Narrow Your News Search to Expand Your News Knowledge


I’ve been working with a US History teacher connecting Gilded Age topics to current issues still present in the United State (race relations, Native American rights, industrialization, etc). While being a good way to connect the present with the past, it also provides an opportunity to bring in current events and teach news literacy.

We decided to start them with by creating 3 custom google searches – “right” and “right-leaning” news outlets, “center” news outlets, and “left” and “left-leaning” news outlets. The list for each was not determined by us, but was compiled from the rankings from the All Sides Bias Ratings* site.

Example Search: Trump Wall




Give it a try**: Left   Center  Right

In short: Use these searches to be well-rounded. Read every side. Read every angle. Either way…know your news team.

*Don’t argue with me about where each news source is listed. Go vote on All Sides if you really think it should be different.

**It would be cool if you could embed the custom search and search from here, but I haven’t had any luck with that. If someone else knows how, please share. Thanks!


More Than Books: The local library (KCLS), Pop Music, and You


Just wanted to share a resource I recently delivered to teachers to help them understand KCLS resources. I also wanted to play around with embedding* a Sway into a blog post. Enjoy the tunes.

*Update – the embedding upon publishing doesn’t look the same as embedding when I’m writing. :/

A Farewell to Sesquipedalians and Other Big Words that Make You Not Want To Read Stuff


Don’t worry, I didn’t know what “sesquipedalian” meant either.

trumpwordsI recently came across the Hemingway Editor which allows you to enter and edit text for review. As you can see from the picture below, it identifies:

  1. hard (and very hard) to read sentences
  2. passive voice
  3. misspelled words
  4. unnecessary adverbs
  5. alternative phrase options

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 2.22.55 PM.png

Sounds pretty great to me, but I think I may be more intrigued by the readability measurement. This has some pretty interesting potential uses for the classroom – from a student or a teacher perspective.

For students:
1. Use the site as part of the rough draft process – as an addition or in combination to peer reviews.
2. Practice changing sentence structure to increase or decrease readability.
3. I like having students explain or present to a younger audience. When students have to teach or present, have them edit with this to consider the best way to get their message across.

For teachers:
1. Check assignments, instructions, directions before giving them to students. I’m not a huge fan of listed directions, but I’m even less a fan of confusing instructions.
2. When working with second language learners, edit, modify and tweak the reading level down to a more manageable text.
3. Hello differentiated texts.

Notice that it doesn’t check for grammar, but it’s easy to use your word processor of choice for that. Even if you do know words and even have the best words – it may not be the best for your audience.

Please, think of the children.

What other potential uses do you see for this?

Oh and before you check the readability of this post – it’s at a 6th grade level, but my first draft was 9th. Hope the revisions helped.

A Brainstorm On Convincing Students They Don’t Know How To Google


Digital natives don’t know everything there is to know about the digital world – and especially research in a digital world. This is not breaking news. According to this study – done by anthropologists (woot!) – although library staff and professors need to do a better job of reaching out, students are pretty lousy online researchers. If you’re a teacher, you know…


Unfortunately, students don’t realize this struggle. They THINK they know it. Now I’m not going to turn this into a post complaining about students because that’s not my style and it’s not their fault. They don’t know what they don’t know.  

Continue reading

OneNote and Google Docs are not twinsies.


Starting out with another confession: I’m a supporter of any technology that benefits students. I’ve used Google Docs (along with other GAFE tools) for a few years as a teacher and more recently moved to a school that uses Microsoft OneNote. This post is meant strictly as a point of differentiation and to explain what I appreciate about OneNote.

Whenever I try to tell others about OneNote their response would usually be something like: “so it’s like Google Docs.” It’s really not.

How OneNote is not Google Docs

Continue reading

Linked Notes with OneNote – A New Way to Organize Research


One of the many facets of doing good research is organizing and managing the resources you’ve found. Students have enough trouble organizing homework and tracking daily school work and research just adds a whole other layer to the Seven Layer Bean Dip Affair.*


What you will need:

  1. OneNote
  2. Internet Explorer or Edge (haven’t tested on Edge, but I can’t imagine it doesn’t work in the Windows 10/Edge browser – please let me know if it doesn’tUpdate: doesn’t work on Edge – Thanks! @OneNoteC

The easiest way to start is to click on “Linked Notes” under the “Review” Tab in OneNote – although you can also activate linked notes from within MS Word.


Clicking “Linked Notes” will open up a new window that takes up about a quarter of the screen and will have the current OneNote page you are working on in it, but you can select any page within any of your notebooks.


When you open up Internet Explorer to start researching it will open up into the larger window, but leave the linked notes window open.


Notice the Internet Explorer Symbols? Hover over one of them and you will see a link and a thumbnail of the site. Students don’t need to copy and paste the link into the notebook since it’s already saved.


If you navigate to a new page, you’ll have a new link for the next line of note you type in OneNote.

It doesn’t work just for Internet Explorer. This works for Word documents, PowerPoints and even other OneNote pages you may reference.

ln5You may also choose to re-size the window if you don’t like the small note-taking space.


Is it similar to split screen? Absolutely.

Is it different? Absolutely.

The big difference? It’s linking between the content you’re working from on the other half of the screen.

Linked notes in OneNote saves time in researching and may help students who have trouble staying organized since it automatically links to research they’re finding online.

Enjoy easy linking!

Update: Credit to @OneNoteC for pointing out some caveats.
Linked notes only work on desktops – they disappear if working in the app.

My additional thought – 
If you’re working in a 1:1 environment that doesn’t require use of the app, this isn’t much of an issue – but great to be aware of.


*Soon to be a major motion picture.