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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. 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.

Videos Courses & Lessons
Reference Materials General Knowledge & Trivia


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.


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’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 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. 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 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. 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.


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.


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. 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 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, 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.


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


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


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 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 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


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’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 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 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 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


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 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


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 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 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.


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.


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.


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.


Top 100 Free Education Sites

Top 100 Free Education Sites of 2017

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 teaching math, science, English, and social studies, but we’ve also added some of our favorite computer science and coding sites and, to promote the expansion of Help Teaching’s ESL section, we’ve added our favorite language 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.

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

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.

PowerMyLearning 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. 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 teachers. 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. 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.


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 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.


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 every day, 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 interactive student resources.

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.


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 provides students, particularly those in high school and college, with everything they need to know about writing a paper, including grammar advice and paper formatting guides.

Social Studies

Teachers can find primary source documents and high-quality lesson plans, as well as discover ways to 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 organizes Wikipedia information visually and chronologically to create a unique digital textbook.

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 while they 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.


Not all websites focus on elementary math skills. While many of these games do work well for elementary-age students, they also offer 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 news stories and other reading passages.

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


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. It also offers help when 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 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.

NGAKids Art Zone allows kids to explore popular art movements, themes, and artists 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.


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 through 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 use in the classroom.

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

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. 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’s main page 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. At HelpTeaching, we have 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 allows 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 video 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.

For more resources, don’t forget to check out the Ultimate Guide to Self-Learning for Kids and the Ultimate Guide to Self-Learning for Teens and Adults.

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 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. 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. 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.


Whether students are looking to learn a foreign language or improve their English language skills, these sites are designed to help.

Our Top Pick

Internet Polyglot offers free videos, games, and other resources to help language learners memorize words in a new language. It also offers over 4,000 vocabulary lessons.

Busy Teacher features thousands of articles, worksheets, slideshow presentations, and other resources designed to help English language learners and teachers. All resources are available to view and download for free.

Google Translate is a free translation service provided by Google. You can translate a few words at a time or a whole document. While not 100% accurate, it can be a good place for language learners to start.

Open Culture contains a collection of the best free language learning courses and resources online.


Did you favorite sites make the list? If not, share them in the comments. Maybe they’ll make 2018’s list of the 100 Best Free Education Sites. Remember to check out Help Teaching for all of your worksheet and printable needs too.

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.