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BetterLesson

Lesson plan and curriculum resource site created by teachers to share best practices —
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Video: How KIPP uses BL

Overview

BetterLesson is a freely available site where teachers can share and find lesson plans and classroom resources, as well as plan and map out their own curriculum. There are two parts of the BetterLesson website - one focused on sharing resources and the other focused on finding Common Core lesson plans from Master Teachers.

The ‘Main BetterLesson’ part of the site gives teachers tools to plan their own curriculum, upload resources of their own, and search for individual resources shared by other members. Teachers can browse and use any of the lessons on the site for free without logging in or creating a profile. Those who create a free profile can create their own courses, upload resources (such as worksheets, videos, and links) and engage in message boards with other teachers who are part of the BetterLesson community or leave feedback on the lesson plans or resources other teachers have shared.

The second section of BetterLesson's site called ‘CC BetterLesson’ differs from the main site in that it focuses lesson on the individual resources, and more on the teachers who share them. The site contains profiles of at least six Master Teachers from every grade level in both Math and ELA who share Common Core aligned lesson plans for every instructional day of the year. 

A geometry teacher, for instance, searching for Common Core lessons can get to know the various styles of six different Master Teachers--how they teach, how they sequence their units, and what type of student population they work with. Each Master Teacher has a profile which describes a bit about themselves and provides a full year’s worth of lesson plans.

Each lesson describes the goal of the lesson and the lesson procedures with a narrative (both written and captured on video) of the teacher describing exactly how the lesson should be executed. All the resources and materials used for the lesson are also attached.

As of early 2014 there are 137 Master Teachers sharing their year’s worth of lesson plans. Each Master teacher is paid $15,000 per year for their work. A portion of the funds and the teachers came from the NEA, who provided $3.6 million for the project. BL also recruited teachers on their own, with the support of the Gates Foundation, who provided $3.5 million.

As of late 2013, the BetterLesson database numbers up to 1.3 million resources shared and more than 300,000 lesson plans uploaded from the 340,000 registered teachers and the company’s paid Master Teachers. The Master Teachers have shared over 3,000 lesson plans specifically aligned to Common Core. 

All aspects of the site are free for teachers to use. The company used to offer a premium version for schools interested in a BetterLesson site available only to the teachers within their school. However, as of 2014 the company no longer offers this service to new customers.