How I Use It
PebbleGo is an excellent resource because it can be used in a variety of ways. For whole group instruction, it can be used to introduce a new topic in science: The Solar System. The teacher can lead a discussion about prior knowledge of our solar system and then display the website on the Promethean or Smart Board. Next, the students can follow along as the audio reads the article out loud. After becoming familiar with the website, students can take notes while reading along with the audio generated text.
Now that whole group instruction has allowed the students to become familiar with the website, this resource can be used as a reading center. I have a generic graphic organizer that I use with my students that matches the way PebbleGo displays it's information in tabs. The students can independently listen to the articles and follow along as the text is highlighted. The students can pause at any moment to record important facts they have learned. Later on, students can then use this information to create an informative writing piece.
PebbleGo is an excellent source to introduce note taking and research strategies at a young age. I have found that this website works well with all students, regardless of their reading ability, because it has spoken-word audio, text highlighting, pictures, and audio/video media. The wide range of science and social studies content allows the educator to find articles that go along with common core instruction. The wide variety of topics also ensures that each student will be able to find a topic of interest. In addition to articles, videos, games and puzzles are available to keep the kids actively engaged. All of these components are perks to establishing research independence among each individual student.
Although this website is easy to navigate for young readers, I do find that the level of context does not provide rigor for my higher level readers. By the end of second grade, the students read through each article more quickly and are eager to learn more about each topic. PebbleGo text provides more of an introduction and general baseline of information for each topic. It does not provide challenging vocabulary or rigor to the higher readers. Varied level text would provide support and enrichment, and allow teachers to differentiate the various levels of readers in their classroom.