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Interesting Facts and Stories from Inauguration Days Past

Interesting Facts and Stories from Inauguration Days Past
On Friday, January 20, 2017, the president-elect becomes the president, as Donald Trump will be sworn into office as the 45th commander in chief of the United States of America. Inauguration Day is typically a day of pomp and circumstance, carefully planned out to reflect tradition and the orderly transfer of power. However, through the years there have been some moments that stand out as atypical of the normal routine. Here are some interesting facts and history from Inauguration Days past.

A Change in Date
The new president of the United States was sworn in on March 4 for well over a century. This extended lame duck session led to numerous problems for incoming presidents, so it was moved with the 29th amendment. Now, power officially changes hands at noon on January 20.

A Change in Location
The first president who took the oath of office in the nation’s current capital of Washington D.C. was Thomas Jefferson in 1801. Previously, George Washington took his first oath in New York. His second oath, along with John Adams’ one and only, were administered in Philadelphia.

Coverage of the Inauguration
In 1845, James Polk’s inaugural was the first covered by telegraph. The first inauguration to be photographed was in 1857 when James Buchanan took the oath. William McKinley was the first president to have his inauguration filmed by a motion picture camera, and Harry Truman was the first to be televised. Bill Clinton’s second inauguration was the first to be live streamed on the internet.

Inaugural Balls
Every four years, much is made of the parties and inaugural balls. Fashion experts critique the outfits, gossip columnists cover the attendees, and pundits analyze the cost. This year, President Trump is expected to attend three separate balls, with dozens of unofficial galas taking place in the Washington area. President Obama attended ten different balls to celebrate his first term in 2009, but only two to kick off his second term in 2013. The first inaugural ball celebrated the beginning of James Madison’s in 1809 and was surely not like the affairs taking place in 2017. Tickets were just $4.

The Inaugural Speech
The first inaugural speech was also the shortest (just 135 words). The longest speech is surrounded in intrigue as many believe it led to a tragic event. William Henry Harrison’s almost two hour, 8500 word speech took place on a cold, wet day. President Harrison chose to forgo a coat and hat, and rode on horseback instead of a covered carriage.  Many have attributed Harrison’s death just thirty days later from pneumonia brought on by these poor choices, but modern historians dispute this theory. They instead point to poor the handling of sewage in the area around the White House water supply that would have had devastating effects on Harrison’s gastrointestinal system.

Death as a result of Inauguration Day
There is, however, one death that is properly attributed to poor Inauguration Day weather. That sad designation belongs to Abigail Fillmore, wife of President Millard Fillmore, who remained at her husband’s side throughout his predecessor’s inauguration despite brutal wintry conditions. She developed pneumonia and died shortly after.

The Oath of Office
There have been numerous occasions when the oath of office had to be re-administered. The most recent and infamous example was in 2009. The oath was incorrectly read by Chief Justice John Roberts and repeated President Barack Obama in 2009. Because the oath was not read and repeated exactly as stated in the Constitution, Obama and Roberts had a do over “out of an abundance of caution”. The oath has been repeated six other times in history due to a variety of issues. Four presidents – Rutherford  Hayes, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan – restated their oaths publicly because Inauguration Day took place on a Sunday, meaning only private ceremonies were held. Chester Arthur and Calvin Coolidge both took the oath privately following the sudden death of the sitting president.

Inauguration Day has a long list of traditional and customary practices that presidents and their staffs have followed for years. But nothing about this campaign and election season has been traditional. It will be interesting to see what odd occurrences and anecdotes can be added to this list after President Trump takes his place in the White House.

Using Historical Thinking Skills to Analyze the “I Have a Dream” Speech

Using Historical Thinking Skills to Analyze the I Have a Dream Speech
The impact of Martin Luther King, Jr. left on American society and politics is immeasurable. His efforts to bring equality to all races living in America led to lasting change and hold an important place in all American history curricula. As we celebrate the legacy of Dr. King on the third Monday of January every year, it is important to find fresh ways to teach our students about his life, while still integrating the necessary skills for student success.

Let’s look at Dr. King’s most memorable speech with a focus on historical thinking skills.

Close Reading:

Close reading asks students to determine a source’s point of view and purpose.  For example, Dr. King’s famous I Have a Dream speech includes the sections:

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

Students can break down each line to determine the vision that Dr. King had for his country. They can then summarize the entire section by analyzing the interpretation for each line.

To help students see the speech from an ELA perspective, Presentation Magazine offers a compositional analysis of the speech.

Contextualization:

Contextualizing is the skill that asks students to look at the facts and events surrounding a particular document that may have influenced its creator. To fully understand the context of Dr. King’s message we must look at race relations and segregation in America in 1963. Teaching Tolerance offers a five lesson teacher’s guide to their film A Time for Justice: America’s Civil Rights Movement which chronicles the civil rights movement from the 1954 ruling in Brown vs. the Board of Education to the 1965 passage of the Voting Rights Act. The guide includes primary sources, interactive activities, and the background information that give Dr. King’s words context.

