Evaluating Websites in Grade 5

The grade 5 students recently finished a Who We Are unit on transitions. They considered physical, emotional and academic transitions. For their final assessment, they needed to curate several sources on those transitions on to a Blendspace webpage. The sources could be in print or online.

One of the requirements of the assignment was that they evaluate the sources. In grade 5, we use the acronym CARDDS to remind us that a good source is:

Credible – we can trust it because it is written by experts on the subject

Accurate – the information presented is correct and can be verified

Relevance – the source is related to the topic at hand

Date – the source is current and/or is updated frequently

Design – the layout is easy to navigate

Purpose/Scope – the intent of the source is clear, e.g., it is clearly for entertainment, education, commerce, etc. There is no bias.

Once the assignment was over, I challenged the grade 5 students to justify one of their source selections in writing by posting to a Padlet. From the websites they evaluated, I’m going to select several to include on the library OPAC for next year’s grade 5s to have when its their turn to inquire into transitions.

Click on the images below to visit the full-size interactive Padlets.

Some of the websites posted are already on the library OPAC. It’s good to see that they find the OPAC’s Visual tab useful.

Although not all of the students were able to articulate why they chose the particular source they posted to the pad let, many of them did. We hope that the grade 5 students will continue to use their evaluation skills in grade 6 and beyond.

5H Padlet on evaluating website



Grade 5 Spine Label Poetry

To kick-off Poetry Month, grade 5 students today created spine label poems by stacking library books on top of each other. This was an activity they had enjoyed last year, and this year, their poems are even better.

Here’s a few photos of the spine label poems and the poets. Come and try your hand with a few. We’ll be featuring the poem stacks on top of the elementary fiction bookcases. Let us know when you create a poem so that we can take more photos!

Update on G5 Environmental Project

You may remember a post from last week, in which I described a project by Larry in grade 5. He wanted to recycle paper and I asked him whether the library could have paper to put in our library printer. We feed that printer paper that has already been used on one side to reduce the impact we have on the environment.

Today, Larry came with a big stack of paper. He had sorted it to usable pieces, free of wrinkles, tape or staples. We’ll be using that paper in the printer today. Our library printer gets a lot of use by students and teachers, and we’re always in need of paper.

Thank you, Larry! We hope you’ll keep bringing us paper for our printer even after the exhibition is over.

Larry's re-used paper donation

G5 Exhibition Animal Welfare Project

Inspired by their love of animals, Mimi and Andreína in grade 5 are taking action for their G5 Exhibition by collecting blankets, and cash, for rescued dogs at Auntie R’s Animal Shelter. They will be taking the blankets and cash donations to the shelter this Saturday, 15 March, so be sure to look through your old blankets and towels soon. Send them or bring them to the grade 5 classrooms by Friday.

If, like Mimi and Andreína, you love animals, perhaps you too will be motivated to take action with these titles from our library collection. As usual, all covers and summaries from the library OPAC, except otherwise noted.

Cover for ASPCA

RR 179.3 SUE

ASPCA: The American Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

by Anastasia Suen

Discusses the origins of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and looks at how the group works to provide training, shelter, and health care for animals.

Reading level: grades 3 to 6

Note from Mrs. Fitzgerald: This book is actually part of a reading group set used in the elementary school and is not available for general circulation. You can find more information about the ASPCA at their website: www.aspca.org.


Cover for Working with Animals

361.7 CHU

Working with Animals 

By Diane Church (Series: Charities at Work) – This book looks at a wide range of charities working with animals. It examines some of the problems animals face, and explains how the charities are trying to solve them.

Reading level: Age 6+

Cover for Why Do People Harm Animals

179 MAS

Why do people harm animals?

By Chris Mason (Series: Exploring Tough Issues) – Discusses varying opinions on ways in which humans may hurt animals by raising them for food, using them as entertainment, and even keeping them as pets.

Reading level: 6.7

Grade 5 Exhibition Recycling Project

The Grade 5 Exhibition is running full steam ahead. Students have completed their research and are now taking action on their topics. Updates on the G5 Exhibition can be found on the blogs of:

Be sure to follow what the grade 5s are doing, as it’s very exciting to see them take charge of their learning.

