Share My Lesson recognizes that there is more than one set of standards, and that educators teach in different circumstances. Some districts expect teachers to align every lesson to a standard, while others are more lenient in their approach. I’m most familiar with the Common Core State Standards, which I have used to align many of my lessons, as the CCSS are still prevalent across the country, but individual states are starting to develop their own standards, and those have aligned lessons on the site as well, along with the Next Generation Science Standards. No matter how you feel about standards themselves, I promise that you’ll appreciate the time you’ll save when you find amazing lessons on Share My Lesson, created and vetted by teachers, that are already aligned to your standards. For me, this allows for more time to think about the nuanced aspects of teaching, like pacing, student engagement, developing project-based learning and experimenting with new strategies like this one.
There are several ways to think about Share My Lesson. I first began using SML to look for resources. Who hasn’t been stressed, out of ideas, in a rush or simply in need of a little inspiration? In my case, I was going to be teaching summer school, and it had been many years since I had taught high school students. I knew I needed lessons that didn’t require a ton of preparation, as summer school started four days after my regular classes ended. I was also acutely aware that the students I would be encountering wouldn’t want to be there. I decided I’d use To Kill a Mockingbird, in part because I like to also teach with film versions after an initial read. This unit was invaluable. The fact is, it takes years to really perfect a unit, which is how I came to think of SML as more of a “portfolio” of my lessons. I’ve uploaded a few hundred resources, and I’m going back slowly and aligning the ones that I still like, and making changes to anything that needs an update or facelift. It is really simple to go back if you do have resources you want to update. This tutorial explains the process thoroughly, and the entire update only takes a few minutes, and then your portfolio is ready to share!
Lately though, as a mentor teacher and a trainer, Share My Lesson is my go-to site for resources to help teachers find that “just right” lesson for their goals. Recently, I was helping Canisius College graduate students in a Literacy in the Content Areas course write their first lesson plan! Can you remember preparing your first lesson? The nerves were intense, and I immediately turned to SML to help students find lessons they could use as mentor text. For example, since math is hardly my strength, I was happy to pass on this standards-aligned lesson introducing ratios. We had a really frank discussion about lesson plans and the dilemma of “doing it all” as an educator. Gaining inspiration from each other, as well as observing how lessons are written and curated, is a gift. Another great lesson that I was able to share was this one called “Strange Lands and Strange Places.” It is an excellent example of skirting traditional homework for more interactive, student-driven, satisfying activities. For many new teachers, whose lesson plans “matter” more than most in the eyes of administrators, I am confident that mentor lessons are yet another way Share My Lesson allows teachers to help each other out.
If you’re ready to upload a lesson and add to our collective teacher voice, I encourage you to do so! You’ll be prompted at the end to align your lesson to the Common Core State Standards, the Next Generation Science Standards or a state standard. It is so easy. Anyone who has ever thumbed through standards for hours knows that being able to align lessons quickly is crucial. Share My Lesson has done the heavy lifting for us, and we can utilize this tool to improve the profession.