Resources for Effective Lesson Plans

Teaching has been referred to as both an art and a science, requiring a great deal of pedagogy and creativity to keep students engaged. It is an occupation that requires a lot of planning since lessons must both align to state standards and appeal to a multitude of student interests and learning preferences. If you are currently teaching or plan to become a teacher, you want to plan units and lessons that will help raise student achievement and inspire students to learn.

The following are resources that will help plan stellar lessons for multiple ages and subject areas.

United Federation of Teachers: Lesson Plans
UFT offers a collection of links for free lesson plans, documents and interactive resources. The links cover a wide array of ages and subject areas, some materials aligned to the Common Core State Standards. There are also links tailored specifically for social studies, English language arts, math, science and students with disabilities. Smithsonian’s History Explorer is just one of the social studies links that offers interactive history materials.

Engage NY: Common Core Curriculum
This site is a great resource for teachers integrating the Common Core Standards into preschool to 12th grade English and math curriculum. The site offers the standards themselves, implementation guides and grade-level specific curriculum materials and lesson plans. The Math Toolkit offers professional development, research, book suggestions and classroom materials.

Common Curriculum: Planbook & Lesson Planner
This is a free resource that is helpful for all educators. Teachers customize their own lesson plan templates, add the standards directly from this interactive tool and plan their lessons and units. Teachers can even share lesson components with their students and colleagues and print their lessons directly from the planning tool.

National Art Education Association: Lesson Planning
This site should be bookmarked by anyone teaching music, visual arts or performing arts at any grade level. There is a large lesson plan library and links to various sites that offer art resources for the classroom. One of the links, artsonia, is an online student art gallery where your students can share their masterpieces with the world.

Core Knowledge: Art & Music Lesson Plans
This page offers a collection of unit plans for art and music for grades kindergarten through seventh grade. All of the units on this site were selected from Core Knowledge National Conferences. Let Freedom Sing: A Patriotic Program for Grades 1-6 prepares elementary schools for school-wide patriotic events.

I-STEM Resource Network: Lesson Plans
This site offers lesson plans for STEM (science, technology, math and engineering) instruction for all grade levels. In addition to elementary school lessons, the major secondary math and sciences are covered, including biology, earth science, algebra and calculus. In the lesson Collecting the Rays, students make rectangular prisms to learn about linear dimensions.

Discovery Education
This is another great site for science education at every grade level. There are also free math, health, art, social studies, business and technology lessons. A Virtual Field Trip from the Museum of Science will transport your students to Boston to view STEM exhibits.

Scholastic: Lesson Plans
Scholastic is known for its vast literature resources and the lesson plans section does not disappoint. There are lessons for every grade level and every subject area. Remembering the Holocaust assists teachers in setting up literature circles for students to learn about this pivotal historical event.

Read Write Think: Lesson Plans
A partnership of the International Reading Association, NCTE and Thinkfinity, Read Write Think offers free lessons for all subjects and grade levels. Most of the lessons are aligned to the Common Core and state standards. In Peer Edit With Perfection: Effective Strategies, third through fifth graders learn how to critically analyze and critique their peers’ work.

Library of Congress: Lesson Plans
This site is mainly for grades three to eight history teachers but also has rich arts, science and literature resources. Lessons are aligned to the Common Core and individual state standards. In Japanese American Internment, students analyze historical documents and create presentations on what it was like to live in Japanese internment camps during World War II.

Google Apps for Education: Lesson Plans
Google has many free education resources (Google Earth, Google Classroom) so it comes as no surprise that Google Apps has a page with free lesson plans. There are lessons for every subject and grade level. In Lesson Plan: Google Sites for State Research, groups of students create Google sites to teach others about the states of their choosing.

PBS Learning Media
This site is a treasure trove of free lessons for all subjects and grade levels. The site also offers professional development opportunities and tips on using PBS programs in the classroom. In Hop To It!, preschoolers count to 10 using body movements.