For upper elementary students, Scholastic provides a brief overview of the same era. It provides context for Dr. King’s speech, but does not require a lot of class time to convey much of the same information.

Corroboration:

Corroborating a source’s content is when students locate other sources that back up or contradict the source being analyzed. In trying to corroborate Dr. King’s words, students can be presented with various speeches.

Here are two examples:
The first is by Alabama governor George Wallace, that says, in part,

and I say . . . segregation today . . . segregation tomorrow . . . segregation forever.

The second example is from President John Kennedy, which says:

This afternoon, following a series of threats and defiant statements, the presence of Alabama National Guardsmen was required on the University of Alabama to carry out the final and unequivocal order of the United States District Court of the Northern District of Alabama. That order called for the admission of two clearly qualified young Alabama residents who happened to have been born Negro.

Students should use excerpts of these speeches to corroborate Dr. King’s characterization of a country that is divided and unequal. Students can also use these speeches to make a claim about American society in the 1960s.

Sourcing:

To properly source a document, students must determine if the who, when, and where of a document makes it more or less reliable. All three of our speeches were given in 1963. We know from our contextualizing, that America was in a state of racial turmoil at the time. In our corroborating, we learn that the speeches by President Kennedy and Governor Wallace highlight the issues stated by Dr. King. All sources seem to be a reliable source of history of the time they were created.

Dr. Martin Luther King is a monumental figure in American history. His contributions cannot be overlooked. With some of the sources and activities above, you can honor his work and memory, while still integrating the skills our students need. For more on historical thinking skills, check out Help Teaching’s Online Self Paced Lessons on Sourcing and Corroboration, and well as two different lessons on Contextualizing.

 

Top 100 Free Education Sites

Top 100 Free Education Sites of 2016

Since 2013, Help Teaching has brought you our Top 100 Free Education Sites. We’re continually updating our list to provide you with the best resources. Not only have we rounded up the top free sites for teacher math, science, English, and social studies, but we’ve also added some of our favorite computer science and coding sites.

No time to go through the whole list? Just use “Quick Links” section to jump straight to the section that interests you and bookmark this article for a reference later.

QUICK LINKS:
10 Awesome Sites Reading Science Arts Lesson Planning
Classroom Management Writing Math Music Social Studies
Educating Yourself Health and Safety Educational Games Coding new!
Early Education Education News Homework Help and Study Skills

10 Awesome Education Sites

Whatever the grade-level or subject area, these websites have something to offer. From high-quality lesson plans to entertaining games and educational videos, they represent some of the best educational websites in existence.

Power My Learning gives parents, teachers, and students a way to find some of the best free learning activities online. By creating an account they can save activities and browse activities by standard. Users can also recommend activities to add to the site.

Code.org has gained recognition with its Hour of Code initiative. The website offers free, easy lessons to help kids learn some of the basics of coding. The lessons also help teach critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Google is something most teachers know about, but many haven’t taken the time to explore all of their awesome free resources for education. There are some fun activities too, such as Build with Chrome where kids can build with LEGO-style blocks online.

Kidblog offers a simple, safe blogging platform for teacher. While there may be fancier systems out there, there’s something to be said for simplicity and Kidblog does its job well.

FunBrain helps students learn through fun games related to math and reading. They’ll also find books and other entertaining resources.

Scholastic has developed a reputation for its high-quality educational books and materials and its website does not disappoint, offering lesson plans, interactive activities, and articles designed to help teachers and parents.

Gooru helps students take control of their own learning by providing them with information about how they learn best.

Edutopia focuses on helping educators grow. From articles and blogs from those working in the field to informational videos and classroom guides, educators in all areas of education will stay on top of the latest trends and find tips to help them improve.

DIY.org encourages kids to learn new skills. Teachers and parents can challenge them to set goals and complete tasks on the site.

Edudemic helps teachers with technology. Both technology experts and those just getting started will find plenty of tips and resources on this site.

Coding

Every day, in classrooms around the world, kids are learning how to code. Coding is a valuable skill that helps teach kids to think logically and develop the critical thinking and reasoning skills they need for our increasingly technological world. These resources offer free coding activities for kids.

Our Top Pick

Code.org is home to the Hour of Code. In just an hour, kids can complete a fun coding game. There are many games to choose from, including those that feature popular characters kids love.

Tynker offers its own free Hour of Code activities and games for kids to enjoy.

CodeCombat is an online, multiplayer game that requires kids to write code to play.

Kodu Game Lab is a visual programming tool that kids can download to create games of their own.

CS Unplugged teaches the principles of coding, but not in the traditional way. The site offers a large selection of offline activities designed to help kids develop these critical thinking skills.

Reading

Find games and activities for early readers, as well as texts for advanced readers in this collection of high-quality reading websites. In addition to these sites, Help Teaching offers a large collection of public domain and original reading passages organized by grade-level, word count, and Lexile level.

