Go-to websites

Image via Michigan eLibrary

Here are my TOP THREE favorite websites for English teachers:

1.  Thinkfinity http://www.thinkfinity.org/

Thinkfinity is my all-time favorite English teacher website.  This venerable website contains a searchable lesson plan database suitable for pre-k through adult learners.  Lesson plans include handouts, rubrics, interactives, primary sources, and videos, among other resources, and a wide variety of subjects (including English) are covered.

What makes this site so amazing?  It packs a potent punch because of the large amount of websites that it searches.  Here’s the full list:  ARTSEDGE, EconEdLink, EDSITEment, Illuminations, Literacy Network, ReadWriteThink, Science NetLinks, Smithsonian’s History Explorer, Verizon Thinkfinity, Wonderopolis, and Xpeditions.

Their lesson plans are top-notch because of how staggeringly detailed and well thought out they are.  Their ability to grab the attention of every single one of my students inspires me, while pleasantly surprising me, every time.

Follow Thinkfinity‘s blog at http://www.thinkfinity.org/thinkfinity-blog

2.  The New York Times Learning Network http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/

Like Thinkfinity, The New York Times Learning Network delivers fantastic lesson plans.  These lesson plans are, naturally, connected to articles from the eponymous newspaper, which makes this a great resource when one wants to connect a novel or topic to a current event.  Students are truly interested in reading about the world around them, and are oftentimes relieved to be reading nonfiction!  My school district has increasingly stressed the importance of nonfiction reading and writing, as well as cross-curricular lesson plans, and this website gives me all of these things in a neat, if somewhat slightly pompous, package.

3.  PBS Teachers http://www.pbs.org/teachers/readlanguage/

This website contains both lesson plans that are related to PBS shows’ content, as well as lesson plans that are not.  While this site contains a smaller selection of lesson plans, they are well written and interesting.

Honorable mention goes to…

Shmoop (website: http://www.shmoop.com, blog: http://shmoopuniversity.wordpress.com/)

It’s like CliffsNotes…but better.  This site really helps teachers pinpoint themes, background information, important quotes, character profiles, etc.  While the lesson plans are still developing (and NOT fully free), the site is constantly adding new material, and really does a good (and humorous, which is always a plus) job at analyzing literature.

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