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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Before You Begin:

Getting Started:

Creating, Editing and Assigning Lessons:

What is Strategy Tutor?

Strategy Tutor is a web-based tool designed to support students and teachers doing reading and research on the internet. For students, Strategy Tutor helps you read, research, collect and understand information better and more efficiently. For teachers, Strategy Tutor provides a way to easily create web-based lessons embedded with research-based, highly effective learning strategy and vocabulary supports. And, because it is web-based, Strategy Tutor allows you to check on your students' progress easily, at any time, and from any computer.

There are two "views" of Strategy Tutor. The Student Strategy Tutor website is where students work. On the student homepage, you can read messages from your teacher, work on your own work or teacher-created lessons, and collect work log entries that are like note cards. Your work log entries are tagged with source citations and a strategy category; that makes research easier and more effective. You can also check out the research project tutorial and feature demonstration videos to learn how to use Strategy Tutor more effectively (see screenshot below).

Strategy Tutor Student Homepage

The Teacher Strategy Tutor website supports teachers in learning why and how to support students in strategy-based instruction while working on the internet. The Teacher Strategy Tutor website includes a lesson authoring tool with coach supports, a lesson database, professional development resources and a teacher view of student worklogs. The Teacher Strategy Tutor website also includes a class management tool where teachers can add classes, students, and set student passwords.

Strategy Tutor Teacher Homepage

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What can I do with Strategy Tutor?

Students can do a lot with Strategy Tutor. Collect information, get help with websites, information, vocabulary and store all your notes a personal, sortable electronic worklog that you can view from any computer. Strategy Tutor is a tool to help you be successful reading and doing research on the web.

Teachers can do a lot with Strategy Tutor, too. Access professional development resources, check the database of teacher-created lessons that you can use or revise for your own classes, or create your own strategy-supported lessons. Get help from embedded coaches there to guide you. And watch your students grow in research skills as you check their worklogs at any time, from any computer.

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How do I install Strategy Tutor?

Go to the Strategy Tutor Installation Requirements page and follow the step-by-step guide to install the software you will need to run Strategy Tutor.

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How do I login to Strategy Tutor?

Login to Strategy Tutor by going to the Strategy Tutor login page. If you have already have an account, enter your username and password and click the "sign in" button to go to your personal homepage.

If you are a first-time user, click on the "Install Now" button to go to the Installation Requirements and "Create An Account" screen. Click "Create An Account" and fill in the required fields. Click "submit" to create your Strategy Tutor account (see screenshot below).

Strategy Tutor Teacher 'Create An Account' Screen

[note: email addresses are used only for password retrieval requests. Your first name and last initial will appear only if you decide to share your lesson(s) with other teachers in the Lesson Database.]

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How do I create classes and add students?

Teachers can create classes and place students in each class in Strategy Tutor. From your teacher homepage click on the "My Students" button located in the upper right corner of the screen.

'My Students' button

From the "My Students" page, click "Add Class" to create and name a class.

'My Students' page

To Add Students

To add students to your class, first select the class you want the student to go in and click "Go". Click "Add New Student"; and fill in the required fields to add a student to the class. [note: a username connects a student with a particular teacher, so no username can be the same.]

Add/Edit Student Information page

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How do I assign lessons to my class?

Assigning lessons is easy!

Different classes can be assigned different lessons. To unassign a lesson, uncheck the class period.

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How do I publish a lesson to the Lesson Database?

Publishing a lesson to the Lesson Database allows other teachers to see the lesson plan and to save it to their own Strategy Tutor page. To publish a lesson, go to "Create and Edit Lessons." Find the column "Publish to Lesson Database" and click "publish." You can remove your lesson from the Lesson Database at any time by unchecking the "publish" box.

Create and Edit Lesson page

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How can I hide the Strategy Tutor toolbar when I'm not using it?

Sometimes you might want to use Firefox but not want to use Strategy Tutor. To "hide" the Strategy Tutor toolbar at the top of the page:

  • Place your mouse on the toolbar.
  • "Right click" to get the toolbar menu (see below). You will see that all the toolbars that are currently showing are checked.
  • Click on "CAST Strategy Tutor" to uncheck (or hide) the toolbar.
  • When you want it to display again, "recheck" the toolbar.
  • Hiding and Displaying the Toolbar

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    Can my students use Strategy Tutor for research if I haven't created a lesson?

    Yes, students can use Strategy Tutor as a tool to accomplish a research task that you've assigned in class

    Scenario A

    Ms. Rosario's class has been reading the novel, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Students can't believe the kind of discrimination that the family faced. Ms. Rosario decides that students would benefit from learning more about discrimination and the civil rights movement.

    In class, she asks students to go online with Strategy Tutor to research examples of discrimination. They will start a new project. She wants them to find at least two examples from different websites. She tells students to use the web evaluation strategy to evaluate each website. Then, when they find a good example, they should use the summary strategy to describe the example and the feeling strategy to show how they would feel if they encountered such discrimination. They will share their example in class. She explains the task in class (option- provide a handout)

    Ms. Rosario's class goes to the computer lab twice a month. So, the next time they go to the lab, they conduct this research, saving their work to their worklogs.

