Thinkfinity.org -- A New Teachers' Resource

Free access for educators and parents to more than 55,000 educational resources created and approved by the nation's top educational organizations.

by / September 4, 2007
As teachers prepare for the new school year -- buying school supplies, picking out wall posters and combing through textbooks to create lesson plans -- there is one more item they can add to their back-to-school list: Thinkfinity.org.

It's free, and it makes life easier for teachers.

Thinkfinity.org is s Web tool for teachers looking for a quick and innovative way to find compelling lesson plans and interactive learning tools to engage today's students.

Thinkfinity.org is the Verizon Foundation's free, comprehensive program and online portal to 55,000 educational resources, including standards-based, grade-specific, K-12 lesson plans and other student interactives provided in partnership with many of the nation's leading educational and literacy organizations. And, Thinkfinity.org requires no downloadable software.

"As an instructional technology coordinator, a big part of my job is helping teachers incorporate technology into their lesson plans," said Barb Thorson, instructional technology coordinator for Iredell-Statesville Schools in North Carolina. "Thinkfinity.org is a tremendous resource for me, supplying well-respected and reliable content in a manner that is easy to use and engaging for students."

From science to English to mathematics, Thinkfinity.org offers something to teachers from elementary school through high school, across eight academic disciplines, to improve student achievement.

Among the resources available on Thinkfinity.org are:

- Gravity Launch, an interactive resource created by Science NetLinks that uses a computer game to help children visualize how the earth and moon's gravitational force affects the path of a rocket launched into space. In the lesson, students select the thrust and angle needed to successfully launch a rocket into orbit. The lesson is designed for children in grades 3-5.

- Bobbie Bear, an interactive resource, created by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics' Illuminations Project to help children learn about combinations and practice multiplication skills by determining how many outfits Bobbie Bear can create using a set number of shirts and pants. In this activity, children can guess the number of outfits Bobbie Bear can make; then, using a computer mouse, they can "dress" Bobbie to see how many combinations there actually are. This lesson is designed for children in pre-K through grade 5.

- Getting to Know You: Developing Short Biographies to Build Community, a lesson plan created by the International Reading Association's ReadWriteThink.org, to help pupils learn more about their teachers and fellow students. During the lesson, the teacher shares personal information with the children, who then pair up to interview each other and create "bio-cubes," an object that they can print out and put together. This lesson is designed for children in grades 3-5.

"Teachers are often our unsung heroes, working hours outside of the classroom to prepare the best possible lesson plans to engage their students," said Verizon Foundation president Patrick Gaston. "Through Thinkfinity.org, Verizon and our wonderful content partners can help teachers more efficiently develop their lesson plans, giving them more time to work directly with students."

In addition to offering free access to 55,000 educational resources, Thinkfinity.org also offers a comprehensive professional development program that allows teachers to sign up for free online to learn how to best make use of the Thinkfinity.org tools.

Content for Thinkfinity is provided through a partnership between the Verizon Foundation and 11 of the nation's leading organizations in the fields of education and literacy: the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Reading Association, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Center for Family Literacy, National Council on Economic Education, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Council of Teachers of English, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Geographic Society, ProLiteracy Worldwide and the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, is committed to improving literacy and K-12 education; fostering awareness and prevention of domestic violence; and promoting the use of technology in health-care delivery. In 2006, the foundation awarded more than $69 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also matched charitable donations from Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $29 million in combined contributions. Under the foundation's Verizon Volunteer initiative, one of the nation's largest employee-volunteer programs, company employees and retirees have also contributed nearly 3 million hours of community service since Verizon's inception in 2000.


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