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9 Unique Ways to Teach with Movies

9 Unique Ways to Teach with Movies
Movies aren’t just something to show students on the day before a long break or when you have a substitute in the classroom. Previously, we’ve shown you how to incorporate movies into the ELA and social studies classrooms, but there are many more interesting ways to bring movies into the classroom and help students build skills that will help them not only learn more about a particular subject, but also learn more about life.

“There are many interesting ways to bring movies into the classroom and help students build skills that will help them not only learn more about a particular subject, but also learn more about life.”

#1 Paying Attention to Details

When it comes to making a film, it’s all about the details, but filmmakers and others involved in the process still occasionally make mistakes. In fact, there’s an entire website devoted to the mistakes made in movies — Movie Mistakes. When you’re going over the rules and procedures at the beginning of the school year, show a few clips and see if students can spot the mistakes. Then discuss how not paying attention to details affected the film and what lessons they can learn from those mistakes that they can also apply to the classroom.

Many movies also contain crucial details that aren’t mistakes, but rather help propel the story along. This is especially true in mysteries and other suspenseful films. Pull out clips that foreshadow events to come or contain symbolism that is important later in the film to help students learn to pay attention to details while reading a novel, taking a test, or completing another important task. The Harry Potter and Lemony Snickets films work well for this type of task.

#2 Following a Story

Sometimes we rely too much on what we hear and not enough on what we see. Some movies, however, are created to encourage us to follow a story without listening to the words. Bring old Charlie Chaplin or Mr. Bean movies into the classroom to see if students can follow the story without any words. For an even trickier task, show a foreign film without subtitles and see if students can figure out what is going on without understanding the words. If you can’t find a foreign film, simply showing a movie with the sound off could work as well. Students will have to think critically and rely on other senses to really make sense of what is going on.

#3 Understanding Expressions and Emotions

The same types of movies can also help students understand how to read expressions and emotions. This is particularly helpful in kindergarten classrooms, where students learn a lot about feelings, and in special education classrooms where students may have trouble reading and relating to others. Use films without words to highlight key emotions such as anger, sadness, or happiness. Once students begin to understand what the emotions look like, you can show clips with words to help students understand more about an emotion, for example, what tone of voice someone might use when they are angry.

#4 Learning a Language

For ESL or ELL students, movies offer a great opportunity to help students learn a language. While they won’t pick it all up, they’ll get to hear a large amount of vocabulary in context which will provide them with visual clues to use when they hear the words used in other scenarios. Movies can also introduce students to slang and other unique expressions that they may not learn in traditional ESL instruction or even traditional foreign language instruction. If you decide to show a movie, skip the subtitles. While reading and listening for comprehension are closely-related students learning a new language may find themselves overwhelmed with trying to comprehend both at the same time.

Those feel-good movies, the ones that show individuals rising out of the ashes and overcoming obstacles can play a role in teaching students character

#5 Developing Character

Chances are you’ve seen a movie that made you come out of the theater feeling better about humanity. Those feel-good movies, the ones that show individuals rising out of the ashes and overcoming obstacles can play a role in teaching students character. Find movie clips to help students learn about making positive choices, developing resilience, reaching a goal, being honest, or handling conflict. You can play and discuss the clips while establishing your classroom environment at the beginning of the school year, as part of special counseling sessions, or even during after school programs or detention. Movies such as Rudy, The Blind Side, Radio, Pay it Forward, and Remember the Titans are just a few great films that provide a lot of teachable moments.

#6 Discovering Alternate Cultures and Perspectives

You can also use movies to help students learn about other cultures and different types of people. This can be done through fictional movies and through documentaries. Students can compare and contrast the way the characters in the movie live with their own lives and will begin to understand that not everyone has the same experience. While movies set in other countries provide the best way to teach about other cultures, don’t forget about other cultures around you. For example, you may show a movie set in the deep South, the Midwest, or focusing on Hispanic or Asian families in a particular area. The goal is to help students see those who are different and realize that being different isn’t a bad thing. Similarly, movies can help students learn how people might see a situation differently.  For example, documentaries frequently show multiple sides of an issue through different perspectives to help viewers fully understand an issue.

Visual examples and movies in particular tend to stick with people, therefore, they make a great tool for helping improve comprehension.

#7 Increasing Comprehension

How often do you come across things that remind you of a scene in a movie? Visual examples and movies in particular tend to stick with people, therefore, they make a great tool for helping improve comprehension. If you’re talking about diving fractions in math, show a movie clip related to dividing fractions. Want to drive home how a soldier’s experience during war was particularly grim? Share a clip. You can often find these clips in unlikely places. For example, characters in a young adult movie may dissect a frog in science class and even though it doesn’t really connect with the movie as a whole, it can serve as a visual example for your classroom.