CommonLit contains a wealth of free fiction and non-fiction texts for use in the classroom. Texts are organized by grade-level and theme.

Our Top Pick

Media Literacy Clearinghouse introduces students to a new type of literacy – media literacy. With all of the new technology and messages appearing everyday, it’s important for kids to be media literate.

Awesome Stories uses non-traditional reading materials, such as biographies and primary source texts to get students learning through reading. Students can use the site to help with research and teachers can use the texts as part of lesson plans. Creating an account allows users to access audio versions of many of the titles as well, making it an ideal site for auditory learners and those with learning disabilities.

ReadWriteThink gets students to participate in critical thinking and reading activities through its lesson plans and student interactives.

Book Adventure is a free online reading program that provides students with incentives for reading.

Bookopolis is essentially a GoodReads for kids. The site allows students to read reviews written by their peers and helps them find the perfect book.

Writing

Whether students need an outlet for their creative writing or want to brush up on their grammar skills, one of these resources will get the job done.

Our Top Pick

ToonDoo gives kids a place to create their own cartoons and store them online. It features tons of clipart and other artistic effects to make the comics visually appealing.

Voki features animated characters that students can customize and manipulate to speak their words. It’s a great tool to help with creative thinking, writing, and storytelling.

Grammar Bytes tests students’ knowledge of grammar through simple multiple-choice activities and rewards them with cheesy virtual prizes.

Purdue OWL is an online writing lab from Purdue University that provide students, particularly those in high school and college, with everything they need to know about writing a paper, including grammar advice and paper formats.

Social Studies

Teachers can find primary source documents, high-quality lesson plans, and connect students to history, geography, government, and other areas of social studies online.

Our Top Pick

Chronas is a new history resource that seeks to give students’ a better understanding of history. It visually and chronologically organizes Wikipedia information to create a unique digital textbook of sorts.

GeoGuessr tests kids’ geography skills. Using images from Google’s Street View, it plops players down in the middle of the street and asks them to figure out where they are.

National Archives: DocsTeach allows teachers to incorporate primary source documents and other historical texts into a variety of critical thinking and thought-mapping activities. Pre-made activities are also provided. Students can complete the activities online or through the DocsTeach app available for the iPad.

iCivics offers high-quality and engaging games for students to play and learn about civics. Lesson plans help teachers incorporate the games in the classroom.

HSTRY gives students the chance to create free interactive timelines and engage in collaborative learning.

What Was There? allows students to type in any city, state, or country to view an archive of historical photographs and other documents. It’s a unique way to help them learn about history.

Math

Not all websites focus on elementary math skills. While many of these games do work well for elementary-age students, many of them also provide games and lesson plans for students tackling subjects such as algebra, geometry, and calculus.

Our Top Pick

Math is Fun is full of math resources for kids and teachers. It also includes an illustrated dictionary of math terms to help students understand difficult concepts.

Numberphile features short videos about numbers. They help kids explore complex math topics and make math more fun.

Math Games offers a large collection of math games and questions organized by grade-level and skill. It also includes a progress-tracking feature so teachers and parents can see what kids know.

AAA Math features online interactive math lessons for students in kindergarten through 8th grade.

Yummy Math connects math with the real-world through timely new stories and other reading passages.

Math Forum offers online professional development opportunities and other resources to help math teachers improve their skills.

Science

Help students understand science with this collection of videos, games, experiments, and creative science activities.

Our Top Pick

PhET features many engaging simulations to help kids learn difficult concepts in science and math.

Wonderopolis shows kids a wonder of the day and then gives them a chance to test their knowledge or join in on a discussion related to that wonder. Kids will be surprised by all of the cool facts that they learn and they may spark some interesting discussions in the classroom.

Molecular Workbench contains hundreds of simulations, curriculum models, and assessments designed to improve the teaching of science.

Science Made Simple gives kids science experiment ideas and other science project topics, as well as help preparing for a science fair.

The Science Spot offers lesson plans, activities, and student examples from one teacher’s science classroom, as well as daily science trivia challenges and daily science starters.

BioDigital is a human visualization platform that allows students to explore the human body in really cool ways.

For even more science-specific resources, check out the Ultimate Guide to Teaching Science.

Art

Art museums around the world have made it their mission to teach students about art. These websites introduce students to art theory, let them explore classic works of art, and even give them the chance to create art of their own.

Our Top Pick

Artsonia bills itself as the world’s largest kids art museum. All of the artwork has been created by kids and, while the site is free, parents can also purchase products featuring their kids’ artwork.

Artsology helps kids learn to appreciate the arts by providing them with the opportunity to play games, conduct investigations, and explore different forms of art.

The Artist’s Toolkit introduces kids to the tools and mediums artists use to create their works. They’ll even find videos of artists hard at work in their studios.

NGAKids Art Zone allows kids to explore popular art movements, themes, and painters and offers guides to help teachers as well.

