October 2012 Issue
October 04, 2012

Register now for Share My Lesson

Author: Sylvia Saunders
Source: NYSUT United
Caption: Elementary teacher Cathy Aller, a member of the Pine Bush TA, takes Share My Lesson for a test drive during a kickoff event in Suffern. Photo by El-Wise Noisette.

AFT President Randi Weingarten used to wake up at 4 a.m. worrying about an upcoming lesson plan. Was there something better than "Gideon v. Wainwright" to get kids to understand the Sixth Amendment?

Now, she said, there's a trusted place for educators to turn for a fresh approach to an old lesson, a place that's a little like a desktop faculty room to share great ideas and create a community.

Developed by teachers, for teachers, Share My Lesson was launched over the summer by the American Federation of Teachers and TES Connect, and already has more than 250,000 resources. It's a free digital platform that allows educators around the country to collaborate and share teaching resources and innovative ideas.

"Our whole strategy here is to try to help, to fill some of the void at a time of great austerity," Weingarten said to a group of Hudson Valley educators.

At the event in Suffern, Weingarten and NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi encouraged them to take a look at the free service, spread the word and help expand offerings. New York is one of 46 states shifting to a common core curriculum this year, yet there is little money for resources to help with the transition, Weingarten said.

"They tell you there's no money, no time to work together, just do it," she said. "Well, as part of our solution-driven unionism, let's invest to help make it happen." (Items on the site linked to common core curriculum are identified with a badge.)

"What's great about this is it's a living document, with the ability to keep adding content and adjusting as we go along," Iannuzzi said. He said lessons from NYSUT's awardwinning Speak Truth to Power curriculum, developed in conjunction with the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, are included on the site as well. "And if you have social justice lessons, let us know and we can link it all together."

AFT's Heidi Glidden said content will be supplemented by tens of thousands of contributions from hundreds of content partners, including Sesame Street and Encyclopedia Britannica. Users are also encouraged to form special interest communities, such as music teachers or English-as-a-Second-Language educators.

"It's about more than loading materials," Glidden said. "It's about sharing and building communities." "Share My Lesson is a great resource for teachers," said Valley Central TA President Tim Brown.

"It provides an instant practitionerbased way for teachers to collaborate on a national and global level." "We encourage all our members to register and join in this professional community," said NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira. For a limited time, registrants at www.sharemylesson.com are eligible for a number of prizes, including a grand prize of $5,000 toward a student loan or a $3,500 gift card.