I’m constantly amazed by the amount of resources, lesson plans, rubrics, and other educational materials that even one teacher can amass in his or her teaching career. Compound that with all of the resources available online, and there are vast treasure troves of teaching materials to be found on websites maintained by educators. The English Companion is an excellent case in point. Mr. Burke, the creator of the site, is a truly inspiring teacher, as the site contains a plethora (yes, a plethora) of online tools, handbooks, and projects that are useful to secondary English teachers.
While the site is a stalwart of the old mid-90s “list of links and resources”, the lack of web 2.0 features does nothing to diminish the quantity and quality of the resources to be found. This site has a lot, from very practical links to the daily word, daily poetry, and daily history sites (great for generating writing prompts) to the more robust resources like graphic organizers, links to book reviews, and recent news about literacy and language arts reform. While not all of the resources are online (several links lead to books and manuals for purchase), most are very practical and organized into neat little groups for easy digesting. For example, all of the links to ELA standards and benchmarks from the National Teacher’s Board, the Council of Teachers or English, and International Reading Association are listed together for easy access.
Resources for his classes can also be found on the site, as well as other links for students. His AP English class page is a wonderfully transparent and straightforward example of what a teacher’s website should be; all of the materials are downloadable and accessible when the students need it, not just when they are passed out in class. Recommended reading and additional AP resources are provided as well. In all, the englishcompanion.com is a terrific place for teachers of English to browse, soak in, and explore. Just reading some student responses to an image he posted on the site was enough to make you realize that Mr. Burke is trying to provide every resource possible (technological or otherwise) to bring the world into his classroom, and make connections between literature and life.
Special thanks to Todd over at Thoughts on Teaching, since I’m quite positive it was one of his posts that led me to this resource.
Always happy to help! Yeah, Burke is pretty amazing. It’s his Weekly Reader that I especially like. It’s possible for any teacher to use a social bookmarking site to create something like this (I wrote about it a while back, but I might revisit the topic in more detail if it seems worth it). Of course, you could also simply direct your kids to Bruke’s site.
And he just keeps on crankin’ out books for Heinemann! My good friend just bought his latest and says it’s really good. I saw him speak a few years ago and he seemed a pretty mellow guy. He’s got lots of good ideas that I use just about every day.
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