The beginning of the school year is a great time to teach your students how to search for information on the Internet. A good starting place is teaching students how to use keywords to find pertinent information in a timely and efficient manner.
Common Sense Media has good lessons on this topic. The first lesson, Using Keywords, is geared toward K-2. In this lesson, students are given the scenario that they want to get a new pet, and in order for their parents to be more inclined to let them have a pet, they will do all the research on how to take care of a pet.
In this lesson, students are guided to come up with research questions and decide what the keywords are in these questions. Then they are given a safe search engine, such as kidrex.org, and guided on how to search with the keywords and analyze the results. The students are also taught that one source of information is not sufficient, that information you find on the Internet is not always accurate, and they have to find at least two sources of information for their topic and cite the sources.
The other lesson, The Key to Keywords, is geared towards students in grades 3-5. This higher-level lesson has students practice searching questions about dogs using keywords. Additionally, this lesson teaches students how to use quotation marks in searches to search for exact phrases.
There are quite a few good student-friendly search engines for students to use. My favorite is kidrex.org. Other student-friendly search engines are sweetsearch.com, kidsclick.org, infotopia.info, and safesearchkids.org.
It might be a good idea to give students daily or weekly search practice by providing a question or two where they have to choose keywords, search for answers, and cite the sources. For more information about teaching students search strategies, contact your Ed Tech Specialist.