As you enter a classroom, ask yourself this question: “If there were no students in the room, could I do what I am planning to do?” If your answer to the question is yes, don’t do it.
Gen. Ruben Cubero
Dean of The Faculty
United States Air Force Academy
It sounds great. Engage kids with content, work in groups, use a variety of sources, encourage high levels of thinking, do history. We get it. But sometimes it’s hard to create these sorts of lessons and activities.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a place where you could go and find great resources? And they would also be aligned to state standards?
Such a place exists.
I’ve talked about ThinkFinity in passing in a few other posts but don’t think I’ve ever highlighted it in a Tip of the Week.
Even before ThinkFinity was ThinkFinity, way back when it was WorldCom’s Marco Polo, ThinkFinity was pretty cool. You could search a very specific database of teaching resources by grade level, content area, keyword, and material type to find incredibly useful lesson plans and instructional materials.
The best part about the database was that the results come from a group of nine great educational web sites rather than the web at large. And ThinkFinity continues that tradition. So instead of trying to hack Google with just the right combination of keywords, you’re searching incredibly small database. The great news is that everything in that database is designed specifically for people just like you. So you find better stuff, much faster.
For teachers, the site’s major reason for existence remains the search feature for instructional resources. But there are some additional things that are making the site a bit more useful.
- The Design – quickly access resources, features and education news directly from the home page
- The Navigation – makes it easy to find what you need from the thousands of resources that are standards-based and developed by the most trusted names in education
- Games for Learning – access a host of engaging activities and interactives that make learning fun
- New social networking – employ new widgets, follow ThinkFinity on FaceBook and Twitter, stay connected with blogs and newsletter, get mobile alerts and subscribe to RSS feeds
- Professional Development – find more ways to access the extensive program that helps you hone your instructional skills
- The new Community – exchange ideas, join groups, save and share your favorite resources by joining the all new Thinkfinity Community
I especially like the Community idea. You can create a My Stuff page, where you can save your favorite lessons and materials. The My Stuff page even has a browser bookmarklet that adds materials to your page from outside ThinkFinity. You can also connect with other teachers through forums and a semi-FaceBookish members section. So you’ll come to ThinkFinity for the lesson plans but potentially I see the Community section becoming an important part of your Personal Learning Network.
Great search, great resources, great connections with other teachers. No reason why you should ever have to walk into a room and not get your students involved.