Teach With INFOhio

Resources for Your Classroom from the Instructional Materials Reviewer Workshop

Author // Mary Rowland Wednesday, 08 May 2024

This past summer, INFOhio hosted an in-person, multi-day event with a cohort of educators across Ohio. This 3-day workshop taught educators how to evaluate and implement digital materials and open-access content for teaching and learning. Educators granted endorsements to materials and added these to the Ohio Reviewed Instructional Materials hub. This hub is a one-stop shop for Ohio educators looking for peer-reviewed, high-quality instructional materials that align with Ohio's Learning Standards.

Empowered with the knowledge to evaluate materials and their skills as an educator, participants curated content around high-need curriculum topics in their buildings. Educators participating in the workshop selected and packaged instructional materials, saving their colleagues endless hours of scrolling the internet for materials to supplement and extend instruction. Completed packages include a variety of eBooks, videos, lesson plans, and web-based materials from INFOhio's licensed digital content and Open Space for the curriculum topics listed below.

  • Career exploration
  • Financial literacy
  • Holocaust and Genocide for grades 6-12
  • STEM

Ohio's educators can find supplemental materials for the above topics within the Content Package Collection.

We caught up with participants from the Instructional Materials Reviewer Workshop to learn how these high-quality and freely available instructional materials were used with students this school year. 

  • Michelle Neal, Technology Integration Specialist, Zanesville City Schools
  • Jenn Seebauer, Middle School Librarian, Teays Valley Local Schools
  • Joni Sexton, Grades 6-12 Curriculum Teacher Leader, Middletown City Schools

Tell us about the content package you created for the Instructional Materials Reviewer Workshop. What subject and grade level is the target audience? Why did you choose this topic and grade level?

Michelle: I created the content package titled, Career Exploration: Tech Careers. This content package is around the topic of career exploration in STEM-related fields. I work with this grade level of students and focus on preparing students to be college and career ready. I wanted to help find resources to meet the increasing demand for these types of activities and lessons in the classroom. 

Jenn: I created the content package titled, Holocaust & Genocide: History Repeats Itself for Grades 6-8. It includes content about internment camps, the Holocaust, and Genocide for middle school and high school students. I work with this age group and students are infatuated with the Holocaust —and I want them to see that it is not the first, nor the last time something like that has happened. 

Joni: I work with students in grades 6-12. I created the content package titled, Financial Literacy: Financial Responsiblity and Decision Making for grades 9-12. I wanted to support a new class that will be offered at our high school during the 2024-2025 school year. 

Educators can find freely available instructional materials anywhere on the internet. What makes the content package you created unique compared to other instructional materials freely available to educators?

Michelle: I wanted to focus on STEM careers that could actually be found in my area, Southeastern Ohio. I sought out resources in the medical and logistics fields since those are areas of job growth in our area. Medical centers are working to bring more services to our area so people do not have to drive long distances for care. With the addition and expansion of companies like Amazon, FedEx, and Intel, logistics will bring a big jump in tech and distribution jobs. 

Joni: I honed in on specific financial literacy skills and content knowledge. The materials I selected give educators the resources needed to support these specific skills and knowledge. 

Which materials in the content package you created do you value the most?

Jenn: The access to databases of primary sources.  Primary sources give students a more vivid and authentic experience when connecting with history. I also appreciated that all of the sources provided were vetted.

Michelle: I think the resources that showcase realistic career options for the students I serve are most valuable. 

Have you created additional content packages? 

Michelle: STEAM for Littles which features STEAM resources for preschool to early primary-aged students. It was a lot of fun to create!

Joni: Inquiry into Information Literacy

Jenn: Digital Citizenship: Netiquette and Digital Footprints

Share how you have used your training as an instructional material reviewer in your current role this year. 

Joni: The Instructional Materials Reviewer Workshop helped me understand how to evaluate sites and materials effectively. I also learned how important it is to understand the level of quality of materials and why it is needed for teachers when they utilize the resources.

Michelle: I have recommended INFOhio resources countless times in my work as a Technology Integration Specialist. I know that teachers are always on the lookout for new things they can try out in their classrooms, but so many of them are purchasing resources using their own money. I show them that there are high-quality resources that they can use at no charge to them or our district.

Jenn: First, I shared with our Director of Teaching and Learning, providing a brief tutorial regarding all that Open Space and curated packages offer teachers.  She suggested, and it is in the plans for this fall, that I present at our three-day district professional development.  Second, resources I encountered while building my content package and other resources I discovered in digging around, I sent to colleagues for incorporation into their classrooms.  Finally, I was part of the the INFOhio webinar titled, Supporting Everyday Teaching with Curated Content Packages.   

INFOhio wants to thank the following educators for their expertise and participation in the summer Instructional Materials Reviewer Workshop: 

Christina Conti - Jackson Local Schools
Lisa Gallagher - Barnesville Exempted Village School District
Kelly Gonzalez - Avon Local Schools
Dawn Naylor - Southern Local Schools
Michelle Neal - Zanesville City Schools
Payton Norris - Zanesville City Schools
Jennifer Seebauer - Teays Valley Local Schools
Joni Sexton - Middletown City Schools
Amy Stanley - Gallia County Local Schools
Melanie Wightman - Fairview Park City Schools

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As you plan and prep for the 2024-2025 school year, check out these educator-curated content packages on Open Space. Browse these curated materials in the Content Packages collection on INFOhio's Open Space. 

Have questions? INFOhio is here to help. For questions, comments, and additional support contact us at support.infohio.org

About the Author

Posted by: Mary Rowland

Mary Rowland is a Senior Instructional Specialist with INFOhio. A former high school English teacher with 14 years of teaching experience, Mary is an accomplished leader who facilitated professional development in her previous district on integrating web-based tools into the classroom, Google Apps for Education, and writing across the curriculum. During her career, Mary mentored student teachers and served on both the district and building leadership committees. She has earned a BA in English, an MS in Education: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, and is a Google Certified Educator Level 2. Mary is passionate about supporting INFOhio’s mission to help Ohio’s educators integrate the tools and resources to strengthen education for Ohio’s students.

Mary Rowland
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