The savvy searchers

Last year, when the Stage 2 (Year 1 and 2) students were participating in the READiscover Book Rap, instead of simply bookmarking the site, I decided to model finding the site each time on Google, to see if the students would build confidence and find the site at home on their own computers.

Each lesson, a selected student typed in the phrase “Raps and Book Raps” – within the inverted commas – into the Google search engine. (I already knew this to be the exact title of the desired web page that would lead us to the correct Rap; it can now be found at the link Raps archive.)

Previous tests of this search, before the students arrived for their lesson, had confirmed that the web page did always come up as the first choice. However, I also wanted to demonstrate to the students what happens without the inverted commas being in place when searching: we received back a list of 3,100,000 possible hits! Putting the inverted commas back into place, we reduced that possible hit count to just 5,550. The students were very surprised.

The modelling worked. Students came in at lunchtimes to demonstrate to friends how they performed the search with inverted commas in place, and numerous students reported that they’d located the web page for their parents at home.

During their Rap Wrap Up message – brainstormed during a Circle Time activity – Stage 2 students asked to add to their post to the other schools:

“Our skills and insights:
* Inverted commas can help you search better on Google.”

I’m still smiling. And more convinced than ever by the power of modelled behaviour.