Website review: NextLesson

I’m a HUGE fan of technology. I like it for my kids to play with, to learn with, and for me to use to develop lessons. I also use it to share all kinds of information with (hence this blog).

NextLesson is a website that has pre-made lessons, and a method for you to make your own. They are integrated with Google, so students need to have a Google account to get the most out of the experience.

The pre-made lessons come in two different types: whole lessons and worksheets.

Worksheets

The worksheets are really neat. They have math worksheets based on real athletes and real statistics. My son got a kick out of the LeBron James (and other basketball stars) multiplication worksheets. The worksheets are all tied directly to Common Core standards. They are listed. It’s easy to print them off and use them. It’s even easy to find them – you simply click on the worksheets tab. Then you can search by grade, or simply browse them to find what you like.

Pre-Made Lessons

The pre-made lessons are also amazing. The lessons cover a variety of subjects – and if you need the Common Core correlation standards they are all right there.

Once you’ve signed in, you simply search and the download the lesson. The lesson appears in the lessons section of your account. Each lesson is fully contained. You can print each part of the lesson, or you can simply browse through it online. I took some of the sheets and put them into a PowerPoint (just to see if it could be done) – and it was very easy. So if you don’t want each student to log into the lesson separately, you can just project what you need through PowerPoint.

Each lesson is broken into clear steps. Each step takes you to the next logical place in the lesson. The assessments are all done for you. All you have to do is follow the steps.

The lessons also allow you to assign a code to join the lesson. Then you email the code to the students, and they join a lesson using a Google account. So there can be online and long distance collaboration.

Another great feature is that the lessons allow you to customize them. You can add tasks, videos, and all kinds of fun stuff. I added some extra ranking tasks and videos to the “Animal communities” lesson. It was easy to do, and I got to add some specialized information about the animals my child likes best.

Making your own lessons

Once you have downloaded a lesson, it is easy to create your own. You simply click on the “create a lesson” tab. You can pick between starting from scratch and starting based on one the community already has. I started one from scratch. It is a very easy interface to drag and drop everything.

It certainly makes organizing my own thoughts easier, and it is simpler and allows for more “stuff” than simply typing out a lesson in MS Word and creating my own worksheets. I can add videos to watch, clips to listen to, and all manner of web-related activities. It also lets me put the lesson into steps – so I can do that all online rather than having to mark it out in the MS Word document.

It’s a very easy interface to use, and is much simpler than making a long list of websites to visit and videos to view while typing a lesson plan out.

My favorite part

So you might be asking what my favorite part of the whole thing was? It is that things are grouped clearly and the outline are already done. The lessons are customizable. But the outline of the lesson – and really the whole lesson if you want – is already done. I just like to make each lesson “mine” by adding something here or there – and that was really easy to do.

The only problem is…..

The problem is that some of the lessons require “golden tickets.” The golden tickets are used for the premium lessons, and there’s nothing that I can tell about why some lessons are premium and some are not.

Overall….

Overall it’s a good website. It doesn’t have a lot of the younger kid stuff- there’s no preschool or basic letters/words anywhere. But it does have a plethora of older kid stuff. I love it for practicing math – there are so many examples that are based on multiplication but aren’t simply answering multiplication facts. It’s great because the kids think they are solving sports problems, but they are doing multiplication.

I’d definitely sign up for their basic service. The basic service – if you go now – can be as low as $4/month. Considering how much is already done for you, and how many lessons there are on the site, I’d be willing to spend the money to be a basic member. I don’t know about access for the premium lessons – there’s not a real good way to preview them so I can see if I’d like them. But for all the basics – absolutely.

 

Caveat – I did receive a one-year subscription in exchange for this review.

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