Massive Open Online Courses and other outlets like iTunesU are changing the way we think about how education is both created and consumed…. the internet is also continually transforming the way teachers also plan and deliver more traditional lessons.

While downloading lesson plans from the web isn’t a new concept, there are a number of great new toolkits and portals that provide amazing resources for the teachers across all grades and subject areas. Here are a few of the better lesson plan resources that you may not have heard of.

1. Innovative Teacher Toolkit

The innovative teacher toolkit is a Microsoft initiative that provides customizable lesson plans and tools to reinforce skills such as collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, assessment, and organization. Lesson plans include such gems as Space Travel, Global Health and the Environment. Lesson plans include Word documents, data sets (in Excel) and Power Point Presentations (along with tips for how to search the web using Bing). While the exact purpose of the lesson plans is a double handed, the resources are mostly very good.

2. Discovery Education Free Lesson Plans

Discovery Education provide a subscription service, but they also have a section on their site that contains Free lesson plans created by teachers. There’s literally hundreds of original lesson plans for elementary, middle and high school students and it’s possible to browse by grade or subject area. Here’s an example of a great lesson plan that explores oil exploration, consumption and asks students to think about their relationship with petroleum. Great stuff.

3. Fred Rodgers Curriculum toolkit

Curriculum frameworks are baffling at the best of times, The Fred Rogers Center has published a curriculum toolkit that collects instructional resources for that range widely in academic subjects. Fred Rogers’ life work was “informed by his advanced study of child development and insatiable curiosity that reached across academic disciplines from mass communication to music theory”. In their own words, they hope that the resources collected on their site inspire curiosity and innovative educational practices. Many of the instructional resources link out to other websites and resources, for example Mary Newells listening maps assignement.

4. Common Core Math Index

Love it our hate, Common Core is here to stay with only a hand full of states who haven’t adopted the CC standards. Over at there are number of lesson plans to help with the various stanards and clusters accross various grades…. so if you’re looking for a lesson plan based around measures of central tendency just jump over to the 6.SP section, download an activity, print it out and then wander into your staff room looking bleary eyed to give the impression that you’ve been up working hard all night on your own brilliant lesson plan.

5. Safe and Responsible Use of Digital Technologies Toolkit

In this digital age, young children are spending an increasing amount of time engaged in various interactive media (on tablets, smartphones or in front of the computer).. With the right tools, these technologies can be harnessed for learning and development. However, without adequate guidance, children’s learning and development can be hindered. If children are not taught to be cyber safe, it can also lead to misuse of technologies by others (online predators and cyber bullies are just a few examples). The Cyber Safe Toolkit aims to support students to develop an understanding of the behaviours and processes which will help them to act in a safe and responsible manner when using digital technologies. While it has an Australian focus, many of the lesson plans can be adapted to your own school (or school policies) for grades K through to 12. Topics range from Protecting your online identity through to “what’s real online?”.

If you know of any other resources you’d like to share, please post them in the comments below.

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