Classroom Resources for Educators

By University Alliance

Thanks to the availability and ease of the Internet, innovative ideas and methods for improving student outcomes are just a click away. If you are “hanging out” at your local coffee shop or at your kitchen table, you might explore the following: Secondary Education

Written by Melissa Kelly, a master’s-prepared teacher experienced in both traditional and online classroom environments, this site is easy to navigate. Kelly believes education is a “noble profession,” urging all to “aspire to excellence in an ever-changing and often critical public arena.” Her articles are organized in three sections – each packed with additional links and readable, straightforward information.

Teaching 101 – This section seems particularly helpful for the novice educator, as the topics range from “Top 5 Things to Consider Before Becoming a Teacher,” “ Top 10 Reasons to Become a Teacher” and “6 Keys to Being a Successful Teacher.” Resources to assist with classroom discipline, portfolio planning, teaching techniques and grading/rubrics are among the myriad of topics. Also included are strategies for educators, such as Kelly’s guides to Extra Credit and Parent-Teacher Conferences. Just in case a teacher needs some encouragement after a challenging day, Kelly features a list of 10 Inspirational movies – from Michelle Pfeiffer’s Dangerous Minds to Sidney Poitier’s To Sir With Love!

Lesson Plans – Creating effective lesson plans can foster a productive classroom experience, and this section offering counsel on:

  • Lesson plan templates
  • How to hold a class debate
  • Creating effective field trips
  • Emergency lesson plans
  • Lecture pros and cons

Kelly advises teachers to “tweak your lesson plans each year, expanding, changing, and adding details to enrich your student’s experience.”

Educational Issues – Today’s savvy teacher is equipped with accurate information. To effectively deal with current issues and educational reforms, read thoughts on block schedules, and bullying/school violence. Kelly deals with a variety of touchy subjects, such as book banning (Where you aware that Twain’s classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has be challenged and banned in numerous locations due to its incessant use of racial slurs?). Also featured are entries on High Stakes Testing, including articles on “Top 7 SAT Prep Books” and the “Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.”

Teacher Focus

This resource consists of educator bulletin boards, covering an array of topics. The “New Teacher Place” addresses novices, containing threads about dealing with problem students, suggestions for 3rd grade books, activities for the first day of school, and numerous requests for advice. The forum “Special Education” reveals threads covering adaptive physical education, ADHD, and gifted education. The forum “Literature and Humanities” addressed debates on reading levels, 8th grade historical fiction, and information on Beowulf.

In each forum, several locked threads were noted. It appears that advertising is strictly banned from TeachersForum. Violators immediately lose their privileges pending investigation, and are likely to lose permanent access.

Clearinghouse on Educational Management (CEPM)

Offered by the University of Oregon’s College of Education, CEPM also sells books and other educational materials. At the time of review, the featured book was School Leadership: Handbook for Excellence in Student Learning, edited by Stuart C. Smith and Philip K. Piele. An important and trusted resource for 25 years, this fourth edition emphasizes the school leader's role as champion of student learning. Integrating theory and practice, the editors introduce school leadership from five perspectives: the person, the values, the structure, the mission, and the skills.

CEPM maintains a website full of interesting and valuable topics:

  • Trends & Issues – This section features links on labor relations, educational governance and school safety and more. For example, the link for “school law” contains information on sexual harassment, school discipline, religion and the school, and the Family Education Rights Privacy Act.
  • Hot Topics – This section features links on class size, school uniforms and dress codes, and student motivation and more.

National Education Association (NEA) – Classroom Management

In 1857, one hundred educators answered a national call to unite as one voice in the cause of public education. One hundred and fifty years later, the NEA boasts 3.2 million members, and continues to advocate for education as the “essential right for every American child, regardless of family income or place of residence.” A search of the NEA website reveals a countless resources for classroom management:

Article and Resources – At the time of review, 91 articles were found, filled with practical information. Topics addressed “Life Lessons Through Sports,” “Getting Students to Complete Their Work” and “Classroom Setups that Work.” For example, the article on “Dealing with Angry Parents” offers the following tips:

  • Recognize that parents are valuable partners. Ask parents for their thoughts and advice, and treat them as respected equals.
  • Admit your mistakes. Sometimes teachers make the wrong decisions. Denying this can damage your relationship with the parents, so admit the mistake and move on.
  • Communicate early and often. Communicate with parents via emails and perhaps a class website. Make phone calls to express concerns and to celebrate successes.

Ask The Expert – The NEA site has a unique feature: two available experienced educators that will answer your posed question within 24 hours. All prior questions and answers are posted, so you can learn from your peers. Previous issues covered the waterfront: 3rd grade disruptive boys, frequent bathroom breaks, disrespectful students, and cell phone abuse.

Category: Teaching Tips