A new school year brings new challenges to teachers. A new set of students with different personalities and needs may bring new challenges in terms of classroom management and teaching styles. A new set of parents with new demands, problems and expectations can test the patience and professionalism of the teacher. Curriculum changes may require revisions in lesson plans and teaching materials. With all these expected challenges in a new school year, the teacher needs all the help she can get in terms of classroom management, teaching approaches and materials, and new insights and inspirations in her professional life.
The internet provides many websites that are useful for teachers. One of these is Thinkfinity. This website is powered and developed by the Verizon Foundation in collaboration with its content partners. These content partners are experts in specific subject areas and they developed teaching and learning materials for the website.
These content partners include the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Council for Economic Education, National Endowment for the Humanities, The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Center for Family Literacy, National Geographic Society, International Reading Association and Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
The website offers free lesson plans in nine disciplines: arts, economics, geography, history, literature, mathematics, reading and language arts, science and social studies. Each lesson plan is specifically graded and is aligned to national and state standards. Aside from lesson plans, this website also offers engaging videos and student activities that will make learning fun and exciting inside the classroom.
Likewise, tools and resources are provided that aim to develop specific skills in students such as communication, collaboration, creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving. Important historical events and information are also provided in the section Today in History. All these teaching and learning materials are free and ready to use in the classroom.
Thinkfinity also provides after school activities that will keep the student busy and mentally alert while at home. These include featured activities that intend to let the student learn more about the world around him and even beyond. All these activities are graded specifically and the discipline under which the activity belongs is noted. There are also group works or projects which the class can undertake for a specific period of time. These modules are well written and specific in terms of its goals, steps, materials needed, theme, duration and age groups. There are also interactive games that will provide productive fun for the kids. The website also provides tools and resources in which parents are involved in the learning process of their kids. These tools and resources are easily accessible and easy to use.
The professional development of teachers is adequately addressed by Thinkfinity. The website provides online courses and webinars for teachers. The teacher who wants to use these resources is given clear instructions as to how to go about accessing these resources. This website also provides opportunities for teachers to interact with one another through blogs and forums. It also offers newsletters and feeds so that the teacher can be informed about updates and latest features in the website.
No single website can adequately cater to the need of teachers for teaching and learning materials. Different websites offer different materials, tools and resources Time spent in going over several websites will be rewarded with new approaches in teaching and fresh insights to familiar subject areas. These in turn will provide a certain boost to the morale of the teacher as she faces the challenges of a new school year. Thinkfinity is just one of the many useful websites for teachers. Other websites worth checking out are teachnology and edutopia.