Locust Grove Tech Tidbits

By Denise O'Brien, LMS/STC

Researching for Students

I know many classes are working on units that involve student researching information or people. So I thought I would use this Tech Tidbits to share a few reminders about where to find or locate EXCELLENT resources available to students at Locust Grove.

One of those resources is ME. I am always available to assist, collaborate or help with instruction or finding resources for your or your students. I can come to your classroom, pull resources for you in the library or work with your kids in the computer to help them access or find their information. Please - NEVER hesitate to ask! If I don't have what you need, I can usually either find something just as good or I can possibly purchase it for the school. I keep aside funds just for that reason!


On the Locust Grove Website - we have a page under the Students Menu where I have compiled a few of what I think are the BEST search engines for kids. They are SAFE and easy to use as they are designed specifically for elementary aged children.
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As a public school, we have FREE access to the Ky Virtual Library? The KYVL Kids Search portal provides access for students to:

 Kentuckian Digital Library

 EBSCO Kids Search

 Searchasaurus

 Grolier Encyclopedia

These resources allow teachers and students to search for information, articles, from magazines, pictures and more. You can even filter your searches by Lexile range to find information on specific reading levels.

Detailed instructions on using KYVL and what it has to offer teachers and students are available on the Locust Grove Sharepoint Site - under Library Media Center OR on the Resource Drive in the Library Resources folder.


Also located on the Locust Grove Sharepoint site AND on the Resource Drive are documents providing listings of various resources at Locust Grove including:

  • sources for finding online books
  • a listing of online subscriptions and services
  • instructions for using KYVL
  • Copyright for teachers
  • A listing and description of iPad apps available at Locust Grove.


This is my NEW favorite search portal for kids and teachers! At its most basic, InstaGrok is a visual search engine. It allows students to set the complexity of the information searched with a simple toggle bar. (Slide the bar up for more difficult text complexity, down for easier.) The results are easy to navigate from a web or on a sidebar. The key facts are quickly offered up in their own category. Perfect for elementary searchers! The sidebar also offers more websites, videos, pictures and even quizzes- all on the topic. So far all of my random test searches have yielded appropriate, and even great results.

ut wait there’s more! A bonus feature of this site is a built-in journal for students to use for their research, gathering all information, links and pictures all in one place. It’s a snap to use, too. No multiple steps necessary!

This free site can be used with or without a log-in. The advantage of getting a log-in is that you can save your journal pages for an extensive research project. The sign up requires no email. (“Yay” again for elementary!) When a teacher signs up for an account, s/he can assign a class code. This class code is used by students when they set up their accounts. It links the teacher to the students, and the teacher now can see student journal pages and keep better tabs on student research.

If you research with students (and have felt the frustrations), then it’s well worth the minute and half to check out this demo of a search engine designed for students- instaGrok:

instaGrok demo