By Nicki Thompson – Another school year is just around the corner.
Kohl’s is full of parents with cranky kids, the back corner of Target has been taken over by Mead, Bic, and FiveStar, OfficeMax is busier than any other time of the year, and teachers are beginning In-Service.
Hundreds of new teachers are entering the classroom for the first time on their own after student teaching. There’s no Co-Op there to back you up, and you have to find where the school library and copy room are on your own. You have to set the tone for the rest of the year! It is now your syllabus and your own classroom expectations and procedures.
It’s actually really terrifying. Luckily, new teachers are entering the world of education in 2012, not 1952. We have an amazing, enormous resource: the internet. Below I have listed my favorite websites and blogs to find ideas and resources to use in the classroom. Enjoy!
**Note: These websites are just things I have found on the internet. I am in no way associated with any of these companies or people.
Resources for All Teachers (K-12)
SmartExchange for SMART Board
If you are lucky enough to have a SMART Board in your room, I hope that you are using the Smart Notebook software! They just updated it to Smart Notebook 11 and I love the changes they made with the new version. A less-well-known treasure trove of resources is called SmartExchange, where other teachers post files you can download for free. Jeopardy games, fun activities, and lessons for any content area are available and I’ve found some great things there. It’s worth a look so you don’t have to re-invent the wheel.
I am so thankful that Pinterest took off while I was starting to teach. Wow. If you haven’t used it to find lesson ideas, organization tips, games, activities, bulletin board inspiration, and classroom management strategies, you aren’t using Pinterest to it’s full potential. Look around!
3M Post-It Activity Center
Any of my former or current students or co-workers will tell you that I love post-its. Turns out other teachers love post-its just as much as I do, and have posted templates and ideas to use post-its for classroom organization and lesson ideas.
Teachers Pay Teachers
Teachers Pay Teachers “is an online marketplace where teachers buy and sell original downloadable educational materials, hard goods and used educational resources.” There are often good sales going on, and many teachers will list their materials for free. You can see a preview of different things before you decide to purchase them, and most are available for under $5.
You can get absolutely anything printed through Vistaprint and they have great sales all the time. I imagine that there are hundreds of other uses for this website, but I have personally used the post-its (surpise, read above) and the business cards. I got a mini version of my writing rubric printed on a post-it so that I can just stick it on the student’s assignment (they get a full copy of the rubric at the beginning of the year). I use the “business cards” as my bathroom passes (5 per quarter), quiz re-takes (2 per quarter), and late homework passes (5 per quarter). I just punch the hole when a student uses one. So easy!
Thousands of educators use Twitter as a learning community. For example, every Thursday night at 7 PM central time, #langchat happens. This is a group of foreign language teachers that discuss a different topic every week, like differentiation, listening activities, flipping the classroom, etc. I do not know about other hashtags like #langchat, but I am sure they exist.
Resources for Elementary Teachers
This website is incredible. Everything is FREE and you can find activities, decorations, worksheets, coloring pages, and lots of resources. This website is also great for parents because there’s a section for kid’s birthday party ideas. I found some great printable world flags that I’m going to put up in my classroom!
A Love for Teaching
Written by a second grade teacher, this blog is one of my favorites (even though I teach high school!). She has lots of creative ideas, especially for classroom layout, decorations, and classroom management.
Clutter Free Classroom
The name is a pretty clear description of this website. This teacher, who has taught kindergarten, first, and second grade has great organization tips, and classroom theme ideas.
Teaching in Room 6
Wow! As a high school Spanish teacher, I have gotten so many ideas from an upper grades elementary teacher. She loves VistaPrint, too! She has awesome ideas specific to units and themes that are taught in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade.
Resource for World Language Teachers
The Creative Language Class
WOW! I would not have survived as a new teacher if it were not for this blog. But really. The blog is written by two teachers from Kentucky who work in Louisville and have refreshing ideas for keeping foreign language class engaging and communicative. This website is my saving grace whenever I feel low on energy or inspiration.