How You Can Contribute

We are looking for adult basic skills teachers to join, evaluate teaching resources and share their experiences through the site. Please read below for information about how you can get involved.

Background provides a platform for adult educators across New York State to work together to enrich adult education instruction by identifying and reviewing high-quality teaching resources for our teachers.

Professional developers, teacher leaders, and other experienced teachers write reviews that explore the teaching possibilities found in useful web sites, lesson plans, teaching videos, and other free instructional resources. The resources are all related to at least one of the following content areas: College & Career Readiness, Math, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Technology, and Writing. The teaching materials are also identified for use in adult literacy, high school equivalency (HSE), and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).

Teacher Participation

There are two important ways for adult basic skills instructors in New York State to participate in

  • Comment on published reviews: The goal of is to bring free, quality materials to adult education classrooms. Teachers can help make this happen by reading reviews, using the recommended resources to enrich their teaching, and sharing their experiences through the site. Our hope is that teachers in adult education will save time by using current reviews to find materials (and inspiration) to use with their students. After using the materials, we encourage teachers to add their voices to the site by rating and discussing the resources in the comments section found after each review. Look for the reply button at the button of any review. (Sample Comment on Cell-Ed)
  • Write new reviews of resources: The rest of this document describes guidelines for new reviewers on If you are interested in reviewing for, please contact the editorial team.

Submission Process for New Reviews

  • In order to become comfortable with the tone and scope of, new reviewers should read and write comments in response to at least three existing reviews before writing their own review. Please contact us before writing a review in order to make sure that we are not duplicating efforts.
  • Teachers and professional developers interested in reviewing instructional resources for should review the submission criteria and list of suggested sites for review (available from editors). Suggestions for resources not on the list can be made through the Contact Us link at Reviews of resources from the suggested list will receive priority in posting.
  • Teachers who have received training through the NYSED Common Core Institutes and related NYS teacher leader trainings are encouraged to submit reviews.

Criteria for Publishing Reviews

  • Reviewers should only write reviews of resources they have used in a classroom or professional development situation.
  • Reviews should be positive recommendations of resources that are ready to use (or easily adapted) for adult ABE/HSE/ESOL classrooms. The goal of is to share examples of resources that promote high-quality instruction and provide substantive support to teachers. It is sometimes appropriate to give caveats about some elements of a resource, but resources that are not recommended should not be selected for review.
  • Resources reviewed should align with the principles of effective instruction described in the CUNY HSE Curriculum Framework.
  • We publish two general types of posts: reviews on a single resource (e.g., lesson plan, instructional video, teaching strategy) and reviews which introduce broad web sites with various resources.
    1. Review on a single resourceMy Favorite No – model single resource review (with annotations) is a good example of a review of a single resource, in this case a video illustrating a math teaching strategy. We can use short reviews like this to share specific things we have used in our classrooms: individual lesson plans, teaching strategies or materials.
    2. Reviews which introduce broad web sites with various resources: these reviews should describe the instructional resource in general, but should also provide detailed information about one or two specific tools available at the site. For example, a review might describe a repository of lesson plans on teaching history through primary sources, but the bulk of the review would be about how to use some specific sections of the web site (including specific examples and recommendations for how a resource can be used in an HSE classroom). See Preparing to Teach History – model multiple resource review (with annotations) for a model.
  • Questions to consider when writing a review:
    • How could resource be useful to adult education teachers?
    • What level student is this resource appropriate for?
    • Why did you choose this resource?
    • What worked? What didn’t?
    • What advice/message do you have for a teacher who is considering using this resource?
    • What are 2-3 specific recommendations for getting started with this resource? – “Check out these 3 lessons…”
  • All submitted reviews are subject to editing for content, tone, grammar, etc. This process may delay the posting of a review. Authors concerned about the status of a submitted review should use the Contact Us tab and request a status update. Reviews submitted for possible publication should meet the above criteria.