Where To Begin

My friend Matt tells a great story about the first time he walked into a Wegman's, that food lover's paradise.  He had heard my sister and I gush about the prepared-foods counter (chicken breast rolled up with roasted red pepper and pesto), the bakery (warm, yeasty cheese bread), and the bulk-foods section (a glorious wall of crackers, nuts and candies, all neatly compartmentalized into bins.)  All of this buildup proved to be too much: when he finally got there, he pushed his cart to the entrance, took in all the bustle and nutritional diversity around him . . . and turned around and went home, completely overwhelmed.

Anyone who has searched for something simple on the Internet has probably had a similar experience.  I recently tried to find out how to store my local apples over the winter.  One website said they MUST be wrapped individually in newspaper.  Another said they must NEVER, without exception, be individually wrapped.  Many others offered variations on these two themes.  It can be a lot to unravel and come to a decision.

So for a teacher, trying to successfully pilfer a set of lesson plans for use in her classroom, a bit of narrowing down is needed.  I recently met with some of the teachers in my department to share my favorite websites for lesson planning.  Here are a few good ones:

  • Biography:Exhaustive files on many notable figures: videos, photos, interviews and more.

  • Department of Education: The “Teaching Resources and Lesson Plans” link (top right on the Teachers page) is very well-organized.  The “Language Arts” section will be most useful, but also check out World Studies, U.S. History and U.S. Time Periods.  Links in these sections take you to other government sites, like the Library of Congress and NEA.

  • Discovery School: The “Puzzlemaker” tool creates word searches and crosswords; the Lesson Plan Library is not super-extensive, but hits some major works.

  • The Internet Archive: TONS of videos, especially hard-to-find documentaries and old movies.  Also lots of searchable, downloadable texts, many from Project Gutenberg.

  • Rubistar: A huge database of rubrics for all kinds of projects.  You can modify them or create your own.  And you can save them to the site, so you can access them anywhere!  Other features are available at the main 4teachers site, but this is by far the most useful.

  • Web English Teacher: Incredibly diverse and wide range of resources from teachers who cared enough to share their lesson plans with the world. This is my secret weapon. Try not to spend all day here!