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  • Is the source out of date?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: Perfect Chemistry

Perfect Chemistry
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was an enjoyable, fast-paced read. I was hooked from the start. I found myself ‘cheering’ Alex on as he tried to form a relationship with Brittany. I also found myself empathizing with Brittany. Brittany appears as a shallow teen engrossed in how she appears to others — in other words remaining perfect. However, Brittany has a life that she doesn’t readily share with others. Her desire to be perfect at school comes from a need to protect herself and her secret life at home. Will Brittany be willing to let Alex see that secret life?

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Review: Eleanor and Park

Eleanor and Park
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


For teens: This is a romance that started a little slow for me. However, as I got to know Eleanor better, I got hooked on the book.

However, this book is much more than a romance. About halfway thru, I started asking myself who the Eleanors are in my life. I’m also wondering what more I can do to help those Eleanors not only survive but thrive. I’m also wondering how I can become the Park in someone’s life or to help others be a Park in someone’s life.

Every adult that works with teens should read this book and ask themselves — who is the Eleanor OR how can I help teens be accepting like Park?

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Review: The Runaway King

The Runaway King
The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

King Jaron has to runaway and become Sage again to have a chance at uncovering the plot against him and save his kingdom. To find the answers he needs, Sage enters the pirates den — where no one leaves alive.

This book arrived today and wasn’t on my ‘to read’ list for the weekend. However, it only took a few pages of reading to get me hooked. It definitely deserves the waiting list it has at school.

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Review: No Safety In Numbers

No Safety In Numbers
No Safety In Numbers by Dayna Lorentz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lexi is spending lunch at the mall with her mom, The Senator, and her dad. Just as they are about to eat, they are interrupted with a call that changes their lives and the lives of those around them forever. They and a few thousand others are suddenly locked in the mall. Join Lexi and those she friends as they deal with the confinement, the disintegration of society and the mysterious reason for the confinement.
Note: The ending hints at a ‘Book Two’.

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