Tate Kids gives kids a chance to explore famous works of art, play art-related games, and even create their own works of art to add to their online gallery.

Music

Encourage kids to think beyond One Direction and their other favorite artists and experience new types of music. Kids can learn about the symphony and classical music or even build their own musical skills by learning about ear training or playing instruments online.

Our Top Pick

Andrew & Polly is an indie children’s music duo that has created a podcast called Ear Snacks designed to help kids learn through music, sound, and unique experiences.

Classics for Kids regularly highlights famous composers and provides teachers with activities to incorporate into the classroom.

KIDiddles has lyrics and audio files for over 2,000 kids songs for music teachers, or any teachers, to use in their classroom.

Good Ear may not look like an awesome site, but it contains a lot in its simple design. This website provides virtual ear training to help serious student musicians learn to recognize the differences between notes.

Virtual Musical Instruments lets kids play instruments online. Instruments include the guitar, piano, pan flute, drums, and bongos.

Health and Safety

Health and safety are important to kids. Whether kids want to know more about keeping their bodies healthy or staying safe online, these websites have them covered.

Our Top Pick

KidsHealth is the top website for kids to learn about their bodies and their health. It features easy-to-read articles and kid-friendly graphics to help kids learn about a whole host of topics related to health and safety.

CDC BAM! focuses on teaching kids about their bodies. BAM stands for body and mind and all of the resources on the site help kids learn more about their bodies and keeping their minds sharp.

McGruff the Crime Dog has been helping kids learn about safety for decades. His interactive website features games, articles, and videos about safety for kids.

NetSmartzKidz and its sister site, Netsmartz, promotes online safety. Kids and adults can learn all about staying safe online and avoiding dangers such as cyber bullying.

StopBullying.gov helps prevent bullying in all forms by providing teachers, parents, and students with resources to educate them about bullying and let them know what to do when bullying occurs.

PE Central is a physical education teacher’s ultimate resource. It includes lesson plans, assessment ideas, and other resources.

Early Education

Don’t forget about your younger learners too. Many websites, including our own Early Education collection, offer games and activities designed to help toddlers and preschoolers build their basic skills.

Our Top Pick

Preschool Express is full of crafts, activities, bulletin board designs, and finger plays for early education teachers and parents to use with kids.

Starfall promotes beginning reading and number skills with fun stories and activities.

Funbrain Jr. brings the fun and quality of Funbrain to a younger audience with its early learning games.

Songs for Teaching offers a large selection of fun songs to help teach preschool students.

Super Simple Learning’s resource section includes free flashcards, coloring pages, worksheets, and other resources for children, teachers, and parents.

Educational Games

Kids love to play games online. Why not encourage the practice by introducing them to some fun educational games websites? They’ll have fun and you’ll know they’re learning.

Our Top Pick
Arcademic Skill Builders offers a series of racing games for kids focused on math and ELA skills. Best of all, many of the games are multiplayer so kids can create rooms and play against their friends.

Quizalize lets teachers turn content into fun quiz games for students. It’s free to create quizzes, but teachers can also buy inexpensive quizzes from other teachers in the marketplace.

Cool Math Games is the ultimate site for kids who want to play math-oriented games. These arcade-style games are a lot of fun and many accompany the lessons found on the site.

Primary Games has a lot of educational games for kids to play mixed in with some “just for fun” games too. All of the games are kid-friendly.

Games for Change gets kids thinking about problem-solving and social issues by providing them with unique games to play. Many of the games help kids solve world problems or introduce them to social issues.

Educational News

It’s important to keep up with the news. These websites cover the latest education news and also provide kid-friendly news sites to use with students.

Our Top Pick
Education World has undergone a site redesign in the last year so that its main page now highlights the latest news in the world of education, including interesting research and controversy.

Education Week publishes a weekly newspaper all about education. Its website highlights many of those stories so you can access them for free.

Smithsonian TweenTribune features unique news stories for kids. Stories are organized by Lexile level and cover topics related to kids’ interests.

Time for Kids gives students and teachers access to many of the articles from Time for Kids magazine, even if they don’t subscribe. Stories focuses on world news stories and pop culture.

DOGO News promotes “fodder for young minds” by sharing unique news stories, including stories of people doing good around the world.

Educating Yourself

With the introduction of open courseware and TED talks educating yourself online has never been easier. Find access to actual college courses and learn what you want to know from the experts in the field. Last year at Help Teaching, we launched our own line of online K-12 lessons that students can use for self-directed learning.

Our Top Pick
TED features videos and other resources from some of the world’s greatest leaders, innovators, and thinkers. If you want to learn more about a particular field, chances are there’s an expert talking about it.

Khan Academy offers free online courses in a wide variety of subjects. It offers the most content in math, but also has courses in science, economics, test prep, and more.

Open Education Consortium allow you to search for open courses around the world. It also provides news on the open courseware movement.

