Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lesson Planet~ The Search Engine for Teachers

Lesson Planet - Your lesson plan search engine. Find the best lesson plans for teachers including math lesson plans and science lesson plans.

Thanks to the TOS Crew, here is another "teacher resource" that we were given to review.

From the company:
Lesson Planet makes it easy for teachers and parents to search over 225,000 online lesson plans and worksheets that have been reviewed and rated by teachers. Lesson Planet has a 10 day free trial to allow teachers and parents to try the site with no obligation. After the free trial, membership is only $39.95/year.

Lesson Planet does have an incredible number of lesson plans and worksheets that you can search by keyword, grade level, and "rating", as well as the option of browsing by subject. The site includes 24 "guides" on a variety of subjects~ from math and music to homeschooling and school counselors. These folks write articles (Some have as little as one article at this point) around their area of expertise, and point out some of the top worksheets and lesson plans that relate to their topic.

As someone who is very proficient at using search engines to find material for my homeschool, generally within a few minutes, these are my Impressions:

Pros:
  • The previously mentioned "Guides" may be useful to some
  • The site maintains a Curriculum Calendar with Lesson Plan Ideas by date. For instance, April 15 is listed as Leonardo da Vinci's Birthday, with links to search for lesson plans relating to him. I printed off a nice 5 paragraph passage with comprehension and vocabulary questions, as a quick "Today In History" lesson. So for those who like to tie things in that way, this could be a convenient tool(as long as there are actually relevant links...)
Interesting~ Exploring a few days in the month of April on the Curriculum Calendar~
  • 537 Earth Day worksheets and 8711 Earth Day lesson plans to weed through
  • 758 Easter Worksheets, 513 Easter lesson plans (Which BTW, DID return hits for the Easter Story, and Lent along with the Easter Bunny, Eggs, and Easter Island....) 
  • 17 da Vinci worksheets and 191 da Vinci lesson plans...
  • 244 Civil War worksheets and 3999 Civil War lesson plans
  • 65 Revolutionary War  worksheets and 894 Revolutionary War lesson plans available
  • 31 Civil Rights Worksheets and 1707 Civil Rights lesson plans
Just wondering about the "Balance" here...

Cons:
  • With so many links, it must be difficult to update regularly. In my first 15 minutes of searching, on two very different topics, I came up with 3 of the 10 or so promising links that went nowhere.... {sigh} I also ended up with a number of "dead" links on subsequent searches.
  • On another day, a search for 4th grade music worksheets claimed 11 possibilities~ in reality, only one of them was music related and all of the rest of them were language arts worksheets.... ??? I didn't find this a good use of my time.
  • When searching for a lesson plan on Henry Hudson, the only return that was intriguing enough for me to click on it was actually a McGraw Hill lesson that I could find for free myself.
All-in-all, I feel that there may be some "Gems", but as is true with mining, you may have to really dig to find them. Personally, as a search-engine-happy homeschooling momma, I seem to be wired for Google and Dogpile. Lesson Planet just didn't "Click" for me.

For someone who is just starting out, and/or is less excited about using those search engines, I suggest you take advantage of the free 10 day trial and see if Lesson Planet fits your search style.

As always, I hope that this review will help you decide where to best spend your homeschool budget.
Blessings~


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this/these item(s)/service for free as part of the TOS Crew Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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