Many elementary teachers have had more success when groups of children write to groups of children in another class. This way, the risk of having one or two children without a response or having problems when children are absent is eliminated. You may want to try an email project with only one reading group at a time to keep it manageable.
Email exchanges have been most successful when they focus on a particular topic. Sometimes classes read the same book and share ideas as they go. Another idea is for one class to write cliff hangers and have the other class finish the stories. Some classes have done parallel science experiments or conducted surveys and then compared results with the other class. Instead of using a personal or business email account of the teacher, you can sign up for a free email account and use it for that project. Gaggle net is a free email service for students with good teacher controls and filters. N2mail is a free email service with kid-safe advertising and a filter option that allows you to accept email from only desired sources. It can be accessed from any computer that has access to the Internet.
This is a free email service for students with good teacher controls and filters. They will call your school to make sure that you are a teacher before allowing you to sign up your students. Advertisements are kid safe.
N2 mail - Free email
Intercultural E-Mail Classroom Connections
Find other teachers with similar interests.
There are online services where experts, in a variety of fields, stand ready to answer children's questions. Many of these services have archives on their web sites of previously asked questions. These archives are a rich source of information and may be searched before formulating a new questions. The answers are often geared to the grade level of the child who asked the original question. The archives can be used as a stand alone source of information, even if you do not plan to use the Ask an Expert part of the site. Some services try to explain the answer in detail and some services provide the student with further resources to find the answer themselves. Responses can take anywhere form a few days to a few weeks. Some of these sites use a web form to send a question and others use an email link.
Note: If your version of Netscape is not set up to allow these email links to work, simply copy the email address and then go to your regular email, such as n2mail.com and send your question from there.
Virtual Reference Desk: Ask a Service Locator
Tips for Teachers Using Ask A Services
This is a draft document by Abby Kasowitz, with lots of good ideas for using Ask a Services.
Yahoo! Weather by Weathernews Inc.
Facts about the United States
Each group of students can be assigned one fact to collect about a state. Information is compiled by the class to give a larger picture of that state for a class discussion and building of a display.
The site can also be made available for students to visit individually or in small groups for gathering further information. In this case, it is helpful to have a graphic organizer or list of questions for students so that when they revisit the site, they know what types of information to be looking for and have a way to demonstrate what they have learned.
Exploring Leonardo da Vinci
Native American Research Module
This index differs from other indexes on the internet because it is focused on illustrated educational exhibits, not just references. Some of the exhibits are from large organizations like National Geographic or PBS, while others are smaller, little-known exhibits from various organizations.
Classroom Connect: AmericaQuest Splash
Asia with Pride: Pride of Baltimore 11 - trip to Asia
Discover real live heroes from around the world. These true stories about heroes have been written by children.
Online kid's newspaper with articles written by kids.
News stories written by and for kids.
In addition, there are web sites that specialize in providing current information at appropriate student reading levels. Commercial periodicals intended for children usually don't post current issues, but they often post some sample articles, related articles or archive past articles. These sites also post current follow-up articles, related activities and web links.
Weekly Reader provides many articles sorted by grade level intended as follow ups to articles in their printed newspaper. They review the news of the week and present challenges and writing prompts related to the periodical. Check out "This Week" and "News Cruise."
Scholastic News Online
Scholastic News archives past issues and also provides update articles for the current issue. There are also online activities to go along with the most current issue.
Time For Kids
This site posts current news as well as archives of past issues. They also have an interactive feature where kids can give their opinions.
Sports Illustrated For Kids - games, fantasy leagues, sports news and
Online articles on current sports topics.
Folk Tales, Fables, Myths and Legends
Poetry for Kids - by Kenn Nesbitt
Prior to the virtual trip, the students could read about the place from books or articles. They could then formulate questions that they have. During the virtual field trip they could find answers to their questions. In addition, after taking the virtual field trip, they could compare the information from the text that they read to the information found on the web site.
You Be the Historian
Figure out what life was like 200 years ago for a family in Delaware. Use items found in the house as clues to discover information about the family.
Provide students with a graphic organizer or worksheet with questions so their online time remains focused on the intended purpose and note taking is facilitated.
For general information in short text form, keep a “start page” or bookmark file of resource sites such as online encyclopedias, almanacs, atlases, dictionaries, and biographical dictionaries for students to use in finding information about people, places, topics, and vocabulary from their readings. See Reference Sites for Elementary Students: http://www.lburkhart.com/elem/elemref.htm
On rare occasions, you may want to guide small groups, or individuals, in the use of Child Safe Search Engines for a particular topic. See Child Safe Search Engines: http://www.lburkhart.com/elem/childs.htm
As you work with students, model and point out the sources for each web page and why you feel that the information on them is credible or not.
Houghton Mifflin Project Center: Houghton Mifflin Company keeps a listing
of On-line Projects for teachers.
Global Schoolnet Hilites archives
Geogame: Sample project
Mindseye Monster Exchange Project: Sample project
Classroom Connect - Find other teachers with similar interests.
Click on Teacher Search.
Intercultural E-Mail Classroom Connections
International Registry of Schools on the Web
Steps for Creating Online Projects
Guidelines for Telecommunications Projects
Judy Harris - Activity Structures. This is a great resource of links
to examples of a wide variety of Internet projects. There are many good
ideas, but projects are not always currently available to join.