Search Smarter

This page will focus mainly on Google Searches since that is the most common search used.  However, don't forget to use Diigo to search through resources that others have found worthwhile.

Safe Search

Google Safe Search Filter prevents most objectionable content from appearing in your search results.  You can change the setting using the following steps.
  1. Sign in to Google.

  2. Click on the settings icon.
  3. Click on Search Settings.

  4. Set your Safe Search preference (I haven't had many issues with Moderate, but a few things have slipped through).

Advanced Search

Google Advanced Search can help you make better searches.  For example if you are looking for information about avalanches, you might not want to see results about the Colorado Avalanche hockey team (see the example below).  Understanding how Google Advanced Search works can be very helpful for students trying to find information about a topic as well.

Search Terms

One tool that can make you more effective in your searching is to combine search terms.  For example, imagine you want to do a search for something to do with reading.  Add additional terms that are related to what you want the students to do or the kinds of resources that you want find.  Here are some terms that you might add to your Google search.  Using "and" helps Google understand that you want the result to have both terms.  You can use and a couple of times if you want (i.e. reading and primary and cloze).

Using quote around words that have a space in them tells Google to look for that exact phrase (i.e. "teaching strategies" instead of teaching and strategies.

  • primary
  • interactive
  • online
  • strategies
  • activities
  • PDF
  • worksheet
  • stories
  • education
  • "teaching strategies"
  • stories
  • free
  • grade 3
  • exemplars
  • "reading response"
  • lesson
  • "unit plans"
  • "comprehension strategies"
  • "online activity"
  • SmartBoard
  • Ontario
  • rubric
  • "short stories"
Obviously, you could go on and on.  Google is very good at finding appropriate resources and as you use it, it learns about your preferences (watch "Beware the Online Filter Bubble") and gets better and better at suggesting appropriate

Google Image Search

Google Advanced Image Search offers many of the same features as Google Search but also allows you to specify things like:
  • The type of image (photos, clip art, etc.)
  • Image colour (black and white, colour, specific colours, etc.)
  • The size (large for better printing)
  • Usage rights (to reuse content that has a Creative Commons license)
  • A specific Safe Search filter (so you don't get any surprising pictures when you're using it in class)

Google Search Education (Lesson plans and training)