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High School Teacher Lesson Plans Go Open Source

Educators can download free teaching materials and get paid to share their lessons.

Teachers can share lesson plans with colleagues nationwide using sites such as Share My Lesson and Teachers Pay Teachers.

Teachers can share lesson plans with colleagues nationwide using sites such as Share My Lesson.

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[Read how teachers are putting professional development to work.]

While most educators support teachers being recognized for quality work, some aren't on board with the idea of teachers charging their colleagues for content.

"Teachers swapping ideas with one another, that's a great thing," Joseph McDonald, a professor at New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development told the New York Times in 2009. "But somebody asking 75 cents for a word puzzle reduces the power of the learning community and is ultimately destructive to the profession."

Beyond causing potential conflicts with colleagues, charging for lesson plans could raise legal issues for teachers, warns the National Education Association, the nation's largest teachers union with 3 million members.

Content created by teachers for use in the classroom—including tests, quizzes, and homework problems—is considered "works for hire" under copyright laws, the NEA notes. This means they're property of the school unless stated otherwise in a teacher's contract—and teachers should check with administrators at their school or district before selling their lessons online.

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