In general, teachers can use these databases to teach kids about research, reporting, and citing. Through this, you can present new topics while also introducing new vocabulary. Kids can do research on their own or in small groups, in the classroom or at home. Younger kids might benefit from more guided searches and specific assignments (e.g., Go find out about the life of Dr. Seuss and report on what you learn). Older kids might enjoy more freedom to search according to their own interests (e.g., Within the Earth and Space topic, report on something that excites you).
Kids can write, draw, or talk about what they've learned. They can fill out printable worksheets, define key words, or share with their peers. Kids can also share their reflections on their research process ("First I started with animals, then I found that animal communication was really interesting and I clicked there…"). Most teachers are likely to have their own ideas for implementation, but if you're looking for ideas or inspiration, the pre-made lesson plans can help you in the creative lesson-building process.Continue reading Show less
PebbleGo is a kid-friendly, searchable database that covers a variety of topics. Animals, earth and space, biographies, and social studies -- each sold separately -- are further divided into topics and subtopics. For example, the weather topic contains an investigation called "What are Clouds?" Every subtopic presents a five-part report with text, photos, videos, links to similar topics, printable assessment sheets, and a correct citation.
Kids can read on their own, or choose have text read to them. Each database also includes some simple games, an article of the day, a search field, and a poll related to article topics. For example, in the biographies database, there's a poll titled, "Which artist do you like best?" The teacher resource section/administrative account has comprehensive lesson plans, printable activity sheets, and some basic overall usage statistics (log-in frequency and popular articles).
PebbleGo is a wonderful, fun introduction to the world of database research. Kids can search, learn, and explore in a safe, kid-friendly environment. The topics are limited to what the developers have written about, but they vary enough that most kids will find something of interest. And the multiple modes of presentation (text, photos, videos, etc.) should make it all easily accessible.
Kids won't log on with an individual account, and while this helps keep the site safe and private, there isn't a way to assess learning online or track kids' search paths. However, the printable assessment sheets offer a nice way for kids to demonstrate what they've learned. Giving kids practice conducting research and then reporting on it is an important exercise; it's something they'll certainly do a lot in their academic lives. Younger kids, though, may need lots of scaffolding from teachers. The games offer a nice diversion, yet feel mostly like afterthoughts: They seem like they're mostly to keep kids occupied with related educational material.
Key Standards Supported
Reading Informational Text
With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text.
With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the text in which they appear (e.g., what person, place, thing, or idea in the text an illustration depicts).
With prompting and support, identify the reasons an author gives to support points in a text.
With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
With prompting and support, identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.
With prompting and support, describe the connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a text.
Ask and answer questions to help determine or clarify the meaning of words and phrases in a text.
Know and use various text features (e.g., headings, tables of contents, glossaries, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text.
Distinguish between information provided by pictures or other illustrations and information provided by the words in a text.
Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas.
Identify the reasons an author gives to support points in a text.
Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.
Describe the connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a text.
With prompting and support, read informational texts appropriately complex for grade 1.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 2 topic or subject area.
Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.
Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe.
Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.
Describe how reasons support specific points the author makes in a text.
Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text.
By the end of year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades 2–3 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area.
Use text features and search tools (e.g., key words, sidebars, hyperlinks) to locate information relevant to a given topic efficiently.
Distinguish their own point of view from that of the author of a text.
Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.
Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.
By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grades 2–3 text complexity band independently and proficiently.