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Summer Lesson Planning

Wow, it's here! School vacation has started for many and will start in the next few weeks for many more. As you look back over the past year's lesson plans, are your looking for a way to juice up that unit on the Middle Ages? Do you need to find a replacement for the jello cell mass that bombed when the AC went out?

The web provides a huge network of free lesson plans and teaching resources. So take a peek at a few of my favorite sites for finding ways to jazz up what you're doing. Newbies, you'll find lots of help in these sites.

Tops on my list is an award-winner that taps many of the best resources available to teachers on the web - Thinkfinity. Thinkfinity has partnered with nine of the leading educational content providers to give teachers (and homeschool parents) lesson ideas and activities for all grade levels and subjects.

Their user-friendly search tool is very versatile. In addition to selecting by keyword, grade level and subject, you can also choose a specific resource. Resources extend beyond lessons to include interactives, primary sources, research materials, assessments, and media.

Thinkfinity's resource partners have been carefully chosen as the standards leaders in their fields -- ARTSEDGE for the arts, EconEdLink for economics, EDSITEMENT for social studies and language arts, Illuminations for Math, ReadWriteThink for language arts, Science NetLinks for science, Smithsonian's History Explorer for history, and Xpeditions for geography.

Another of my all-time faves is TeAchnology. They offer fee-based resources, but there's plenty of free stuff available, including:

  • A lesson plan database searchable by subject and grade level
  • Rubrics for all subjects
  • Unit planning based on themes
  • Webquests
  • Printables, such as calendars and worksheets
  • Links to professional development resources

Simply great for a broad range of teacher needs!

Still another fantastic resource is Written by teachers for teachers, it has a user-friendly searchable database of lessons, units and web resources. What is particularly helpful to me are the In the Classroom notes that provide lots of hints on how to use the material with students.

There are dozens of other sites with lesson plan and unit ideas. Many of them specialize in one or two subject areas, such as the arts, science, math or history. I've listed more than 80 of them for you on Teacher Tools>Lesson Planning. has much more for teachers than lesson plans. My Teachers Tools section list dozens of sites to help you with classroom management, administration, networking, assessment, grants and donations, professional development and project-based learning.

In addition to lesson planning, communicating with parents is essential but not always easy to do. I've used newsletters aplenty, but they don't always make it out of the backpacks and into the parents hands... if they make it INTO the backpacks to begin with. Some schools I've worked with have well-maintained websites with good tech support. Others -- let's just say they're works in progress. So I've found blogs to be helpful for getting the word to parents. A super simple one is Blogger, now owned by Google. It's easy to set up and maintain. You're reading this on it now. 'Nuf said.

My daughter is bugging me to end this so we can get on with our day, so I'll post more soon. Have an AWESOME summer vacation!

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