1/18/2012

Searching for lesson materials

As teachers, we search a lot. We go online for a more useful lesson plan, a good picture to go along with our powerpoint or even a quick fact check before a lesson. Even though we're all pretty good at finding what we need, it always seems to take a bit longer than it should to find what we want. It doesn't have to be terribly difficult to get good things fast. Here are my recommendations for getting your hands on quality online material.

Useful lesson plans-  40 Places to Find Free Lesson Plans Online
This is a pretty comprehensive list describing the most popular sites online to find quality ideas for new lessons.

Handouts, handout creators-  Handout Maker  and  Teachnology worksheets
Best for middle school, this is a great place to go when your short on time, but you need a handout for kids on a specific topic. Make crossword puzzles, traditional worksheets and even mazes.

Safe, quality searching: netTrekker, Digital Vaults 

Good pictures- Pics4Learning
Need some images to add to your powerpoints? Do your students need to complete a project involving pictures? Here is a great place to get photos that are free, copywrite friendly and most importantly safe.

Quality video- Youtube/education , Brainpop,   Discovery Education* (paid subscription)  
You can now find great videos for your classroom on youtube! This has been a long time coming. Some of the best educational youtube videos have been put in one place. Plus most browsers have a way to download youtube videos to watch them later. Chrome makes this especially easy. Discovery education is probably the best source of educational video on the internet. Unfortunately, it is a paid subscription. If you have the means to pay for it, I highly recommend it.

Audio- Internet Archive , SoundFX Now,      
This is a great place to find stories, songs and sound effects. It's especially nice if you have a short story you would like to have the kids listen to in class.

Fact checking-  Wolfram Alpha
Forget Google. They're only interested in providing you with relavent websites. If you're looking for some fact checking, this is the place to go. It will perform calculations, find the relavent facts on historical figures or fill in the blanks for n_t_.  Even better, they provide references for all the information they provide you.

Calculator- Desmos or Wolfram Alpha
If you're trying to do some basic calculations, either of these would work fine. However, if you want to do a word type problem (what is 20% of 1.6?), Wolfram Alpha is the way to go. If your goal is to calculate algebraic expressions, Desmos will work a bit better. This is also an excellent replacement for a graphing calculator and can handle enormously complex equations.



Do you have other suggestions? Please let me know!