MIT OpenCourseWare gives you access to courses from one of the nation’s most prestigious colleges.

Coursera helps you find and sign up to take free online courses from some of the world’s top universities and other experts.

Youtube has been around for a long time, but that only supports its awesomeness. You’ll find a lot of videos tutorials on everything from fixing a car to learning how to beat a difficult level on Angry Birds. Don’t forget to check out Help Teaching’s YouTube channel with online lessons too.

Homework Help and Study Skills

For general homework questions and help studying for that big test, students should check out this collection of websites. Teachers will also find study skills lessons to go over with students in class.

Our Top Pick

BJ Pinchbeck’s Homework Helper features information, resources, and links designed to help students with their homework, as well as resources for parents and teachers.

HomeworkSpot provides students with links, resources, games, and reference materials to help them build their skills and help them complete their homework..

Fact Monster Homework Center connects kids with reference materials and tools to help them successfully complete their homework.

Shmoop offers homework help, literature guides, and a ton of other resources for students. The site’s writers incorporate a lot of humor in their writing too, making the site incredibly entertaining.

Howtostudy.org features articles on different study skills and test-taking strategies. There’s even a subject-based “How to Write” section to help students learn how to write all kinds of informational texts.

Don’t forget Help Teaching’s Study Skills and Strategies worksheets either!

Lesson Planning

Lesson planning can be time consuming, but with high-quality pre-created lesson plans, lesson plan templates, and a place to store their lesson plans, teachers can simplify the process.

Our Top Pick

The Differentiator provides teachers with lesson plan ideas to help them incorporate higher-order thinking skills, change up the products students create, and add to the resources they use. This helps ensure teachers aren’t presenting the same lessons all the time and that they reach students in many different ways.

Buck Institute for Education (BIE) helps teachers learn more about project-based learning. It also offers a collection of PBL activities for teachers to use in the classroom.

Makerspaces.com provides teachers with tips, tricks, and resources to create a Makerspace in their schools.

ShareMyLesson offers lesson plans and other resources shared by teachers, educators, and educational companies around the world.

Classroom Management

If teachers want students to learn, they must have good classroom management. These resources help keep students in control and encourage behavior that promotes learning.

Our Top Pick

ClassDojo is a classroom management system that allows teachers to set goals for students, track their progress, and reward them for that progress. Parents can also access reports to see how their children are doing.

Remind gives teachers a free, easy, and safe way to share important information with parents and students via text message. All phone numbers are kept private and parents must opt-in to receive messages.

BouncyBalls is an online game where the noise level makes the balls bounce. The more balls bouncing, the noisier the classroom is, reminding students to quiet down and focus on their work.

NEA Classroom Management offers a classroom management survival guide, as well as articles and resources to help with specific areas of classroom management.

Super Teachers Tools contains free resources such as seating chart makers and countdown timers that can help teachers implement solid classroom management strategies.

 

Did you favorite sites make the list? If not, share them in the comments. Maybe they’ll make 2017’s list of the 100 Best Free Education Sites. Remember to check out Help Teaching for all of your worksheet and printable needs too.

Top 10 Educational Blog Posts of 2016

top-10-educational-posts-of-2016
In 2016, Help Teaching, once again, shared blog posts about a wide range of educational topics. We started the year off with our annual Top 100 Free Education Sites. In September, we updated our Ultimate Guide to Teaching Science. Throughout the rest of the year, we shared posts related to social studies, language arts, and general education. We even included some test-taking and teaching strategies. To round out the year, we’d like to take a moment to highlight some of the posts HelpTeaching users found most useful. You might discover a few you missed or a few you want to share with friends.

#1 25 Ways to Show Kids You Care About Them

At the end of the day, kids just want to know you care about them. We’ve come up with 25 ways to help you make that happen. Everything on the list can be done right away, without a lot of thought or planning. Watch for more posts in 2017 to help you develop a better relationship with your children and your students.

Guide to Quality Screen Time for Babies, Children, and Teens

#2 Guide to Quality Screen Time for Babies, Children, and Teens

When it comes to technology, it’s important to pay attention to what type of content and how much content your children are consuming. We break down what you need to know about the AAP’s guidelines for screen time and provide you with some quality educational apps and video series you can feel safe letting your kids interact with.

#3 Everything Your Students Always Wanted to Know About Electing the President…

In the United States, 2016 will go down as the year of one of the most talked about elections in history. All of the attention around the election likely raised a lot of questions in students’ minds. For example, what is the electoral college? This post seeks to answer students’ most pressing questions about the presidential election. Now that the election is over, in 2017, we’ll bring you facts about the inauguration and more posts to help you understand U.S. and world history.

#4 Brain Breaks: Helping Students Refresh, Reset, and Get Moving

Do you use brain breaks in the classroom? Brain breaks are one of the latest trends to help improve student performance. They give students a chance to recharge so they can focus on learning. If you’ve never used brain breaks or are looking for new brain breaks strategies to use in your classroom, this post will help.

