Verizon must like teachers. Unlike the makers of the movie Bad Teacher, Verizon has done teachers a favor by creating Thinkfinity. Thinkfinity has around 10,000 lesson plans for teachers in the K-12 school setting. Thinkfinity doesn’t just use their resources. They also partner with several other reliable websites for the teaching profession. If you do a keyword search and click the little red plus button, Thinkfinity will expand their search from their partners to several “reviewed” resources on out-of-network websites. Look at the picture below to find the red plus sign that reads, “INCLUDE PARTNER REVIEWED RESOURCES.”
When I clicked on this feature my search grew from 25 to 175 resources. As you can see, the first resource was from the tried and true National Geographic organization. From this, Thinkfinity attempts to provide teachers, parents, and learners with a myriad of opportunities to locate worthwhile resources. In its most basic form, Thinkfinity is an amazing search tool for educational resources and information on the web.
How to Locate Activities Aligned with State Standards
An interesting “new” feature on Thinkfinity is the the ability to search content by a state’s standards. Since my class is currently working with products, factors, and multiples, I decided to search resources using the 4.2.5 (Use a standard algorithm to multiply numbers up to 100 by numbers up to 10, using relevant properties of the number system) state standard that drove my instruction. This search resulted in 19 different online sources from the Illumination website. I enjoyed the times table tool, which allows students to find products from 0-9. Another cool tool was the Primary Krypto that was within the listed resources. The rules for the Krypto are as follows “Combine five number cards using the four arithmetic operations (+, –, ×, ÷) to arrive at a “target” number. This online version of Primary Krypto uses the numbers 1–10 only” (NCTM, 2011). These would be great tools for an interactive white board. In addition to these tools, there were many multiple-lesson units related to this standard as well. Here is a list of the units aligned with this one Indiana State Standard.
- The Product Game
- All About Multiplication
- Six and Seven as Factors
- Multiplication: It’s in the Cards
- Running Races
Within each of these units there are student objectives, activity sheets, interactive games, and links to other sites for more information. Just think of what materials you can find regarding any particular state standard.
Content Providers with Integrity
I have been using two of Thinkfinity’s partners for the past several years. Read Write Think is one of them, and this site was developed by the International Reading Association (IRA) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). On Read Write Think’s website, teachers are given research-based lessons, Web 2.0 tools, and other resources, which aid in distributing quality education across the country. Illuminations is the other partner I turn to for professional advice on math instruction. Illuminations was designed by The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), which is an extremely trustworthy source of information. Again, this website also provides research-based lessons, Web 2.0 tools, and other resources. Both sites’ Web 2.0 tools will work perfectly with an interactive whiteboard. But wait there is more! Thinkfinity provides a direct link to these interactive games under their Games & Tools tab. All these games will work well perfectly with interactive whiteboards.
Just take a look at all of Thinkfinity’s content providers/partners. In an age where anyone can create a website overnight, these are all reliable websites to follow.
Professional Development for Teachers
It is crucial that teachers become familiar with this free site. If professional development is what you crave, register with the site. Did I mention it’s free? Oh yea, I did. Clicking on your state will provide you with Verizon Thinkfinity’s State Educator Partner, which is The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE). Since 2009, the IDOE has aligned state standards with Thinkfinity online resources. Additionally, you can email Meri Carnahan for information on more information on Thinkfinity and professional development opportunities. Below is a picture of the tabs associated with professional development opportunities.
I started touring this website with a quick Webinar on the ins-and-outs of Thinkfinity. The webinar was prerecorded and taught by Mark Moore. At the time of the webinar only 5 people were present, but at least it was recorded to share with users until the end of the year. Especially because it makes you register, signing in for a webinar would be a great starting point for someone new to Thinkfinity.
To Thinkfinity and Beyond
I’m sorry Mr. Dewey but gone are the days for hunting through a library with little success. To add insult to injury, Mr. Dewey didn’t have a single search result on the Thinkfinity website. It does have the following information and resources.
- In the Classroom (Lesson Plans, Student Interactives, 21st Century Skills, Today in History, and Standard Alignment)
- At Home & After School (After School Activities, Parent & Kid, Games & Tools, Literacy)
- Professional Development (In your State, Online Courses, Live/Recorded Webinars, Trainer Recognition)
- Get Connected (Community Tour, Blog, Widget Library, Newsletter, RSS Feed)
Does Thinkfinity have everything, no. But, there are a lot a valuable resources for teachers, parents, and learners.