ThingLink: One image, endless possibilities


It’s no secret that the skills required to extract information from text are similar to those skills required to evaluate an image, as outlined in the Image Analysis Common Core Standards Alignment chart. But….what if we could find a way to further engage our students by creating interactive images? Continue reading


A new collaboration tool for you

PadletI happened upon a neat tech tool at a recent librarian conference—one I think you’ll really like. It’s called, and the company’s tagline couldn’t be more accurate: “possibly the easiest way to create and collaborate in the world.”  Continue reading

5 steps for deciding if a website is the right one for your students’ research

Truth: You love Google. Your students love Google. It’s often our first stop in the research process, and there’s nothing wrong with that—as long as you’re choosing the right Websites as sources.

Not all Websites are current, accurate, and relevant, and not all of the best content conveniently floats to the top of your search (read this article about Google’s algorithms, for example). Finding the right Websites to cite in research is a process in and of itself. That’s why Barb and I put together this five-step infographic to help your students navigate through the good and the bad on the Web. Consider making it a poster for your classroom! 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

Free Database Trials: Try-It Illinois 2015

Usually, Kellie and I use the blog forum to share new ideas about technology integration, reading promotions, and research tips. Yet, sometimes information from last year is so good that it is worth re-posting with updated information.

We know that teachers are looking for ways to include more reading activities into their curriculum. What better way to look for articles than to use the state database trial that’s going on now? Continue reading