|REPORT CARD |
|Overall Rating:||4 Stars|
|Ease of Use:||A|
Located online at: www.TeacherFileBox.com.
Company: Evan-Moor Educational Publishers, 18 Lower Ragsdale Drive, Monterey, CA 93940. Phone: (800) 714-0971; Fax: (800) 777-4332; Internet: www.TeacherFileBox.com.
Price: $9.99 per month. School and district licensing discounts are offered.
The subscription fee purchases a license for a single teacher to print as much material as many times as desired from any computer or printer, but does not allow the teacher to share the material with other teachers. This is a “single person per subscription” license, not the single computer license offered with most software.
Audience: Elementary educators.
Format: Web-based subscription resource.
Minimum System Requirements: A computer with Internet access, Mac OS 10.0 or Windows 2000, and a Web browser (Internet Explorer 6.0, Opera browser, Safari 1.3, or Mozilla Firefox 2.0). The fastest possible Internet connection is helpful. Some parts of this site are quite slow with dial-up Web access, although the site still works.
Use of TeacherFileBox.com requires the installation of the plug-ins Java, Adobe Acrobat Reader, and FileOpen WebPublisher (a password verifier). All are available at no cost. The site has a process for helping users determine if their computer already has the plug-ins, as well as instructions and links to free installation.
Description: TeacherFileBox.com is a large collection of instructional resources for PreK–6 teachers. The activities include age-appropriate materials for whole-class, small-group, or differentiated instruction that can be printed as needed. Among the materials are stories with comprehension work sheets, science experiments, and classroom plays with many parts designed to showcase all of the students in a class. The site also provides a lesson planning tool for teachers.
Installation/Access: Once the subscription fee is paid, Evan-Moor sets up access to the site. Users must check to be sure the three plug-ins are installed or they will be unable to print the materials.
When working with computers accessing the Internet through a school network, users may need the help of the network administrator to install all necessary software. Tech support personnel at TeacherFileBox.com will help by talking to the network administrator by appointment, if necessary. Installation/Access Rating: A
Content/Features: TeacherFileBox.com is an online library of Pre-K–6 student activities, including more than 7,000 activities with 35,000 pages of material featuring numerous line drawings and other illustrations. The materials have been written and tested by educators and are aligned with core curriculum and current standards.
Teachers can print what they need when they need it or create personalized lists of searches and organize activities according to month, subject, and grade. Users can flag supplemental activities that correlate with their curriculum for future use.
When subscribers log in, they see an attractive and generally basic Web site with tabs across the top and some choices along the side of the screen. The three tabs across the top are labeled Grades Pre-K–K, Grades 1–3, and Grades 4–6. The side tabs include My Files, My Lesson Plans, My Journal, an Account tab, and a few other links.
The My FileBox feature saves links to units for later use. The My Folders link helps users organize plans by subject. My Lesson Plans can be set up and viewed by day, week, or month. The My Journal tool can be used for notes.
After choosing a grade level for student activities by clicking a tab at the top of the Web page, the user is taken to a page showing new units, upcoming holidays, center suggestions, and most-used units. A Browse feature allows users to look over the entire collection. The Search feature helps teachers locate specific material.
I checked out Grades 4–6 Social Studies and browsed the resource library by groups such as curriculum, holiday, theme, and others. Browsing can also be done using the Area or Topic tabs. The Area tab offered 14 subject choices such as teacher resources, Spanish/English material, and more. The topic selections included All About Me and 16 more choices in the social studies area.
The Buffalo and the Horse offers a good example of a fourth to sixth grade activity from the social studies section. The material contains information about two of the most important animals in the life of the Plains Indians and offers eight activities on eight pages. The activities include making a parfleche (a carrying case or folder), drawing an Indian map, creating a winter count of events, making a model horse, and others.
Abuelita is an example of an activity with a different focus. The material includes a two-page story of a grandmother from Mexico adapting to life in the U.S. After reading the story, students can work on four skills activity sheets that cover recalling details, vocabulary development, a writing prompt, and map reading. The seven activities on eight pages work with reading comprehension and vocabulary, creative writing, map and globe skills, and other social studies skills.
A wide range of similar types of activities is available at all grade levels.
TeacherFileBox.com is a rich source of outstanding material for any elementary educator, built on years of Evan-Moor publications. Not only does the site contain an enormous amount of material, it is well designed and easy to use.
The only problem that I experienced was with the speed of the site when accessing it via a dial-up modem rather than high-speed Internet access. The first page has a slide show that loaded very slowly on dial-up.
I also noticed slowdowns when doing things that involved one or more of the three plug-ins, but that was to be expected. I recommend using high-speed Internet access for this site. Content/Features Rating: A
Ease of Use: Once the plug-ins are installed, the site is very easy to use with clear, intuitive navigation and lots of available help. The installation isn’t that difficult if the directions are followed. Ease of Use Rating: A
Product Support: An excellent FAQ section and lots of help are available online. A problem reporting function is available via email. Toll-free telephone customer support is also offered. All in all, these elements provide more than enough support for this easily used site. Product Support Rating: A
Recommendation: I highly recommend this site for every elementary teacher. It is an outstanding supplemental resource.
Free lesson plan sites are available on the Internet, but TeacherFileBox.com is superior and well worth the monthly fee due to its lack of advertising, excellent organization, the tools available to users, and the quality and amount of the included material. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Charles Doe, Media Specialist, Hastings Area Schools, Central Elementary School, Hastings, MI.