Keeping the Second-Grade Time Machine Running

Keeping the Second-Grade Time Machine Running
  • Makers
Jessica Ortolano and Emily Zeblo, Lower School Librarians

Library Services team leans on tech to help classes complete their research and stream their presentations.


As Lower School librarians, our main mission during this uncertain time has been bringing colleagues and families the best learning resources and kid-friendly lessons that they can access from home. Along with promoting the importance of being a good digital citizen, pushing out our information-literacy skills through collaborative teaching has been key to ensuring students maintain their academic growth. 

This collaborative process is strong within the talented second-grade team, especially during the much-anticipated annual Time Machine unit. Not wanting to miss a beat due to COVID-19, the second-grade team met with us in a virtual PLC [professional learning community] to figure out how this unit would unfold. While we lost the in-person activities we had hoped to host — parent research “boot camps,” multimedia exploration stations in Winston Library and more — we were able to create a solid course of instruction and research for our Ravens (the growth mindset at its best!).  

Using screencast videos, Google Meets and various teacher modeling, we are now promoting the Super3 research process (Plan, Do and Review) remotely. Students were able to explore diverse historical figures through our interactive database, PebbleGo, and were assigned their figures just last week. Now they are diving into screencast lessons from us on note-taking strategies, navigating multiple databases and citing digital sources. Here are just a few of our resources:


PebbleGo | Capstone Library  

  1. Logging into PebbleGo. 

  2. Navigating to your topic.

  3. Note-taking from your topic.

  4. Citing PebbleGo.

Nuernberger Education Center Library

  1. Logging into Kids InfoBits.

  2. Navigating to your topic.

  3. Note-taking and citing from your topic in 

             Kids InfoBits.

While this may seem like a lot to adults new to the project, our second-graders have been running toward this finish line all year. We couldn’t be prouder of how adept they are at writing notes in their own words, using multiple sources and remembering to give credit to authors and researchers whose work they’ve learned from.

While we won’t be able to enjoy the traditional performance in our second-grade classrooms this May, as the famous saying goes, the Time Machine must go on!  This magical performance will now be a virtual one on Google Meet. Students will use their research to complete a biography about their figure that will contain important nonfiction text features, a written speech (which they’ll memorize) and create a costume or prop for their virtual presentation. Who’s ready for these historical performances on May 14?