Many of the educators I work with, either in the doctoral or the graduate programs, mention that there is a lack of professional development resources, especially for English language learners ELLs, including students with limited or interrupted formal education (SLIFE) and special education. How can we resolve this as educators? At times, there can be a shortage of funds for teachers.
Professional skill development is essential due to the sharing of resources, ideas and collaboration; thus, I wanted to share some alternatives educators can access online and participate in at their own pace. Some resources are either very inexpensive or completely free. Some resources provide videos for educators on setting up mini lessons or activities; other sites also award certifications that may be used toward continuing education hours for maintaining teacher certifications. Also, some sites welcome teacher collaboration and ways to share ideas.
Read, Write and Think
Read, Write and Think is a website I’ve viewed before, but I have noticed over the years that it has grown to include many resources for all grade levels. It is powered by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).1 Additionally, upon entering the site, educators can provide their work email to access resources. The site offers a menu where an educator can search for grade-level content or content by subject, including graphic organizers and other assessment tools.
I was pleased to locate links to conferences and additional resources for English language learners and specified ideas for how to differentiate learning in the classroom. The menu leads to links that include step-by-step instructions, materials, printouts and videos. With possible shortages in professional skill development due to funding, this website can provide additional support for teachers to implement in the classroom.
SimpleK12 is a website I recently discovered and have used recently when educators request additional resources or ideas to implement in their classroom.2 You can easily access content by becoming a member. Entering is free and takes minutes. This organization is based out of Houston, Texas, and provides various resources for educators. This site allows educators to participate in professional development for free or at a very low cost.
Some topics include:
- Blended Learning
- Differentiating for Learners
- Thematic Units
- Technology in Education
This content-based professional development tool uses webinars of pre-recorded presentations, some of which take place on Zoom or other platforms.
Users can also download resources including lesson plans and assent tools. Teachers interested in similar topics can use forums to brainstorm, learn together or advocate for students. Additionally, many presenters are teachers, so the information an educator receives on this site is from other educators currently teaching.
The Resilient Educator is my new go-to site for everything from strategies to use in the classroom to how to meditate to cope with the changing world of education we currently are experiencing.3 The site does not currently have a sign-in or sign-up feature. Thus, any person can view the site’s resources. The Resilient Educator includes blogs, lessons, ideas and resources for the classroom.
It also provides toolkits to address all content areas, from reading to math, for various grade levels. The site has been recently updated to provide information about careers in education and national conferences for the current year for any area in education. The site focuses heavily on resilience among teachers and students. The Resilient Educator is a user-friendly site that is easy to navigate. The website has a menu link to Coalition, which provides other resources that align with their outlook on well-being and education. With the complexities of emotional trauma, I believe this site to be an excellent resource for teachers.
Overall, these three sites represent a small piece of online information for educators. These sites spoke to me as they addressed support for teacher instruction and well-being. Educators are always searching for additional resources. I believe these three sites can support educators who may need help to develop professionally, promote resiliency and support diverse learners.
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.