My Favorite Teaching Resources

I'm often asked what my favorite teaching resources are. In the moment, I do my best to call them to mind, but it usually results in me blabbering on about the last thing I ended up using. Here's a more definitive list of what I've found helpful in lesson development and idea generation over the years.

Waygook (which means "foreigner" in Korean) is one of the best resources on the web for PowerPoint presentations. You'll need to create a login and then navigate some of the old-school web architecture of their forums, but once you do the site becomes a veritable treasure trove of games, lessons, and ideas.

Here's a master list thread to get you started. Be sure to test any PPTs for compatibility before using them in class.

Kieran Donaghy has been doing amazing things over at Film English for years and his lesson plans for teaching language through film are among the best out there. If you're looking to use film in the classroom but don't know where to start, start here.

As a media instructor, visiting Media Smarts feels like being one of those kids on TV who was able to run through a Toys R Us loading up their cart with free dolls and action figures. This Canadian media non-profit is a shopping spree for educators. Their lesson plans are incredible. If you are at all interested in incorporating new media into the classroom, let this be you first stop.

Comprised of Stanford faculty, staff, and graduate students, this development group has developed some amazing tools for helping students navigate the digital landscape. Lessons on historical inquiry, evaluating online evidence, and researching claims are just a few of the 100+ plans and assessments available. This is the sort of resource for which I would easily pay hundreds of dollars. Don't tell the folks at Stanford that, though.

Kahoot! has its limitations (it requires a stable internet connection, getting everyone logged in can be a time drain) but if you want to get your students excited to answer quiz questions, it's hard to beat.

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Realtime Student Feedback

I like to use Kahoot! for student-centered feedback. I teach a lesson on Pathos, Logos, and Ethos that culminates in students creating advertisements geared towards one of those persuasive techniques. Rather than give my feedback, I allow students to vote on which persuasive technique they believe the student was using. This not only gives students real-time feedback on how successful they were at the goals of the assignment, but it also moves the focus from teacher-centered feedback on to the students.

GIPHY Capture allows you to create your own .GIF files using anything that appears on your desktop's computer. I love using .GIFs in teaching. They're great for giving students repeated exposure to a concept, they're less distracting then a video but more engaging then a static image.

Here's an example of a .GIF I use to talk about shots/angles. What sort of information do we get from the first shot (a Long Shot) vs. the second shot (a Medium Shot)?

GIMP is essentially a free version of Photoshop. I use it to create, edit, and merge images for use in my lesson plans. I'd recommend any teacher develop a basic competency with graphic editing if they're interested in using media in the classroom.

We've all had the experience of wanting show a video in class, only to be greeted by this:

I use a lot of videos in my lessons and workshops. To make sure that I don't meet the dreaded "Buffering" symbol, I download all videos ahead of time. 4K Video Downloader is my favorite resource for that. It's lightweight and it does exactly what you want. You can even extract just the audio from a video clip.

I hope some of these will be useful on your teaching adventures. Drop me a line if you end up using any of them in the classroom - I'd love to hear about it.