How to Become a Champion Speller

#5 How to Become a Champion Speller

Can you spell hippopotamus? How about ambidextrous? Using the strategies found in our post about becoming a champion speller, you can help your students improve their spelling skills. We include advice from pros and other tried and true spelling strategies.

#6 Why I Review With Students and How You Can Too

Review is an important component of the learning process. Without regular review, students are likely to forget the material they’ve learned throughout the year. We’ve listed some reasons to make review a part of your classroom routine, as well as strategies to use with students as they review. Don’t forget, you can find plenty of worksheets to use for review on our site.

#7 10 Ways to Help Students Avoid Procrastination

Some students love to procrastinate. However, procrastination rarely leads to a quality learning experience. Use these tips to help your students learn to manage their time and avoid the pitfalls that come with procrastination.

Social Studies Reading List

#8 Social Studies Reading List

If you’re looking for quality social studies texts to use with students, check out our social studies reading list. The texts on the list are designed to spark students’ interest in social studies and help them learn the basics before heading into class.

#9 10 More Fun Facts for Geography Awareness Week

In 2015, we brought you 10 Fun Facts for Geography Awareness Week and in 2016 we brought you even more. Did you know that the wettest city in the United States is Mobile, Alabama or that China shares its border with 16 nations? Find these facts and more in our post.

#10 Science Activities You Will Want to do with your Kids

Science can be a lot of fun. Instead of letting your kids have all the fun, why not enjoy some activities with them? We’ve come up with a list of experiments and other science activities that you can do with your kids. When you’re finished with the activities on this list, check out our Ultimate Guide to Teaching Science for even more fun science activities and resources.

Stay tuned to Help Teaching’s website and blog in 2017 for even more quality content to help you both in the classroom and at home. Is there anything in particular you’d like to see us cover? Share it in the comments. Who knows? It may become the next topic featured on our blog.

Ultimate Guide to Free Online Self-Learning for Kids

Ultimate Guide to Free Online Self-Learning Resources for Kids (K-6). 75 resources - video, courses/lessons, references, and more.
From random facts to courses from top universities, the Internet is full of places to learn. The key is knowing where to find that information. HelpTeaching.com offers a large selection of free online self-paced lessons for math, science, and English, but there are many other resources out there as well. We have gathered links to help kids in grades pre-K through sixth grade learn online. The 75 resources are organized by type (videos, online courses, reference materials, and more). Kids can learn by exploring these resources on their own or teachers can incorporate them into lessons to help enhance learning in the classroom.

JUMP TO:
Videos Courses & Lessons
Reference Materials General Knowledge & Trivia

Books

Our Top Pick

Magic Keys has made a wealth of storybooks available to kids. Storybooks are organized by age level (younger children, older children, young adult). It’s one of the few story sites out there that doesn’t just focus on younger readers. Many of its stories also feature character lessons for kids, making them even more beneficial for kids!

Pre-K through 2nd Grade

Most public libraries now offer free access to eBooks only, but you typically need a library card to access them. These resources offer kid free access to quality textbooks, non-fiction eBooks, and important documents – no library card required.
International Children’s Digital Library provides access to thousands of free digital books for children. These books come from around the world, making it easy for kids to find fairy tales, folklore, and other resources to help them explore different cultures.
My Online Reading is a collection of stories on a variety of high-interest topics such as creatures, disasters, and discoveries. While the stories are mostly fiction, kids will still find a lot of fun facts and information inside.
We Give Books gives kids access to many popular picture books and non-fiction books online. Reading many of the books requires setting up an account, but access to the books is still free.
Between the Lions: Stories takes the stories from the children’s television show and allows kids to read them online. The stories are presented in a visual read-along format.
Unite for Literacy offers many read-alouds for kids. Most of the books are non-fiction picture books that focus on using simple sentences and key vocabulary words.

3rd through 6th Grade

National Geographic Explorer opens up the archives of National Geographic’s kids magazines and allows kids to listen to them and read them for free. Parents and teachers will also find fun lessons to accompany the stories.
100 Milestone Documents introduces kids to 100 documents that play an important role in American history. Through this site, kids can access the text of documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Patent for Cotton Gin.
Scholastic: Listen and Read features 15 non-fiction books to help kids learn about people in their community, animals, and the job of the president. Audio is provided to help kids as they read.
Literacy Wagoll teaches kids “what a good one looks like” by providing them with samples of exemplar writing. A variety of essay types and other styles of writing are provided.

Courses/Lessons

You don’t have to pay for expensive tutors or pay the tuition to an Ivy League university to get kids access to high-quality courses. These resources feature courses put together by top universities and other experts in the field to help kids learn about a whole host of subjects. Whether kids want to learn how to solve complex math problems or learn how to play the piano, there’s a free course available.

