information fluency: judging a book by its cover…a good thing?
Information fluency is the ability to unconsciously and intuitively interpret information. Now that we are at the end of the year, I am not so surprised at my kindergartners abilities.
We were studying animals (of all habitats) and classified them by land, water, and or air animals. The question about jungle animals became popular and intriguing. My students wanted to know exactly which animals do live in a jungle. Some of them were surprised to know that there are zoo animals that come from the jungle! Before we were able to gather that information, the students had a research journey!
A boy remembered that we read a cool book on animals, so the class thought that this book would give all the answers to our questions about jungle animals. Once the kids looked over the book, they decided it wasn’t a good choice. They quickly commented on the cartoon-like pictures, which told them it may not be real information. Then, a girl remembered an app she used on the iPad. Once she checked out the iPad, she realized it had tons of animals and that it didn’t give information about jungle animals. After a few more books to check out, a child finally shouted, “Hey, let’s go on the internet!” This was the first time my students actually asked and needed my help, (I was impressed with the sense of solution fluency happening so far!) and so I helped them by typing on google while they watched on the SmartBoard. Since we had found so many cartoon-like pictures and books about all kinds of animals, they helped pick out the words we needed to use to search with. I displayed my best digital citizenship by making sure we had no inappropriate search results for these young eyes!
My kindergarteners quickly identified the best resources online by noticing “real” photographs of animals along with text about the jungle specifically. I found it very interesting that the process of elimination of our resources ended up being based how everything “looked”. Was it pretty? Was it cartoon-like? Once we started finding real information, they were able to call it the “real deal” because they could see actual photographs that were taken, and assumed the text with it was true also.
Information Fluency by definition involves a process, and I feel my students (without my direction) went through the process. They asked good questions and went through a fun series of resources to access and acquire information. Each resource found was analyzed by the students based on its “looks”…which, at 6 years old, is a good first step! They applied the information they got with each resource to help them find the next. We then assessed as a whole group the good information we found. I found it most interesting to see how they judged the resource and used their words to explain how useful or not the information would be. Such good learners I have! I think this is a very healthy and developmental stage of the learning process for this age. I was impressed with the initial demonstration of information fluency the kindergartners displayed.