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The Importance of Teaching Personal Finance

The Importance of Teaching Personal Finance
Most students are required to take advanced math courses at the secondary level, but those courses often fail to teach the basics of personal finance. With credit card use and student loan debt at an all-time high, it’s important that students are aware of how to manage their money.

Budgeting

Help teens create their own budget and hold them accountable for the purchases they make.

Being able to budget is an essential skill. Whether you are managing time, responsibilities, or money, exceeding your available resources will lead to difficulties rather quickly. Help Teaching’s Budgeting Activity leads students on a brief tour of Peter’s life as he tries to reign in his spending in the face of increasing expenses. This worksheet can be used to teach simple finance, the more advanced concept of scarcity, or as a metaphor for key life skills.

Along with the budgeting worksheet, help teens create their own budgets and hold them accountable for the purchases they make. They may not have to provide for their basic needs, but they can budget for music, apps, clothes, fast food, and other entertainment expenses.

Apps such as SmartyPig or iAllowance may also be useful tools when it comes to helping kids learn to budget and handle their money more effectively.

Credit Cards

Teens are being targeted by credit card companies much more frequently than in the past. Being able to understand the impact credit debt can have and the proper way to take advantage of credit are essential skills for any young adult.

It’s important that students understand how to build a good credit history. Use the Narrative Procedure organizer to list and explain the 3 C’s of credit. Use the Cause and Effect chart to display how bad credit decisions can have effect on your life years afterwards.

One engaging way to teach the different uses of credit cards is to compare and contrast different credit cards with a Venn Diagram. Have your students choose one cash back credit card and a card that accumulates miles for travel to see that cards can be beneficial if used properly.

Thirteen.org’s It Costs What?! game and iGrad’s Credit Card Simulator are great ways to run students through credit card simulators where they must choose the best credit card and learn about using credit cards responsibly at the same time. While Frontline’s series of episodes, The Card Game, introduces students to the credit card industry and make the dangers of credit cards clear.

Long Term, High Principal Borrowing

Everyone will need to borrow money at some point in their life, some as early as 17 when they are responsible for student loans to secure tuition for college. Understanding interest rates, payment schedules, terms, and balloon payments are very important to making prompt and reliable payments and not owing more than you can afford. Many websites offer loan calculators to see how much that loan will really cost you.

SaveAndInvest.org offers its own selection of videos and worksheets designed to help teens understand borrowing and the cost of debt.

Investment Options

There are so many ways to grow your money, but many students are unaware of their options. Kids receive saving bonds or use a passbook saving account when they are young, but as they become adults those are not the only viable investment options. Help Teaching has an activity that will start them on the road to identifying investment options that will lead into a deeper research project.

Students can head to TheMint.org, too, to help them learn more about how to start building financial security today. This includes making investments and learning how to manage their money so it can work for them in the future.

Retirement

Students are rarely aware of the tenuous nature of Social Security. They know even less about pensions, IRAs, and 401(k)s. Beginning to save for retirement immediately upon finding a job is extremely important, but that urgency is unknown to teens. A simple but effective KWL chart can be a good introduction to retirement savings. Filling in the gaps of their knowledge can save them a lot of trouble forty years in the future.

Of course, it’s never too early for students to start saving for retirement either. Dave Ramsey’s article on How Teens Can Become Millionaires may help motivate students to seriously start thinking about how money connects to their future.

For more great suggestions on personal finance and other essential skills students need, check out 9 Life Skills Every Teens Needs. So many of us come out of high school barely able to write a check. Going through these concepts in personal finance can put a young adult on a much less tenuous road to financial stability.

Ways to Use Poetry Outside of the ELA Classroom

Ways to Use Poetry Outside of the ELA Classroom
Whether it’s reading poems written by some of the greatest poets of all time or writing poems of their own, students spend a fair amount of time studying poetry in the ELA classroom. While the figurative language and eloquent verses found in poems may seem best-suited for ELA, their relevance extends across the curriculum. From science and math to social studies and foreign language courses, poetry can become an integral part of student learning outside of the ELA classroom.

Reading Poetry

Believe it or not, not all poetry centers around love and deep philosophical concepts. A lot of poetry has been written to explain the world around us, including mathematical and scientific concepts. Consider these lines by a famous poet:

This is now–this was erst,
Proposition the first–and Problem the first.
On a given finite Line
Which must no way incline;
To describe an equi–
–lateral Tri–
–A, N, G, L, E.

