16 Creative Ways to Use PebbleGo in the Classroom
Set Up Research Stations
Each article in PebbleGo has a specific printable “Share What You Know” form. Set up a technology station that includes a printer, or design and pre-print some generic forms. Add in pencils and crayons. Direct children to find an animal or a person they want to know more about. Once they have read the information in the article, or followed along as it was read to them, have them share what they know by writing and drawing on the form. Provide an area to display what students have discovered. Need some inspiration to branch out beyond animals? Try the “Random Article Wheel” in one of the other modules.
Discover a PebbleGo Fact of the Day
As part of your daily class activities, create a class role, “PebbleGo Fact Finder.” That student should find something interesting in PebbleGo to share with the class. It could be something that was just interesting to the student, or it could be a whole-class activity where the student creates a question and the rest of the class tries to see if they can guess the answer. If you have one-to-one or multiple devices, you could have the students race to see who can locate the answer first, or race against the class—timing how long it takes the entire class to successfully find the answer. Example question: “What is on the back of the great seal of the United States?” (Answer found in Social Studies module-U.S. Symbols-Great Seal)
Use “Educator Resources”
At the bottom of each PebbleGo module is a hidden gem—a clickable link to lesson plans, black line masters, graphic organizers, and free time activity sheets you can us e any time. Click the “Educator Resources” text in the footer and check out the lesson plan, “Long Ago and Today.” under Social Studies. Browse dozens of other activities and lessons to incorporate into your teaching this year. All of them are developed to meet academic standards for primary grades.
Write Student-made eBooks from PebbleGo Research
There are many wonderful apps that allow students to create and narrate their own eBooks. What a great research, literacy, and technology skills project! You will find a video of one project done with first graders on the “Capstone Publishers” YouTube Channel. The librarian used Pixie, but there are other programs and apps with similar capabilities.
Generate Word Clouds
Read the articles “What is Money” and “The History of Money” during your economics unit. Demonstrate the concept of key words or important words. Demonstrate the vocabulary words (in red). Divide the students into small work groups and assign them one of the two articles. Have them choose 2 or 3 important words from each tab and compile them on a sheet. Have them write a simple definition for each word. Then take the words and type them into a tool like WordArt.com. Print their finished project.
Create Their Own Article
Have each student choose an interesting person or an intriguing animal that is not included in the PebbleGo Animals or Biographies modules. Have them create an article for that person or animal….a 5-6-page project. Create a graphic organizer for them laid out like each tab in a PebbleGo article. Each page should correspond to the information on each of the tabs. Options: Have them create a 6th “Where I found this Information” tab citing their sources. Have them create the presentation as a PowerPoint or Google Slides slide show.
Engage in Free Reading Time
PebbleGo is an excellent choice for free reading time. Students can just follow their interests or find out more about the subject of a book they are reading. If they start in PebbleGo, have them write down a topic that interests them. At library time, have them search for a book to read about that subject. This is an especially effective technique for reluctant readers. For example, a boy might get turned on to the dinosaurs or space articles he finds in PebbleGo. Have the media specialist connect him with a book next time in the library.
Conduct Basic Research and Practice Writing
Each article in PebbleGo has 5 tabs of information. Create a simple graphic organizer with 5 shapes to fill in. Direct students to fill in the shapes with one fact from each tab. When they finish, have them create a 5-box comic strip with illustrations for each of the 5 facts they found.
Play Classroom Games
Many of the embedded games in PebbleGo modules lend themselves well to classroom games. For example, play the Multi-Match game in the Biographies unit as a class. Project the game for the class. In small groups, have the students race to find where the information appears in PebbleGo. Once they raise their hands to show you the article and tab, they can answer the question and earn a point for their group.
Learn Academic Vocabulary
Important vocabulary words are highlighted in red and come with embedded definitions. During a unit of study, like “Community Helpers”, have students find a word in red they didn’t know before, listen and read the definition, and write a sentence including the word.
Practice Reading Fluency
Project an article for the class or a reading group, and have the sound connected. Read the text aloud first as a class. Then read the embedded vocabulary terms. Press the speaker button to listen and follow along, then turn the sound off and see if the students can keep up with the highlighted text (fluency)...first silently in their heads, then aloud. Assign independent practice.
Dive Deeper into a Topic
Many state and national standards for K-3 are covered in PebbleGo in some form or another. When you are studying ocean animal habitats or life cycles, pull up an article from PebbleGo Animals. Read it together, talk about the academic terms, and watch a video of the animal in its environment. When you are celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, pull up his biography article in the Biographies module. Look at the timeline of important events from his life, then watch the video of an excerpt of his “I Have a Dream” speech.. For a complete content list of articles, view Content Maps under “Resources” at pebblego.com
Citation support is built into every article within PebbleGo. Extend the 5 facts idea from the previous page to give students practice in citing their sources. Have them search for 5 facts that interest them in PebbleGo. Have them practice using the citation pop- up and copy the citation for each fact they find.
Conduct Experiments with Hands-On Science Instruction
Every article in the Science module includes up to 3 activities that will make science come alive in your classroom and help you teach literacy at the same time! In the printable activities you will find a “Share What You Know” form to encourage research, a hands-on experiment you can do as a whole class or in an exploration station, and/or questions for understanding for reading comprehension and nonfiction writing practice. For an example, check out the amazing hands-on experiment and other activities in the “What is Light” article.
Practice Inquiry-Based Discovery
Create a simple graphic organizer with four sections: I Know, I Want to Know, I Predict, and I Learned. (To address additional skills—have them make a prediction before they research) Example: Introduce a topic, like “cells.” Give some background information, watch the 2 videos in the PebbleGo Science article together, then have the students write 3 things they already know about cells. Have them write 3 questions about cells in the “I Want to Know” area, make one prediction based on a question they have, and then have them research. Use PebbleGo as a starting point. Add in library books, other digital resources you have, and the hands-on experiments. Pair students up and have them share with a partner what was the most surprising thing they discovered.
Compare Fiction and Nonfiction, Realistic and Not Realistic
Teach critical thinking skills with PebbleGo. Read a fiction text or find a current social media blurb as a class, then “fact-check” it in PebbleGo. Could it really happen? Are there some kinds of fiction that is more fact-based than other kinds? Ex: Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” versus “Horton Hears a Who.” Which one has more realistic animal behavior in it? Pick an animal from PebbleGo and write a realistic fiction book about it.
Get More Ideas Online
Don’t forget about the power of social networking! Search for PebbleGo on teacher blog sites, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to get inspired and encouraged by the examples shared by educators across the country.
Share Your Ideas
If you have examples of how you are engaging students with reading and research using PebbleGo, we’d love to hear about it! Tweet your projects and ideas to @CapstonePub or shoot us an email at PGinfo@capstonepub.com.
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