    Class presentation: Ms. Rosario has a TV and one computer in her classroom. She connects her computer for display and opens her teacher view of the worklog. As students come up to present, she selects each student's project from the worklog. This allows them to share their response and to click on the website so that everyone can see the webpage that shows their example of discrimination.

    Students create a class collage of discrimination, with each student contributing a summary and a visual to the collage.

    Scenario B

    Mr. Darren wants to do the same thing with his students, but he doesn't have any lab time for the next month. He does have two computers in his classroom. He asks two students to research on the web for the class using Strategy Tutor. This is a quick search, "Take 15 minutes and see how many examples you can find for us. Evaluate each site so you will have a record in your worklog."

    Presentation: Once the students have found several examples, they use the computer projector to display what they've found (they click on the urls in their worklog for the top sites that they've found).

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    Can my students use Strategy Tutor to read public-domain literature if I haven't created a lesson?

    Yes, the students can set up a project in Strategy Tutor to read the literature.

    Scenario 1

    Ms. Winter's class is reading Edgar Allan Poe's short story, "The Cask of the Amontillado". She knows many students will struggle to read this text, which is part of her grade level curriculum. She finds an online version of the story at Project Guttenberg.

    During class, Ms. Winter puts the URL on the board and tells students that they can read the story online, using Strategy Tutor. Since they have access to computers during study hall and some have access at home, they can read online during these times. They should start a new project in Strategy Tutor and type in the URL for the story. They can use the text-to-speech tool to listen to the text. She reminds them to stop every few pages to respond, using one of the strategies, so that they will be prepared for class discussion.

    Ms. Winter has several students with special needs. The special education teacher agrees to use the computers in her classroom to work with these students on reading the story in Strategy Tutor.

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    I created a lesson and a class list, but my lesson does not appear on my students' homepages. Why?

    Check in "Create and Edit Lessons" on your teacher site to make sure you have assigned the lesson to your class. You must check off each class you want to share the lesson with in order for it to appear on those students' homepages. For more on assigning lessons, see section on "How do I assign lessons to my class?"

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    In background information — how can I move an entry up?

    Currently, background information displays in the order in which it is entered. If you want to rearrange the entries, you will need to "cut and paste" the information from one section to another-using a Word document is helpful in keeping track of the information as you do the rearranging.

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    How do I insert a vocabulary word?

  • Click Vocabulary Builder and then click Add word.
  • Enter the vocabulary message (optional) and then type in your word in the box.
  • You may also add a definition if you like.
  • To add another word, click add word and another entry line will appear. Repeat to add more words.
  • Click save.
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    Can you permanently delete your working lessons after they are published?

    You can remove your lesson from the Published Database by simply unchecking the "publish" box on the "Create and Edit Lessons" page. Currently, you cannot delete a lesson from your personal "Create and Edit Lessons" page.

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    When a student comes in how do they find you as their teacher? What if a student has several teachers using Strategy Tutor?

    Students do not see their teacher's name when they sign into Strategy Tutor. Students are connected to a teacher through their "username." If several teachers have the same student and want to use Strategy Tutor, the student will need a unique username for each teacher. We suggest using the same username and then adding the teacher name on the end. For example, if both Ms. Smith and Mr. Jones have Alex M. as a student, possible passwords could be: "alexmSmith" and "alexmJones".

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    What is the best way to log in for a team of teachers?

    If teachers want to be able to work on lessons together, it is best for the team to have a shared account with one username. One note of caution, however: teachers should not be working on a lesson simultaneously, as Strategy Tutor was not designed to support teams working on the same lesson. You can also use the "Publish to Database" feature to pass lessons back and forth between individual teachers using Strategy Tutor.

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    Can you add multiple URLs in an activity?

    No. Strategy Tutor is designed for each activity and background builder information to have one URL in order that coach support be available.

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    Are there units for different novels so that this isn't so much prep work for teachers?

    Check out the Lesson Database, which includes many lessons created by teachers that you can use as-is, or modify as much or as little as you want.

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    Can I modify Click Speak to add inflection or expression?

    You can modify the speed and quality of the Click Speak voice so that it is more appealing to the listener. For instructions on modifying the voices in Click Speak, click here.

    Click, Speak is a free text-to speech tool and, like many "screen readers," does not add inflection or emotion as it reads text. We do feel, however, that having the option of hearing the text is essential in providing access for many students. Click, Speak is just an add-on, not part of Strategy Tutor. If you find another text-to-speech tool that works with the Firefox browser and that you feel better meets the needs of your students, you can add that to the Firefox toolbar instead.

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    Can I set up Strategy Tutor so that 2 or more teachers can work on the lesson and both names appear?

    This is not currently possible. Strategy Tutor was designed for individual users to create lessons, and so only one author's name will appear when the lesson is posted in the Lesson Database. Students, however, will never see the teacher/author's name on a lesson, so this should not be an issue when two teachers assign the same lesson to different classes.

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    I put in study guide questions, but one question ran into the next instead of a list. What do I do?

    We are working on including formatting options when teachers create directions (the same as are in the "customize coach" box). A work-around that you can use right now is numbering the questions and/or including several "spaces" between questions. Not optimal, but it will help separate questions from one another.

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