The Year in Review with Share My Lesson Staff
Every year in December, I spend time crunching data on Share My Lesson looking at what resources and lesson plans teachers and educators are using. At the end of the year, our top resources give us a glimpse into classrooms and schools across the country so we can see what our teachers, support staff, paraprofessionals, and parents and caregivers needed to support their students and themselves.
Our 2022 story is a focus on diversity, a return to some classroom normalcy, a need for health and wellness for students and adults, a story of heartache and, for me, a story of joy. This year, we saw a real focus on literacy. To address literacy, the American Federation of Teachers undertook a multimillion-dollar campaign called Reading Opens the World with resources on literacy instruction and is on track to distribute more than 1 million books to children nationwide. Additionally, as we continue to recover from the pandemic, our educators saw a real need for classroom management and mental health resources to support students in the classroom and beyond.
This was also a year of heartache–from the war in Ukraine to many more children’s, teachers’, and educators’ lives lost to gun violence. This past year, we saw significant tragedies with an uptick of gun violence. My heart hurts for the families of Uvalde, Des Moines, Buffalo, Sacramento, Greenville, Boston, Erie, Philadelphia, New York City, Newberry, Highland Park, Harrisonburg, St. Louis, Chicago, Charlottesville, Colorado Springs, Albuquerque, Tallahassee ... and the empty desks that remain. This crowdsourced poem from our partner, KQED, powerfully summarizes my feelings on Uvalde and other school shootings: 'Who Will Clean Out The Desks'.
And of course, the Russian-Ukrainian War brought many educators to Share My Lesson as they looked for content to understand the conflict and how to teach the impact of war in the classroom.
Finally, what brought me joy in our top resources of 2022 list was a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion resources. Our most accessed collections this year include resources on Indigenous people, Hispanic heritage, Asian American and Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander heritage, Black history, women's history, LGBTQIA, and immigration lessons. In a year filled with the constant noise of censoring the teaching of content, our Share My Lesson members leaned into resources that allow all students to see themselves in the curriculum. For that, I say bravo! You are amazing and inspire me every day.
Speaking of inspiration, the AFT Share My Lesson team helps make the magic happen so we can continue to provide great free content from you and our partners. I hit the jackpot with the colleagues I get to work with every day. Join me in reading their favorite resources this year as they also share what inspired them or helped them in their professional and personal lives.
Laura Brown's Picks
As a parent, bullying is a topic I regularly discuss with my kids, as they see and experience it often; and educators don’t necessarily have the guidance they need to address the topic in their classrooms. This webinar from Summer of Learning 2022, Addressing Bullying Behavior In Your Classroom: Informing and Enhancing Your Practice (WE Schools / WE Teachers), helps us better understand risk factors and roles, and learn how to identify and support victims of bullying.
Carlo DelAguila's Picks
As a parent of an almost 1-year-old, I’m finding more interest in Share My Lesson’s early childhood content. One evergreen blog I’m thinking about is from Julie Stern on the Four Ways to Foster Emotional Intelligence. And, as I look ahead, I’m also glad to see a new curated lesson and activity collection on parent resources to support social emotional learning.
Ami Turner DelAguila's Picks
My favorite resource of the year was written by our own Megan Ortmeyer. Her Supporting PreK-12 Student Career Exploration blog takes an amazing look into a rarely discussed topic among teachers.
Emily Kopilow’s Picks
Educators know that literacy is foundational to learning and life, and yet too many of our students have trouble reading. I love that the Reading Opens the World community has a trove of materials all in one place, including webinars, handouts for parents, reading lists, lesson plans and more.
Share My Lesson knows the importance of student and adult well-being, which is why we offer sessions focused on wellness for teachers, school staff and parents. One of my favorite people, Catherine Zack, has multiple offerings available on demand. We know how much educators put into their work, and we hope you are able to take some time to enjoy these relaxation techniques and stress solutions.
Andy Kratochvil's Picks
This past year, I wrote several news lessons and curated several collections on a variety of topics spanning the war in Ukraine and international politics to a new collection celebrating Caribbean Heritage Month lessons to even a history lesson on Daylight Saving Time. But a new blog that I hope you’ll find helpful highlights some of Share My Lesson’s best resources for media literacy and identifying and stopping disinformation. Follow me here to stay up to date on what I post in 2023.
