I spend most of my time trying to convince students of the need to search smartly and evaluate, evaluate, evaluate ALL the time. Despite the fact that I front load my student's school year with activities that use their evaluation skills to identify the "joke" Web site, I have to continually remind them as they are searching throughout the year.
I'll be honest, I'm not so sure how much using fake Web sites helps in the end but I also have my favorites that I like to share with kids for a fun activity for a 5th grade library bootcamp, if nothing else.
My absolute favorite is the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus. Google It if you haven't about this amazing cephalopod!!! It is highly endangered because of habitat loss around the Pacific Northwest. Since my students live in the Pacific Northwest, we always have at least one kid who admits to seeing one in their back yard.
Using the Tree Octopus Web site with my kids as a joke at the beginning of school gives me the opportunity to establish a code word with kids. For the rest of their time with me, when I'm looking at a Web site with them that I don't like... I'll ask them if they think that it looks like "tree octopus" information!!!
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