Our Top Pick

HelpTeaching.com’s own collection of math, science, and English lessons combines entertaining video and text-based lessons with short, interactive quizzes. Teachers and parents can choose lessons for kids to complee on their own or can incorporate them into whole class and small group based lessons. Lessons are organized by subject, grade-level, and length. Teachers and parents can also create their own tests and quizzes to accompany the lessons, and then administer them using our Test Room feature.

Pre-K through 2nd Grade

Starfall is a free resource designed to teach kids to read. By watching its free videos, listening to the songs, and reading the short stories, kids may even learn to read on their own.
E-learning for Kids features a wealth of free lessons for kids in many different subject areas. Access to lessons is available in five different languages.

3rd through 6th Grade

Kidastronomy.com offers two free astronomy courses for kids. One is for ages 7-11 and one is for ages 12-18. Both courses teach kids all about astronomy.
English Grammar 101 is full of free grammar lessons for kids and adults. Lessons are also great for ESL students.
Plural Sight works with Scratch and other coding programs to provide kids with free technology lessons. Kids can also learn about photography and website building with the free courses.
Youth Digital is focused on helping kids ages 8-14 build their tech skills. With their free online courses, kids can learn how to code, program, and creatively use technology.
Code.org has gained a lot of recognition for its free coding courses. Even the President has completed an hour of code and your kids can too.
Kid Courses is an organization focused on presenting free online courses for kids. Its standout lessons are called MathLibs, but they also offer lessons in art and rhetoric.
Canvas Network is a collection of MOOC courses from universities around the world. Many of the courses it offers may be of interest to upper elementary and middle school students too.
DiscoveryK12 is a free learning portal for homeschool families. An account is required, but all course materials are completely free.
LearnZillion focuses on presenting engaging video lessons to teach the Common Core. Creating an account is free and gives kids access to all of the lessons.
Kids Guitar Zone helps kids who want to learn to play the guitar do it for free. The site features 10 lessons to get kids started.
ChessKid is designed to help kids learn to play chess online. With this site, kids get free chess lessons and can test their skills against other kids from around the world.

All Ages

Grammar Monster has a large collection of free grammar lessons and activities to help kids learn about punctuation, parts of speech, and other elements of grammar on their own. While the majority of the lessons are appropriate for kids, a few do contain references to adult subjects (namely quotes involving alcohol), so parents and teachers should preview lessons before assigning them to kids.
Curriki features free curriculum resources created and approved by teachers from around the world. Parents and teachers can use the resources to create their own lessons or kids can review the resources to learn on their own.
CoolMath offers free interactive lessons for pre-algebra, algebra, and pre-calculus. Not only are the lessons fun, but the site also offers a host of free math games for kids to play.
AAA Math offers free online math lessons for kids. Lessons cover a variety of grade-levels and skills.
Hoffman Academy offers 100 free piano lessons for kids. Each lesson is accompanied by practice opportunities.
Free Piano Lessons for Kids features 22 lessons designed to teach kids how to play the piano. Kids will learn how to sit at the piano and even how to play a few songs.
CK12 is an awesome learning portal for kids. It combines videos, textbooks, and other lesson materials to help kids learn online. This resource is a high-quality, interactive site for kids. It offers fun simulations, plenty of practice opportunities, and other activities designed to motivate kids to learn. We especially love the BrainFlex challenge which encourages kids to build their skills while they’re out of school.

Videos

Videos appeal to video and auditory learners. Some videos bring experts in a field directly into the home or classroom. Other videos use creative strategies and images to help kids learn difficult concepts and skills. The skills don’t have to be academic either. With videos kids can learn how to cook, how to crochet, or even how to ride a bike.

Our Top Pick
EarthCam gives kids access to webcams from around the world. They can see what is going on live at thousands of destinations. Kids at this age can’t drive and parents often don’t have the time or resources to travel around the world with their kids. By looking at the webcams, kids can experience the world in real-time without leaving the house.

Pre-K through 2nd Grade

Kidobi allows parents to create a video playlist for their kids. Kids can then watch the videos and learn the basic skills they cover.
PBS Kids videos give young kids access to episodes of some of their favorite PBS shows. The best part is that these shows are also educational.
Super Simple Learning is a company focused on creating educational songs for kids. Their website features free videos of many of their songs.

3rd through 6th Grade

Khan Academy gives kids one piece of information, “you can learn anything.” It gives them the opportunity to learn with thousands of videos on a variety of topics.
WatchKnowLearn features free educational videos organized by subject area. Parents and teachers will also find videos aligned to the Common Core State Standards.
NEO K12 is a site full of educational videos on topics ranging from physical science to ancient history. Games and lessons are also included to help kids learn even more.
YouTube EDU highlights some of the most educational videos available on YouTube. Videos are available for kids in early elementary school all the way through college.

