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3 Lesson Plan Sharing Platforms Every Teacher Needs to See

At a time when teachers around the country are faced with shrinking budgets and high levels of scrutiny, technology provides a much needed support system. There are a host of great online platforms providing free access to high-quality resources that help teachers do their jobs. These sites are geared at providing educators with a diverse assortment of curriculum materials, ideas and strategies. This guide can help even technology-novices locate the best materials on the web.

Share My Lesson
The American Federation of Teachers union recently joined with TSL Education to create sharemylesson.com, a site that allows teachers to share content with other teachers. There are simple worksheets for short lesson plans, entire semester-long units, PowerPoint presentations and multimedia tools for classrooms. An added benefit is a built-in rating system that allows its members to rank uploaded content based on quality. This helps teachers quickly browse for the most popular items. Lessons emphasize creative tools to engage kids, such as punctuation traffic lights. The content is broken down for special populations of students, such as students with special needs or students that are particularly strong at certain subjects, just to name a few. An added resource on the site is the content generated from several large outside organizations. There are featured resources from the Student Achievement Partners, which is a non-profit founded by three authors of the national common core standards initiative. There are also materials from the non-profit behind Sesame Street, Sesame Workshop, and public radio and television, which help deepen the breadth of resources available for teachers.

Edutopia
Edutopia is part of the George Lucas Foundation, which is dedicated to improving K-12 education with greater implementation of evidence-based strategies in the classroom. The website helps teachers understand, utilize and develop these new ideas in their practice. Lesson plans and resources are organized by grade level and topic including styles of learning like social and emotional learning, brain-based and project-based. Beyond curriculum material the site has guides on how to use new evidence-based research in the classroom, blogs on teaching strategies and videos. For example, the site features a tab on student engagement where teachers can find a lesson plan on flipping the classroom and a list of hands-on ideas to engage kids in math. There are discussion forums for teachers to communicate with others and provide feedback. The foundation emphasizes using new technology in the classroom so it provides links to podcasts, iPad curriculum and tech-integrated projects, lessons and ideas.

Teaching Channel
The teachingchannel.org is an innovative idea-sharing platform. Launched in 2011 this non-profit is a video showcase of teaching practice with the goal of revolutionizing the profession. By changing the way teachers engage, learn from and inspire each other, the Teaching Channel hopes to capitalize on the rich base of expertise in the field. Teachers can browse videos by grade level, subject or topic. Topics include planning, common core, digital literacy and class culture. The videos are generated from around the U.S., and emphasize unique interactive methods, such as song and art, as core to the curriculum. A free account is required to make comments and correspond with other teachers. An account also allows members to save and schedule lesson plans- it also take time-stamped notes on videos to be saved or shared with colleagues. Videos include using a familiar medium such as comic books to teach non-fiction, and quick end-of-lesson assessments for teachers to get feedback and adapt lessons.

Lessons for the Future

These three platforms represent a future where teachers have greater access to innovative and interactive ideas through collaboration. These online networks have the capacity to improve the profession of teaching, and provide the support and resources that teachers need.

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