#8 Hearing Vocabulary in Context

Movies also provide visual and auditory examples of vocabulary words in context. No matter what subject you teach, when you’re introducing a new vocabulary list, look for a movie clip that incorporates many of those words. Better yet, if you need inspiration to help develop a new vocabulary list, turn to a movie to help you garner words to add to the list. For example, a movie about a politician running for re-election will introduce students to key words related to the electoral process while a movie about a mathematical genius is likely to introduce students to some of the key vocabulary words they need to understand problems in math class. The clip only has to be a few seconds long for students to use it as an example. If you have tech-savvy students you can even have them turn the clips into video memes to use as study tools.

Movies have the potential to teach important lessons and provide real-world examples for students.

#9 Teaching Important Lessons

Whatever it is you want to teach students, chances are you can find a clip from a movie to help support it. Movies have the potential to teach important lessons and provide real-world examples for students. They can learn about business by watching a movie about an executive on Wall Street, discover the importance of lab safety by watching the clip of a high schooler’s experiment gone wrong, or even understand the impact of slavery by seeing a character portrayed in a movie. When looking for movies, think outside of the box to find clips, as many of them will be hidden in movies that have nothing to do with the lesson you plan to teach. Ask your students for help too. They’ll learn to make connections as they try to think of clips that will help enhance your teaching.

Do you have any favorite movie clips you use to teach students? Share them so other teachers can incorporate them too.

The Ultimate Guide to Teaching Science

Ultimate Guide to Teaching Science
Looking to invigorate your science curriculum and teaching this year? Help Teaching’s team of teachers understands the time and commitment it takes to prepare meaningful science classes and lab activities, not to mention stay up-to-date with the latest scientific advances. Updated for the 2017-2018 school year, we have gathered links to over 80 of our favorite resources to help support rookie and veteran science teachers and homeschooling parents alike. Happy Teaching!

QUICK LINKS:
Next Generation Science Standards Astronomy
Breaking Science News Biology
Science Instruction Chemistry
Science Activities Earth Science
Collaborate and Explore Physics

Next Generation Science Standards

Whether or not your state has adopted the new science standards, they have been released and are the talk of the science teaching community.

Our Top PickBozeman Science provides a free series of NGSS videos on each of the disciplinary core ideas. The videos give clear overviews of each standard as well as suggestions on how to teach the core ideas at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.

NGSS@NSTA provides current information about the implementation process and professional development opportunities, including free web seminars, to support science teachers looking to incorporate the standards into their curriculums.

NGSS is the primary resource for teachers looking to read and learn about the new science standards. Teachers may find the EQuIP Rubric overview page useful for identifying high-quality instructional materials that align to the standards.

The National Academies Press offers several NGSS related publications useful for teachers, many of which can be download for free after creating an account.

PBS LearningMedia NGSS links to a large collection of NGSS resources for professional development and classroom use.

Parent Q&A is a flyer designed to answer parent questions about the Next Generation Science Standards, but is also a nice overview for teachers and administrators.

Concord Consortium features a unique tool that allows educators to navigate the NGSS by core idea, practice, and crosscutting concept and locate high-quality digital activities that support the standards.

Breaking Science News

Check these sources regularly to stay current with scientific research. Better yet, have your students read them as well!

Our Top Pick

Newsela website and app keeps educators and students alike up-to-date with current events, including a large selection of STEM news stories at different reading comprehension levels. Registering for the free version of the platform allows teachers and students unlimited access to articles.

Scientific American maintains a section dedicated to education that includes activities, information on their program connecting teachers and scientists, tips on improving science literacy, and more.

Live Science will help keep you up-to-date with science headlines across disciplines.

BBC Science & Environment is the place to go for breaking science news. Whether you are a busy science teacher or student looking for the hottest topics in science, BBC has coverage for you.

Science Daily offers a compilation of breaking news articles for those interested in the latest research.

ScienceBlogs hosts posts from over sixty blogs, presenting a wide range of science news and viewpoints.

HuffPost Science will up keep you up-to-the-minute with breaking science stories.

NewScientist shares topical new stories on all things science related.

Science Instruction

Like the scientific method, great science instruction takes systemic modifications. Read on for resources that will help invigorate your science teaching.

Our Top PickGood Thinking! The Science of Teaching Science by the Smithsonian Science Education Center houses a collection of must-watch videos for anyone who teaches science. These short, animated video explore common student misconceptions on topics ranging from natural selection to chemical reactions.

