Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tiny URL

We just finished reading The Giver by Lois Lowry. The children were captivated throughout the reading. They had meaningful conversations with their partners, whole group, and in their Reader's Notebooks. If you have read The Giver than you know how the book touches deep in the soul. So, I read the last page, closed the book, and the children sat there staring at me in disbelief. "That's it? That's the end?" Brenden incredulously asked. Even after turning and talking with their partner and having a whole group discussion they were dissatisfied.  "Where can we find out more?" Sonu asked, "Is there a movie?" I suggested that they go online and search.

"What if we find something really good and want to share it? How do we do that?" Zach asked. Keenan told him to copy the url and then paste it into the twitter feed. But here is where lies a problem. Twitter only allows for forty characters. As I reminded them of this you could see the disappointment appear on their face. Before it had time to settle I assurred them there was a remedy ~ www.tinyurl.com.

I asked someone to remind us how to open a new tab in internet explorer. I opened two; one for tinyurl and the other to search. I did a quick search for our town and clicked on a link. Explaining to them that if this was the site I wanted to share I would highlight the url or address for the site. I would right click copy it. Then I eould click on the tiny url tab and right click paste the link in the space provided. "Now watch what happens when I click on submit," I said. Oohs, aahhs, and cools immediately followed.

"Here's the thing though. Now that this link is short enough for me to put on my twitter page, I have to let my followers know what it is. Any ideas on how I can do that?" I got these looks like I was not fully with it today, and Nasir asked, "why wouldn't you just type in what it is before the link?" So I did just that. I typed in, 'check this site out about East Windsor! There's a lot of useful information about the town.' and then I pasted the link and clicked 'tweet'.

And off they went, happily searching, tinyurling, and tweeting.  They loved seeing what each other posted and clicking on the links.  Interestingly, from this unplanned activity, this teachable moment, they requested to write a literary essay for the book.  All because they wanted to learn more.  Because they went online to search.  Because they found more information, including other student work.  Because they continued the read aloud experience online.