Statistics Rubric: Post #4 Skill Specific Research Rubrics Series


How many firearms are sold in the U.S.? Which regions sell the most and which sell the least? These are the types of questions students want to look into for their research papers, but incorporating statistics into research is often overlooked. Each topic yields its own possibilities!

So, how can we get students into the habit of considering the addition of statistical information? How can we help them find the statistics and determine what makes one statistic more impressive than another?

The Statistics Rubric is designed for a teacher to use as a requirement during a research project. I like the rubric because students can refer to the guidelines within as they complete the task and do not have to revisit their memory or the slideshow that I make available to them. I would (ideally) suggest using the statistics rubric during 8th and 9th (and possibly 10th) grades in order to have the become proficient at the skill and then move them into the Infographic Rubric during 10th/11th/12th.

Other Rubrics in Skill-specific Research Rubrics Series:
#1 Thesis Statement Rubric
#2 Outline Rubric
#3 Infographic Rubric

photo courtesy of:

Cunningham, Simon. “Statistics.” Flickr. Yahoo, 18 Dec. 2013. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.


Infographic Rubrics: Post #3 Skill Specific Research Rubrics Series


Most of us prefer to take information in visually.
We also prefer to take in information in tiny bits.

So, we teach students to convey information mainly through written papers and presentation programs, such as Google Slides or PowerPoint. While I absolutely advocate mastering both of those skills, I argue that we must also teach students how to master visual communication skills.

I have posted Allison Burley’s infographic lesson on my blog before. However, at our high school, we have seniors create them for senior research and our freshmen now have an expectation to create an infographic during their career research.

We have created skill-specific research rubrics for students to pinpoint important elements of an infographic (both of which are linked below):

Link here for our infographic rubric

We also have a modified rubric that we use with students who struggle with learning.
Link here for our modified infographic rubric

Feel free to use either one with your students.
Good luck!

Other rubrics in this series:
Thesis Statement Rubric
Outline Rubric
Statistics Rubric

image courtesy of:

I Bike Fresno. “2011 Million Mile Challenge Infographic.” Flickr. Yahoo, 2 July
2011. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.

Outline Rubric: Post #2 Skill Specific Research Rubrics Series


When students write, they may not realize that there is a correlation between the number of subtopics and the length of the paper that they will produce. A large number of subtopics is likely to yield a larger paper, where a small amount will create a smaller paper. I sometimes see students in panic mode, wondering how they will ever write a longer paper. When I point out that, when they increase subtopics and when multiple sources/experts support each subtopic, the paper will naturally get longer, many students begin to relax.

In addition to that, when I look over outlines, I often see that students will at times have only one subtopic or section (creating an “A” without a “B” or a “1” without a “2”). I need to tell the student that, if there is only one subtopic under the main topic, then that is what comprises the entirety of their main topic and that they can (a) use the keyword(s) from the subtopic and add it to the main topic, making it the overall topic OR (b) add at least one more subtopic.

Overall, a good outline will set the foundation for a good paper. The rubric below is designed to help the students consider outline elements to begin to create a good outline. As mentioned in my thesis statement rubric post (#1 in this series), this skill-specific outline would be introduced to students who are not yet completely literate in this skill. As the students become more literate, you can guide your students to learn more advanced skills (which will appear later within this series). Good luck helping your students develop their research skills!!! 🙂

Outline Rubric

Other Rubrics in the Skill-Specific Research Rubric Series:
Thesis Statement Rubric
Infographic Rubric
Statistics Rubric

image courtesy of:

Glasses on Book. Pixabay. Pixabay, 13 Dec. 2015. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.


Thesis Statement Rubric: Post #1 Skill Specific Research Rubrics Series


We have found that when we first introduce a research skill to students that it really helps to attach a skill-specific rubric to the assignment. In doing so, we are delineating the ideal elements into categories within a rubric to help isolate the concepts and desired outcomes for students. We have found that, if the new skill is embedded into the assignment and overall grade, it becomes camouflaged into the assignment. When the students eventually become fluent at the skill, then the rubric may be taken away. For instance, we use this Thesis Statement Rubric and example sheet with 8th, 9th, and possibly 10th grade students. After that time, it is rare that the students will see the rubric since they are likely to have become literate at what constitutes a good thesis statement. For the 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students, we begin to incorporate statistics, infographic, annotated bibliography rubrics, etc.

Here is our Thesis Statement Rubric along with a form that students use to grade example Thesis Statements against the rubric to not only see how they “add up” but also how a thesis statement can progress during the drafting stages.

Thesis Statement Rubric

Thesis Statement Examples to Compare Against Rubric

Other Rubrics in the Skill-Specific Research Rubrics Series:
Outline Rubric
Infographic Rubric
Statistics Rubric

Image, courtesy of:

.B, Paul. “1.February.2012.” Flickr. Yahoo, 1 Feb. 2012. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.



Scholarly Journal Articles in High School


Print journals may be dead, but these articles are not!

Scholarly journal articles are long… Scholarly journal articles are filled with career-specific jargon… Scholarly journal articles are intimidating.


Scholarly journal articles are filled with findings from detail specific research… Scholarly journal articles have information which can support many additional research areas… Scholarly journal articles provide much deeper concepts to consider than popular magazines.

So, as high school teachers, we should:

  • direct students towards finding and using these articles
  • provide guidance to students in using them most effectively
  • reduce the superfluous effort students may put towards reading the article in its entirety
  • essentially, work towards keeping students from running away from these articles and help them begin to use the expert information within to support the inquiry process that they have designed, through their thesis statement and outlines.

