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Wheel Inventors


• Sometimes you get stumped and sometimes you aren't as prepared as you hoped to be.  Instead of re-inventing the wheel or throwing together a sub-par lesson, use materials that others have already created.

• These go-to sites can provide endless amounts of material for you to use in lessons and can spark ideas for other methods you hadn't thought of before.

• The sites listed, by themselves, will not make a lesson better.  They work well to supplement lessons with clear goals and solid, student centered activities. 

Goal: To quickly find and evaluate pre-made, online resources for use in lessons.

1. Choose  1 of the situations below 
(one that best applies to you)

2. Complete the form at the bottom of this page

* Do so in 15 minutes or less to simulate the urgency of the situation*
Look through each of the lists below for study packet examples.
Things to add to your toolbox. 
Great for pre-planning or when you're in a pinch

Presentation Apps* - Upload your own or search for 1000s of PowerPoints on any subject that you can easily embed on your own site.

Prezi search - Find other Prezi's that people have shared publicly.

 Pete's PowerPoint Station - The site looks a little childish, but has tons of great stuff for every topic from elementary through high school level.

 Video Chat

Education Skype - Skype with another classroom or with someone around the world.  (Requires some prep time).

List of authors who will Skype with you

* PowerPoints and other presentations are most often teacher centric and I don't usually recommend using them in class, but they can be handy in a pinch

Great video sites for the classroom (besides YouTube)

 Snag Films Education - Features educationally themed documentaries in a variety of subject areas.

 Ted Talks - See great speeches and lectures from some of the best speakers in the world. My personal favorite is the marshmallow talk.

 Khan Academy - A how to video for just about any concept you can imagine.  Everything from elementary math to sequencing DNA.

 Brain Pop - This is a pay site, but you can get a free trial if you're in a pinch.  Also, some movies are free anyway.  All subject areas - very well done.

Tube Chop - Watch just the part of a movie you want.  Edit the start or end times to see just what you want.


Explania - Very nice interactives for a variety of science and social science conepts

Nobel Prize Games - Outstanding interactives on topics that won the Nobel Prize.

Other simple tech ideas to use for a quick lesson

1. Search study stack or quizlet for flashcards that someone else made in your content area.

2. Do some math review on,, or spelling review at

3. Get embeddable games/activities for your website in Language Arts, Reading, Math, and Science at BBC Bitesize 1 (K-2nd), Bitesize 2 (3rd-6th), or Bitesize 3 (7th+)

4. Take a tour of a museum on Google Art Project or check out a Google Earth Showcase.

5. Download Scratch and have students write a simple program. (Downloading it on a bunch of computers probably couldn't be done in a pinch, but once loaded it's a great educational diversion).  In that case, have the students try Google Blockly.

6. Search Mr. Mansour's Diigo tags for something that might be worth using.


You're in a pinch situations.  Choose a situation and prepare a lesson in 10 minutes with your partners to get out of this tricky situation.

Situation 1 - It's been a tough week and you decided you were going to throw in a video from the History Channel on the Panama Canal for your History class.  You hear that your principal is coming around and making sure everyone is following their lesson plans (micro-manager).  Your plans said you'd be giving a presentation on the Canal along with a "surprise activity".  It's your first year of teaching and you don't want to get in trouble with your principal.  Class starts in 20 minutes - what will you do?

Situation 2 - You are teaching 3rd grade phonics and have covered pretty much everything for the week by Wednesday.  It is Thursday and the test is scheduled for tomorrow.  Mrs. Jilbers gave you an earful the last time you did a test early, so that isn't an option.  You've got a 20 minute period to fill and need an activity.  What will you do?

Situation 3 - You're covering the periodic table and are totally stumped.  It's 11:30 on a Thursday night and your lesson plans are due the next day.  You have three great lessons for Monday through Wednesday and a lab planned for Friday.  For Thursday's lesson you need some more extension on the period table.  The students wore you down this week and you aren't going to be able to stay awake much longer.  The lesson plans need to be done, but you have too much pride to just slop something down.  What will you do?

Situation 4 - You get word from your principal that the Archbishop is coming to your classroom to briefly observe.  He heard great things about your lessons on social justice.  "Sweet mother," you say to yourself.  "We were just going to be doing a crossword puzzle out of the book."  You've got your 30 minute lunch hour to prepare for the archbishop and need at least 10 minutes to clear the miscellaneous papers and half drunk cups of coffee from your room.  What will you do for your lesson?

Situation 5 - Your students have been struggling with two-step equations in Algebra class.  At this point, you've given them every problem set you have.  They're starting to get it, but need a little more practice before you feel comfortable giving them a test.  What do you do?

Situation 6 - You were supposed to have a chapter quiz over the book Yellow Bird and Me, then an extended lesson on making predictions. On Sunday, you'd planned on developing a whole list of scenarios for the students to read and make predictions.  It's now your plan time before reading class on Thursday and you realize you bit off more than you could chew with creating all the situations.  You still want to teach predictions, but have to reformat your plans.  What will you do?

Situation 7You're doing a poetry unit for your 5th grade Language Arts class. Originally, you'd planned to give students some tips on inflection and reading with feeling, but you're voice has been alternating between a high squeek and a scratchy frog.  The lesson calls for you to read several poems and then have the students read the poems in their own style.  What will you do?

Situation 8 - You are teaching a middle school unit on electricity and look through the supplies in your science lab.  As you rifle through all the drawers, you realize that you don't have a lot to work with.  In your lesson, you were hoping to have students wire some circuits in various patterns.  Your room does have set of computers for about half the students and you've got three battery and light kits.  What will you do?

Situation 9 - You have just broken your arm playing the parachute with the kids in gym class. You had big plans today and you didn't expect to have to go to the hospital.  You were going to teach some new consonant blends.  Before you go get x-rays, you decide to put something together so your aide can fill in for you. 

Situation 10 - You are near the end of the semester  and only have a week to wrap up your circulatory system unit.  You've got a guest from the local hospital coming to do heart dissections  on the last day of classes before break, so you need to make sure you get everything covered before she arrives.  Lately, a lot of students have been sick and you're starting to feel pretty wretched yourself.  Around 11:00 pm you decide you won't be able to make it in the next day.  You had big plans to go through how the circulatory system operates that the sub won't have enough background to complete on his own.  What will you do?