This Wednesday, as her G5 Exhibition action, Ye Jin will be leading grade 2 to 5 students in an activity to re-use plastic bottle containers as flower pots. It should be a fun and creative activity. See Ms. Hilleson’s blog for an invitation. 

Another environmentally minded project is Larry’s paper recycling drive. He is collecting paper for recycling. Lucky for us, he will be donating all clean sheets of A4 size paper to the library, where we will use in our environmentally-friendly printer which only uses paper that has already been used on one side. Thanks, Larry! Remember, clean paper with no staples or tape on it.

For those students who leave Ye Jin’s activity motivated to recycle more trash into crafts, here are a few library books with ideas. All covers and summaries from the library OPAC.

Cover for Let's Recycle

363.72 LLE


Let’s Recycle

by Clare Llewelyn – Describes what recycling is and why it is important, looks at the many items that can be recycled, and discusses some of the uses for recyled materials.

Reading level: 3.6

Cover for Eco Art

745.5 CAR

EcoArt: Earth-Friendly Art & Craft Experiences for 3-to-9-year-olds. 

by Laurie A. Carlson – Presents art and craft projects that benefit the environment through such activities as recycling.

Reading level: 5.7

Cover for Crafts from Recyclables

745.5 CRA

Crafts from Recyclables

edited by Colleen Van Blaricom ; illustrated by Ron LeHew – Presents ideas for creative projects using common household items, including instructions for making earmuffs, a jewelry box, piggy bank, and bowling game.

Reading level: 2.8

Cover for Crafts from Junk

745.5 LAM

Crafts from Junk

by Violaine Lamérand ; translated by Cheryl L. Smith. (Series: Step by Step) – Provides patterns and detailed instructions for fifteen crafts made from junk.

Reading level: 3.3

See the pattern in the call numbers? The first book is about recycling, so it’s in the 300 section with the books on social sciences. The crafts books are all in the 700’s section with the arts and recreation materials.

Do you have a favorite book on recycling or craft making? Let us know in the comments.


Grade 5 Evaluates Sites

The grade 5 students are in the midst of research on their chosen topics for the G5 Exhibition. This last week we reviewed how to evaluate a website for credibility. While there are millions of websites out there, not all of them are credibleThe credibility of a website, or any resource, depends on the authority of its author, its currency, its relevance to the topic at hand, and its purpose, among other criteria.

For the lesson on web evaluation, we used this checklist which asked students whether it was easy to answer these questions. They did not need to write down the answers to the questions, just check the answers to the questions were obvious.

The questions we used followed the acronym CARDDS:

Credibility/Authority: Who wrote the information on the website? Can I trust them?

Accuracy: Is the information correct? Can I check it?

Relevance: Is this information I need?

Date: How old is the information?

Design: Is the website easy to navigate? Is it at the right reading level for me?

Scope and Purpose: Why is this information published?

The fifth graders have been applying these criteria to the websites they are finding with great results. Some of the websites they have found include government and United Nations sites as well as not-for-profit organizations like the American Society for the Prevention of Animal Cruelty (ASPCA). All of these fulfill the criteria on the evaluation website and therefore will offer relevant and accurate information.

Two websites that should help our fifth graders on the action side of their projects are Care2.com and DoSomething.org. Both of these websites invite young people to get involved in improving the world around them.

Both of them were brought to my attention by fifth graders this week who had found them in the course of doing research. These websites are a great way of connecting with other students around the world who share the same interests. They are credible because they are written by experts on the topic, they are relevant to the grade 5 exhibition, and they are updated frequently.



A third website, Kids Are Heroes, was the basis for homework for the fifth graders this week. This website features children who are taking action in many different forms. The third graders also use this website for their Heroes unit, and all students find it inspiring.

Kids Are Heroes


P.S. In the course of writing this post, I found this, the ABC’s of Website Evaluation on a website by Bethel Crockett. I like the ABC list to be a better way of remembering, so I may start working with that mnemonic.

Do you have a different way of evaluating a website? Share yours in the comments.

Grade 5 Plays Trading Game

The grade 5 students are currently inquiring into the transdisciplinary theme, How we organize ourselves. They are focusing on their inquiries on markets. Their central idea is, “Marketplaces depend on the ability to produce goods and supply services that can be exchanged.”

