Students need to learn that computers are a great tool to be used for everyday things. Today students used their computers to look up unknown words they found in their reading. They had the choice of using www.dictionary.com or their dashboard dictionary on their Mac. When writing, I often have them use these tools to enhance word choice by using dictionary.com thesaurus.
In addition, students have started a research project on leadership. They have been assigned a leader; and are learning how to research using the internet. We discussed valid websites earlier in the year, so they know what to look for. This type of activity allows students to learn social studies skills while practicing reading and writing skills.
One key concept to keep in mind is most elementary students aren't ready to do research without guidance. Therefore, I prepared them with a folder and cards before turning them loose on the internet. They have specific items to research; for example, childhood history, leadership qualities, and interesting facts. Again they have been give a time limit of three days to complete their online research. Also, I am on my feet and walking the room while students are researching. They need to be aware that the teacher is watching and paying attention to what they are doing.
Guidelines, preparation, time tables, and teacher monitoring help elementary students achieve success while completing an online research project.