Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Lesson Plan Resources -- My Favorites

If you are in the same place I was in as a new science teacher around late September, I was starting to wear down (i.e., I was barely surviving).  Lesson planning was a major time-drain.  Despite my prior blog about lesson planning, you may also be burning the candle at both ends trying to keep up with what you’ll teach every day.

Below are some of my favorite places to go for help when I need lessons or other resources to include in my lesson.

For Do Nows, Hooks, Exit Tickets, and even Homework:  Page Keeley’s “Uncovering Student Ideas in Science”

I’ve brought up this resource a few times in my posts, because it is that helpful!  When I’m starting a unit or feel like I need something to shake up class, I often turn to this resource.  There is a misconception probe for just about every topic.  I like to give out the probe at the beginning of class (often as a Do Now), discuss without discussing the right answer, and then return to it following the day’s activity. I’ve even made lessons, card sorting activities or demos based on the probes. I also like to make a 2nd copy of the probe and have students interview a family member at home for homework—the students enjoy teaching their parent or older sibling something for a change!

This site is great since you can browse by standard or subject/grade level.  There are good quality lessons as well as relevant videos.  When I’m stuck wanting a good hook, or need an activity or video for a station lab, I’ve often found something here.

For emergency lesson plans in a pinch or a specific video: Discovery Education

This resource is best when you have an account—ask your school or district if they have a username and password.  Discovery Education has videos with related worksheets that can be downloaded and used in a pinch when you are feeling sick and need a quick sub plan or your colleague didn’t show up to work and you need to cover.  You do have to choose the videos carefully—there are some old ones in there, but I’ve also used this as a resource to show a video clip about a specific topic that I can’t find easily elsewhere.


For elementary/middle school students or re-teaching/centers work: Brain Pop

This resource also requires a username and password (although there are a few free videos). Most schools seem to have an account—ask around if you don’t

have access. Although BrainPop sits low in the Blooms Taxonomy pyramid, it can help you fill in a needed piece of a lesson. They are definitely geared towards a younger crowd and break down topics pretty simply, although I’ve seen some of my 9th graders enjoy them—especially when they are struggling with a concept. Brain Pop has simple worksheets and games too. I have used Brain Pop as a resource when I teach a station or centers activity.

For readings, interactive activities and lesson plans: NSTA & NSTA’s SciLink

You can register for free and access a variety of lessons, readings and interactive activities at NSTA’s SciLinks website .  The search feature helps you sort through pages.  There are a lot of resources under each topic, often pulled from trusty resources like NIH.  Also, there are articles and lessons from NSTA’s own publication.  If you haven’t already joined NSTA, you should.  NSTA is a great resource for lessons, message boards, conferences and journals.  Although I rarely made time early on to read the NSTA journal (Science Scope, Science Teacher, etc.), when I did I often found quality lessons or other ideas to try out in my classroom.  Also, the NSTA newsletter that comes out monthly has freebies and grant opportunities.   

 Share your resources too!

These are just my favorites--I'm sure you have some too! Please post them in the comments section below.   Or, post them on my facebook page or on Twitter!

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