The idea of an "advanced internet class" was born when I was given the opportunity to teach a group of grade nine pupils whose knowledge of the different functions of the internet was fair. A couple of them had already built their homepages and knew how to chat and use email. Their knowledge however, was "a little of this and a little of that". None of them had done any serious research using the web or done any extensive emailing. In addition, the group was heterogeneous, so that a few of the kids were real beginners. But all of them knew English pretty well, as this was my prerequisite. I was supposed to give them twelve meetings altogether. That happened in November 1999. Click here to see the class.
I decided to build a special syllabus for this group that will "put things in order". If they knew about email, let them explore and learn what the advantages of this function are. Then go on to the other functions, such as surfing the web, combining the web with email , chatting, building homepages and finally writing "hyperlink compositions". The main goal of my syllabus was to make sure that the kids will have good and useful control of the functions of the internet.
The following text is a step by step description
of the syllabus I built for this class. It also has samples of some of
the students' papers and projects.
USING EMAIL PROPERLY
The first step was to have the whole group open an account with hotmail.com. I made it clear to the kids that although some of them already had email boxes, they had to open a new one for the purpose of this class as it was going to serve as a "notebook" for my assignments and their work in this class.
open an account at hotmail.com
Each student is instructed to open an account (a mailbox) at hotmail.com. I asked them to use them SAME format for their logging name, i.e. their full name. In case they have already used it (a couple of the kids had boxes with hotmail before joining the class) they were asked to add the figure 1 next to their name. All the kids were instructed to use THE SAME PASSWORD. This is essential for the teacher when checking their work to be able to have access to their boxes. The students were told NOT to use the box for other uses than the class' assignments.
compose, send, save outgoing message, spell check
The first assignment should always be (and was) to have each student learn how to use the "compose" function of the email box by sending the teacher the first email letter. In this letter he tells a few things about himself, e.g. age, hobbies, family members, etc. To see an example click here.
The group was told to use the "spell check" and the "save outgoing message" functions prior to sending their message (it happens quite often that messages never reach their destination!).
I saved every address in my mailbox and gave the group a special name. This made it possible to send the group the same assignment very easily. The students were told to do the same, i.e. to save their classmates' addresses, for future assignments.
corresponding with students from abroad
Corresponding with students from other countries is always exciting. Kids are interested in emailing and enjoy doing so. Emailing is also a powerful tool for the teacher when it comes to improving the pupils' language, and helping them acquire the new cyberspace language What should be done is to contact epal services , register and match your students with students from other countries (preferably an English speaking one). Once contact has been established (the sooner the better) ask the teacher to have her/his students send you introductory letters . The introductory letters should be sent to the teacher's email box. In this way you can make sure that no junk or crazy mail will reach your kids. When you have the introductory letters you can find "suitable" epals for your students. It's quite normal to realize that boys and girls prefer emailing the opposite sex..
When your students start their correspondence make sure that they send you a "blind copy" (Bcc). This will keep them under control. You should make it clear to them that they will be rewarded for their work.
USING SEARCH ENGINES TO SURF THE WEB
The most popular search engines among my students
I introduced them to askjeeves.This search engine soon became popular especially among the weaker students. It is easier to use and very friendly. It corrects your spelling, has different sections for the different age group and safe to use for children.
searching and sending greeting cards
As a first assignment I chose searching for greeting card sites. Since we were in the month of December, I asked them to look for cards for the holidays that fell during this month, i.e. Christmas, Hannuka and New Year's Day. I asked for interesting and friendly sites. I suggested two easy and friendly ones: virtualflorist.com and bluemountain.com. The students found others.
The students were told to send cards to my address and to their friends, both in this class and their epals abroad.
This is an easy assignment. What the kids have to do is to find a site (or use one that I suggested) choose a card, add their message, fill in their email address and send it to the recipient.
COMBINING FUNCTIONS:EMAIL AND THE WEB
Combining use of search engines to get specific information and using email to send it to its destination should be practiced step by step. Some students find it difficult moving from the web site they are working on, to using email to send their answers.
finding specific information (Dennis Rodman)
This is an easy assignment to put together.
The teacher should find out the kids' favorite celebrities and pick one.
I chose Dennis Rodman's site sent it to their mailboxes, asked them to
find some specific facts about him and send me the answers. To see the
assignment and pupils' answers click here.
VOLCANOES - looking for information in depth
This assignment is based on one of the best
educational sites on this topic. The pupils enjoy using it and as a teacher
I find it very useful. To see the assignment and the answers of the students
here. Using this site for this assignment is a good experience
for the pupils to learn how to look for relevant and useful information.
GRADED VARIED EXERCIZES
I sent the class two different exercises, one for the beginners and another for the more advanced students. These assignments are supposed to have the students use the web according to their levels, and at the same time learn about more possibilities and uses, i.e. how to find about weather, where to buy specific items, movie reviews, etc. To see the assignments click here.
LIVE PARTICIPATION : King Hussein's death (condolences)
King Hussein of Jordan happened to die while
this class was in progress. Netvision
opened a site for the occasion, where people could both light a candle in his memory, as well as send a letter of condolences to the monarch's family. That was a very good opportunity for me to have my pupils experience another facet of the internet. To see the assignment click here.
LEARNING ABOUT OTHER CULTURES: St. Valentine's Day
It's always a good opportunity to have the kids learn about other people's cultures. One way is to introduce them their holidays, i.e. St. Valentine's Day, Thanksgiving holiday, Halloween etc. I use St. Valentine's Day because of different reasons: the kids are familiar with the name but don't know its history, and it's a good opportunity for them to "participate" in it by sending Valentine cards to their epals. To see the assignment and the answers click here.
