This is a transcript. For the video, see Share My Lesson Part 1 - Building the Largest Online Repository for Lesson Plans.

[00:00:00] Michael Meyers: Hello everybody and welcome to another Tag1 team talk. Today, we're gonna be talking about Share My Lesson with Kelly Booz, the director of Share My Lesson and eLearning at the American Federation of Teachers. I'm Michael Meyers, managing director at Tag1 Consulting and joining us today is Peta Hoyes, our chief operating officer at Tag1.

[00:00:20] We're going to do today's talk in three segments. We're going to start with the intro and background, which is this segment. And then we're going to talk about some of the rapid growth and how to become - how to avoid becoming a victim of your own success. And finally, in segment three, we're gonna be talking about building on all of this amazing success that Kelly and her team have seen, and what's coming up next and what you're going to see in the future.

[00:00:41] So Kelly, thank you so much for joining us today. Could you, you know, just to start things off, could you give folks just at a high level of background what is the American Federation of Teachers? What is it that you guys do? And what is your role there?

[00:00:55] Kelly Booz: Yeah, no, thank you for having me. Yeah, the American Federation of Teachers is a Teacher Union, 1.7 million members, but actually our name American Federation of Teachers is not completely accurate because we actually also, in addition to organizing teachers, we have public employees, nurses, support staff, and probably higher education. So we've got quite a bit of other, other groups that we organize as part of the national union.

[00:01:29] Michael Meyers: Wow. That's awesome. 1.7 million that makes you one of the largest unions in the country?

[00:01:34]Kelly Booz: One of the largest. Yes. NEA is slightly larger.

[00:01:39] Michael Meyers: Wow. And can you tell us a little bit about your role at AFT?

[00:01:43] Kelly Booz: Sure. I am the director of our AFT's Share My Lesson website and our eLearning platform, basically any of the digital resources and tools that we have for both members AFT members and then educators and support staff.

[00:02:01]Michael Meyers: At a high level, what is SML? What is the, the Share My Lesson website, you know why did you guys decide to do it? What does it offer?

[00:02:11] Kelly Booz: Yeah, no. This was a, the brainchild of our president AFT president Randi Weingarten in partnership with another organization TES Global, they worked together to really try to find a shared common, shared free resource for educators to be able to not only upload and share content, but to be able to find content. And the, the site launched in June of 2012. And that was right when common core - the common course national state standards were being rolled out. And so as teachers were you know, essentially teaching some new content and curriculum. The idea was for somebody who's in New York who would be teaching the same content and the same standard as somebody in California to be able to find and share and collaborate on this content. So the brainchild was really

[00:03:04] The idea was really to create this kind of open crowdsourcing site. So you let educators be able to share content. And then also let the educators be able to write and review that content. So resources that lesson plans and resources that are more valuable for educators can be easily found and rise to the top. For them

[00:03:23] Michael Meyers: You're trying to make it, yeah. Educators' jobs a little bit easier and share some learnings and information across them.

[00:03:30] Kelly Booz: Right.

[00:03:31]Michael Meyers: Tell me a little bit about who uses Share My Lesson. Is it purely for educators? Does it serve a broader audience?

[00:03:38] Kelly Booz: It is a broader audience. So the Share My Lesson is open to anybody. So we've got, you know, certainly our primary audience are teachers and educators and support staff, but, you know, we have parents that are coming to our site to find content, to help support their students, especially in this pandemic world that we're in.

[00:03:54] And you know, in this virtual learning hybrid learning that we find ourselves in and then, you know,specialized instructional support personnel. So, you know, while the site itself has been targeted you know, mostly for teachers and support staff. We've got a pretty broad audience on the site and we've also added some new terminology on the sites.

[00:04:18] So resources can be added to higher education. So that will be a newer audience. Which is also a constituency for us at the AFT.

[00:04:27] Michael Meyers: So, teachers, parents, a broad array of people that, that need access to lesson plans are the folks that are, that are consuming the material who's creating these lesson plans.

[00:04:38] Kelly Booz: Yeah. The resources are coming. The lesson plans and the resources come from really two sources, either members. And we have over 1.8 million members that are part of the Share My Lesson family. Now I should actually add and say that it's not Share My Lesson is open to anybody. You don't have to be an AFT member.

[00:04:56] So while I work at the American Federation of Teachers this, this site was also intentionally created. So educators, whether you're. You know, an AFT member or not, can still collaborate on some content together. So public, private, charter, homeschool, you name it. So we've got you know, an audience throughout the country and, you know, in several countries as well.

