[INET'99] [ Up ][Prev][Next]

KIDS (Kids Identifying and Discovering Sites) Report: Evaluating and Annotating Internet Resources

Barbara SPITZ <bspitz@madison.k12.wi.us>
Madison (Wisconsin) Metropolitan School District

Deborah REILLY <reilly@macc.wisc.edu>
University of Wisconsin-Madison


Kids Identifying and Discovering Sites (KIDS) Report is a bimonthly Internet publication produced by and for kindergarten to 12th grade (K-12) students. For each issue, students work on their own or in collaboration with other students (under the guidance of participating teachers and/or school librarians) to identify, evaluate, and describe Internet resources that pertain to a particular topic being studied; only those resources deemed worthy are included in the report. Participants include students from 12 U.S. classrooms who represent a range of ages and backgrounds. They come from urban, rural, and specialized schools, as well as elementary, middle, and high school classrooms.



A small group of creative and dedicated people gathered in Boulder, Colorado, on July 22, 1996, to brainstorm an Internet project that would respond to the needs of K-12 students and teachers. A simple but exciting plan emerged from that meeting: students would identify, evaluate, and annotate a list of Internet sites that other students could use. This report would be published twice a month, building an archive of useful resources for other students and teachers. The process would be collaborative and student-centered and would produce an authentic product.

The model for this publication was the Scout Report [1], a weekly report serving the higher education community and produced by the Internet Scout Project, which is based at the University of Wisconsin campus within their department of computer sciences. The Internet Scout Project is funded by the National Science Foundation.

The original KIDS Report was created by a team of four teachers and four to five students from each of the four original schools in Madison, Wisconsin, and the Boulder Valley in Colorado. Teachers presented the project to the students and worked with students on learning the skills to locate, evaluate, and annotate quality sites. Students named the report and created the selection guidelines in collaboration with students from other schools and with guidance from their teachers. Under this plan, students themselves became part of the solution to finding ways of using the Internet in education.

In the fall of 1998, KIDS Report project received generous interim funding from the Tashia and John Morgridge Foundation (via the University of Wisconsin). With this funding, the project has expanded to include 12 schools, and training materials have been developed for new participants in consultation with veteran teacher participants. An advisory committee is planning for the future of the project to include an evaluative component, a larger participant base, increased outreach, more permanent funding, and a home within the University of Wisconsin-Madison General Library System.


To develop research and evaluation skills of students:

To integrate the Internet into the curriculum:

To create a usable product for K-12 students and teachers everywhere:



The KIDS Report project provides students with the opportunity to become engaged in the research and evaluation of Web sites. Students use their knowledge and skills to develop an authentic real-world product, an annotated report. KIDS Report also facilitates the integration of the Internet into the curriculum. In the previous two years, students have demonstrated their ability to develop effective evaluation criteria, and to author informative annotations, after participating in this project. Current and archived reports, as well as the site selection criteria can be viewed at the KIDS Report Web site [2].

In addition to offering students an opportunity to develop critical thinking and evaluation skills, KIDS Report provides a viable alternative to filtering. Teachers can feel comfortable using this site with their students, knowing that all of the selected sites relate to the curriculum and are appropriate for children.

The KIDS Report site contains several sections, which include the current KIDS Report, past issues of KIDS Report, searches of current and past issues, site selection guidelines, and subscription information for the e-mail version of KIDS Report. The entire KIDS Report site is offered in both graphical and nongraphical versions, an option that allows accessibility for all end-users. To our knowledge, KIDS Report is the only regularly published, collaborative Internet resource publication produced by K-12 students for other K-12 students.

Current issue of KIDS

This is the most current KIDS Report [3]. The reports evolve around a theme chosen by the students and their teachers. The Web sites included in KIDS Report are then selected and reviewed by the students themselves. A report generally contains anywhere from 10 to 15 or more sites.

Site selection criteria

The selection criteria [4], created by the students themselves, are the key to understanding the real power behind KIDS Report. Students produce a product for other students based on criteria they and their teachers determine to be important. There are clear guidelines students use to evaluate potential sites to be included in KIDS Report. These criteria, the site selection guidelines, are listed on this page. Main categories include the design, ease of use, content, and credibility of the site. The selection guidelines are provided for both readers and other students who may want to use similar criteria when identifying and selecting Internet sites for their own Web pages. Students learn to critically evaluate what they see on the Internet while also learning about the content they are evaluating.

Past issues of KIDS

The KIDS Report archive [5] provides links to more than two years of reports, beginning in May of the 1995-96 school year. KIDS Report is published during in-school months only. As you may have noticed, KIDS Report was initially called Y'know. This was changed with the start of the 1996-1997 school year. All four of the original participating classrooms nominated and voted on the current title, which is KIDS Report: Kids Identifying and Discovering Sites.

Search KIDS

For those who choose to search the current and past issues of KIDS Report, this simple search page [6] is provided. This addition to the KIDS Report site is a result of readers' requests.

Subscribe to KIDS Report

The KIDS Report subscription page [7] provides both manual and automated online instructions detailing how to subscribe and unsubscribe. Currently, KIDS Report is sent via e-mail to approximately 1,000 readers.



From Canadian Museum webmaster:

"I was gratified to find [that] the criteria on which students are being asked to judge sites are pretty much the same criteria I apply in creating Web modules."

From a parent in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada:

"WOW! I was looking for an informative and creative way to get my children and their friends interested in the Internet. Your pages are terrific!"

From a librarian in Santa Rosa, California:

"I'm writing to request permission to reproduce and distribute a screen printout of your site and a copy of your selection guidelines. I've looked at a number of evaluation checklists, and I think yours is one of the best around."

From a teacher in Alexandria, Virginia:

"The information y'all provided will be a great source for our solar system unit next fall. You did a super job."

From a first-grade teacher in Loogootee, Indiana:

"What a great Internet project! I've created a link to your website."

From a principal in Nova Scotia, Canada:

"Boy, am I impressed! You have done teachers and students everywhere a great service by choosing sites that kids like and that are still educationally relevant. I am impressed with the quality of the reviews."

From a project developer at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC:

"We came to basically the same conclusions as you have regarding what we want our pages to be like. Keep up the good work."

From a Discovery Channel school online educator:

"Here's a great site for students by students, which makes it perfect for teachers and administrators, too."

From a participating middle school teacher in Iron River, Michigan:

"The students are doing more than I ever expected as we pursue this project."

National impact

Future plans


  1. Scout Report
  2. KIDS Report
  3. Current issue
  4. Selection criteria
  5. Archived issues
  6. Search
  7. Subscribe

[INET'99] [ Up ][Prev][Next]