The 10 Best 21st Century ELA Curriculum Resources

The following is a post by our newest author, Terry Heick. You might know him from his popular site TeachThought.

Terry is an English teacher curious about the overlap between classic and modern media–and the incredible potential merging the two share. To pursue his interest here, he founded TeachThought.

Happy New Year!

I love Edudemic. I follow the tweets, rss the new content, “like” the facebook page. So when I heard about this whole “top 10” thing—an annual rite of passage to review the year-gone-by–I was excited to share a few resources I find valuable as an educator.

But even more than Edudemic, google, social media, the internet, and every other tool of edu-progression, I love English. The classic mix of wonderful forms and human contemplation make it eternally-relevant—provided we focus it through the right lens. And that’s what I created TeachThought. TeachThought is about reimagining the possibilities of English as a content area so that we can find an audience with the modern learner. Through this list I wanted to share resources I hope, as a proprietor of might be valuable to those interested in innovative, 21st Century English-Language Arts curriculum and curriculum resources.

I’ve taken some liberties with the list. That is, rather than only giving awesome, whizz-bang hot links that will take you to some never-seen-before, brand-new web 24/7 resource that will be the key to unlocking student success of all levels and abilities, I instead compiled a list of both newer, emerging tech-ish sites, as well as links to traditional curricular resources that can empower any ELA teacher of any level of any level of experience and inclination (even if their website might be meh). And of course, considering the nature of the internet, the list is already outdated, but what can you do?

So, in no particular order (regardless of the numbering), the list!

The single easiest and most consistent way to professionally develop yourself as an educator. Establishing a professional learning network by meeting other folks in education, hear their ideas, discover new resources, and keep tabs on emerging trends.

As education (hopefully) moves away from strict test-based accountability, towards a more “whole child” view of success, Costa’s concepts of “thinking habits” absolutely have a place at the table.

An assortment of modern media for consumption by the creative-minded, 21st century ELA teacher. The possibilities are endless, not unlike a well-stocked library in the 1800s full of what were then more clearly culturally-relevant media.

Hard to have any kind of “education’s best” list without mentioning UbD in one if itsincarnations. Grant Wiggins, Jay McTighe and company’s seminal works on instructional design are must-reads for all educators. They have a tangent resource called “UbD Exchange” that, while flawed, is useful at least in terms of discovery.

Looking for something a bit more in-depth than twitter? Something specific to a certain idea, book, or other specialty group? is an excellent place to start. And within ning, you could do worse than start with Jim Burke’s ning.

Pioneers in promoting the concept of 21st Century curriculum, through networking, professional development, and resource sharing, Curriculum 21—Heidi Hayes Jacobs, Ann Johnson, Kathy Scoli, Jeanne Tribuzzi, and others—should be on the radar of all progressive educators.

Okay, this one seems a little obvious. Everyone “googles.” But Google has apps. And a calendar you can use to organize and share department calendars. And easy-to-use forums and groups. And google earth. And, well, almost anything you can dream up. (One look at the possibilities.)

Free web hosting for blogs, free themes for professionally-hosted websites, easy sharing, easy discovery, natural, from-your-laptop PLNing.

9. &
Two fantastic ways to discover and share documents and PowerPoints. Whether you’re looking for a new (more interesting) presentation on thesis statements, or you want to share a pre-writing strategy you’ve found helpful, these two sites are when to begin. Social media!

Interactive timelines for anything from simple chronological order, to multi-media perspectives of thematic development in novels or even transmedia.

10a. Other


  1. dumacornellucian

    January 5, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    I just posted : ,, #edtech20 eSafety project : gr8 (the best ) edtools and apps used in 2010 #edchat you should try in new year 2011 in your projects

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