Class lessons can’t always be used right from the web, but they can offer you a great place to begin your planning and can help you to shape your own ideas. There are scores of websites that offer teachers lesson plans and other materials for teaching. Quality does vary, and teachers, like students, should always consider the source of what is offered when deciding whether or not materials are useful. Museum, library and government-sponsored sites often offer teachers quality materials including innovative approaches, primary documents and complete lesson plans. So do some newspapers. Be aware that these materials may not be fully aligned with the Common Core Learning Standards.
Here are a few places to start:
Across the curriculum
- UFT Teacher Center
The UFT Teacher Center is perhaps the best resource on the web for teacher lesson plans. It has done an excellent job of combing through websites to find the best of the best. Just check out the Professional Resources. You will find web resources categorized by subject area and student needs (such as English Language Learners). But more than just links, the Teacher Center provides you with a short summary of what you’ll find once you click. It’s a world of lesson plans in one easy place. Happy hunting! Also, be sure to check out the online articles on mathematics, collaborative team teaching, English Language learners and more from UFT Teacher Center publications.
- Share My Lesson
Share My Lesson is a free forum in which educators can collaborate, share their lesson plans and find information on Common Core State Standards. This website was built as a collaboration between the ATF and TES Connect, an online community of more than two million teachers. The site contains hundreds of thousands of resources, with more being added each day, and a dedicated resource bank for the Common Core State Standards to help teachers learn how to incorporate the standards into their classroom. The site's user-generated content is supplemented by tens of thousands of resources from hundreds of content partners, including Sesame Street, Oxfam, GreenTV and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
- SAS Curriculum Pathways
SAS Curriculum Pathways is a collaboration between SAS, a large software company, and educators. The website provides free lesson plans and interactive tools and activities geared at grades 6-12 for those who register. Subjects covered include science, English language arts, writing and grammar, math and Spanish, and all of the lessons are focused around the Common Core State Standards.
The PBS website offers lesson plans, educational games and videos for pre-k through the 12th grade, covering the arts, health and fitness, math, reading and language arts, science and social studies. The site's thousands of resources cover a range of topics and abilities so there is something of interest for all students, and new videos and lesson plans that incorporate current news and events are added frequently. The site also offers online professional development courses and educational news, as well as a community message board that educators can use to share ideas and trade stories.
- Learning Network
The New York Times Learning Network provides lessons “across the curriculum based on New York Times content,” and since the paper publishes “everything that’s fit to print,” its lesson plans truly do span quite an array of topics. The Times includes everything from science experiments on the factors that affect the rise of helium balloons to history lessons devoted to the Holocaust and America’s role in the world. Perhaps best of all, the Times invites students to offer their opinion on current events and invites them to participate in a variety of student challenges, including one on summer reading. The Times does not resort to gimmicks and games; it respects students, and engages them. Worth a look.
Internet4Classrooms is a Web portal free to any educator who wants to find high-quality, free Internet resources to use in classroom instruction. The portal contains content-specific resources, technology-based assessment assistance, online practice modules for software use and a "daily dose of the Web."
- Teachers Network
Teachers Network has a bank of lesson plans that have been designed by teachers, for teachers. The lesson plans can be searched by subject field or grade level to discover a wealth of curriculum materials that teachers can use.
- The Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the place to go for primary sources including pictures, documents, and even music. The Library is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of Congress. It is also the largest library in the world, and according to its website includes “millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections.” The Library provides the materials in ready-to use formats grouped around themes, on The Great Depression, Baseball, The Natural Environment – and pretty much everything in between. English teachers might like the lesson plans on great works of literature that complement the literary experience with historical documents in order to give the work context and deepen its meaning. A good example of this is the documents provided for To Kill A Mockingbird, but there are many others.
Equity and fairness
- Lesson plans on equity and fairness compiled by the UFT Teacher Center
- Respect for All Bingo
Each year, New York City public schools participate in "Respect For All" Week to promote respect for diversity and engage students in meaningful lessons and/or other activities that focus on preventing bias-based harassment, intimidation and/or bullying.
- Brooklyn Historical Society
The Brooklyn Historical Society offers educators unique resources for grades 4 – 12 on a range of fascinating topics that will enliven your teaching about the borough from its earliest colonial days to the present. It includes primary resources on a range of topics, including
- Dutch Breukelen: Where Brooklyn Began
- The Civil War: Voices from Brooklyn
- Voices of Mixed Heritage: Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations
- In Pursuit of Freedom, exploring Brooklyn's anti-slavery movement from the end of the American Revolution to the early days of Reconstruction.
Turn your students into historians with primary-source based activities that develop historical thinking skills. These resources from the National Archives include activities that are ready to be used in the classroom or can be modified to suit your needs, as well as thousands of primary sources that can be used in the classroom.
- EmblemHealth's Online Geography Game
EmblemHealth and the United Federation of Teachers are excited to bring you Emblem’s Big Apple Adventure, an interactive online game for 3rd to 5th graders to test their knowledge of NYC geography.
I-civics offers lessons, educational games and web casts designed to teach students about the branches of government, the constitution, and the bill of rights. The site is student friendly, very colorful, and teacher friendly too. It’s a great way to get your students interested in the fundamentals of democracy, to explore and debate social issues. Students will have opportunities to argue some of the hardest cases ever decided in the Supreme Court and lessons include handouts, group activities and step-by-step guides for teachers.
- Smithsonian’s History Explorer
Your gateway to innovative, standards-based online resources for teaching and learning American history, designed and developed by the National Museum of American History. The Museum is a proud partner with Verizon Thinkfinity.
- Teaching American History
This website provides teachers access to historical documents and other resources. The TAH also has artifact kits that are available for teachers to use.
English Language Arts
ReadWriteThink, a partnership of the International Reading Association, the National Council of Teachers of English and the Verizon Foundation, offers a Web Resources Gallery. To select links to outstanding reading and language arts resources on the Web, they use a rigorous set of selection criteria they have developed and adopted, along with a review process. This process ensures high-quality resources that meet the educational needs of teachers and students.
English language learners
Illuminations is a Web site of The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, designed to provide standards-based resources that improve teaching and learning of mathematics for all students. The site also offers free and downloadable materials that illuminate the vision for school mathematics.
- Science NetLinks
Science NetLinks, a consortium partner of Thinkfinity.org, provides a wealth of standards-based resources for K-12 science educators, including lesson plans, interactives and reviewed Internet resources. Science NetLinks is a dynamic site with new content added on a regular basis.
- U.S. Geological Survey
The U.S. Geological Survey provides scientific information intended to help educate the public about natural resources, natural hazards, geospatial data and issues that affect our quality of life. On this Web site find selected educational resources that may be useful to educators in K -12 schools. Many of these resources can be used directly in the classroom or will be useful in classroom lessons, for preparation of demonstration activities or as resources for teacher education and curriculum development. The site provides educational resources for both primary and secondary school grades.
Students with disabilities
New York City public school teachers share their ideas about what works in their classrooms with fellow educators in the New York Teacher’s biweekly Teacher to Teacher column.
- Linking to Learning
The New York Teacher has a regular monthly column to help teachers integrate technology into their classrooms and take advantage of the wealth of free online educational resources.