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Linking to learning
Teaching resources from your union
by Bill Stamatis | October 28, 2010 New York Teacher issue
The Internet is a rich resource for teachers looking for fresh ways to reach students and to invigorate their classroom practices. Google searches usually return millions of results, making it time-consuming to find what you need. But what most members don’t realize is that the UFT and its affiliates, New York State United Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers, provide online resources for educators at every level.
On the newly redesigned UFT website, look no further than the Teaching tab in the top menu bar. In Courses/Workshops under Teaching, you can find out about — and register online for — college courses, seminars and workshops that the Teacher Center offers. In addition, various professional divisions and officers within the union for elementary, middle, high school and special education and academic committees such as the Association of Teachers of Social Studies/UFT offer workshops that members find useful even though they are not for credit. Just check the UFT.org events calendar listing for details.
If you are in search of lesson plan ideas, solid classroom management techniques or ways to fund classroom projects, check out Classroom Resources under Teaching in the top menu bar. The lesson plan resources here have all been reviewed by professionals in the Teacher Center. The link to ThinkfinityNY.org offers a wealth of teacher-designed lesson plans and units specifically aligned to New York State standards. The resources for teachers looking for help in finding money to pay for classroom projects have all been vetted by the union as well.
If you want to know more about the educational currents shaping the teaching profession today, then select Hot Topics in Education under Teaching. And, if you work with students with disabilities, check out Students with Disabilities under Teaching, which includes detailed information about IEPs, collaborative team teaching classrooms and much more, and a What’s New section that highlights new campaigns and developments in special ed. In English Language Learners under Teaching, you’ll find resources including Colorin Colorado, a free Web-based service that provides information, activities and advice for educators and Spanish-speaking families of English language learners.
Another font of ideas is the New York Teacher’s Teacher to Teacher columns, where educators share creative ideas and innovative methods for improving classroom instruction.The archive of the Linking to Learning columns (shameless plug) may help you find new ways to integrate technology and the Internet with your teaching.
The UFT’s state affiliate, NYSUT, also provides support for educators on its website, www.nysut.org. Once on the home page, go to Research and Educational Services under Resources in the left-side navigation column. Here you will find a section called Promising Practices that lists case studies of what works in schools across the state. Go back to the Resources page and select Reports and Resources and then scroll down to the link to Educator’s Voice, where there are articles dedicated to highlighting research-based classroom and schoolwide strategies for improving literacy. There are stimulating articles here like “Don’t Assign Writing — Teach It!” and “Physical Education and Literacy — The Odd Couple or a Match Made in Heaven?”
Finally, the AFT also offers useful resources that can help newer educators start their careers on the right foot. At www.aft.org/yourwork/tools4teachers, you’ll find a Classroom Management tab that will lead you to tips about managing your first day in school and establishing effective rules and procedures. Under the Classroom Materials tab, the AFT has pulled together classroom resources related to heritage months, celebrations and events as well as for teaching civic education.