Yesterday I gave you my top seven cloud-based applications. Today, I decided to make that the first in a top seven series and offer you my top seven online resources for teachers. All of these are sites I've used in the past to find lesson ideas, videos, or interactive elements that I could use in my classroom, and all of them have something to offer.
Edutopia is a sites for educators created by the George Lucas Foundation that supports education and works to move it forward. It is the home of the "Schools That Work" project that many of you have probably heard about or possibly used. They offer free access to videos, blogs, and a teacher community, and they work to better prepare educators to meet the needs of today's students
Thinkfinity is a free resource for educators offered by the Verizon Foundation. There you can find free lesson plans, students interactives, games for students, information for parents, and much, much more. Another great resource offered under the Thinkfinity umbrella is Read, Write, Web.
PBS has a ton of educational materials which it separates into several sites: one for teachers, one for parents, and one for students. While PBS Kids is geared more for younger students, PBS Teachers offers free lessons, activities, videos, etc. for every grade level organized by grade level and subject area.
Discovery Education is a good place to find resources like lesson plans and videos. Much of Discovery's content is free for educators, but some of it requires you to purchase materials. One of my favorite elements of Discovery Education, though, is its free Puzzle Maker, a free cloud-based application that allows you to create your own printable puzzles like word searches and crosswords. There's also a "Science Fair Central" section that offers tips and advice for teachers, students, and parents.
Curriki is a place to find resources that are submitted by and reviewed by other educators. You can find and download resources by searching or by browsing grade level or subject area. You can also submit your own lessons or vote on materials posted by other users. You need a membership to submit and vote, but membership is free.
Wolfram Alpha, the "computational knowledge engine," recently began collecting and sharing tools for educators. You can download lesson plans in math, science, or social studies and share your own lessons. The site is still young, so it doesn't have as many resources as some of these other sites. The resources it does have, though, are top notch.
WatchKnow aggregates educational videos from all over the Web and conveniently puts them in one place. You can search educational videos or browse by age, grade, subject, etc., narrowing by category and subcategory, which makes it super simple to find exactly what you're trying to find.
If you haven't tried these sites, open a new tab and start playing. You'll find plenty of lesson ideas and useful materials. If you have a favorite site that you've used to improve your classroom, please let me know in the comments. Find more free resources for teachers at bit.ly/21stCenturyTools or visit my blog at www.teachthecloud.com.