The NSTA Learning Center links science teachers with professional development resources by subject and grade. Be sure to peruse their collection of 4,000+ free articles, web seminars, podcasts, and modules available to support your professional growth.

What Works Clearninghouse reviews and summarizes education products and research in an effort to help educators make evidenced-based decisions when it comes to teaching.

SERC is working to improve STEM education by providing a rich assortment of professional development opportunities and resources for educators.

Understanding Science is a primer for teachers and students alike on what science is how science really works.

Help Teaching’s library of printable science worksheets are ideal for practice and assessment. Our growing collection of self-paced science lessons for biology, chemistry, physics, and earth science are a great way to introduce topics and reinforce learning.

Science fairs and competitions can inspire students to pursue STEM careers while providing hand-on learning opportunities. Consider challenging your students to participate in a local science fair one of these major science competitions: Young Scientist Challenge, ExploraVision, Siemens Competition, Regeneron STS, & Google Science Fair.

Science Activities

Science lends itself to hands-on activities that engage students in active learning. Save time and get inspired when preparing lessons this year by reading these links.

Our Top Pick

ScienceNetLinks brings together a large, searchable database of science lessons, interactive tools, news, and hands-on activities to support formal and informal science education.

Science Buddies is the place to look for science fair topics and activities. Not only does Science Buddies provide science fair project resources for students and teachers, but their growing collection of science activities are perfect for classroom and home use.

BIE.org maintains a library of science project based learning units that encourage student inquiry and investigation.

Lawrence Hall of Science: 24/7 offers citizen science projects, hands-on activities, online games, and more for classroom and home exploration.

PBS LearningMedia has thousands of the best digital science teaching resources in an easily searchable platform by grade, subject, standard, and format.

Zooniverse brings together a collection of citizen-science, or people powered, research projects.

Science Kids has a nice collection of experiments and science fair project ideas designed to help get kids interested in science.

Annenberg Learner brings together a collection of science interactives that can readily support any science curriculum.

Virtual Microscope simulates the use of various types of microscopes for students through the examination of set image samples.

PhET Simulations supplement classroom learning with a large array of well designed science interactives.

The Science Spot contains a vast library of information and resources pertaining to all areas in science, including forensic science and astronomy. This is an essential resource of middle school teachers and students, as well as for high school teachers. This website also provides tips for implementing Interactive Science Notebooks in the classroom.

Hook your students on science by sharing videos from VeritasiumScience360, SciShow, It’s Okay to Be Smart, Untamed Science, and Help Teaching.

Collaborate and Explore

We teach our students that collaboration is an essential part of doing science. Practice what you teach with these links for connecting and sharing with teachers who have similar goals.

Our Top Pick

Skype in the Classroom helps teachers connect with other educators and experts in their fields. Use Skype to bring your students on virtual field trips, interact with a virtual guest speaker, and collaborate with another class from across the country or around the world.

STEM on Google+, and STEM Educators are Google+ groups offering vibrant online communities of science teachers sharing resources and best practices.

Professional Learning Communities allow teachers to connect with others in their schools, districts, and communities who are dedicated to science education.

Google Educator Groups bring educators together, both online and offline, to share ideas on web-enable learning.

AP Teacher Community connects and supports those instructing AP courses.

Astronomy

Don’t miss out on the latest discoveries about the universe with these links.

Our Top PickNASA Education for educators opens a universe of information about space science through lessons, videos, professional development, and more. Get started by browsing for astronomy teaching resources in NASA Wavelength.

Google Sky does for the view of space what Google Earth does for the view of your neighborhood.

Air and Space Live webcasts from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum brings a world and beyond of learning opportunities for anyone interested in astronomy.

If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel dubs itself, “a tediously accurate scale model of the solar system,” but don’t be misled by the tagline. This interactive is beautiful in its simplicity and will engage you students on this virtual journey through our solar system.

Multicultural Astronomy Resource Guide highlights resources about astronomical contributions from non-U.S. cultures.

National Optical Astronomy Observatory offers numerous space-based resources, programs, and resources for education purposes.

Biology

From life science to AP Biology, helping students develop an understanding of the nature of life is essential to education.

Our Top PickBioInterative by Howard Hughes Medical Institute is a free collection of virtual labs, films, animations, apps, and more that are ideal for biology education.

Encyclopedia of Life offers an extensive collection of free resources on just about any organism.

The Biology Corner offers a wealth of teaching resources for biology teachers, including classroom presentations and lab handouts.

Ask a Biologist not only allows K-12 students to submit questions for biologists to answer, but offers a wealth of biology related articles, activities, games, and more.

