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TeachNet Grant: A Perfect Pet? A Research Based Project for Early Childhood Students
Nancy Vido

PS 131 K, Magnet School for the Performing Arts

4305 Ft. Hamilton Parkway

Brooklyn, NY  11219

Grade/Subject: Library Media Specialist
About the Grant:

Students will listen to a read aloud, The Perfect Pet by Margie Palatini to discover the qualities of a good pet. They will then choose an animal from among the large stuffed animal collection in the Library Media Center. They will spend a few periods getting acquainted with their pet, reading both fiction and non-fiction books, featuring their animal, to their pet. After each reading, they will generate a list of wonder questions they have about their pet. These questions will be used to generate a list of focus questions for their research. Next, they will embark upon their research. They will learn how to use a print encyclopedia, a Table of Contents and an Index in a non-fiction book, a database created specifically for K-2 students and, in some cases, a pre-selected website. They will learn how to cite their sources in a basic format, take notes, and write a report as a finished product. They will then record their report as an MP3 file and it will be upload it, along with a photo of themselves and their animal, to Voice Thread .

Students are required to complete a research based written report about their pet and to record an audio file of that report. These recorded audio reports will be uploaded to Voice Thread along with a photograph of themselves holding their pet. The school community will be invited to post comments.

Project URL:
Student reports can be viewed at http://voicethread.com/share/838312

How This Grant was Adapted:

The best feature of this project is that it teaches very young children how to do authentic research, using 21st Century information literacy skills and technology tools. Children generate their own wonder questions, develop them into focus questions, learn how to use real research tools, cite sources, and share their information with others via a social networking tool, namely Voice Thread.

A great touch is using the stuffed animals as motivation and giving the children a chance to bond with their particular “research buddy” animal. The animal acts as an anchor and keeps each child focused on his/her work. The bond the children create with this research buddy motivates them to learn the skills and to find and present accurate information. The presentation on Voice Thread also motivates students as they know that their hard work is going to be available to others, and themselves, and available for comment by others.

This project also correlates well with non-fiction units of study that are conducted by classroom teachers and is great for a collaborative project.

This is a fabulous unit to implement in a 2nd grade classroom. Students at this age are young enough to be motivated by the stuffed animals, they have developed reading skills enough to consult an easy to read children’s encyclopedia, and many of them understand the plight of having to persuade a parent that a particular pet would be perfect. While they are immersed in this project, they are learning life-long 21st Century research skills.

Project URL

This project is already on line. Student reports can be viewed at



Objective 1: Students will learn how develop focus questions for a research project.

Objective 2: Students will learn how to take notes.

Objective 3: Students will learn how to locate information in an encyclopedia.

Objective 4: Students will learn how to use the Table of Contents and the Index of a non-fiction book to find specific information quickly.

Objective 5: Students will learn how to transform notes into a written report.

Objective 6: Students will learn the meaning of intellectual property and how to cite sources.

Objective 7: Students will learn how to use GarageBand to record their reports. (If you are working with PCs and not Macs, Audacity can be used instead.)

Objective 8: Students, along with the help of the teacher, will learn how to upload their audio file and photo to Voice Thread.

Objective 9: Students will learn how to share, and comment on, information on the Voice Thread website.

Websites Used

Link 1: http://pebblego.com/
Description: This is an animal research database designed specifically for children in grades K-2. It has a read along feature which is very helpful. This database is subscription based, but you can sign up for a free 30 day trial which is all you will need to complete this project. I did not subscribe. I used the free trial.

Link 2: http://www2.aspca.org/site/PageServer?pagename=kids_abcs_home
Description: ASPCA Animal Land Website—Animal ABCs page. This site is designed specifically for children and has information about a variety of animals, including many pets. It is simple to navigate and easy to read.

Link 3: http://enchantedlearning.com/Home.html
Description: This is an educational website with a myriad of information. It contains accurate information about many animals, especially diet, habitat and body structure.

Link 4: http://voicethread.com/share/838312
Description: This is a social networking site where members (free membership, just register) can upload photos and audio files and invite others to comment on them.

Standards Addressed:

New York State utilizes the American Association of School Libraries Standards for the 21 st Century Learner for Information Literacy.

  • Standard 1: (K-12): Information Literacy: Students will inquire, think critically and gain knowledge.
  • Standard 2: (K-12): Information Literacy: Students will dreaw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge.
  • Standard 3: (K-12): Information Literacy: Students will share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society.
  • Standard 4: (K-12): Information Literacy: Students will pursue personal and aesthetic growth.


  • Standard 1: (Elementary): Students will read, write and speak for information and understanding.
  • Standard 2: (Elementary): Students will read, write, listen, and speak for literary response and expression.
  • Standard 3: (Elementary): Students will read, write, listen, and speak for critical analysis and evaluation. Standard 4: (Elementary): Students will read, write, listen, and speak for social interaction.

Nancy Vido is currently the Library Media Specialist at PS 131 Elementary School. Prior to her present position, Ms. Vido was a classroom teacher for over 20 years, with teaching experience in almost every grade from PreK-8. Highly motivated to improve the library program at her current school , Ms. Vido recently completed a second Master's degree in Library Science from Syracuse University. She has since developed a library curriculum that is better aligned with classroom instructional standards and involves information literacy skills, literacy, literature appreciation and technology.



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