No matter the age of your students, it’s best to start small. NoodleTools MLA Lite -- which is free and recommended for grades six through eight -- focuses on creating a Works Cited page. NoodleTools Express -- also free -- offers support for creating a bibliography/Works Cited page for MLA, Chicago/Turion, or APA styles; it's ideal for citing just one or two sources. Neither of these options includes creating and archiving notecards, sharing work, or making outlines, but this is just fine when students are starting out.
Once students show comfort and familiarity, it may be worth looking into an individual or annual subscription to reap the site's extensive resources. Should you opt for the full package and want to differentiate, it’s recommended that you assign specific levels to students. For example, ELL students and struggling readers would benefit from starting at the Beginner level, where the tutorials are more visual and the source options more limited.Continue reading Show less
NoodleTools is an online platform designed to be a one-stop support system for students' research. With a series of clicks and keystrokes, students move from page to page through the site, each step of the way informing the next. From selecting sources all the way to submitting a final paper, students get guidance on every part of the research process. Instead of collecting papers and notecards and scheduling conferences, teachers can monitor, and comment on, students' progress at any time.
To begin, students create and name their research project; they then move on to selecting a source they'd like to cite. Immediately, a "Show Me" tutorial appears -- it’s a slideshow that guides students through evaluating the source to determining its quality. Overall, there are three levels of the product: Beginner for Elementary/Middle School reading ability; Junior for students new to research; and Advanced. The program also offers multiple ways for teachers to help students pursue the research process, from "NoodleTools MLA Lite" to "Choose The Best Search," among others.
NoodleTools' thorough approach to the research process helps confirm its potential for learning. Both teachers' and students' needs have been deftly anticipated and attended to. In addition, there's a fantastic, built-in way of prompting students to consider the value of the source they've selected. But what distinguishes NoodleTools the most is its focus on the why of research, valuing the process over just the results.
That said, Noodle Tools scaffolds the research process in such a detailed way that it might help if the program did more to simplify things. At times, it's so thorough that it could teeter on overwhelming for both teachers and students. To fully appreciate the site’s smart offerings may take a significant amount of time. Of course, the nature of research is an orderly, detailed, and step-by-step process -- nevertheless, Noodle Tools might also do well to help students highlight more of the genuine enjoyment and "a-ha" moments that can come about through discovery.
Key Standards Supported
Reading Informational Text
Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums (e.g., print or digital text, video, multimedia) to present a particular topic or idea.
Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person’s life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.