[00:05:21] But the resources are created either from Share My Lesson members who create their content, create accounts and upload their content to the site to share, or they come from now are over 400 content partners such as PBS NewsHour or Library of Congress or other other organizations that have great lesson plans that they want to share and get in the hands of educators, they will also create their content and add it to the site.

[00:05:50] Michael Meyers: It's amazing to see folks like PBS and Sesame Street into this and, and helping so many people with homeschooling, like you said, during COVID I would imagine that parents, teachers are dealing with, you know, a lot of unique challenges, which we're going to get into a little bit later on. Is this something that, that people have to pay for?

[00:06:11] Is it entirely free to anybody and everybody?

[00:06:15]Kelly Booz: It is entirely free. And that's, you know, one of the areas where I think differentiates us from other organizations, other, you know, lesson sharing sites, where we intentionally wanted to stay free for members free for educators and not have to add the burden of you know, having to purchase content.

[00:06:35] Michael Meyers: And this is one of the most successful web initiatives at AFT. AMT. It's the largest repository of online lessons available on the internet. Can you, can you give us a sense of the scale? You know, what does that mean? I, you know, how many people are, are using this, viewing it, you know, creating and downloading lessons

[00:07:01] Kelly Booz: Yeah, so we have, as I mentioned earlier, we have over 1.8 million. We just crossed the 1.8 million member mark just last week. So 1.8 million members on Share My Lesson's website over 400,000 resources. Pre-K through 12th grade and now, you know, moving into higher education professional development, high and support staff content on the site.

[00:07:25] The site gets anywhere from. 150,000 to 300,000 visits per month, sometimes more depending on what's happening within the world or the time of the year when it's busier for educators. And. You know, I think we've worked crossed the 15 million download mark to..

[00:07:46] Michael Meyers: Wow. That's that's really awesome. How does this fit into AFT's mission and ecosystem?

[00:07:54] You know, you talked about all these different audiences that you [00:08:00] serve as a union, all the different audiences that the site is serving. In addition to that,

[00:08:05]Kelly Booz: Yeah, no, that's a great question. I think that, you know, one, we want to make sure, yeah. The educators, teachers support staff can find the content that they need.

[00:08:14] Depending on what they, you know, are teaching, you know, sometimes at the beginning of a school year or mid-year during the school year, somebody, a teacher may be teaching a brand new subject, a brand new grade, or if you're a brand new teacher to the profession and you're, and you have to teach something, let's say Tuesday and it's Sunday and you don't have content. Being able to come to Share My Lesson and find something fast and quick and then use it and tweak it and use it as there. You know, the teacher's own content is incredibly valuable and is a real time saver for our members. But on top of that you know, the, one of the things that American Federation of Teachers, we have been, you know, heavy, heavy advocates for social justice issues. It's a core part of our mission. And one of the spaces that Share My Lesson serves is, making sure that we've got, are having content to give to educators on some of these different topics, whether it's on, you know, resources on the, on anti-racist curriculum and you know, how, you know, how do we, how do we become anti-racist?

[00:09:18] How do we teach that to our students or on the January 6th? Do you know Capitol Hill insurrection and having some content that we can quickly pull together for educators , is a important value space that we add because we have so many great partnerships and such great content already on the site.

[00:09:39] And people are constantly adding to the site that we really can cull together some great collections of material based on what's happening or what the topic is. So, you know, whether it was the me too movement or you know, God forbid us. School was gun shooting, a school shooting or something, but being able to pull that content together adds is an incredible help for a teacher who, you know, maybe trying to teach a topic that they just don't have content or lessons on.

[00:10:08] Michael Meyers: [00:10:08] It's amazing. Both my parents are teachers. My best friend is a teacher. I know firsthand the amount of effort and energy that goes into being a teacher, but in particular, you know, creating these lesson plans. I remember my best friend started teaching a new class and it was like, you know, arduous. So to have this kind of material is, is a huge asset for teachers for sure.

[00:10:33] Well thank you for, for giving us a background. We're going to wrap up our first segment. Please remember to join us for segment two, the rapid growth and how to avoid becoming a victim of your own success. And then we're going to talk about building on all the amazing success that Share My Lesson has seen we'll put links and notes below the video in the show notes below.

[00:10:55] If you liked this talk, please remember to subscribe and share it with all your friends. You can check out past team talks at And as always, we'd love your input and feedback. You can reach us at Kelly, Peta, a huge thank you for joining us.

[00:11:14] We'll be back with segment two in a moment.