Solve the Outbreak is a free app by the CDC that challenges students to solve epidemiology mysteries. It’s fun, really!

Cells Alive brings microbiology to life through amazing photos, interactives, and videos.

Chemistry

Teaching the central science takes knowledge, skill, and a bit of wow factor. Use these links to help make your class preparations a little easier.

Our Top PickAmerican Chemical Society’s education page is the place to find materials for teaching chemistry, professional development opportunities, and reports on chemistry education.

ScienceGeek.Net is chemistry teacher Andy Allan’s personal website where he shares his collection of presentations, labs, and more.

Evan’s Chemistry Corner provides worksheets, transparencies, and lab activities for Regents Chemistry in New York State, but these resources can be used in any high school Chemistry classroom.

Kent Chemistry contains instructional pages covering topics in chemistry, along with accompanying videos, practice questions, worksheets, and lab activities. Both high school-level and AP Chemistry are covered in Kent Chemistry.

Illustrated Glossary of Organic Chemistry catalogs 1,500+ terms and is an essential resource for any organic chemistry course.

Periodic Videos from the University of Nottingham features videos and experiments on each element. Check out their 500 videos on YouTube as well.

Chemistry Crash Course contains a playlist of YouTube videos covering various topics in Chemistry in a short amount of time.

Chemmy Bear contains a multitude of resources for AP Chemistry, from handouts and activities to study cards and practice tests. This is especially helpful for newer AP Chemistry teachers and for teachers of Honors Chemistry courses.

Earth Science

Developing student understanding of the earth’s structures and processes helps nurture an appreciation of the natural world.

Our Top PickEarthLabs supplies rigorous units on earth and environmental topics that focus on hands-on laboratory activities and data analysis. Each unit provides all the information, resources, and lessons necessary to elevate earth science and environmental lab instruction to the next level.

NOAA brings together a wonderful collection of resources about the oceans and atmosphere.

Activities for Earth Science Week gives ideas for engaging your students on each day of Earth Science Week held the second week of October.

USGS Education compiles a wide variety of videos, maps, images, and interactives ideal for using in the Earth Science classroom.

ClimateChangeLIVE engages students with two electronic field trips for the classroom as well as supplement materials and support for teachers.

10 Activities to Celebrate World Oceans Day will help you set course for an adventurous day of ocean-themed learning.

COSEE is dedicated to helping build collaborations between students, teachers, and scientists interested in ocean studies.

Physics

Physics is daunting for many students. Great physics teachers actively engage students with the study of the interactions between energy and matter.

Our Top PickThe Physics Classroom supplements physics instruction with tutorials, animations, teacher toolkits, and lab activities.

The Physics Front is an extensive collection of materials, including online tools and lesson plans, for K-12 physics instruction.

PhysicsCentral shares everything from articles, to posters, to home projects in their efforts to support those educating physics students at all levels.

AplusPhysics contains helpful video tutorials and webpages for students to learn from, covering topics ranging from High School Physics to AP Physics. The site also contains worksheets for teachers to print and distribute to students, as well as activities that teachers can implement.

London Academy of Excellence Physics‘ playlist contains a multitude of videos covering various physics topics. These are helpful in providing instruction to students outside of the classroom.

Practical Physics offers wide array of experiments that enable students to get hands-on experience with concepts in physics, enriching students’ understanding and refining students’ ability to visualize the forces and science at play in the real world.

ComPADRE is a digital library of teaching resources for physics and astronomy educators.

American Society of Physics Teachers will keep you posted on conferences, projects, and competitions as well as just about everything you need to stay up-to-date with teaching physics.

Although this list is by no means comprehensive, we hope it will inspire and energize your science teaching and classroom this year. Be sure to visit HelpTeaching.com and utilize our growing library of K-12 science worksheets, lessons, and questions!

7 Things to Remember When Working with Kids with Autism

7 Things to Remember When Working with Kids with AutismApril is Autism Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about autism within the community. As autism rates have risen over the years, so has awareness. However, as parents of children with autism know, a lot of myths and misunderstandings still exist. Whether you’re a teacher, a principal, or someone who works in another capacity in the schools, it’s important that you avoid the myths and develop an accurate understanding of what autism is and what it looks like to work with kids with autism.

1. Autism is a Spectrum

Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of autism is that kids with autism are on a spectrum. There’s a world of difference between kids with high-functioning autism versus low-functioning autism. Before assuming anything about a child with autism, learn where they are on the spectrum and what particular aspects of autism they demonstrate the most.