Additionally, as high school teachers, we should recognize that certain field-specific scholarly journal articles are formatted in a more narrative way, while others are easier to use and deconstruct for students. At our school, we found this was true while our juniors were doing Truman research. We had chosen, within our research scope and sequence, to introduce students to scholarly journal articles in 11th grade. Where this was mainly happening was in the social studies class. The articles students were using were formatted in narrative designs. As a result, students were not seeing the formats that were easier to use.

So, we began to offer more guidance within junior English classes (where students were likely to receive article results that were written with section headings, etc.).  This graphic organizer was designed to help guide students in using the articles to determine what was and was not useful to them and their research (and not feel as if they have to read the article top to bottom)

Good luck introducing these to your students and helping them to use the articles effectively!

image citation:

Clede, Jonathan. “Scholarly Journal.” Flickr. Yahoo, 8 July 2006. Web. 6 Jan. 2016. <;.


Citation Generators: Comparison of NoodleTools to EasyBib

We MUST talk about: Citation Generators

Fact #1:  Our school recognizes Purdue OWL as an excellent authority on citation style and writing.

Fact #2:  Our school has adopted NoodleTools as the citation generation tool that we will use.

Fact #3:  Our students sometimes use EasyBib anyway to generate citations, preferring the URL feature.

This prompted me to compare:

Here is how Purdue OWL instructs users to cite a Page on a Web Site:

For an individual page on a Web site, list the author or alias if known, followed by the information covered above for entire Web sites. Remember to use n.p. if no publisher name is available and n.d. if no publishing date is given.

“How to Make Vegetarian Chili.” eHow. Demand Media, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2009.

Here is how Noodletools generates a citation for a Web Page (using manual cell editing): note: the second and third lines were indented by NoodleTools, however I lost that formatting in WordPress.

Gafar, Amin. “What is Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome?” Getting Pregnant.
BabyCentre, Jan. 2012. Web. 7 May 2015. <

Here is how EasyBib generates a citation for a Web Page (using manual cell editing):

Gafar, Amin. “What Is Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome?” Getting Pregnant. BabyCentre, Jan. 2012. Web. 07 May 2015.

Here is how EasyBib generates a citation for a Web Page using the URL and not editing manually:

“What Is Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome?” BabyCentre. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 May 2015.


  • NoodleTools does not offer the ability to drop the URL during the generation of the citation where EasyBib offers the option at that time. (Note:  NoodleTools does allow you to drop the URL when you choose to print the bibliography using formatting options.)
  • NoodleTools formats the citation with proper indenting where EasyBib does not. (Note:  I lose that indentation in WordPress!  It truly does indent properly and EasyBib currently does not.)
  • NoodleTools drops the double digits for the date formatting (as modeled in Purdue OWL) where the number is under 10; EasyBib does not.
  • EasyBib URL citation generator (without manual edit) takes the publisher and calls it the website title or else it tends to duplicate the article title and website title (making the title appear twice).
  • EasyBib URL citation generator (without manual edit) never seems to identify a publisher and has a hard time identifying a date. This prompts students to have N.p., n.d. populating their entire Works Cited if they do not intervene.
  • EasyBib does succeed in the copy/paste feature of an Article Title or Website Title, where it converts lower case titles to become upper case titles, according to MLA guidelines.  NoodleTools does not (the student must recognize that they have pasted a title without proper MLA capitalization and change it themselves – NoodleTools throws an alert notice on the screen, however, I find my students have the tendency to ignore the alert.)


  • Retain NoodleTools as only citation generator “allowed”
  • Implement NoodleTools free version at middle school and elementary buildings (if using generators)
  • Recognize that students will use EasyBib anyway and teach them what happens (go over Notes) during instruction.
  • Instruct teachers of the differences between the results using both generators so that they can look for areas of trouble and help students identify and avoid the common pitfalls.
  • Require students to send teachers their works cited/outlines through the NoodleTools email function

Keyword Searching Global News by Region


image courtesy of:

As a librarian, I consistently encourage my students to seek various perspectives while researching.  While political, military, and religious perspectives are important, the most common perspective that they are likely to search is a differing cultural perspective.  It is so important that we, as citizens of the world, understand how we endure common plights and display similar human reactions.  It is also important that we understand that various regions are impacted uniquely, at times, as a result of culture, geography, faith, politics, etc.

So, I pushed up my sleeves and tried to help my students.  It was at that point that I found just how difficult it was to keyword search cultural regions.  I could find a newspaper for one country and search within, but it was hard to find a larger region to keyword search within.  I ended up creating Google Custom Search Engines to perform this task.  For each region, I am only allowed to identify 10 sites for the search engine to root through.  I tried to pick the most popular news sources for each region and I tried to spread out the coverage (I hope that I did an acceptable job) of news sources.

My favorite search has been with the keyword homework – my own views on homework can oscillate broadly as a busy sports mom and a teacher.  My second favorite search was with the keyword hunting.  I was helping a struggling student find supportive sites for his research topics and I took him into the Google Custom Search Engine and found that, in Africa, the bushmen are fighting for their rights to hunt and survive.  What an education it has been to search via these Google Custom Search Engines!

I hope that you and your students can use and enjoy the site.  I hope that many students are inspired to research varied cultural perspectives and that it broadens their knowledge of the world we live in.