Archive for the ‘Lesson Plans’ Category

Online Typing Instruction

October 11, 2012 Leave a comment

When having students complete writing activities using the iPad or computer, I have found that weak typing skills hinder their progress. Dance Mat Typing is a free, fun, leveled game that helps students develop typing skills. The website provides lessons at several levels so that students can learn the keyboard, develop typing skills, and gain speed. For the iPad, Monster Typer Free is an excellent typing game that helps students learn to type faster using the iPad.

Image: David Castillo Dominici/


Digital Literacy/Cyberbullying

September 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Common Sense Media has developed a cyberbullying toolkit, Standing Up, Not Standing By, for K12 educators at all levels. The free toolkit consists of a series of research-based lessons designed to be used for teaching digital literacy and citizenship, along with a parent media and technology education program. The parent education program provides online access to videos, discussion guides, tip sheets, and presentations that can be shared with parents in support of student learning.

Classroom lessons present age-appropriate information related to online safety, appropriate online communication, maintaining privacy online, cyber-bullying, and digital footprints. The curriculum
includes posters, videos, handouts, and classroom activities, along with the documentation necessary to meet E-Rate funding requirements. Additional resources and updates are available via the Common Sense Media blog.

Image: Grant Cochrane/

Interactive Internet Resources for Whiteboards

Promethean Planet is a collection of interactive, Internet-based lessons that can be used with whiteboards. The site contains educational resources for all subjects and grade levels. The Professional Development link provides an overview of features to help you get started using the site. Interactive community features provide the means for teachers to share lesson plans and resources and connect with fellow educators. Selected lesson plans may be saved for future use. Thousands of resources can be easily searched by subject and keyword and by categories such as games, professional development, links, projects, simulations, and worksheets. Some resources are free, others must be purchased.

The Birmingham Grid for Learning website offers resources arranged by category: foundation, primary, and secondary. Resources are further arranged by subject area. You will find a variety of educational materials, from a moon globe to road safety to suggestions for innovative ideas for using whiteboards.

The Lee’s Summit, MO R7 School District Instructional Technology Team maintains a list of interactive resources for the SMART Board. Resources include SMART Board tutorials, pre-made SMART Notebook templates, and sites that provide instructional resources for use with whiteboards. Instructional resources listed on this site are primarily for elementary students. There are a few resources that can be used in secondary classrooms, most notably Freeze Ray, which contains simulations that can be used for physics, chemistry, and biology.

Image: jannoon028 /

Newseum Digital Classroom

Newseum is an interactive museum located in Washington, D. C. that features galleries of artifacts related to news stories around the world. A preview of must-see features of the museum includes exhibits related to 9/11, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Watergate, the Unabomber’s cabin, and more. The Newseum presents a collection of newspaper front pages from around the world. Each front page thumbnail links to the website for the featured newspaper.

Another feature of the Newseum is the Digital Classroom which showcases a collection of video lessons related to social studies, civics, English, government, history, technology, and journalism. Each lesson includes a lesson plan, a viewing guide, and related links to additional instructional resources. Plans are designed to be used to prepare students for a Newseum field trip, but can be implemented as standalone lessons.

One informative lesson explores the Civil Rights Movement. The video lesson presents historic video footage and explores the role of the press in civil rights. The video presents the Civil Rights era from the perspectives of people who experienced it, including Congressional representatives; news editors and reporters; and civil rights activists.

The video guide features warm-up discussion questions, questions to consider while watching the video, and quotations featured in the presentation. The guide also includes questions for group discussion and activities for exploring civil rights, the First Amendment, and the role of a free press in American society.

The lesson plan includes an instructional activity in which students research answers to questions related to key events, court cases and people involved in the civil rights movement. It also features Dr. M. L. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” The letter was written in response to a Birmingham newspaper article entitled, “A Call for Unity.” The article was written by African-American clergy and urged African-Americans to withdraw from public demonstrations and seek justice through the courts when their rights were denied. The lesson also features newspaper articles published in the 1950’s and 1960’s as well as modern-day articles related to historical coverage of the Civil Rights Movement.