– From “A Mathematical Problem” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Throughout history, well-known poets have shared their thoughts about the world. Poetry has also been used to chronicle and commemorate many historic events. For example, many students can recite lines from “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow when asked to recall that infamous night during the American Revolution. Other references are more subtle. For example, these lines from the poem “O Captain! My Captain” by Walt Whitman were written about the death of Abraham Lincoln:

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck the Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

To find poetry to fit a specific time in history or concept in math or science, simply perform a quick internet search for poems in your subject area and you’ll come up with numerous examples. You may also check out books of poetry created to help students learn about science, math, and social studies.

Some of our favorite resources include:

Math

  1. Mathapalooza: A Collection of Poetry for Primary and Intermediate Students by Franny Vergo, a collection of poems related to basic math.
  2. Math Poetry: Linking Language and Math in a Fresh Way by Betsy Franco, a book of lesson ideas, sample poems, and math-related poetry activities for kids.
  3. Marvelous Math: A Book of Poems by Lee Bennett Hopkins, designed for students in grades 3-5.
  4. Math Talk: Mathematical Ideas in Poems for Two Voices by Theoni Pappas, a collection of poems on middle and high school math topics designed to be read by two students at once.

Science

  1. Science Verse by popular children’s author Jon Scieszka, a wealth of silly and informational poems on popular science topics.
  2. Joyful Noise by Paul Fleischman, a collection of poems about insects and nature designed to be read by two people at once.
  3. Spectacular Science: A Book of Poems by Lee Bennett Hopkins, questions related to science answered in poetic verse.
  4. The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science by Sylvia Vardell, helps K-5 teachers incorporate Common Core science into their curriculum through the use of poetry.

Social Studies

  1. The Watch That Ends the Night by Allan Wolff tells the story of the Titanic in verse.
  2. Harlem by Walter Dean Myers celebrates the people of Harlem in a book written in poem form.
  3. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson tells the story of a girl growing up in the South, and later Brooklyn, during the Civil Rights Movement.
  4. May B by Caroline Starr Rose tells the story of a young girl living on the Kansas Frontier and the struggles she faces.
  5. Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai tells the story of a girl who must flee from her home after the Fall of Saigon and shares what her new life is like in Alabama.

Writing Poetry

Writing poetry can be a way to assess students’ understanding of particular concepts, It also helps teachers  incorporate creative thinking skills into the math, science, and social studies classrooms. Students may write poems about particular concepts, people, or events related to the subject area.

Three forms of poetry that work particularly well outside of the ELA classroom are:

  1. Found poetry
  2. Concrete poetry
  3. List poetry

Found Poetry
Found Poetry involves taking lines from other sources and turning them into poetry. For example, students may turn words from the Declaration of Independence into a poem:

Life
Liberty
The Pursuit of Happiness
Truth.
All men are created equal
Truth.
Evils are sufferable.
Dissolve them.
Abolish them.
United.

Or students may take information from an article about space exploration and turn them into a poem:

What’s next?
Stepped on the moon.
Sent rover to Mars.
What’s next?
Retrieved pictures from Hubble Space Telescope.
Spent a year on the International Space Station.
What’s next?
We have laid the foundation for success.
Going farther into the solar system than ever before.
What’s next?

Concrete Poetry
Concrete poetry, also known as shape poetry, involves taking a poem and placing it into the shape of an object. Students may create poems to represent mathematical equations, specific shapes, or different areas of science. For example, a poem about photosynthesis may be written in the shape of the sun. The shape of the poem helps add additional meaning and ensure the content sticks in a student’s memory.

Consider this poem about a triangle:

3
sides
three angles
sometimes equilateral
sometimes isosceles or right

List Poetry
List poetry is simply poetry created out of a list. The list doesn’t just list items randomly. Instead, it’s a carefully thought out poem, often containing repetition, to cover a topic. A student may write a list poem about a particular concept, a person, or even an event in science or history.
For example, the following list poem might have been written during a unit on the Civil Rights Movement:

Martyrs for the Cause
George Lee
Emmett Till
Medgar Evers
Addie Mae Collins
Denise McNair
Carole Robertson
Cynthia Wesley
Jimmie Lee Jackson
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Paying Attention to the Words

Poetry is about more than rhyming a few words on the page. As you read poetry with students or have students write poems of their own, encourage them to pay attention to the words on the page. The figurative language, diction (word choice), and even the placement of the words on the page can help add deeper meaning to poems and encourage students to think critically and creatively about the content being taught.

