Classroom Activities: Exploring Internet Sources

This activity would be designed to encourage students to learn about what they are viewing on the Internet and what makes for a credible source as well as what does not.

Some points of discussion would include:

1) Scholarly Articles: Using Galileo, Google Scholar, Proquest Databases, etc. to find what you are looking for. What search terms should you entered? The difference between peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed.

2) Websites: What clues to look for to make sure that the website is a credible source. The difference between .com, .org, .edu, etc.

3) Wikis: Is Wikipedia a credible source of information? How easy is it to “write whatever you want”?

4) Chat-rooms/Discussion Forums: Should they ever be used as a source for research?

5) Social Media: Facebook/Myspace/Tumblr/Google+ the list goes on and on, are any of these social media websites credible sources of information?


Student Activity: Choose a topic

1) Find 3 Scholarly Articles

Make sure that they are up to date!

Make sure that they are all connected and relevant to your chosen topic

Document the search terms that you us

Are they peer-reviewed?

2) Find 1 credible website on your topic

Find 1 not-credible website on your topic

Compare and Contrast the similarities and differences between the two

Create a proper citation for your credible website

3) Find the Wikipedia article on your topic

Read over it, are there any errors that stick out to you right away?

Look through the list of resources at the bottom of the page, do they all seem credible?

Take a moment to view the “Discussion” tab on your Wikipedia entry. What are people talking about? Do they seem like experts or trustworthy sources?

4) Locate a Discussion Forum on your topic or a related issue

Are all users identified or anonymous?

When they post, do they give sources? or is it all their opinion?

Would you use any of the posts as a source of research?

5) Locate a group, page, discussion board, etc. related to your topic on one of the Social Networking websites

Are the posts done by people using proper grammar?

Do they list their sources?

Do they seem like experts or credible sources of information?

How would you use this information in your research?

Georgia Performance Standards for this task:

ELA10W3 The student uses research and technology to support writing. The student
a. Formulates clear research questions and utilizes appropriate research venues (i.e.,
library, electronic media, personal interview, survey) to locate and incorporate
evidence from primary and secondary sources.
b. Uses supporting evidence from multiple sources to develop the main ideas within the
body of a researched essay, a composition, or a technical document.
c. Synthesizes information from multiple sources and identifies complexities and
discrepancies in the information and the different perspectives found in each medium
(i.e., almanacs, microfiche, news sources, in-depth field studies, speeches, journals,
technical documents).
d. Integrates quotations and citations into a written text while maintaining the flow of
e. Uses appropriate conventions for documentation in the text, notes, and bibliographies
by adhering to an appropriate style manual such as the Modern Language Association Handbook, The Chicago Manual of Style, Turabian, American Psychological Association, etc.

f. Designs and publishes documents, using aids such as advanced publishing software
and graphic programs.


Rationale for Assignment: Students continually turn to Internet sources for research as the sources online become more numerous. They need to know how to filter through what they can use with confidence, and what they should stay away from. However, they also need to know that the new collaborative format is only gaining popularity and will continue to be a part of our lives. The collaborative format is not necessarily UNreliable. Students should appreciate the resource that it represents but also have the judgement to know what to use and when to use it.


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Scholarly Article on Using Wikis to Teach Collaborative Writing

Review of:

“Authoring Wikis: Rethinking Authorship through Digital Collaboration”

By Karen Weingarten and Corey Frost

for Radical Teacher Spring 2011 Issue 90 pg 47-57

Link to Article

This article was written by two college educators who have experimented using wikis in their classrooms multiple times. The benefit that their experience and research has found in using wikis is that most students can begin to see the possibilities of collaborative writing as well as the “shift in focus from authorship to the actual work of writing.”

The main focus of this article was the trained hyperfocus that most students have on the issue of authorship. Many students feel an overwhelming pressure to create something completely original in their writing. I think that the authors made a good point on how this focus can lead to plagiarism more often than the desire to steal someone’s work. The idea of using wikis as a space to teach the writing process as well as teach collaboration (which seems to be a field that students MUST be successful in for the future) is a great one. It gives teachers a chance to incorporate technology in a place that most would not expect to find it and it makes writing relevant by promoting collaboration and knowledge of online tools for doing so.

