I finished making my mindtool, which is meant to help students strengthen their online research and reading skills. Check it out at: http://www.wix.com/cmitton/Science-Fair-Research. I began using it with my students and received feedback from other teachers. Based on both experiences, I've decided to make the following modifications for next year:
1) Before beginning the science fair research project, I'll find a few websites of interest for the class to read together. Throughout a series of mini-lessons, I will introduce the students to Flowgram as I read the site out loud, think aloud, highlight key details, and draft summary notes. Then, I'll have the students work with partners to practice the strategy on another assigned website within Flowgram. Finally, they will work individually on an assigned site in Flowgram. I'm making this change because I realized that learning to generate research questions, navigate search engines, evaluate websites, and then read, comprehend, and reflect about online content is a lot to tackle! Introducing the skills in smaller stages will help scaffold student learning.
2) Secondly, as we used the webquest this year, I added a step into the process. I had the students bookmark each site they'd like to use for their research using Internet Explorer. After they located 3-7 sources, then we added them into Flowgram, highlighted, and wrote summary notes. This chunked the learning for the students into manageable pieces, and it also made writing the bibliography easier.