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 them. HelpTeaching.com offers a large selection of free online self-paced lessons for math, science, social studies, 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 70+ 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.
Reading Bear offers free learning resources for early readers, including presentations on short and long vowels. The fun presentations are all free and cover all major phonics rules.
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.
StoryJumper has a library full of digital fiction and non-fiction books for kids. It also gives kids the opportunity to create their own books.

3rd through 6th Grade

National Geographic Life offers reading passage for kids at beginner/elementary, pre-intermediate/intermediate, and upper-intermediate/advanced levels. Passages feature audio recordings and reading comprehension questions.
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

Universal Kids allows kids to watch episodes of some of its most popular shows.
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

Boolify helps kids learn how to conduct more successful online searches using fun puzzle-style pieces.
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.
Safe Search Kids performs a safe Google search for kids and also offers internet safety guides for kids, parents, and teens.
Kiddle offers a safe visual search engine for kids with websites, videos, images, and kpedia entries in the results.

Atlases and Almanacs

Owl & Mouse – 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.

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

Ultimate Guide to Free Online Self-Learning for Teens and Adults

Ultimate Guide to Free Online Self-Learning for Teens and Adults
Learning doesn’t have to take place in a traditional classroom setting. With the help of the Internet, teens and adults can gain a wealth of information and build new skills on their own. From free textbooks to courses from top universities, HelpTeaching.com has gathered 75 of the best free online resources to help you learn online for free. Whether you’re 16 or 96, there’s no excuse to not learn something new today. We’ve organized our resources by category and have noted whether each resource is best for teens (T), college (C), or everyone (E) to help you find exactly what you need.

Books

Reading is one of the best ways to gain new information. These resources provide free access to some of the best-known books in history and high-quality academic textbooks. Rather than spending hundreds of dollars on these books, teens and adults can learn from them for free.

Our Top Pick
Spectra, a comic book series from The American Physical Society, helps teens learn about physics in a very engaging format. At least eight different volumes can be accessed for free on Physics Central and will help teens learn how physics applies to every day and superhero life. T

Textbooks

Bookboon delivers textbooks on subjects such as IT, language, technology, and career advice in a free PDF format. These books are ideal for adult and community college learners. C

Textbook Revolution contains a database of free textbooks for many different subject areas. Books are organized by subject and searchable by title. C

Free Tech Books is a list of links to free technology-based books. Many books cover advanced topics related to engineering, computers, and mathematics. C

Open Stax provides college students with free, open source textbooks designed to meet their course standards and objectives. Books focus on science and math courses. C

College Open Textbook Collaborative was created to draw attention to the open textbook movement. Its collection includes a selection of free textbooks covering different subject areas, including some appropriate for high school. E

The Global Text Project is focused on making non-fiction books and textbooks available to people around the world. Books cover a range of academic subjects. E

Classic Texts and Literature

The Harvard Classics are a collection of fifty books designed to cover the major areas of philosophy, religion, history, and literature. Many organizations, including Bartleby, offer access to them for free. E

Project Gutenberg has thousands of free eBooks featuring texts in the public domain. Books include classic literature and non-fiction pieces. E

Bookstacks is a free collection of literature that features titles from authors such as Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens, and Leo Tolstoy. E

Google Books allows users to look up published books by title and preview many of those books for free. It’s a great resource for research. E

BookRix offers a large selection of free eBooks for download. Many books are works of fiction published by Indie authors. E

Free Booksy helps users find free eBooks for Nook and Kindle. Sign up for the free e-mail list or read the blog to see which books are available for free on certain days of the week. E

Read Any Book allows users to read a variety of eBooks by both Indie and well-known authors for free in their free online e-reader. E

Audio

Free audio learning resources make it easy for teens and adults to learn on the go. Audio books and podcasts are great to listen to while running or riding in the car. They can also be more entertaining than learning from a more traditional text.