Megan Ortmeyer's Picks
I love cross-curricular lessons, and research shows that they tend to be more engaging to students as they demonstrate how knowledge can be applied in real, everyday life. Share My Lesson partners’ FRESHFARM Food Prints and the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation/TeachRock uploaded an array of fun, cross-curricular lessons this past year. For example, FRESHFARM Food Prints’ lesson Fractions and Fairness has students explore the school garden and kitchen to learn about fractions, healthy eating, how to plant a garden, cooking skills and literacy skills. And students also engage in a social justice discussion around what is equal is not always fair. In the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation/TeachRock’s lesson Celebrating Community with Art and Poetry (Elementary Version), students learn about the meaning of community by reading and writing poetry, viewing and creating artwork, and engaging in classroom discussions.
Teresa Valcarce's Picks
My perennial favorite blog “Bernardo de Galvez, the Portrait Lady and a Congressional Promise” is by Beatriz Perret because it talks about a working class Latina who made the U.S. Congress fulfill a 231-year-old promise. It shows her perseverance, even when English is her second language. It also shows that if you get involved in your democratic process, you can change things. She did it for her children and Latino community. Everybody can be an activist and change things for the best.
I also like the Health and Wellness Community because it is available 24/7 with free sessions of exercise, nutrition, meditation and yoga. Several new sessions were added this year. We have a lot on our plate, and we deserve a break! My New Year’s resolution is to take one of these classes at least once a week. Happy Holidays!
Susan Ward's Picks
My favorite resource is The Three C's for Educators from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. With so many resources from which to choose, I truly appreciate this one because it shows the essential reasoning for working with our children today. So many have been affected by the world’s disconnect, and the three C’s are a good way for educators and parents to try to work through some of what our young people are experiencing, a noninvasive method of trying to feel what they are feeling and, finally, a good way to help find solutions to an ongoing problem for kids and adults alike.
My favorite blog this year comes from CFR Education. This amazing blog takes the guesswork out of climate change for all grade levels: "Classroom Resources on Climate Change". The world has many issues to address, but I think climate change can be considered top tier. I am very proud of CFR Education and the information it brings to the Share My Lesson community. In its own words: “Our team has put together a library of resources that address climate change from every angle.” With this information, we offer our students, educators and parents the tools needed to understand and help in the fight against climate changes.
Susan Youssofi's Picks
Share My Lesson’s Digital Citizenship and Safety collection isn’t a new one, but we’ve significantly revamped it. While privacy and online bullying—and identifying misinformation—have been in the news for a while, this past year brought many more conversations about social media and its potential for dire negative impacts on kids’ mental health. This collection has lessons and activities to support students’ online and offline well-being, boost their media literacy skills, use social media in a positive way, and proactively create spaces to be more inclusive as well.
Looking back on the year that was, there are so many important lessons our partners have added that span historic milestones like Ketanji Brown Jackson Confirmed to the Supreme Court (PBS NewsHour Classroom); ideas for addressing climate change from a series of international interviews via Planet Classroom; resources for teaching honest history like what the “Middle Passage” is from this story about exploring the wreckage of slave ships (PBS NewsHour Classroom); and one of the too-many gun violence stories of this year—and the one that struck a note with all parents, a lesson from C-SPAN on Uvalde native Matthew McConaughey sharing stories of the victims and reminding us we must not become numb to solutions to protect our kids, families, neighbors and communities from unnecessary violence.
Speaking of sharing stories, I must also mention the two-part blog series from Re-Imagining Migration on the invaluable impact of engaging families and having students share their personal narratives for the benefits of self-expression, confidence, understanding, tolerance and building a thriving classroom community. Best wishes to you in 2023, and thanks for being part of our Share My Lesson community!
Kelly Carmichael Booz oversees the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) PreK-12 online resources serving 2.1 million educators on the AFT's ShareMyLesson.com, the AFT's E-Learning professional development platform, and the production and dissemination of PreK-12 publication for the AFT's 1.7 millio