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Strategies for Utilizing iCONN Databases with Elementary Students in Grades 3-5. Presented by: Jen Smolnik Coordinator of IT / Media Services, Stratford School District. iCONN Resources for Elementary Students. iCONN Resource Updates: Kids InfoBits Biography Resource Center

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Strategies for Utilizing iCONN Databases with Elementary Students in Grades 3-5

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Strategies for utilizing iconn databases with elementary students in grades 3 5 l.jpg

Strategies for Utilizing iCONN Databases with Elementary Students in Grades 3-5

Presented by: Jen Smolnik Coordinator of IT / Media Services, Stratford School District


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iCONN Resources for Elementary Students

iCONN Resource Updates:

  • Kids InfoBits

  • Biography Resource Center

  • Blackbirch Kid’s Visual Reference for the United States & the World


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Features of Kids InfoBits

  • Ideal for Grades 3-6 research

  • Supports CMT Strands - Generation 4

    – especially the informational passages that include open-ended questions

  • Provides defined Research Pathway

  • Clear text structures

  • Links to and supports major content areas


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CMT Strand A: Forming a General Understanding

  • The Reader will demonstrate understanding of the text’s general content.

  • Support A-1: Students need to know what the article is mainly about.

  • -- in order to understand a hierarchy of research concepts and ideas

  • -- in order to skim and scan the article and determine pertinence of the information

  • -- in order to effectively drill down for information

  • -- in order to more effectively use their research time


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CMT Strand A: Forming A General Understanding (Con’t.)

  • Support A-3: Select/use relevant information from the text - Students paraphrase the content. Students create a sentence clearly summarizing the article.

  • A-4: Use information from the text to make a prediction. Students make predictions based on what is read.

  • Support A-5: Use context clues – *analyze words in context to construct meaning - Students need to provide details to support the main idea and draw context clues especially from multiple-meaning words.

    * Based on Connecticut Mastery Test 4th Generation2007 Interpretive Guide


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Kids InfoBits “Teachable Moments” in order to support CMT strands

Use windows features to adjust text size and screen size

General Curriculum Topics


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Introduction to hierarchy and pathway of information

Variety of related topics under History and Social Studies

Key word search capability on any screen


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Many suggested topics within the content area


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Hierarchy of ideas/search terms

Variety of active /inactive informational formats

Research text structures/source information


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Introducing students to how information formats may be electronically represented

Highlighting pathway of viewed articles

Information about article genre


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Students skim/scan for relevancy of articles

Students aware of format of information


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Students make predictions about content based on title/headings

1) Text structures

2) introductory paragraphs

3) body of text, etc.


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Students determine relevancy of article


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Windows features Control + F allows skim/scan for key words


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Windows full-screen features

Highlight text including leading paragraphs to assist in main idea and relationship to headings


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Citation Formats


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A Web-Quest Idea:Forming a General Understanding of the Text’s Content/Structure

iCONN Searching – Ancient Greece -

Follow the links to - Individual Resources – Kids InfoBits – History and Social Studies - World History - Ancient Greece

Select a magazine article written by Juliana Lewis.

What is the title?


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A Web Quest Idea: con’t.

Find the article called “Who’s Who Among the Gods?” Which magazine did it appear in? ______________________________

Find an article on the second page under the following links:

Follow the links to - Individual Resources – Kids InfoBits – History and Social Studies- World History- Ancient Greece

What is the title of the article from the Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Columbia University Press, 2000?

Pick three key words about the following topic: Slavery

Based on the key-word finding, write down the title of the source, the type of source and the fact. Share with your partner.


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B. Developing InterpretationThe reader will interpret/or explain the text.

  • B1: Identify or infer the author’s use of structure/organizational patterns. Develop timelines. Look for keyword clues to develop the timelines.

  • B-3: Use stated or implied evidence from the text to draw and/or support a conclusion.

  • -- InfoBits allows students to interpret information in chart form, draw conclusions and create graphs from the information.


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Articles with interpretive data


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Students create graphs from information


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Students locate, calculate and summarize information


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Use the Raw Data to:

  • Draw conclusions based on the collected evidence

  • Graph the information in a different way using Scholastic Keys Graphing tools or Inspiration Software’s InspireData

  • Use Timeliner or Inspiration software to organize text/graphic organizers

  • Support B-1: Identify/infer the author’s use of structure/organizational patterns


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CMT Strand D: Examining the Content and Structure

  • The reader will elaborate on the text and make judgments about the text’s quality and themes.

  • D-1: Analyze/evaluate author’s craft –including textual elements

  • D-2: Select, synthesize and/or use relevant information within the text to extend or evaluate the text.

  • D-3: Demonstrate an awareness of the author’s beliefs and values in the text (not grade 3)


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Which of the following formats: Reference, Magazine or Newspaper had the greatest number of facts?

  • Why do you think that is so?

  • What type of information is it?

  • How timely is the information?

  • Why does the author focus more on one thing than the other in the article?


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Provide students with “hints” about the content of the article.

For example, you could ask students to find an article that highlights “tidbits” of information.

What did the ancient Greeks use honey for?

Add a thought- provoking question based on background information (from multiple sources):

Why do you think they consumed so much?


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B-3 and D-2: Use Evidence to draw conclusions and use relevant information to evaluate texts


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Suggested content areas/topics for Kids Infobits

  • History and Social Studies: US History:

    Pilgrims – Discovery and Exploration of America – Frontier Life – Slavery

  • History and Social Studies: World History:

    Ancient Greece – Ancient Rome – Holocaust – Titanic

  • Science and Math: Chemistry

    Force and Energy – Electricity – Sounds – Waves


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Suggested content areas/topics for Kids Infobits (con’t.)

  • Science and Math : Math &Measurement:

    Graphs – Measurement - Metric System

  • Science and Math: Weather:

    Climate – Floods – Droughts – Rain – Hurricanes – Tornadoes – Global Warming

  • Science and Math: Biology and Nature:

    Pollution – Biomes – Recycling – Environmental


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Other iCONN Databases for Elementary Students

  • Blackbirch Kid’s Visual Reference for the United States and the World

  • For more advanced elementary students /middle school students, a new database is: Biography Resource Center

    • -- supplements biographies such as Discovering Collection


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Select both databases


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