Our Top Pick
Gutenberg Audio has a large collection of audio versions of public domain books. Many of the books are in English, but the site also has a huge selection of audio books in other languages, such as Chinese, Spanish, Hungarian, Tagalog, and more. E

Loyal Books, formerly Books Should be Free, features thousands of free audio books for download. Many books are fiction, but there’s also a large selection of non-fiction books to choose from. E

Internet Archive: Audio isn’t just limited to eBooks. It also features recordings of famous speeches and popular songs throughout history. E

Librivox is a site full of public domain audio books. All books are read by volunteers. You can download one to listen to or volunteer to record books yourself. C

Learn Out Loud offers a collection of free audio books, audio courses, and other learning materials. Be sure to search under the “Free Stuff” tab because the site does offer some books for sale. C

Podcasts may not be as popular as they once were, but many educational podcasts are still going strong. Browse the available podcasts on iTunes to learn something new. E

PodOmatic is another podcasts website that offers millions of podcasts by amateur podcasters. You can listen to some or record your own to share what you have learned. E

Podbean offers a platform for hosting and listening to free podcasts. You’ll find podcasts on a range of topics. E

Podiobooks takes the serial book format and presents it in the form of audio books. Find a new series to follow today! E

Videos

Videos offer a wide range of learning opportunities. Many video series help teens and adults build practical skills, such as how to fix flat tire or how to cook an omelet. Other videos feature lectures and narration from experts in the field.

Our Top Pick
Free Documentaries makes many fascinating documentaries available for free. Documentaries are available on topics such as health, politics, human rights, and religion. You can also sign up to be notified when new documentaries are added to the free database. E

DIY Network helps you spruce up your home by providing free online episodes of its most popular shows and video-based blogs with tips and tricks. C

Ted Talks have become well-known for the expert advice they contain. Watch as experts in their fields share their wisdom with you. E

BrightTalk focuses on providing free business and webinars to those interested in the business world. Find resources in areas such as finance, human resources, marketing, and information technology. C

Green.TV features videos in a variety of categories related to creating a sustainable culture. Categories include business, nature, energy, people, and transport, among others. E

All Things Science has transferred its wealth of science-based videos to Daily Motion. There teens and adults can learn about scientific innovations and see how science connects to daily life. E

CosmoLearning combines free online courses with videos and documentaries to help students learn about a variety of subjects. E

MIT Video brings the quality of MIT lectures to your computer. The videos all focus on science and technology-related content with over 100 channels of specific topics to choose from. C

@Google Talks are similar to Ted Talks and feature many professionals sharing their knowledge. This includes talks with celebrities and musicians too. E

Videolectures.net takes college lectures, academic talks, and conference videos, and organizes them into a free video site. The site has over 20,000 videos in many different languages. C

Courses/Lessons

Finding the time and the money to take college courses can be expensive. Through the MOOC and Open Course movements, teens and adults can access courses from the top universities for free. These resources help people reap the benefits from experts in the field and make it easier to explore topics of interest.

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.

Subject-Specific Courses

OER Commons is a large collection of free open education resources designed for students in primary school through adult learners. Best of all, you can combine resources to create your own textbook or course and then share it with others or save it for future reference. E

iCivics features a collection of free lesson plans and games decided to help teens learn about civics. T

A Crash Course in World History teaches you the history of the world in 42 episodes. E

My Own Business, Inc. helps adults by providing them with all the information they need to start their own business. C

SBA Learning Center is designed to teach wanna-be business owners the ins and outs of owning a small business. There’s even a section geared towards young entrepreneurs. E

College Courses

MIT Open Courseware allows you to access the content of MIT courses from the comfort of your own home. Search by topic, course number, or department. C

Open Culture has collected links to thousands of free courses, movies, and other educational materials available online. Their resources include free certificate courses. E

iTunes U is a collection of courses, audio files, and video designed to help you learn on your computer or any of your Apple devices. E

Wikiversity is a collection of educational photos, projects, and lesson ideas designed to help people learn from one another. E

Course Buffet finds open courses, tags them, and makes them easier for users to access. You’ll find top courses from many universities. C

Udacity helps people build their portfolios through its range of free tech courses. They can even earn nanodegrees. C

Coursera partners with over 100 universities and other educational organizations to provide over 1,000 free online courses. E

EdX is another site that makes it easy to find free open courses from top universities. While all courses are free, you can also earn college credit for some courses by paying a small fee. C

OEDB offers free open courses from many top universities. It also includes information on financial aid and scholarships to help those who want to go back to school. E

UC Open Access offers free courses from the University of California. These include courses for high school students, such as AP Statistics and AP US History. E

Reference Materials

Looking up a random piece of information doesn’t have to require pulling out a dictionary or buying an entire set of encyclopedias. Free online reference materials make it easy for teens and adults to look up information such as the definition of a word, stats on a particular country, or the peak growing season in a region.