  • Are they socially awkward?
  • Do they have trouble understanding non-literal language?
  • Do they lack basic communication skills?
  • Do they have tics?
  • Is it difficult for them to make eye contact?
  • Do they express emotions inappropriately?

Not all children with autism will express all of these traits and some will express all of them and more.

2. Autism does not Signal a Lack of Intelligence

Many parents have sat through IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meetings where they listened to professionals discuss their child’s lack of intelligence. For example, in a recent initial IEP meeting for a newly-diagnosed child with autism, the Child Study Team leader said, “We’ll give him a series of tests to see where he is, but I’m sure he’ll be low,” simply because the child had been diagnosed with autism. Imagine how surprised she was to learn that not only did he not score low, but he was working above grade-level in multiple subject areas. Kids with autism may struggle academically, but often their struggles do not signal a lack of intelligence. Rather, they signal their struggle to adapt to the educational system. In many cases, kids with autism solve problems and communicate differently than what is expected. Sometimes teachers and other educational professionals think they got the answer wrong, when really they just thought about it differently.

3. Autism Often Confuses Other Kids

Recently Sesame Street introduced its first autistic character, Julia. 7 Things to Remember When Working with Kids WIth Autism Sesame Street AppWhile Julia represents a character that many children with autism can relate to, she also serves as a tool to help teach other kids how to interact with kids who have autism. Kids don’t always know how to act around kids who are different or who don’t do what’s expected. Teachers can use models like Julia and other activities to help kids understand what autism is and how to interact with their peers who have autism. After all, everyone has differences. Some of those differences are just more noticeable than others.

4. Autism is Unpredictable

One thing about working with kids with autism is that you are never quite sure how they will react. Sometimes, you’ll expect them to react negatively to a loud concert and they’ll be fine. Other times, you will think a certain activity will be easy for them and it will become a major challenge. When you work with kids with autism, you must be flexible. You must also learn to recognize their cues so you can adjust a situation to avoid making it a bigger problem.

5. Autism Requires Predictability

Imagine living every day without knowing what’s going to happen. For kids with autism, that’s often a reality. They are not always in control of their emotions and navigating life can be confusing. Surprises lurk around almost every corner. However, the adults in their lives can help limit those surprises by developing routines for them to follow. For some kids, just knowing the general schedule of the school day will help. For others, parents and teachers will need to develop a thorough schedule that includes the smallest of events, such as brushing their teeth and going to the bathroom. If the schedule is going to change for any reason, adults should also try to take time to warn the child about the change in advance. For example, a child expecting to do math at 10:15 may be upset by the fact that he gets to out for early recess instead. Even though recess is fun, the disruption to his routine could outweigh that fun.

7-Day Planner

6. Autism Requires Parents and Educators to Work as a Team

Educators have a lot of students to focus on, but when working with a child with autism, it is essential that they take the time to develop a relationship with the child’s parents and work as a team to ensure they are working in that child’s best interests. Educators should respect a parent’s position as an expert on the child, while parents should respect an educator’s professional expertise and observations in the classroom. Educators must also be careful not to criticize parents of autistic children for making decisions related to their child. They must also take into consideration the child’s autism when making observations about the child’s appearance or behavior. For example, a note home saying “Please ensure your child wears socks each day” may seem innocent, but it may not take into consideration the fact that the parent is encouraging the child to become more independent in dressing himself and letting him go to school without socks when he forgets is part of that process.

7. Working with Kids with Autism is not as Difficult as it Seems
Some of the information above may overwhelm educators. “I have 25 students in my class. How can I spend this much time on the needs of one?” At the end of the day, it’s not that hard. Just as you get to know your other students, get to know your students who have autism. Learn their quirks. Get to know their personality. Focus on their diagnosis, but at the same time don’t focus on their diagnosis. Just treat them as human beings.

There are lots of resources available to help educators work with children with autism. One of them is the School Community Tool Kit from Autism Speaks. It contains a wealth of resources, information sheets, worksheets, and activities to help the many different people in a school community understand autism.

For educators looking for help with behavior modification, check out Insights to Behavior, a free resource full of activities to help educators create behavior plans for students, as well as find activities to help with some of the social and emotional challenges kids with autism face.

You can find additional books, videos, toys, and information sheets in the Autism Speaks Resource Library. If you’re looking for more educational resources, you may appreciate Help Teaching’s Life Skills or Study Skills worksheets or use Help Teaching’s Test Maker platform to develop test, quizzes, and worksheets that can meet the needs of your autistic students.

Are you a parent of a child with autism? Is there anything else you want educators to know? If so, please share it with us in the comments.

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.