|Photo by Kerry Marion on Flickr|
As we were reading Huck Finn, we got to the chapter where Jim and Huck leave the wrecked steamboat and continue on. But Huck could not let the men get away with murder, so Huck jumped aboard a ferry and told a lie to the watchman. In his lie, Huck says a man (Miss Hooker’s uncle) named Jim Hornback will pay for the ferry. The ferryboat watchman shows a sudden sense of urgency when Huck gives this name.
One question a student had was, “Who is Jim Hornback? Why did this all of sudden persuade the watchman to turn up river?”
“Great question,” I reply. “I’m not sure either. Let’s search it.” I wasn’t about to spoon feed them or pretend I knew.
I expected them to all of a sudden highlight the name, Search, and do some finding. But instead, students just highlighted the name, Copied, and jumped over to their Google app. The minutes began ticking away as students attempted to sift through dozens of hits including someone on Linkdin named Jim Hornback. There was another one on Facebook, Twitter, and numerous other sites that, of course, did not relate to Huck Finn. There was even a post on WikiAnswers where someone posed the same question and someone replied…”I think it is Miss Watson’s slave.”
Search like a Bloodhound…
Bloodhounds are known for their keen sense of smell and are used to track down the missing link. However, they start with very little – a scrap of evidence, an old article of clothing, anything that may have a scent.
Once they have the scent, they’re off blazing a trail to their destination – one clue from the next.
Google is NOT a Bloodhound…
I use the Bloodhound analogy with my students only because when students have a question, they go straight to Google.com and punch it in. Why? That’s like giving your bloodhound the scent, taking him to a different location, and then having millions of directions to go in (much like the hits that pop up in Google). It’s more work, and possibly could result in more confusion..
Track ’em Down, iPad…
On the iPad, you can start at the source. In the case above, I demonstrated for the students the following:
Practice Searching Daily…
- If a question is posed, I simply say, “Blitz Search,” and I start my watch.
- Students then use the methods I demonstrated above to come to an answer.
- First one who reaches the answer and reflects to the Smartboard (I have the Reflector App for my laptop) gets a piece of bonus candy (food is the greatest motivator for high school students).