Part of the excitement and challenge of education is that teachers have to be ready at a moment’s notice to meet the needs of any child who walks through the door. I can’t even count the number of times that I would take notice of the hum of activity in my classroom, feeling extremely grateful for the collection of resources that helped make it possible for me to engage students with diverse needs.
Here is a list of my ten all-time favorite resources:
This is one of my favorite tools for quickly finding ideas and reproducible activities for differentiating instruction across many curricular subjects. Yearly individual subscriptions and school site subscriptions are available. Try it for free for 14 days!
- Awesome Primary Action Units by Carnes and Sutherland (P.E. and movement activities)
Use this resource for planning developmentally appropriate P.E. movement activities that use simple equipment and require little or no prep time.
I almost cried when I bought it, it was so expensive. However, this book proved itself over and over again. It was like having a committee of experts at my fingertips. This book proved valuable for implementing strategies, confirming strategies that I was already using, and preparing for SST and other meetings.
- Brain-Based Learning Resources
Information regarding brain-based learning is helpful for understanding how learning occurs in the brain. This background knowledge can help you navigate through any trend in education—using learning strategies that work, while at the same time implementing changing curricular requirements. This article, Brain/Mind Learning Principles in Action, is a good starting point. There are also books available on brain-based learning.
If you are looking for ways to “tweak” your curriculum to meet the needs of the Common Core State Standards, there are some new resources available that are inexpensive and easy to implement, such as Evan-Moor’s Reading Informational Text, Reading Paired Text, Text-Based Writing, Take It to Your Seat Centers: Common Core Math, and Daily Math Practice. Use this link to download sample lessons from new Common Core resources and other Evan-Moor titles.
- Plan Book
Most teachers I know carefully plan out their year, some with the help of technology. For me, paper and pencil was easiest for jotting down ideas and reference materials as needed. My favorite planning tool was the Evan-Moor Daily Plan Book, with extra pages for small group planning.
- Art Instruction Books
Having a collection of art instruction books and projects helps integrate art into a busy day and integrate art with other subjects using uncomplicated supplies. Here are a few of my favorite resources:
The daily practice series help solve the “not enough minutes in the day” problem. The 15-minute mini-lessons make it possible to practice and review a wide range of topics in a short amount of time. Dailies include A Word a Day, Daily Academic Vocabulary, Daily Language Review, Daily Reading Comprehension, Daily Science, Daily Geography Practice, and Daily Math Practice.
- Free Online Articles/Groups
I recommend exploring to find what you need. At most sites, you can stay connected by subscribing for free. A few examples are ASCD Learning Community, ASCD SmartBrief, Education Week, and Edmodo.
As teachers, we have little or no time to observe other classrooms in action. This website makes available to you a library of live short videos demonstrating various pedagogical topics. You can sign up for topics of interest and they will be dropped into your email inbox for you.
As a member of the education community, what resources do you find helpful?
Marti Beeck started her career in education as a parent volunteer in her three children’s classrooms. Her teaching experience, including adult school, intervention, and the primary classroom, was inspired by her background in psychology and interest in brain-based learning. Marti currently works in the field of educational publishing as an editor.