All Ages

BrainPop is a staple in many schools. While access to the full site requires a subscription, kids can still watch many of the fun videos for free.
TeacherTube is a website similar to YouTube. The difference is that all of the videos are designed to be educational.
Explore.org encourages kids to explore the world through webcams. Kids can view live webcams from around the world or watch informational films.
The Kid Should See This is focused on providing high-quality educational videos for kids. These videos focus on innovative technology and other cool ideas.
My Education Key features video lectures from colleges and other educational institutions. Content covers a range of age levels from kindergarten through college.
MIT K12 gives kids a look at science in the real world through its collection of videos.
Make Me Genius helps kids learn about science through free videos, PowerPoint presentations, and other resources.

Reference Materials

If kids want to conduct research using an encyclopedia, they no longer have to search for the correct volume, looking up the definition of a word doesn’t require thumbing through a massive dictionary, and most kids today have never even seen an almanac. All of these resources, which are chock full of information can be accessed for free online.

Our Top Pick
Awesome Library has organized thousands of high-quality resources for kids. They can explore by topic or keyword to find information they need. When kids use a standard search engine, you can’t guarantee the results will be kid-friendly, but all of the resources that appear in an Awesome Library search have been reviewed and approved. This gives kids the freedom to search for what they want in a safe space.

Encyclopedias

Enyclopedia Smithsonian takes the Smithsonian’s amazing collections and turns them into an interactive encyclopedia. Kids can search by keyword or browse by topic.
Encyclopedia Britannica is one of the top encyclopedia companies in history and kids can access its content online. The site also includes the most current world news.
DKFindout! takes the content from DK readers and makes it more interactive. Kids can learn about a whole host of topics in an encyclopedia style.
Again But Slower takes a Wikipedia page and simplifies it to make it easier to read.

Dictionaries

Internet Picture Dictionary looks simple, but it’s a great free dictionary designed to help kids learn new words. It’s particularly helpful for kids learning English as a second language.
Visual Dictionary Online gives kid a new view of the dictionary. They see words connected to images which helps them make connections and gain a better understanding of key words.
Merriam Webster is one of the leading names in reference sources. Its online site gives kids free access to a dictionary, thesaurus, and more.
BigIQKids Dictionary features many of the key words kids need to know. It also speaks each of the words.

Search Engines and Misc. Facts

KidsClick is a free search engine designed with kids in mind. Kids can search for whatever topics they want and will receive kid-friendly results in return.
Boolify helps kids learn how to conduct more successful online searches using fun puzzle-style pieces.
Quintura Kids uses word clouds and other visual elements to help make Internet searches easier for kids and to lead kids to related topics.
Infoplease.com is an virtually every type of reference book all rolled into one. Kids can also find a calculator, spell checker, and other key resources.

Atlases and Almanacs

our Child Learns – Atlas introduces kids to the world through maps and facts for every country.
Farmer’s Almanac for Kids makes the traditional Farmer’s Alamanc accessible to kids. It features information on the weather and resources to help them learn about the world around them.

General Knowledge/Trivia

Learning doesn’t always have to have a particular focus. Sometimes kids learn the most just by hearing random facts and bits of information. These small morsels of knowledge don’t only serve as conversation starters, they can also inspire kids to want to learn more about a topic.

Our Top Pick
FAQ Kids gives kids a place to find answers to their questions. Questions are organized by category. The site itself is simply designed, but the answers are anything but simple. Many of them are 2-3 paragraphs long and contain facts to back them up.

Pre-K through 2nd Grade

Duckster features short encyclopedia-style entries on many different topics. All are written in kid-friendly language.
DLTK’s Crafts for Kids is more than just crafts. It’s a site full of educational printables and other information for kids, along with fun crafts and activities.
Squigly’s Playhouse gives kids a place to play and learn. They can learn through games, fun facts, or crafts and activities.

3rd through 6th Grade

National Geographic helps kids learn about nature and the world through its interactive content. Kids can play games, read articles, and watch videos
ScienceKids.co.nz is focused on helping kids enjoy science. They’ll learn facts about a variety of topics and find fun experiments to complete.
FactMonster is full of facts for kids. Facts are organized by topic and there’s even a special homework help section.
Facts for Kids helps kids learn unique facts about people, places, history, and animals.
KidsKnowIt is a collection of websites and educational games for kids. By browsing the sites, kids can learn a lot.
Globaloria teaches kids about the world by encouraging them to design games of their own and to play games created by kids.
Fun Trivia is a quiz site designed for kids and adults. Kids can learn all kinds of facts by taking many of the fun quizzes on the site.

All Ages

Kids World Fun features lots of tips for kids, a “Did you know?” section, and even quotes of the day.
Cool Kid Facts introduces kids to fun facts on a variety of topics. Kids can learn about science, geography, history, or animals.
Funology wants kids to have fun. It provides them with recipes, experiments, and facts to help them have fun while learning.
Kids.gov highlights some of the top websites, articles, and games for kids. The site is organized in two sections, one for grades K-5 and one for grades 6-8.

Do you have any favorites from the resources above? Share them in the comments!