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Lesson Plan

Developing Searching, Skimming, and Scanning Skills With Internet Bingo

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Grades 4 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Two or three 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Nancy J. Kolodziej, Ed.D.

Nancy J. Kolodziej, Ed.D.

Cookeville, Tennessee


International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Session 1

Sessions 2 and 3


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Develop skill in selecting key terms by conducting Internet searches to find necessary information

  • Develop skill in skimming and scanning by using websites to find information for a bingo game

  • Understand the purposes of using skimming and scanning by practicing these skills in order to win a game

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Session 1

1. Seat students so they can view your computer screen. The use of a video projector or large-screen monitor is ideal for this step.

2. Introduce the skills of skimming (reading quickly to get the main idea of the text) and scanning (rapidly viewing the text in search of key terms, phrases, or information). Write the terms and their definitions on the chalkboard or whiteboard. You may choose to have students copy them into notebooks.

3. Navigate to Odyssey Online: Rome: Daily Life and spend about five minutes using a think-aloud to model both skimming and scanning. For instance, you might say the following:
Suppose I was doing the report on what life was like in ancient Rome, and I came across this website. I don't want to read every word of every website that I find on the topic of ancient Rome, so I'd want to quickly decide whether this article would be helpful for my report. The first thing I would do is read the title and subheadings. (Read them aloud.) Now, I want to skim the article to find out if I think it will be helpful to read it all. I read the first paragraph to get a better idea of it. Read aloud the first paragraph and then continue to use a think-aloud approach to skim and scan through the rest of the article.
4. Lead a brief discussion to review the purposes of using skimming and scanning. Questions for discussion include:
  • Why do you think it would be helpful to skim or scan an article, rather than read the entire text?

  • Do you think there are times that you would need to read the entire article instead of simply skimming and scanning it? When?
5. Discuss how to select key terms to use when conducting Internet searches. For example, tell students that you want to find out about swords that were used in ancient Greece. Display the Social Studies for Kids website and demonstrate how to use the search (make sure you click the radio button next to This Site and not The Web). Use a think-aloud approach and student input to work through the following steps:

a. Demonstrate how a search term that is too broad will deliver too many possible sites (e.g., on the Social Studies for Kids website a search for "Greece" returns approximately 184 hits).

b. Demonstrate how a search term that is too narrow will not produce sufficient sites (e.g., on the Social Studies for Kids website, a search for "swords in ancient Greece" returns no hits).

c. By thinking aloud, work on revising the search to "ancient Greece weapons." This search will reveal six links, a manageable number. Demonstrate how to select the links from this website that will potentially be most helpful. Review the terms skimming and scanning while doing this.

6. Have students suggest other facts about ancient Greece that a person might investigate through a search of the Social Studies for Kids website. Using a think-pair-share, have students suggest possible search terms to use. Experiment with their suggestions by searching for some of the terms. Discuss the outcome of each search.

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Sessions 2 and 3

Depending on how much time you allot for the game, it is possible to complete Sessions 2 and 3 as one session.

1. Review the definitions and purposes of skimming and scanning and how to use the search tool on the Social Studies for Kids website.

2. Distribute the Skim & Scan Bingo Board: Ancient Rome and Greece to students and introduce directions to the game as follows:

a. Students work in teams of two at computers.

b. The goal of the game is to get bingo (five covered blocks in a row, diagonally, vertically, or horizontally) by finding answers to the questions by searching the Social Studies for Kids website.

c. Students should use only the Social Studies for Kids website to complete the game.

d. To find answers to fill in their Skim & Scan Bingo Board: Ancient Rome and Greece students select key terms, conduct a search, choose probable links, and skim and scan the text to find answers.

e. Students must work quietly so other teams cannot overhear and "steal" their answers. (This is a highly effective classroom management technique. Be sure to stress the importance of using soft voices.)

f. Once a team gets bingo, they should raise their hands. You will check their responses and keep a record of the order in which teams get their first bingos.

g. After getting a first bingo, teams will be instructed to try to fill the entire board before the end of the session. You should set a time limit for the game; 30 to 45 minutes should be adequate. Because the primary goals of this lesson are in media literacy, it is not necessary for all students to fill in all the answers.

3. Students play the game. Circulate to assist students and check responses. Using a stamping marker, stamp each correct response. This will make it easier to check for bingos as the game progresses.

4. When time is up or when the first team fills in the entire board, stop the game and use the overhead transparency of the Skim & Scan Bingo Answer Key: Ancient Rome and Greece to review the answers to the bingo questions. You might also choose to refer to the Skim & Scan Bingo Answer Key With Links: Ancient Rome and Greece as necessary. It is recommended that the review of the answers be conducted with students seated at their regular desks.

5. Talk about the activity and what students learned. Discuss difficulties teams experienced when searching for answers and ask students what they did to overcome these difficulties. Ask students how they might use the skills they practiced in other contexts.

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Have students create new bingo boards using other websites and topics.

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In addition to taking notes and assessing student responses to the game prompts, a Skim & Scan Bingo Reflection and Self-Assessment is provided for informal assessment purposes. Students should independently complete this handout. Use the results as a springboard for a future discussion or as a tool to determine which students may need extra practice with searching, skimming, and scanning online.

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