Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Thing 39: OER – Open Educational Resources

This was such a useful and fun assignment!  I just spent the most delightful hour exploring the resources, and I'm pleased to say, I found some really good "stuff"!

I decided to start by checking out the "Understanding OER" introduction, and then I went right for the search tools.  I explored the first four, OER Commons, CK12, OpenEd, and Curriki.  I decided I would look for resources to enhance an upcoming 2nd grade unit I'll be starting next month on fables.  In the unit, I introduce the history and key characteristics of fables, then we share 3 examples focusing on characters and morals.  Next, we practice listening for morals, which can be tricky.  I have found that to a 7 year old, when asked to identify a moral in a simple story, they frequently just retell a summary of the plot.  Once we've gotten the hang of morals, we explore common human characteristics associated with certain animals, such as a lion being a ruler, a fox being sly, a turtle having perseverance, etc.  And then we put it all together by writing our own book of fables.  Teams of 2 use writing planning sheets to determine what moral they want to teach and which characters to include that would make sense.  They also plan out the basic plot through problem and resolution.

OER Commons came up with just four results when I searched "fables" in lower elementary, two of which were excerpts from EngageNY, a third being a lesson plan, and the last being a video clip from PBS's "Between the Lions".  Not a bad start, but I thought I could do better.

Next I tried CK12, but was disappointed that nothing came up for fables in elementary.  The six results were all for grades 7 and up.

By far, OpenEd gave me my best results.  I had 66 results, and although not all of them were relevant to my needs, a lot of them were!  There was a nice mix of video clips, mini lessons, and assessments.  I was really impressed!  I will be incorporating some of this content into my unit for sure.

Finally, I checked out Curriki, but this was my least favorite.  When I tried to search "fables" with the K-2 filter, the majority of the 48 results were geared towards pre-school.  I'm not sure why.  I double and triple checked my filter, and it was definitely selected.  Furthermore, of those 48 results, most of them did not provide topic specific resources, but instead focused on general Common Core Standards.  That said, there was one gem that I had not found in any of the previous three OER sites: a link to Library of Congress' "Aesop for Children" interactive book which "contains over 140 classic fables, accompanied by beautiful illustrations and interactive animations".  That could be very useful indeed!

So in summary, this was a great assignment that really gave me some new tools for my arsenal!  I'm excited to see how I can incorporate some of these OER resources into my teaching next month. 

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful! So glad this topic came at such a good time for you. And that you found so much useful stuff! Hooray. And I have to say, you're opening paragraph is music to my ears. Love your enthusiasm. :)