The library OPAC’s Visual tab holds several online resources for this grade 5 unit. One of these is the online simulation called “The Great Exchange” from the Mariners’ Museum in Virginia, USA. This is an excellent simulation of the voyages of explorers in the 16th century.

Players are given the task of trading for three items. They must travel by ship across the ocean to different lands. They are beset by dangers but motivated by immense riches. Along the way, they learn the principles of trading.

Our fifth graders have enjoyed the game. See what they have to say:

“[This game] helped me because trading can be hard sometimes.” Annika

“It is connected to our unit because when we buy something, we trade with people who are selling the product.” Clare

“It helped me understand that trading is not as easy  as it sounds because you can get robbed, or your crew will fight and kill each other, or even you could run out of supplies!!! I would suggest to buy a lot of supplies in the beginning or else you will die like 9 minutes in to the game! It relates to our UOI unit because market places is where you buy and sell things which is basically trading items.” Dong Geun

To access the Grade 5 Marketplace page on the library OPAC, simply click on the Visual tab and navigate to it:

Visual tab -> PYP OUI  -> Grade 5 -> How we organize ourselves -> Merchants Game
Grade 5 How we organize ourselves

I made a Wordle word cloud with the responses of all the 5S students. You can see from the word cloud that they liked the game and that it helped them to start understanding the intricacy of trade.


Here is a Wordle word cloud with the feedback on the game by 5H. Once again, one of the main words is a reflective verb: “think.”

5H's trading game feedback Wordle


United Nations Millenium Development Goals

In the year 2000, the United Nations set 8 goals for global development. These 8 goals are the UN Millennium Development Goals and were meant to be achieved by 2015. The goals are:

  1. Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger,
  2. Achieving universal primary education,
  3. Promoting gender equality and empowering women,
  4. Reducing child mortality rates,
  5. Improving maternal health,
  6. Combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases,
  7. Ensuring environmental sustainability, and
  8. Developing a global partnership for development.

Our grade 5 students are inquiring into the UN MDGs and how they will take action to support those goals. Other grade levels at IST also study the United Nations and its institutions, and so I’ve created a page on the Visual tab to collect links related to the UN and the MDG.

To visit the UN MDG page on the Visual tab, go to the library OPAC.


Enter by clicking on the blue link “IST Library.”

Click on the Visual tab.

Visual tab on the OPAC

Scroll down the page. The UN Millennium Development Goals button is at the bottom of the page.

UN Millennium Development Goals on Visual tab

Our fifth graders are concentrating on four of the MDGs, and those are the goals that have received the most attention so far, but it is my aim to include links to sites for all 8 MDGs in the near future.

Click on the UN icon for each goal to see the links associated to that goal.

UN Millennium Goals page on Visual tabThanks to Ms. D for her help in locating many of these links. If you have suggestions for links that you would like to see on the page, please add them in the comments.

Source for the UN MDGs:

“United Nations Millennium Development Goals.” UN News Center. United Nations, n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2013. <http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/>.

Bibliographies with EasyBib Now Even Easier

Students and teachers at IST are principled inquirers. Among the many skills we possess as principled inquirers is that of citing our sources. Students from grade 5 and up are expected to maintain bibliography lists with the sources that they use in their school assignments.

Along with their classroom and subject teachers, the librarians help students cite sources accurately and correctly. One of the tools we provide our students for efficient bibliography making is EasyBib, an online citation engine.  Students in grades 5 and up are taught to use EasyBib.

EasyBib landing page

As its name implies, EasyBib is  easy to use. It can automatically generate citations for books and websites, and additionally it offers 59 different options for other types of sources. A new feature makes EasyBib even easier: importing of citations from databases and writing/pasting of citations. This last is very useful if a student copies a ready citation from a database or if the student has written it out by hand using the guides in his or her homework log.

Write-paste citation on EasyBib

As the elementary librarian, I am working with grade 5 students as they research the United Nations Millennium Development Goals for the Grade 5 Exhibition. As they will for major projects in middle school, the fifth graders must submit a bibliography with their other Exhibition assignments. They are becoming quite proficient at using EasyBib and are taking advantage of another great new feature: sharing their bibliographies with other students and teachers.

If you want to learn how to take advantage of EasyBib’s school subscription, please visit us at the library.