Saturday, September 19, 2009

Online Resources

When I first started teaching four years, I was in a position similar to that of just about every beginning teacher: I had a course curricula and little else. I had no materials. I had no worksheets. I had no organizational system to use while structuring my classes. During my first year of teaching, I created all of those things. Even though they were hardly of the highest quality, I at least built a base upon which I could work. Needless to say, I slaved away for many long days, nights, and weekends building that base.

At the end of my third year of teaching, I came up with an idea to help first year teachers and to promote collegiality within our English department. I wanted to create an online resource center. The idea behind it would be to have teachers post their worksheets, lessons, notes, anything that was appropriate to a secure website so all other departmental colleagues could look at them and adapt them as appropriate. It would encourage sharing of materials, help people who were new to the school or the teaching of a particular class, and hopefully result in the creation of new and even better resources, as others built upon the work that was already there.

One of my English department colleagues and I set out to make this resource center a reality. We applied for some summer hours, got them, and set out to achieve our goals. With the help of Google Documents (another vote for its greatness), we established a secure site, with materials that is accessible to everyone in our department. For security issues, I obviously cannot embed the site directly or link to it. However, you can watch the video at the bottom of this post to see how easy it is to post to the site and what it looks like.

In the summer of 2009, I applied for more hours to expand on this resource center by setting out to make a sort of online textbook of supplemental texts used in each grade level and course in our department. This site gives a broad over view of supplemental texts (and sometimes main texts, when available digitally) for use throughout our department. The project is not finished, and more information/material will be added in the future. You can view the site here.

Video (Embed Here - Still to come - These things take time)

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