Although the article claimed to focus on the use of wikis first and foremost, I found that most of the article was dedicated to discussing the issue of authorship among students rather than giving practical instruction on how to effectively use wikis in the English class.

Some ideas that I might take into my classroom are:

The Grammar Wiki Project: Students would common writing errors made by students and write about the mistake, the rule, and the correction. By the end of the project, the students have created their own grammar handbook that they can refer to any time they need a quick grammar reference.

Examining Wikipedia : As a class, the students will examine a Wikipedia page; observing how the information is collected and organized, as well as the behind-the-scenes work on the discussion page that can be viewed from every Wikipedia entry. This will show students the work and collaboration that goes into creating and editing each Wikipedia article, while simultaneously allowing them to see how it might not make the most credible source for research.

Check out Common Craft’s Video on Wikis in Plain English:

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Classroom Activity: Warzone in a Neutral Country/Importance of Context

Warzone in a Neutral Country

(Page 1)


Part 1 :

Watch the above video clip.

Before knowing the context of this video, write a short description of what you believe is happening. Include a creative, hypothetical situation of your choice.

How does the scene make you feel? Write about your feelings toward the people in the clip or about how you would feel if you were there. What would your role in the riot be? Whose side are you on in your hypothetical situation? Use your five senses to be descriptive and recreate what you would be experiencing if you were standing inside your imagined scene.

This writing is not expected to be a polished, finished piece. It is a rough draft of around a page long that incorporates your initial impressions of the video and your own imagined “snapshot” of how you interpreted the video without knowing the context of the action.

You should spend about 20 min on this draft. Once the class has finished and some people have shared their ideas, you may flip over the page and find the instructions for Part 2.

(Page 2)

Part 2 :

This video clip is from Vancouver. It seems like a warzone, doesn’t it? This riot actually took place after the Vancouver Canucks (an NHL hockey team) lost in the Stanley Cup Finals. The rioters are not peaceful protesters being antagonized by police, or citizens of a regime fighting for their rights, they are actually angry fans who are destroying the city and setting cars on fire.

After knowing this information, how do you feel toward the people in the video clip? Do you sympathize with the disappointed fans? Does violence as a result of the outcome of a sporting event make you angry? Or do you see it as a passionate commitment to their team? Decide on your position and support your argument in a well-developed persuasive paper.

You should begin your prewriting and drafting for the remainder of class and complete the assignment over the weekend. Follow your scoring guide and turn in a final draft on Monday in class. Remember, this type of persuasive paper gives you an opportunity to express your personal feelings while remaining scholarly, appropriate for your audience, and supporting your thoughts with research or well-developed arguments. Be sure to include information about how your feelings about the scene changed (if they changed at all) after knowing the context of the video. What does this tell you about the importance of knowing the context from which a clipping is taken? Does it tell you anything?  Take advantage of this weekend to go above and beyond

(Page 3)

Scoring Guide : Warzone in a Neutral Country

Persuasive Essay : Warzone in a Neutral Country

Teacher Name :

