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What it is: This is a one stop shop for the beginning of your school year but will keep you coming back all year long. Thinkfinity is “the cornerstone of Verizon Foundation’s literacy, education, and technology initiatives.” The site is completely free to use and has outstanding content for educators, students, and parents. Find amazing lesson plans, interactive activities, and other quality online resources. Thinkfinity has over 55,000 standards-based k-12 lesson plans, student materials, interactive tools, and reference materials that are reviewed by the nation’s leading education organizations to ensure the highest quality content. You will find great primary source material, interactive student resources, and even grade specific research lists to tailor materials and searches to meet your needs. Thinkfinity also provides free training and professional development. Some professional development options are online, you can search for Thinkfinity professional development opportunities near you. How to integrate Thinkfinity into the classroom: Thinkfinity is a one stop shop for standards based lesson plans, interactive games and resources for students, maps, activities, book lists, and much more. Use Thinkfinity to support any of your lessons, themes, or current curriculum. Search for materials by subject (arts, social studies, literacy, mathematics, reading and language arts, science, and geography), by theme, by grade, or resource type. There is also a wonderful keyword search. Start out your year with lessons based on the Olympics in Beijing. Students can learn about the history of the games, sports, athletes, and even the history of Asia. This is a great site for students to complete research on. The sources are accurate and reliable and it is organized well for searching. Tips: Content partners for Thinkfinity inlcude other top educational sites including Arts Edge, Econ Edlink, Edsitement, Illuminations, Literacy Network, Read Write Think, Science Net Links, Simithsonian National Museum of American History, and National Geographic Xpeditions. Leave a comment and share how you are using Thinkfinity in your classroom.

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Claco: United We Teach, build lessons collaboratively

Posted by admin | Posted in Classroom Management, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 19-09-2012

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What it is:  Claco is a new website that makes it simple to build, organize and share lessons. Your lessons can be dynamic including weblinks, embed codes, online videos, files and more.  In addition to creating and uploading your own lessons, you can also search and use lessons that other teachers around the world have built.  There is no better way to stretch and grow professionally than to learn from each other!  Claco makes it easy to work with other educators in a collaborative environment to streamline the lesson planning process.  I love the vision behind Claco, they have even created a movement called “United We Teach” that encourages educators to share and enhance each other’s resources.  I learn SO much from my PLN, creating a place where this is encouraged as part of the process is fantastic!

Another feature I love about Claco: no need to download lessons, you can view and use all lessons directly from your Claco profile.  That means that lessons are available from anywhere (because they are in the cloud) and can be used from computers, iPads, and smartphones…super handy!

How to integrate Claco into your curriculum: Use Claco to save yourself time.  I tend to get lost in the OCEAN of amazing lesson ideas and resources on the web.  I like that Claco can be a one-stop shop for resources and lessons.  The ability to organize all of my findings in one easy-to-use place that can be accessed by all of my devices is also very helpful.

Aside from the time saving, Claco makes it possible to collaborate on lessons with other teachers in the building, or from anywhere in the world.  Lessons can be constructed with teammates and enhanced by anyone.  Lessons can also be easily shared with students, parents and colleagues.

Tips: You may recognize some features of Claco.  Class Connect (which I wrote about here) has morphed into Claco. The genius behind Claco, Eric Simons who created the sites after some frustrations with his own school experience.  Instead of being disenfranchised, he set out to make it better.  You gotta love that!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Claco in your classroom!

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