With common core, our students are going to be expected to evaluate information in terms of

  • Authority
  • Bias
  • Coverage
  • Date

Although there are ‘worksheets’ for students to use to evaluate a source, this will be more effective if they can learn to ask themselves these questions as they encounter information:

  • Who wrote (produced) this? What is their expertise on the subject?
  • What is the author/producer’s point of view? Are they trying to persuade me?
  • Does this source tell the whole story or do I need to look for ‘missing pieces’?
  • Is the source out of date?
  • Was this written/produced by someone who was a witness to the event OR was it written/produced by someone passing on information from some other source?

I recently was asking myself some of these questions as I was watching a YouTube video regarding health care. Since this video was shared by a trustworthy friend on Facebook, I took the time to watch it. However, as I was watching, I kept asking myself whether the information in the video (and there is a lot) was accurate since I knew the author of the video was NOT an expert in the field!

Help your students become critical thinkers by helping them to ask these questions of information they encounter every day.


School Librarians Workshop

For the first time in a very long time, I will be participating in the School Librarians’ Workshop hosted by the Northeast Kansas Library System. Not only will I be attending, but somehow I got asked to present. I truly believe that what we are doing at Nemaha Valley High School isn’t any different than what is being done in school libraries across the state.

Kindles in Schools — Hear more about how one school district has tried checking out ereaders, including lessons learned,  what works and what didn’t.

AR Word Counts – Learn how Accelerated Reader word counts correlate with students’ test scores.  Recent studies show a strong connection between the two.

Review: Bittersweet

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hudson’s life falls apart the day of her most important skating competition. With the friendship of Dani, Hudson emerges as the ‘cupcake queen’ of Watonka. Spotted skating by Josh, Hudson is asked by his friend Will to give the hockey team skating pointers. Not willing to take crap from the team, Hudson finally proves that her knowledge of skating can help them compete and she becomes their secret weapon, Princes Pink. Is Will just using her to win a hockey scholarship or does he really care for her? Does Hudson care for Will or is it Josh that she longs to be with? Will Hudson risk her family and her best friend for another chance at fame?
This is a fun romantic read but WARNING — don’t read this while hungry. Each chapter begins with a delicious description of one of Hudson’s cupcake creations.

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Review: Frozen Past

Frozen Past
Frozen Past by Richard C. Hale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book has all of the makings of a Criminal Minds plot. It is a great mystery/suspense.

While in a neighborhood snowball fight, Luke, Jimmy and John discover Ellie’s dog buried in the snow. Bentley ran off one night and now is found ‘murdered’. The discovery of Bentley brings these four teens together to face more gruesome discoveries, track the killer and fight for their lives.

This is a great suspense tale and was hard to put down.

Some reviewers have indicated that even though the main characters are teens, the content isn’t appropriate for young adults. If this were a movie, it would probably get a PG rating because of the violence. The violence in this book would be similar to that on CSI or Criminal Minds.

With a different cover, this book could easily appeal to the male audience. It is a fast paced read with plenty of action and suspense to appeal to males.

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Review: Flat-Out Love

Flat-Out Love
Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The other reviewers are right — this is a 5 star book and a 1 star book. Therefore, I’m giving it a 3.

Julie is too caught up in looks and too much attention is placed on how one dresses. I also guessed the outcome of the book very early in the book. That justifies a 1 star rating

On the other hand the further I got in the book the more it sucked me in. This book had me staying up way too late and in tears by the time I finished, justifying 5 stars.

So, I’m settling in the middle with 3 stars.

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Review: Ashen Winter

Ashen Winter
Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Continuing saga of Alex and Darla as they strive to survive and to find Alex’s parents. Locked in a natural disaster, Ashen Winter not only depicts how deprived humanity can become but also how valuable friends and family are. This book captured my attention from page 1 to the end. Book 3 of the trilogy can’t come out soon enough.

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