SarahLaine Redding

Student Name:     ________________________________________


4 – Above Standards 3 – Meets Standards 2 – Approaching   Standards 1 – Below   Standards Score
Position Statement The position statement provides a clear, strong statement of the author’s position on the topic. The position statement provides a clear statement of the author’s position on the topic. A position statement is present, but does not make the author’s position clear. There is no position statement.  
Support for Position Includes 3 or more pieces of evidence (facts, statistics, examples, real-life experiences) that support the position statement. The writer anticipates the reader\’s concerns, biases or arguments and has provided at least 1 counter-argument. Includes 3 or more pieces of evidence (facts, statistics, examples, real-life experiences) that support the position statement. Includes 2 pieces of evidence (facts, statistics, examples, real-life experiences) that support the position statement. Includes 1 or fewer pieces of evidence (facts, statistics, examples, real-life experiences).  
Audience Demonstrates a clear understanding of the potential reader and uses appropriate vocabulary and arguments. Anticipates reader’s questions and provides thorough answers appropriate for that audience. Demonstrates a general understanding of the potential reader and uses vocabulary and arguments appropriate for that audience. Demonstrates some understanding of the potential reader and uses arguments appropriate for that audience. It is not clear who the author is writing for.  
Transitions A variety of thoughtful transitions are used. They clearly show how ideas are connected Transitions show how ideas are connected, but there is little variety Some transitions work well, but some connections between ideas are fuzzy. The transitions between ideas are unclear OR nonexistent.  
Grammar & Spelling Author makes no errors in grammar or spelling that distract the reader from the content. Author makes 1-2 errors in grammar or spelling that distract the reader from the content. Author makes 3-4 errors in grammar or spelling that distract the reader from the content. Author makes more than 4 errors in grammar or spelling that distract the reader from the content.  
Connection to the in-class activity: Knowing the Context The author showed a clear grasp and opinion of the importance of knowing the context. The author made connections to the work that they did in class. The author understood the concept that was introduced in class, but did not develop it enough to make connections to their thoughts on the in-class activity. The author mentions the concept, but does not incorporate it into the paper in a way that shows understanding or makes a connection to the in-class activity. The student does not show an understanding or opinion about the concept introduced in class.  


10th Grade World Literature and CompositionRationale for Video Clip Assignment

I chose this video clip for my students because I think that there is a great need for students to be educated on how important context can be; whether it is a quote taken from an article for a research paper, or a video on the news that they might know nothing about. This activity will help them to see the great difference between an initial reaction to media and really knowing what is going on in the world. I want them to gain an understanding of this importance. It also allows for some practice in both creative and persuasive writing since the students initial impressions of the video will focus on an imagined situation of their choice and their writing after the revealing of the true nature of the situation will be in a persuasive context with the student choosing a side and supporting their argument.

In order to achieve the desired results, I might ask my students:

-To not discuss the video until after the assignment is complete to avoid any tainted responses.

-How does the scene make them feel? Does that feeling influence their decision in Part 2?

-Does knowing the context of the video change their opinions about the people involved in the riot? Why or why not?

-Have they ever seen a scene similar to this one? Where and when was it? Does their previous experience with scenes of violent riots have an effect on their initial impressions of the video?

The challenges that go along with this assignment are things such as a student already having knowledge about the video and sharing it with the class. This would basically negate the activity as it is about personal first impressions. Another challenge might be that the nature of the content could upset a student although I chose a video clip that did not depict any extreme acts of violence toward other people or profanity.

GPS for this assignment:

ELA10W1 The student produces writing that establishes an appropriate organizational

structure, sets a context and engages the reader, maintains a coherent focus throughout,

and signals closure. The student

b. Selects a focus, structure, and point of view relevant to the purpose, genre

expectations, audience, length, and format requirements

d. Uses precise language, action verbs, sensory details, appropriate modifiers, and active

rather than passive voice.

ELA10W2 The student demonstrates competence in a variety of genres


Engages the interest of the reader.


b. Develops a controlling idea or formulates an arguable thesis that makes a clear and

knowledgeable judgment

c. Uses specific rhetorical devices to support assertions (i.e., appeal to emotion or

ethical belief, personal anecdote, case study, analogy, and/or logical reasoning)

f. Organizes points of argument effectively to achieve desired outcome.

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Teacher-Friendly Text: Handbook of Writing Research


Handbook of writing research

Front Cover

Google Books Link

In Chapter 17 of this book, “The Effects of New Technologies on Writing and the Writing Processes,” the authors discuss the major effects that technology has had on writing instruction as well as technology’s influence on today’s society. The author gives examples of how technology has effected our society with several anecdotes such as the one told about a girl who is worried over her choice to send a formal email to a boy she was dating rather than using a more casual means of communication such as Instant Messenger.
Although this text does not provide teachers with classroom activities, it is a great database of information gathered in different case studies regarding the use of multiple technologies in a writing classroom. These case studies allow for teachers to see what the research says and apply the methods that were successful in case studies to their own classrooms

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