Image: Salvatore Vuono /

Teachers First

April 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Teachers First provides a collection of resources for use in the classroom and for professional development. Lessons and activities are available for all grade levels and all subjects. Across the top of the home page, a series of tabs are available to access categories within the collection. Content is searchable by subject, grade level, or keyword or can be presented in a list that teachers can browse and can be shared via student computers, a projector, or a whiteboard. Classroom resources includes over 12,000 teacher-reviewed web resources. Resources include lesson plans, instructional units, and ready-to-use content. TeachersFirst Exclusives present teacher-created activities, lesson and unit plans. Professional Resources includes time-saver ideas and tips for new or substitute teachers, technology integration, reading resources, professional topics, differentiating instruction, and communicating with parents. Another excellent professional development feature is OK2ASK, which is a series of interactive webinars that cover professional development-related topics. What’s Hot provides links to the latest and most popular content from Teachers First. An exciting feature of What’s Hot is Teacher’s First Edge, a collection of links to the newest Web 2.0 tools available.

Dinosaur Math is an interesting lesson from the site for K-1 students. Students are given a worksheet and plastic dinosaurs. They count features of the dinosaur and create addition problems using the worksheet. The lesson can be completed individually or in groups. An interactive whiteboard and projector can be used to turn the worksheet into an interactive activity. Students might complete the worksheet at their desk as they take turns going to the board to complete the electronic worksheet. An electronic slide presentation is included as another alternative for use with the whiteboard. Students can use the slides to create the addition problems. The slides could also be printed, laminated and organized as a book to be used for remediation.

An example of a Teachers First professional resource is Rubrics to the Rescue. The article contains links that present an overview of rubrics: What are they? Why use them? How can students get involved in creating rubrics? Several examples of projects that use rubrics are presented for various subjects at all grade levels. Also included are links to online resources for creating rubrics.

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Modern Teachers

April 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans

The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) provides a resource site that contains lesson plans, student activities, and images that may be used for educational purposes under a liberal fair use policy. There is also a MOMA iPhone app that features hours, admissions information, and directions; a calendar of upcoming events and exhibits; MOMA audio tours; and an art index of all works and artists featured in the collection. Another great feature from the site is a video which presents tips for engaging students with works of art with demonstrations of each tip.

The MOMA resource site, Modern Teachers, features a searchable database that allows educators to search for art-related lessons by guides, themes, activities, collection areas, artists, and media. Lesson plans may be saved for future reference by creating a username and password to be used to login to the site. Each lesson features objectives, an introductory discussion, an image-based discussion, and activities and projects. Lessons may be printed in .PDF format.

A search of the database for lessons related to the works of Andy Warhol revealed the lesson, Transforming Everyday Objects, featuring the work of five artists, including Andy Warhol. Each artist used everyday objects and popular culture as inspiration for the featured works. The lesson provides a narrative to be used for introducing each work of art, suggestions for leading a class discussion about each work, and art activities and projects to be completed by students.

Kathy Schrock’s Guide for Educators

March 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Kathy Schrock’s Guide for Educators is a categorized list of websites that can be used for instructional planning and professional growth. The site is frequently updated to include new sites for teaching and learning. In the “Subject Access” section of the site, you will find a list of links to subject areas. Clicking a subject area link provides access to a list of resources that can be used for developing classroom activities.

By clicking on the Weather Info and Maps link in the “Subject Access” section, I found a list of weather-related links. The Intellicast site provided six interactive weather maps. The Local Weather Report provided current conditions, 10-day forecast; times of sunrise/sunset and moonrise/moonset; moon phases; wind direction and speed. Additional links provided an interactive weather map, hourly forecast, historic averages, past observations, and more. This site would be an excellent resource for a science unit on weather and could be adapted for use at all grade levels.

Another link in this category directed to NOAA Education Resources. This site provided a wealth of resource collections on topics such as hurricanes, weather observations, watersheds, flooding, and pollution, estuaries, ocean pollution, changing seasons, the Gulf oil spill, and many more! Each link presented information related to the topic, along with links to additional resources. This site would be appropriate for science students in grades 6 and above.

The image above depicts storm clouds over the Brittany coast in France.

Image: dan /