The Teaching Planner is a comprehensive platform that helps math and science teachers to most efficiently incorporate Web resources into planning and grading. To accomplish that purpose, we developed two main tools: the Planner and the Grader. On the Planner, users can drag the resources they have previously saved to assign them to the days they are planning to use them. The Grader allows users to enter the grades of their students. The Teaching Planner resources are open educational resources (OER), i.e. they are freely available elsewhere on the Web. The added value of the Teaching Planner lies in the:
- Search of resources in authoritative educational sites and selection of high-quality resources
- Classification of the resources according to core ideas
- Tools to help our members to more efficiently:
- Save resources and share them with colleagues
- Assign resources to classes
- Search additional high-quality resources and enter them into their own Teaching Planner portal
- Grade students' work
- Prepare and print annotated lesson and yearly plans
- Prepare and print students' performance reports
- Request a human translation of a resource to other languages
- Rate resources and view the ratings of others
The Teaching Planner makes planning and reporting more enjoyable, time-efficient and quality-efficient.
Use the extra time to extend your teaching or just to enjoy your favorite activity.
The Teaching Planner Team
The Teaching Planner team is directed by Ph.D. holders with extensive professional experience in math and science education. In the area of digital education, the Teaching Planner team has professionals who had previously worked at top-of-the-line digital instruction sites, such as Windows to the Universe and the National Science Digital Library. In the area of math and science teaching, our team includes professionals with many years of classroom experience in K-12 settings, teacher preparation, and professional development. We know how gratifying it feels when your students learn as a result of your excellent teaching. But we also know how effortful excellent teaching is and we are here to help!
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why we developed the Teaching Planner?
- Where do the Teaching Planner resources come from?
- How are the Teaching Planner resources selected?
- How are the Teaching Planner resources classified?
- What do the tags mean?
- What if I want to see more high quality resources?
- How does the Teaching Planner translation work?
1. Why we developed the Teaching Planner?
From our extensive experience in math and science digital instruction, we learned that searching the Web for educational resources produces tons of results. However, the initial enthusiasm is soon overcome with disappointment when, upon closer examination, very few of the resources are really useful. Most of them are either non-school appropriate, off-topic, broken links, not appealing, from unknown sources, for pay, by subscription, commercial ads, non-scientific, or plainly wrong. In essence, they are all together there: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Telling them apart is very hard and time-consuming. This is no efficient way of finding high-quality digital instructional resources let alone integrating them into planning, teaching, assessment, and reporting. That's why we identified highly authoritative educational sites and applied high-quality criteria to select resources from them.
Furthermore, regular key-word Web search is likely to produce results that do not address the topics that teachers are planning to teach because isolated words lack the context given by the whole text of the educational standard. A more efficient search for resources is standard-based, rather than key-word base. That's why our resources are classified according to core ideas in math and science education.
2. Where do the Teaching Planner resources come from?
The Teaching Planner resources come from over 100 authoritative educational sites that include, for example:
- Government agencies, such as: NASA, NIH, NREL, NOAA, US Dept. of Education, etc.
- Museums, such as The Exploratorium, The American Museum of Natural History, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, etc.
- Universities, such as: University of Colorado, Harvard University, University of Wisconsin, etc.
- Digital libraries, such as: NSDL, Merlot, World Digital Library, Internet Public Library, etc.
- Associations, such as: The American Chemical Society, The American Physical Society, etc.
3. How are the Teaching Planner resources selected?
Our criteria for resources selection include:
- Scientific accuracy: our resources come from top authoritative educational Web sites sponsored by state of the art agencies.
- Pedagogical effectiveness: the Teaching Planner selects resources that are in tune with a variety of modern K-12 educational movements such as inquiry learning, problem-solving, 21st century skills, etc. Still, some high quality resources primarily aim at providing content knowledge and those are also included as Reference Material.
- Ease of use of the resource: the navigation within the Teaching Planner resources is intuitive, their presentation is appealing, and all links are functional.
- Accessibility of the resource: the Teaching Planner resources are Open Educational Resources free of excessive distracting or off-topic information, do not require registration or log in, are non-commercial, and are not advertisements.
4. How are the Teaching Planner resources classified?
The Teaching Planner resources are classified according to core ideas. In math, the core ideas are from the Math Common Core State Standards and in science the core ideas are from the Next Generation Science Standards. Most of the Teaching Planner resources had already being classified by the teams in the sites from where we draw them. When that is not the case, the Teaching Planner team evaluates the resource for its correlation to the core ideas.
5. What do the tags mean?
In order to help you to promptly choose resources for your classes we added tags to our resources. Here is the list of tags and what we mean by them.
- Assessment: the resource explicitly includes an assessment component (quizzes, test, etc.), assessment ideas, or can easily be used for assessment purposes.
- Bilingual: the resource is already available in other languages (no need to request a translation) or not text-based.
- Computer-based: the resource requires that students use the computer to complete the task. Seeing static graphs that could just be printed does not qualify for the computer-based tag.
- Field-trip: the resource describes an activity to be conducted outside of the classroom
- Hands-on lab: the resource is an activity to be conducted in the science or math lab
- Multimedia: the resource is or includes media as a key component (most often a video, some computer-based interactive presentations, and sometimes audio)
- Reference material: the resource primarily aims at delivering disciplinary information suitable as professional development material and sources for students' Web quests.
- Tutorial: the resource guides students in a progressive learning sequence that aims at developing students' independent learning skills.
- Hands-on: the resource is an activity that manipulates objects (including role-playing and games) and students can conduct in the classroom.
- Adaptations: the resource includes adaptations for special populations of students.
6. What if I want to see more high quality resources?
At the Teaching Planner we believe in facilitation and freedom. We facilitate instructional planning by pre-selecting high quality resources for our members. But we also want our members to feel free to search for additional resources. That's why we have incorporated a built-in search engine that allows users to conduct additional searches pre-selected high-authoritative sites that contain millions of resources. The Teaching Planner members can save these search results into their own portals.
7. How does the Teaching Planner translation work?
At the Teaching Planner, we believe that all students deserve access to equally high-quality learning resources. For many English Language Learners that means having resources in their own language. Online translations often result in poor or inaccurate translations, which is both particularly troublesome in an educational setting and highly detrimental to learning. That's why we created the Teaching Planner Foreign Language Division. We congregated native speakers in a variety of languages who are also knowledgeable in math, science, and education. Members can request a translation of the whole resource or just some portions. The Teaching Planner Foreign Language Division will assess the translation cost (usually between 10 to 25 cents per word) and will communicate the estimate to the member and how to proceed.