BUILDING HOMEPAGES (peer teaching assignment)
PEER-TEACHING : Since this was a heterogeneous class, I had the opportunity of using the knowledge of the more advanced students to help in different ways. The best way I found of doing so is by having a subject brought up in class, and asking everybody to send their suggestions. I did that when I was looking for a good chat site and a good homepage building site.
I checked the pupils suggestions and picked the easiest chat site to use, and had the students that suggested it present and teach their classmates. I finally settled on webnautics.com. We used it briefly. The site is very friendly and easy to use, i.e. you don't need to register or fill out any forms. The students pick a nickname and the room they want to chat in.
When building web sites I asked two advanced students to practice homestead.com and help their classmates build their own homepages.
to see the assignments that the students sent to their classmates and to
take a look at the different homepages that the kids built. Some of the
kids chose other sites to build their homepages.
My name is …….. I'm almost fifteen. I live in Nir-Israel, which is near
I love cats. I have 3 of them, and two dogs.
Hello, my name is Carlos
Ganzabal, I am
Your key pal
|COMBINING EMAIL WITH THE WEB
(Dennis Rodman exercize)
|It's time to learn how to "surf" the web and check specific information.
Open the attachment and read about Dennis Rodman.
Go to the different links and answer the questions:
1) How old is he?
This is the URL (address). Click it open!
|1) How old is he?
Date of birth: May 13, 1961
2) Who is he?
3) Where was he born?
4) How many times was he married? to whom?
5) Does he have any children?
6) Is he famous? Why?
|LOOKING FOR INFORMATION IN DEPTH (VOLCANOES)|
You studied the subject about volcanoes, right?
Here is an interesting site that will give you a lot
Here are the questions that you are supposed to find the answers to:
1) Are there any women volcanologist? How many?
Here is the site I have found:
You are welcome to check other sites. Let me know the
The answers to your assignment questions:
1) Are there any women volcanologists? How many?
2) What good things and bad things do volcanoes do?
3) How many volcanoes are there in the world?
"Volcanoes of the World" by Tom Simkin and Lee
Seibert list 1511
4) What is a volcano?
5) Do you have any question about a volcano?
I'll send my question from:
|GRADED VARIED EXERCIZES|
|Today's' assignment has THREE parts. You are supposed
to do them by yourselves, because the more advanced
students are working on a different assignment.
Go the following address:
Go to the following address:
Will it rain in Tel-Aviv on Thursday? What will the
The following address will introduce you to a very
Follow the instructions and answer the questions:
Do not forget to include the address where you found
the distance from Tel Aviv to London is 2219 miles (3572 km)
(1929 nautical miles)
|AN ASSIGNMENT FOR ADVANCED STUDENTS|
|Now, here is a different kind of an assignment JUST
FOR YOU,GUYS! Let's see who will do it without
cheating or asking for "a little help" from a
Today you are on your own. Use your
1) In how many movies has Will Smith played (NOT TV)?
2) What happened to the first light bulb that Thomas
3) There are three movies playing in our area:
Find a review on each (there are many, you know).
4) What are the official Chinese holidays? What are
5) I am limited to $55. I would like to send TWO
|1) In how many movies has Will Smith played?
Men In Black
2) What happened to the first light bulb that
As electricity passed through the filament it
made it hot,
3) There are three movies playing in our area:
How could I tell you which movie is the best?!
Sliding Doors sucks.
Truman Show- The reviews are much better than
Holy Man sucks.
4) What are the official Chinese holidays? What
It's only text, easy and fast to load.
5) I am limited to $55. I would like to send TWO
PA? Palestinian Authority? Public Address?
chocolates (KOSHER!!!) to Pennysilvenia (?) -
10.95$ + 4$
If you want chocolate shop pages
|LIVE PARTICIPATION ON THE WEB (King Hussein's death)|
You have heard the sad news about the passing away of
Go to the following address:
Click the box where it says (in Hebrew) "light
When you are done with this assignment, go to the other
Those of you that finish in time, please copy and
|This is what I wrote to the Jordanian palace:
"This is a grievous time for us all,
I know I got a little carried away towards the
|LEARNING ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE'S CULTURE|
This is the week of St. Valentine's Day. It is pretty
big (especially in the US).
Click the following address, learn about the origins
1) Who was LUPERCUS?
|1) Who was LUPERCUS?
A Roman god.
2) What is the connection between LUPERCALIA and
3) Why is the holiday called VALENTINE'S DAY?
4) Why was the date moved to Feb. 14?
5) What are the customs of this holiday?
6) Do we have a similar holiday? What time of
|PEER TEACHING ASSIGNMENT|
In this assignment you will build a homepage of your own.
|(1) First of all go to the address :
(2) Click on the "Sign Up" button.
(3) Click on the "I Accept" button.
(4) Fill in your details and use your hotmail address as
(5) As your user name and password use your Hotmail user
name and password
(6) Click on "Sign Me Up".
(7) Click on "Take Tutorial"
(8) After reading the tutorial go to "Take Me To My
there click on "Create Homepage" and then "ok".
(9) Click on "New Express Page".
(10) Follow the instructions on the following pages.
Check out the page we built on
|FOR THE ADVANCED STUDENT|
|Follow steps 1 through 8 on the Beginners Assignment.
(1) Click on the "New Editor Page".
Check to the page we built on
| Almost everybody has managed to start and operate a
Add the URLs to your homepages as links....Enjoy!!!
1) Omri Ceisler
2) Gabzu Liron
3) Yonatan Geva
4) Amir Gutman
5) Adi Masas
6) Meidar Elad
7) Ziv Noy
8) Tal Rosenberg
9) Roi Benshlomo
10) Liat Lazarovitch
11) Zohar Daniel
And this one is mine.....