model for students the Credibility Chart on the Smartboard. This chart breaks down each question from the handout that was previously discussed. For each question, students answer in the appropriate box for each web-site. The idea is that students will be able to collect data for four different web-sites based on credibility concepts. The chart is a nice visual and forces students to look for the information that will help them to define whether or not the web-sites can be defined as credible. Since students are very visual, students are a bit more inclined to work in this manner instead of writing out each answer separately. Without realizing it, they are on their way towards mastery of the skill of determining credible sources.
Students have class time to continue filling out this chart. This can be a timely process so students will be able to finish this in the next lesson. As students are working on filling out the chart based on the questions from the handout, I circulate to make sure students are on task and to answer any questions that may arise. Many time students ask specific questions about their web-sites so I help them to see how they can locate the necessary information.