Our Top Pick
Almanac.com is a go-to resource for all things nature and weather-related. It also offers resources on cooking, baking, home, and health. Just as people used to use the paper-based version of the Farmer’s Almanac for information in the past, you will find this website to be a handy reference. E

Dictionaries

Dictionary.com offers a free, online dictionary. You can also learn by checking out the word of the day. E

RhymeZone is a great resource for budding poets and others who like to rhyme. Simply type in a word and find a list of words that rhyme. E

Freelang provides free foreign language dictionaries which can be useful when attempting to learn a foreign language. E

Encyclopedias

Encyclopedia.com allows you to search over 100 different encyclopedias and other reference books to get the best information. E

Wikipedia is definitely one of the most popular encyclopedias online. It’s a great source for initial research, but facts should always be double-checked. E

Other Reference Sources

Goodreads contains reviews of books and also has a search feature that allows users to find quotes from popular books. It’s a great resource, particularly when writing a paper. E

Internet Public Library for teens helps teens finds books, websites, and other resources for learning. It’s also a great site for homework help. T

Ref Desk highlights some of the best reference websites and organizes different reference resources into categories to make it easy to find whatever you need. E

World Atlas offers maps from around the world, along with articles about where to travel and key information about different countries. E

General Knowledge/Trivia

Life-long learners aren’t always focused on taking a course or learning about a specific topic. Many times, they simply enjoy gathering random information. The Internet is full of many free resources designed to provide them with just that. Not all of the information is useful, but it is certainly interesting, and you never know when a piece of information, like 10 different ways to use a gumball, could come in handy.

Our Top Pick
Mental Floss is a magazine and a website dedicated to providing readers with random facts and information. You can learn all about history, literature, and science, as well as fun facts about pop culture topics, such as television shows and movies. E

How-To

HowStuffWorks explains just what you think it would – how stuff works. Search by keyword or category. E

WikiHow is a how-to website that teaches you how to do almost anything you want to do with step-by-step instructions, pictures, and videos. E

Instructables offers instructions for all sorts of DIY projects. They range from home projects to crafts and science experiments. E

LearnThat.com focuses on helping you learn new information related to business, personal finance, and technology. It does so through a series of blogs and video tutorials. C

Questions and Answers

Whyzz is focused on providing answers to questions. Type in a question to search the Whyzz database for answers. E

Quora bills itself as the best answer to any question. On this site, you can search for answers to a question that has already been asked or post your own question and wait for others to answer. C

Trivia

Buzzfeed is known for its funny videos and slideshows. While a lot of its content is humorous, it’s also a great place to learn something new. C

Bored.com encourages you to end boredom by learning something new. It is full of fun articles and activities. E

Brain Jet provides your daily cerebral stream through its articles and videos full of random tips and information. E

Daily Infographic highlights an infographic each day, making it a good way to learn a large amount of information at once. E

Homework Help

Shmoop offers a series of online courses and study guides designed to help high school students. Each comes with a dose of Shmoop-style humor. T

SparkNotes is known for its literature guides, but also offers many study guides for other subjects and major standardized tests. T

CPM Homework Help offers help with math homework at the high school level, focusing on courses such as algebra and calculus. T

About.com is a website full of informational articles, lists of links, and other resources to help with homework or just to help you learn random facts. E

No matter how old you are, you’re never too old to learn. For more free educational resources, check out the Ultimate Guide to Free Online Self-Learning for Kids. Don’t forget to check out our Ultimate Guide to Teaching Science and Top 100 Free Education Sites too.

What are some of your favorite resources for self-learning? We’d love to hear them!

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. on American society and politics is immeasurable. His efforts to bring equality to all races living in America led to lasting change and still 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 incorporating some of the essential reading, writing, and thinking skills students need.

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. To learn more about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., have students listen to the Read-Aloud: Martin Luther King, Jr. which offers a short overview of his life. 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.