Search and Report: Holidays
A mini-research project for students
[Nunber 3 in a series of 3]
Bill Pellowe (email@example.com)
Portions of this page will be included in an article appearing in Recipes for Wired Teachers (1999).
Overview: This two-stage search project provides further practice in using the Internet to explore cultural information on holidays or festival days in other countries. Within the initial confines of the holiday topic choice, there is a rather high degree of student autonomy in choosing areas to research in the second stage.
Time Frame: 4 or 5 class meetings of 60 - 90 minutes (if none of the work is done outside of class)
Aims: To further familiarize students with search engines. To develop the idea of searching for information for a later report. To develop summarizing skills. To develop word processing skills.
Preparation Stage 1: Choose an upcoming holiday or festival from a target language country. One which works well for me (as an American) is Halloween. Prepare a handout or e-mail message for each student:
Presentation Stage 1:
Practice Stage 1: Circulate to offer help if needed.
Output Stage 1:
Preparation Stage 2: Collect the key words which students sent you in Stage
Presentation Stage 2:
Student Presentation: See the section in "Internet
Search and Report: Pets" for an overview of the oral report production,
presentation, and variations if a computer projector is available.
Teacher summary: Students enjoyed learning about a holiday from my native culture, and they also seemed to enjoy the additional freedom of choosing their work partners and topics within the guided framework provided. You should pay close attention to their progress, however, as this cautionary tale illustrates: A student who chose "ghosts" began researching "ghost towns"; she believed that ghost towns were so named because they were haunted. Within this schema, the pages she found contradicted her expectations enough to confuse her, but not enough to persuade her that her initial appraisal of the term "ghost town" was wrong.