Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Resource "Treasure"

Let's face it.  There are soo many resources out there, all providing some value to our daily instruction.  Remembering which resource is needed for certain lessons, objectives, content areas, etc can be the real challenge.  Look no further.  I will showcase one that will become your new best friend.

I know there are times we moan and groan because it's common plan time again.  Yes, we all truly believe in our PLC process, but when lessons need to be created, copies made, websites searched, engaging activities created, we need that time to accomplish those truly important tasks.  But we have to remember that these common plan times are just as equally important in our many tasks of the day/week.   Our common plan really holds us accountable for looking at student data to help us drive further instruction.  And that is truly the basis of our function as a teacher.  Find out what the students need to know, how will we know they have learned it, what do we do if they did not, and what to do with those students who have it.  Teaching at its  finest.  It is through this weekly common plan time, a colleague shared a resource that has me excited.

Our grade level has always allowed for a resource share that can, and does, help us answer those four corollary questions.  Today I introduced an awesome mind-mapping tool through Google Apps, Mindomo.  This is, by far, the easiest online mind-mapping tool I have found.  It is collaborative, user friendly, and allows the students to truly personalize and show their levels of understanding.

However, my cohort, Allyn Gibbs, brought a true treasure find to our meeting today.  Learnzillion.  Now, I have to admit I have heard others talk about this resource.  I have even visited this site before, (I already had an account), but I never truly gave this site the proper attention it deserved.  This site has it all.  I will attempt to highlight some of the many components this site has to offer.

Learnzillion offers support and resources, and by this I mean lessons, interactive videos, activities, all aligned to the Common Core, in the areas of Math and ELA.  Don't worry, Science and Social Studies are available, too.  Only they are represented as a component of ELA.  Reading across the content areas.  LOVE IT!

To get started, I visited the main page and was immediately directed to locating free lesson plans or videos.  Allyn suggested we choose the Common Core Navigator tab located at the top of the screen.  This led us to a breakdown of ELA, Math K-8 and Math High School skills.  We chose ELA because we have recently created a new SMARTgoal for persuasive writing.  This choice led me to a plethora of resources.  But, organized soo nicely! ( This is important for me.  Too much information and I can feel stressed at where to begin) We scrolled down and chose 4th grade, for obvious reasons.  This is where the magic begins!

Knowing we were looking for persuasive lessons, we found a whole unit focused on persuasive writing, aligned to the Common Core.  Within this unit are short, precise, interactive, and to the point videos and activities walking the students through the persuasive writing process.

We were so excited, we jumped over to the poetry unit.  Surely there aren't 2 units that can provide everything we need to provide quality, engaging activities to our students?  WRONG!  The poetry unit was even better than I expected.  The icing on the cake?  An end of unit assessment, using a new poem, promoting application of skills acquired through the short, precise, engaging mini-lessons.

If you haven't guessed by now, 4th grade was sold!  Thanks to our wonderful colleague, we found a true gem.  I hope this has given you a reason to try it out.  Give it a try. This site offers resources K-12.  I promise you will not be disappointed!

https://learnzillion.com/

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