Lesson Planning Tools

It’s lesson planning season. So today I thought I’d share all the tools that I find helpful when I’m trying to pull the plans together.

My favourite tools for lesson planning

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#1. Pinterest. This site is a homeschooler’s planning dream. Basically, it’s a visual search engine and you are much more likely to find great ideas here for just about any subject than you are through websites like Google, etc. Just type in your subject and see what comes up. Use the additional word “lesson” or “lesson plans” or “for kids” and you can narrow it down. So many teachers have shared their terrific lesson plans or crafts/activities through this media – it actually can be TOO many ideas.

#2. Search Engine. Personally, I use Dogpile. – I find it clean, fast, easy-to-use, and they have a cute little puppy mascot named Arfie. 🙂 When looking for ideas surrounding a topic, make sure to try different combinations of search terms – “Grade 3 life sciences”, “Grade 3 plants”, “Grade 3 lesson plans”, “plants lesson plans” “Plants lapbooking”, etc. Doing this pulls up a bunch of different searchable resources and you can find some great ideas that way. Think outside of just the subject/grade and try to come up with a creative way to search for more information.

#3. Local Library Online Catalogue. I love to use this to see what Dewey Decimal Call Number particular topics are under, if there’s any juvenile fiction/videos/magazines on the subject I’m looking at, and any other resource they might have available. They don’t ALWAYS have what I’m looking for, but it’s a good way to start pulling literature into my lesson plans.

#4. Teachers Pay Teachers. This site is a teacher’s sharing resources haven. Free to join, you just type in what you are looking for, or search with the sidebar options and a list will come up of what’s available. It’s got SO many downloadables that you will be sitting there searching for hours, if you aren’t careful. There are both free and paid downloads – and many of them include SUPER cute clipart and amazing detail. Paying for things helps support other teachers or homeschoolers – so this is a win/win situation for everyone.

#5. Currclick – Another resources site, but this one is definitely homeschool related. Publishers both big and small post their downloadables onto the site and you can search through them all to see if you can find some great things for your lesson planner. They have a huge collection of free stuff as well as the payable ones.

#6. Teacher/Homeschool Blogs. Did you know that so many teachers and homeschoolers share what they do in their classroom on a regular basis? Usually with a full gamut of pictures and printables to share? Teachers (and homeschoolers) are a creative and resourceful bunch. I love that we are willing to share our ideas and work with each other to help encourage each other. You can find oodles of them on Pinterest and through search engines.

#7. The Canadian Homeschooler. Ok, I feel like I’m cheating here, but I do actually use my own resources site to find Canadian focused materials in our homeschooling adventures. I do like to try and practice what I’m preaching – and use the things I’ve shared.

#8. Donna Young. This website has more organization printables than I’ve found anywhere else. A homeschooler herself, Donna has shared all the resources that she created or found handyShe has planners based on weekly, monthly, by block or by subject. She has by subject printable worksheets and household planning books. There’s a LOT here. (This site used to be free, but it now has a yearly membership fee.)

#9. My bookshelves. Ok, not something that you can look over and search through yourself, but think of your OWN book collection. Over the years, it’s easy to fill up with books and you’ll be amazed how easily they can get forgotten. When I’ve been lesson planning, I think of my subject that I’m currently focusing on and head to the bookshelves for a while, perusing through my (overly?) ample collection. It’s amazing what I can find. Science lessons, relatable fiction materials, non-fiction resources books, etc. When it’s time to study, pull the books out and put them in a basket for quick and personal reading time or reference. Plus – if you are like me and have a habit of buying teacher books – you can get some great ideas for lessons through them too!

#10. Table of Contents. If you can’t afford a particular lesson plan or subject book that you wanted to use this year, see if they have sample pages of their books or take a look at one from a friend. Write down or print out their table of contents and use that as a guide for your own lesson planning. It’s a great way to get ideas together on what to cover during your lessons.

Bonus:  #11. Your provincial/state curriculum guides. Although often times these are written in “educational jargon” and can be frustrating to read through, they are intended as a guideline for what topics are expected to be learned in each subject by grade throughout a given year. Even if you don’t subscribe to the idea of using a government set curriculum, it can still give you a good place to start planning for a year.

Happy Planning!

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