1. Google search cheat sheet–there are many Google cheat sheets out there, and this is mine. This one has the benefit of actually being correct. It's also available as a mousepad, if you'd like to have one of your own. It shows about 20 of the top tricks and search operators that are most useful. Print it out and distribute widely. You have my permission.
2. Reading level search–If you somehow missed the announcement, Google recently launched the ability to filter search results by reading level.
3. Creative Commons license search–Google also recently launched another advanced feature in Image search. When searching for images, you can also go into the Advanced Search mode and filter by CC license level.
4. Custom Search Engines–A CSE lets you create your own "mini-Google" that searches just over the sites you like. That means it's really easy to create a special-purpose search-engine for just the needs of your class... or even a specific lesson. I'll do a posting about this in the future, but if you want to get started exploring, click on the link above. It's actually very easy to do and solves all kinds of problem when letting younger searchers look for specific topics on the web.
5. Alerts–A Google Alert is a standing query that's automatically run for you on a daily or weekly basis. Any changes in the web search results (or News) are automatically sent to you as an email. Think of the Alerts tool as your personal assistant who is always scanning the net for you. (I'll also write a longer post about this as well.) I have Alerts set up for my name (so I can see who's talking about me!) and for four different topics I'm interested in. Naturally, one of those topics is "how to teach search skills," which I have set up to send me weekly updates. It's a very handy way to track the latest in your special topic of interest.
Hope you like these. More to come in the days ahead.
Have a wonderful holiday!
Searching on into 2011...