George Lucas Educational Foundation

Lesson Plans

Want the nuts and bolts of how other teachers are presenting material? Find Edutopia-curated downloadable and linked resources here.

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Academic Sponge Activities

A "sponge activity" is a lesson soaking up precious time that would otherwise be lost. Hint: it should be fun as well as educational.

Five-Minute Film Festival: 10 Sources for Free Lesson Plans

Exploring free lesson planning resources can be overwhelming. Some are extremely useful, and others not so much. Here, VideoAmy shares a list of 10 of her favorite lesson planning tools available, as well as a playlist of videos to help teachers utilize them.

A Lesson About Cesar Chavez and Civil Rights

Check out this engaging lesson on Cesar Chavez that uses primary sources and discussion to inspire critical thinking and empathy.

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Resources

Graphic of a swinging sponge

Sponge Activities

Looking for a few meaningful activities to soak up extra classroom time? Download this list of engaging sponge activities to help you with the unexpected.

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Online Library Lets You Explore Exemplary Student Work

This free resource can help you find amazing project ideas.

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Kids build houses out of graham crackers in the author’s class.
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The Great Gingerbread House Project

Keeping fourth graders engaged in math in the run-up to winter break is easier with this sweet project.

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A teacher discusses what her students are seeing on their computer monitors.
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How to Teach Internet Safety to Younger Elementary Students

A lesson plan for helping students as young as kindergarten begin to understand how to be safe online.

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A roomful of kids design games around real-world problems.
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Taking Advantage of the Power of Play

Game jams—game creation sessions—can be used in any class to spark learning. Bonus: There’s a free lesson plan to help you get started.

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Illustration of a head in profile with gears for a brain and math equations written around the head
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This Is What Math Looks Like

Whether they’re in kindergarten or calculus, students can use simulations to see the math.

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Photo of a student working on her math assignment, with diagrams and formulas written on the photo
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The Power of Visualization in Math

Creating visual representations for math students can open up understanding. We have resources you can use in class tomorrow.

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A slide from the writer's Splat PowerPoint lessons
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A Math Framework for Multiple Grade Levels

Using simple images, the Splat! lessons teach a range of math concepts at different levels of difficulty. Download 50 free lessons.

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Two small children place facial expression stickers on drawings of a happy face and sad face.
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Helping Children Develop Emotional Literacy

Exercises that teachers and parents can use to help young children develop the ability to identify emotions.

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Teacher standing in front of class with students' hands raised
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5 Highly Effective Teaching Practices

We teachers are always looking to innovate, so, yes, it's essential that we try new things to add to our pedagogical bag of tricks. But it's important to focus on purpose and intentionality -- and not on quantity. So what really matters more than "always...

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5 Powerful Questions Teachers Can Ask Students

Many would agree that for inquiry to be alive and well in a classroom that, amongst other things, the teacher needs to be expert at asking strategic questions. With that in mind, if you are a new teacher or perhaps not so new but know that question-asking is...

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Two teenagers are sitting at a table with a laptop, one is holding a cell phone charger and the other is holding a cell phone, connecting it to a white wire.
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22 Powerful Closure Activities

Too many university supervisors and administrators criticize the absence of lesson closure, the activity that ends a lesson and creates a lasting impression. Like contracting your bicep at the top of a dumbbell curl, closure squeezes an extra oomph into a...

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Bell Ringer Exercises

Because of pressure to teach bell-to-bell -- the pedagogical equivalent of force-feeding geese to make foie gras -- many classrooms now start with bell work, short exercises that students complete while the instructor attends to attendance and other...

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Drawing of a jester hat
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April Fool's Day in the Classroom: 8 Resources for Teachers

April Fool's Day is the perfect time to play some light-hearted pranks on your friends, family, and co-workers; and if you’re a teacher, pulling an unexpected fast one on your students can be entertaining -- and memorable -- for everyone. So if you’re looking...

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22 Simple Ideas for Harnessing Creativity in the Elementary Classroom

Look through the door of one classroom and you might see the students hunched over, not engaged, even frowning. Look through the door of another classroom, and you might see a room full of lively students, eager, engaged and participating. What is the second...

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Designing Science Inquiry: Claim + Evidence + Reasoning = Explanation

Edutopia blogger Eric Brunsell breaks scientific inquiry down into the basic CER model and offers suggestions for introducing it to students.

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