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.


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.

Cyber Students invade our Library!

IMG_0948 IMG_0949

We have a new cyber center housed in the library.  While, invade may be a strong word, we do see a consistent stream of students every day utilizing the Cyber Center!!!  

Who knows??? With predictions of more and more students who will take advantage of cyber learning (whether hybrid as they are also enrolled in brick and mortar classes or solely cyber) we want and need the library to be a part of the action!

Cyber Students are my Students, too!  The Role and Responsibility of the Library Media Specialist

We are witnesses to an education system which is rapidly changing.  These changes are an exciting challenge to anyone who wants to maximize potential within the change.

Libraries are a part of that change; we must recognize that our client needs are changing.  Our schools often have cyber courses available which are taught by our teaching staff to our students.  Any student who is taught by our staff is also our library patron.  The challenge is that we may never see that student in the building.  Library Media Specialists need to be aware of this concept and assertively work to provide resources to support student success in this setting.

As Library Media Specialists, we are also coaches.  We offer our teachers services to help them support student achievement.  The cyber teacher has different needs and can be coached in different skills.

It is our mission to support the students enrolled in cyber programs, the teachers that teach in the cyber setting, and the teachers and administrators who support the students enrolled in the program.

Online Portal for Cyber Students and Teachers


Locating it in the Library:

Seriously, I would have been sad if it had been anywhere else in the building.  I would have felt out of the loop with the program and very disjointed.   If these students were in a different area within the building, I would not be able to reach them.  A Librarian has got to make sure she (or he) still reaches her population!

The change required shuffling of sections and even relocating bookshelves. While it created cause to troubleshoot, it has been an asset to the school and the library media center.

I have an opportunity this year to reach everyone involved. Students who, taking cyber at the high school age, are developmentally in need of continued academic guidance.

I am looking forward to watching this program grow and serve the various needs of students. If any school is considering building a cyber center, I highly suggest that it is located in the library and that the librarian has an active role in communicating services and resources!

Benefits of housing the cyber center in the library

  • Students can easily access library staff to receive assistance with resources
  • Library staff can keep the teacher who provides support up to date with resources and services available
  • Library staff has better access to teachers of cyber courses and can offer services (such as teaching them how to screencast as a form of digital communication, helping the teacher digitize content, offering to be a co-teacher on the LMS platform in order to push out information to every student enrolled in the course)
  • Administration passes through more often, giving them a better view of daily library activity
  • Students who are solely enrolled in cyber courses have exposure to the library facility along with a change of environment
  • Promotes the concept of a “learning commons” with a common work space that is not surrounded by classroom walls
  • Flexible hours for the cyber center are easily accommodated through the library