Today the kids are going to love the lesson. It involves two of their favorite things: Their birthdays and using the internet. With W.5.8 it's perfect because they will be gathering relevant information from print and/or digital sources. I don't disclose the activity immediately- when the announcements end we simply head to the library as we usually do on a Tuesday.
Once they're seated at the tables, I ask them, "What facts will be interesting to a baby born today, based on what was on the news or in the papers this morning?" (Copy of Newspaper Image). The biggest response: the U.S. won the Gold Medal for Ice Dancing last night. After they offer a few more suggestions, I ask them what interesting thing happened on their birthday (besides the fact that they were born.) Most kids are aware of celebrities who share their birthday, but don't really have any other information.
Now it's time to give the assignment- they will have the opportunity to research some of the interesting events of their birthday in order to create a "Greatest Hits" newspaper of the day. I pass out the papers and go over the websites, how to google exact questions on their papers, etc. My eye catches a table of my boys deeply interested in something that wasn't my conversation. They were using the almanacs sitting on the table for 3rd graders the next period (Starting early because the Almanacs "were there.") I was too pleased to see them looking at reference books to scold them for not paying attention to me at the moment.
I dismiss by tables, and they're excited to get online and start their search.
The students move to the computers and go to Google. They type in their full birthday, including the year (Looking for information). Different pages come up such as, Today in History for... or What day of the week was...? or Birthday Scan, etc. The students click on these and read the information (What did a car cost in 2003?) about the exact day they were born ("Historical Events on May 11" ).The information included will be Historical Events and Famous Births and Deaths. Although it's nice for them to look at their exact birthday, most likely the events are few. This is the reason they're doing a "Greatest Hits." It will give them an infinite listing of what happened throughout history on their special day (Busy getting it all down). Their next step is to go back to Google and type in their birthday without the year which will bring up a lot more information (Engaged in the activity).
With the Greatest Hits guide sheet, they research the pages and record the information required. One of the best websites my kids found is called, How Many Days Old Are You? Which calculated exact age to the day. After they complete the first side, they compile the information into a summary form on the back. All in all, a fun time on the computers in the library.
They search on the computers and find fun information (Star Wars Opening! Cool Day to be Born), and sometimes sad news. It's their responsibility to use their completed research paper (Hard at Work) while at the computers to begin the next part of the assignment. They create the Birthday Greatest Hits newspaper page. They're sometimes tempted to begin the newspaper without all of the relevant information, so I ask them to clip it by the computer so I can easily see (Putting it all together) their rough draft Greatest Hits worksheet. My class is using a program called the makemynewspaper.com to create the final copy.
*THIS WAS DONE OVER NUMEROUS CLASS PERIODS
In chronological order, each Greatest Hits newspaper is attached to large construction paper and displayed either around the classroom, or an alternate available space (Looking at the interesting birthday information).
The students will walk around the room and give each newspaper about 30 to 45 seconds (Taking notes about the different "Greatest Hits" newspapers). Although this doesn't seem like much time, it's plenty. In addition to viewing the newspapers, they write the name of the birthday boy or girl, and a line to add the most interesting fact learned about that birthday (Writing down a birthday event). This focuses them on each project to avoid quick skimming in order to see the next one.
They're required to turn in their worksheet/rough draft along with their finished birthday newspaper(Rough Draft of Newspaper with Info Sheet).