Faculty members from the University of Houston-Victoria School of Education, Health Professions and Human Development are leading the charge in expanding a new free online database of lesson plans and accompanying videos through a contract with the Texas Education Agency.
The Texas Lesson Study Professional Development program consists of lesson plans, including videos of the lessons, that are aligned to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills and created by Texas teachers for pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade classrooms. The purpose of the database is to give teachers access to high-quality, research-based resources at no cost. UHV is coordinating a $109,800 contract with the TEA to review submitted lesson proposals and select the ones that will be included in the database.
“This database will provide a great resource for teachers, especially because the emphasis is on research and strong instructional practices,” said Amy Barnhill, a UHV associate professor of literacy education who is leading the contract work. “This will be a valuable resource that can continue to grow for years to come, and help current and future educators share new ways to impact their students.”
During the contract year, UHV will use the funds to train, coordinate and pay 20 educators to review, edit and approve lesson plans. The educators are from the university’s tenure-track and adjunct faculty as well as educators from seven public school districts in the Crossroads and Greater Houston areas, including Humble, Cuero, Fort Bend, Industrial, Houston, Klein and Meyersville.
The reviewers are reading a total of 275 submissions. Each submission includes a unit timeline, lesson plan, assessment, videos of the teacher delivering the lesson and any relevant materials other teachers will need, said Summer Pannell, a UHV associate professor of educational leadership, administration and supervision. Each lesson will be read by two different reviewers to see if it meets the publication requirements provided by the TEA. Lessons that meet the criteria may be approved for publication and if so, will be available on the Texas Gateway website at www.texasgateway.org/resource-index/?f%5B0%5D=bundle%3Alesson_study for teachers to access across the state.
In addition to providing a free resource for educators, the TEA is using the project as an opportunity to build connections between higher education institutions and K–12 public schools, Barnhill said. UHV’s contract is active through Aug. 31, but there is an option to extend it an additional year.
“The Texas Lesson Study Professional Development program has offered UHV a unique opportunity to be a major participant in gathering and curating content for current and future educators,” said Fred Litton, dean of the UHV School of Education, Health Professions and Human Development. “Our goal is to train quality educators and administrators for the regions we serve, and this database will help us take that goal even further.”