NoodleTools works with Google to offer single sign-on

If you and your students are NoodleTools users, this post applies to you. Over the summer, we will transition to NoodleTools’s new single sign-on (SSO) authentication, meaning you and your students will be able to use your Google username and password to access the program. Currently, users have to register a unique username and password in order to use NoodleTools — information that students (and maybe even you) inevitably forget. So, this will be better.  Continue reading


Britannica School is more than an online encyclopedia. See for yourself during our free trial.

Barb and I have been in the market for a new encyclopedia database since, oh, last year. We like to make sure we’re getting you the best stuff. Keith West suggested Britannica School—a product of Encyclopedia Britannica—after he learned from a colleague in his grad school class that it offered diverse content at varied reading levels appropriate for his special education students. It offers that and much more.  Continue reading

Announcing the 2017 Abe Award nominees

AbeThe Illinois School Library Media Association (ISLMA) recently released the list of 20 books nominated for the 2017 Abraham Lincoln Award. The complete list, available on this LibGuide, includes titles and authors you might already know: I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai, winner of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize; October Mourning by Leslea Newman, winner of the 2013 Stonewall
Honor Book Award
; Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman, winner of the 2015 National Book Award. If these books are any indication, it’s going to be a great reading competition! Continue reading

Try the Swivl or a GoPro to capture your lessons

The Technology Department recently purchased some equipment that’s available for teacher check-out through the Information and Learning Centers: a Swivl Robot and GoPro Heros. Teachers and staff who are required to video record themselves teaching as part of the National Board Certification process or for graduate school might especially be interested in these devices—as might anyone with a particularly adventurous or inventive spirit. Continue reading

Prepare your students to conduct effective interviews

A few English teachers invited me into their classrooms a couple of weeks ago to talk to their students about interviewing. I began my presentation the way I always do, with a few anecdotes about my heydays as a journalist for the Daily Iowan, the University of Iowa’s daily student newspaper. I explained to the classes how I learned so much about the art of interviewing by talking to attorneys and university officials and everyday people about crime and city policy and life stories.

Conducting three interviews is a requirement for the I-Search, but by the time students get to English IV – Composition class, most have never conducted a single interview. Just like anything, interviewing takes practice. Below are a few tips I picked up along the way. Please feel free to share these with your classes, and please encourage them to find interview sources for your research assignments. The earlier we expose them to gathering information this way, the more prepared they will be by senior year.  Continue reading