Selecting Appropriate Resources for Classroom Use

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Teachers have several things to consider when choosing classroom resource. This lesson outlines criteria used for selecting quality resources and provides examples.

Resources in the Classroom

Effective teachers know their jobs are nuanced. Providing quality instruction relies on several factors, including having appropriate classroom resources, items and other sources used for instruction. Seasoned teachers, like Martin, are skilled at finding and using resources that enhance student learning. An important aspect of his job is to make sure he has resources that allow him to challenge all students, no matter what level they're working on. Securing a wide variety of quality classroom resources allows him to differentiate instruction, or adjust what and how he teaches to all skill levels.

For example, Martin has a large classroom library with many types and levels of books, ensuring all students have an opportunity to find a text on their interest and developmental level. Where does Martin get his classroom resources? While some are provided by the district and school he works for, many others are ones he found independently or gathered from other professional resources. We can categorize classroom resources in three ways:

  1. Resources used by students in the classroom that enhance instruction
  2. Resources found outside the classroom that boost student learning
  3. Resources used by teachers to develop professionally

Martin is prudent about his choices for classroom resources, choosing ones that match his learning objectives, or goals for students, and help all students succeed. Let's take a closer look.

Reasons for Resources

When Martin began teaching years ago, he walked into a classroom with empty desks and bookshelves. The district provided basic text and work books; the rich array of materials now found in his classroom were mostly accumulated by him over the years. At first, Martin was in a rush to fill empty space and wasn't particular about the sort of things he brought into his classroom. He quickly learned, however, that he should be intentional about his classroom resources. The resources in his classroom:

  • Align with is learning objectives
  • Are challenging to all students, regardless of interest and developmental level
  • Help students make sense of instructional concepts
  • Enhance, or add on to, Martin's instruction

Martin chooses resources that help him meet the learning objectives. For example, students are expected to add and subtract one and two digit numbers. Martin provides counters for them to aide in achieving this learning objective. He also has resources that reach a wide variety of learning preferences and levels; his word work area of the classroom stocks letter tiles for emergent readers as well as sentence strips for those on a higher level. These materials help students better understand the things he teaches. When Martin instructs on a way to add two digit numbers, students then practice with the counters to make sense of this new technique.

Selecting Engaging Resources

Martin makes sure his resources have a purpose in his classroom. He asks himself important questions like 'Does this resource align to learning objectives?' and 'Will this resource help students understand key concepts?' By making sure each of his classroom resources has a purpose, Martin is sure to select appropriate materials for his students to use.

He also searches outside the school for resources to use in his classroom. By finding resources that are engaging, he helps make content vibrant and appealing to students. For example, he often asks guest speakers to come talk to his students. These are subject matter experts who are able to share information relevant to learning. Sue's dad, a scientist, came and explained his research job at the university to students, allowing them a deeper look into scientific concepts.

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