YA Clicks October 2013

Homework Help

Rebecca Purdy and the Web Surfers from the Central Rappahannock Regional Library

Many students believe Google is the only homework tool they need, but that shouldn’t stop us from locating and recommending great resources to help them achieve school success. Of course, there’s a large selection of online databases available, but unfortunately library funds are limited and in some places completely unavailable. This is where a strong homework help presence, such as the one Orange County Florida offers (see the review below,) is invaluable.
The Web Surfers and I have found some fantastic sites that offer great homework help assistance.

5I 2R 5U

MathTV offers low budget video of several tutors using a whiteboard to explain step by step how to solve math problems. The simplicity isn’t a criticism, high tech isn’t required here, and it’s probably what allows the site to have several tutors solve the same problem. Having several choices was helpful when watching a percentage video. I hate to admit it, but the first tutor lost me when he arrived at the answer. However, another tutor solved the same problem a different way and I understood the solution! Teens will appreciate the variety of choices for help on everything from addition to trigonometry and calculus. There is also a Spanish tutor available to explain every problem.

The Physics Classroom
The Physics Classroom
5I 4R 4U

Since in my retirement I hope to develop a basic understanding of quantum mechanics, this seemed like the perfect site for me to explore. Although I still have a great deal to learn, the site did not disappoint. It is divided by topics so it’s easy to navigate and to find the required information. There is also an obvious effort to reach students with a wide variety of learning styles by offering explanations via text, practice problems, videos and even interactive games–which aren’t very fancy, but are effective.

Through YA Eyes

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
5I 3R 5U

CliffsNotes is devoted to every subject out there and still includes literature guides. It is arranged in a well constructed, easy to use website and offers a bunch of subject choices from math to foreign language. All you have to do, is pick a subject that you are having trouble in, say Science, narrow it down to the specific area such as Plant Biology, and it gives you a long list of things to help you with your homework or classwork. Just choose the one that fits your needs! This website is not super interactive but it really does help in the long run. I am very impressed with this website, but would like to see grade level choices. So the next time you need homework help or need to study for a test I would suggest going to www.cliffsnotes.com.–Madee Foley

EyeWitness to History
Ibis Communications, Inc.
5I 5R 5U

History can be a bore. After years of classroom lectures and tedious textbook passages, I’m ready to ditch the past for something much more exciting—the future. Where the traditional class strives to teach students only the essential details of history, Eyewitness to History strives to reveal the human experience. For instance, it doesn’t provide a textbook description of Julius’s Caesar accomplishments. Instead, a gripping narrative depicts Caesar crossing the Rubicon. The piece reads like really good fiction, complete with vivid imagery and suspenseful diction. For a moment, I forgot I was actually reading something true and didactic. As I ended the passage, I felt as if I were crossing the muddy waters alongside Caesar, living in his rebellion of epic proportions. Beyond prose, Eyewitness to History also features authentic photographs and videos. After scrolling through beautiful black-and-white images of the busy streets of 1897 Philadelphia, I watched a video with perfect narration about the grief of those living in the Dust Bowl. Eyewitness to History is more than just a convenient homework help website. It’s an experience. Witnessing history through the eyes of those that lived it allows me to understand the past and learn how it affects my life today. With these stories and perspectives, I will go about my days with a fresher outlook of what has happened in our great world. Eyewitness to History brings the past to my future.– Jacob Hopkins

Fact Monster from Information Please
Pearson Education
5I 5R 5U

Have you ever wondered where Haute Couture originated? Or which U.S. President worked as a lifeguard to pay for college? If so, Fact Monster might be the perfect site for you. Whether you are trying to work on a school research project, or you are just trying to expand your knowledge, this website has something for everyone. With colorful graphics and an easy to use layout, it is sure to catch your attention. Fact Monster is broken down into tabbed sections but, if you cannot find what you are looking for, there is a search bar that can direct you to the page you need. In addition to having a plethora of funky facts, Fact Monster also has links to a dictionary, atlas, almanac, encyclopedia, and some timelines. The Homework Center on this site is also a good resource to use. Fact Monster even has a unique section every month to display information regarding different heritage groups, and it is a great way to learn more about other cultures and places around the world.–Allison Weiderhold

4I 5R 5U

Studying with Fact Monster will make any student’s homework experience extremely fun!
This website is like an encyclopedia for pre-teens, and is fun to look at, with colorful, youthful visuals everywhere you look. It boasts a broad variety of research categories that a student can explore. Unlike many educational websites that only feature the typical subjects such as math, English, science, and history, Fact Monster includes information on topics such as sports, finances, art, and fashion in addition to the core subjects. This website is very easy to navigate, with articles sorted by category so that students may explore their interests more efficiently. Fact Monster also includes a section called “Homework Center” where a student will gain access to specific tools such as a scientific conversion calculator. I would highly recommend this website to any preteen as a great reference website where they can begin conducting research, or as just a fun website to browse!–Mikaela Neville

ipl2 for Teens
iSchool at Drexel, College of Information Science and Technology
5I 5R 4U

Are you looking for a place to find homework and college help? Are you looking for a place to post your poetry? Are you looking for a place where you can find answers to all sorts of questions that you are too embarrassed to ask your parents? ipl2 has it all! This website has all sorts of resources that will connect you to the sites that will be the most helpful when you are confused or just need something to do to pass the time. Ipl2 is colorful, easily navigated, and well organized. You could spend hours surfing through all of the interesting facts, games, and comics. Since I am applying to colleges right now, I love the fact that it can take me to all sorts of college help websites that can give me information on courses of study, financial help, and careers after school. So if you ever need help writing an essay or you just want to spend some time reading online comics, you will be very happy with ipl2 for teens. – Jessica Utz

TechMedia Network
5I 4R 4U

Space- the final frontier. Space.com is a fantastic resource for those interested in keeping up with all things space-related, from videos on Elon Musk’s Space X program to articles about Bill Nye the Science Guy’s upcoming appearance on Dancing With the Stars. Featured stories rotate across the front of the site, and other headlines are organized by topic further down on the clean, well-organized page. Links to other topics and currently trending topics frame the top, and sidebars offer links to more stargazing guides, the latest images from space, and wallpapers. A search bar makes research simple, and the articles themselves feature infographics and videos for deeper understanding. For the more science-inclined student, Space.com is fascinating, but for the average student, it’s at least very informational. It’s refreshing to see such an important and interesting topic well-represented in an attractive, easy-to-navigate location.–Kira Zahedi

Kudos for Library Teen Sites

Homework Help @ OCLS
Orange County (FL) Library System

While Orange County’s “it” (Informed Teens) page has much to offer, in light of this month’s column, I’m going to focus only on their “Homework Help” section. They offer a wide selection of valuable online resources, some purchased databases and others free, all carefully selected. Subheadings, helpfully repeated on the side of the page, allow a visitor to narrow their focus. Expected standards are there, such as subject specific sites “Math” and “Government & Civics” and “Languages.” Clear icons representing each subject make this page visually interesting. The “Writing a Research Paper” section is especially strong. It’s divided into the various stages of the process, each with helpful links so assist students with deciding their topic, conducting the research, editing their product and citing their sources. Users of Homework Help @ OCLS will find much support and librarians will find great ideas to translate to their own web pages.

Purdy headshot, used with permissionRebecca Purdy is the youth services coordinator for the Central Rappahannock Regional Library system in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The Web Surfers are a collection of teens willing to volunteer some of their time to see their names in print and help young adult librarians find good sites for their library blogs and Web pages.


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