Posts Tagged ‘ teaching resources ’
Ultimate Guide to Free Online Self-Learning for Kids
- 6 July //
- Posted in Teaching Resources //
- Tags : self-directed learning, self-learning, teaching resources
- 16 Comments
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.
|Videos||Courses & Lessons|
|Reference Materials||General Knowledge & Trivia|
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.
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
English Grammar 101 is full of free grammar lessons for kids and adults. Lessons are also great for ESL students.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- 6 July //
- Posted in For Parents, Teaching Resources //
- Tags : self-improvement, self-learning, teaching resources
- 2 Comments
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 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.
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
Open Textbook Library 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
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.
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 are more popular than ever these days and many educational podcasts are still going strong. Browse the available podcasts on iTunes to learn something new. E
Podbean offers a platform for hosting and listening to free podcasts. You’ll find podcasts on a range of topics. 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.
Top Documentary Films makes many fascinating documentaries available for free. Documentaries are available on topics such as health, politics, human rights, and religion. 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
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
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.
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.
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
Excel Easy contains a large selection of lessons designed to help computer users learn how to navigate through the various features of Excel. This is a quality resource for teachers, students, and even those in the business world. E
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
Daily Infographic highlights an infographic each day, making it a good way to learn a large amount of information at once. E
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
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!
10 YouTube Channels for the Social Studies Classroom
- 4 June //
- Posted in How To //
- Tags : social studies, teaching, teaching resources, teaching tips
- 2 Comments
21stcentury students are constantly plugged into technology, making it the teachers’ responsibility to use their interests to engage them in the classroom. YouTube gives educators the ability to use a familiar website and an interesting medium to teach about themes and concepts that relate to their subject areas.
While there are thousands of great videos scattered about YouTube, these are ten channels that house a collection that will improve your lessons and your students’ understanding of social studies.
1. The Century: America’s Time
This series, produced by ABC at the turn of the century, breaks down major moments in American history with archived film footage and interviews with participants and regular people who lived through those moments. The small chunks of information make this series an invaluable tool for reinforcing concepts with visual primary sources.
These videos also work well for a world history class, as events like World War II and the Cold War are an important part of that curriculum, too.
2. Crash Course History
These videos give a fast-paced, thorough and entertaining overview of many different topics in history, literature, economics, and other key subjects. You can also find related resources and more easily search some of the videos on the Crash Course website. It’s important to note that most of these videos are not appropriate for elementary and middle school students, but there is a Crash Course Kids series that might be okay.
3. Simple History
This channel helps viewers gain a quick overview of key events in history through short, illustrated videos. Each video is narrated and told in a story format to make it more engaging for students.
4. Khan Academy
What makes Twitter and Facebook so popular? Why do kids prefer to text message in code than write in full length English? It’s because they prefer bite sized chunks of information and the movement towards these small doses of content is exemplified by the Khan Academy. Here you will find a huge library of lectures ranging from five to 20 minutes that use relevant and interesting visuals to teach about a specific topic. Wondering what that FICA Tax is that’s taken out of your paycheck? Watch this. Need a quick primer on how communism is different than capitalism? Here ya go.
5. The Associated Press
It is hard to spend time on current events due to time and curriculum constraints, but whenever there is a historical topic that connects to a modern one, we should make it a priority to discuss that connection. For example, the AP has dozens of very short videos on the current situation in North Korea that can be used in conjunction with a Cold War unit.
6. Miller Center: American President
This channel provides a breathtaking database of presidential speeches and occasions that can accent any lesson in modern American History. From clips of the famous Kennedy – Nixon presidential debates to President Clinton’s take on gun control after the Columbine school shooting, these videos make it simple to enhance an already stellar lesson plan with relevant primary source video.
7. US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Search through the playlists available on this channel and marvel at the resources they have compiled. Heartbreaking stories of loss, uplifting stories of love, and everything in between.
8. History for Music Lovers
I don’t know exactly what to make of this, but it may be the most creative mixture of pop culture and history that I have ever seen. The team at History for Music Lovers rewrites songs from the last forty years of pop music to teach about a historical figure or period. They also film music videos, complete with costumes and plots, to accompany their song parodies.
Watch The French Revolution, as sung to Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance, William the Conquerer set to Justin Timberlake’s Sexy Back, or relive the Eighties with Billy Idol’s Eyes without a Face transformed to The Crusades.
Some of the songs will be before your students’ time, but the effort and creativity on display is sure to break any generational walls.
9. Biography Channel
The Biography Channel on You Tube has endless “mini – bios”, all around five minutes in length; a perfect amount of time to spend on a video clip within a lesson plan.
10. Help Teaching
Help Teaching’s YouTube channel features videos on a range of subjects including social studies. You can also find ad-free versions of the videos on our online lessons page. Best of all, each lesson is accompanied by worksheets to help assess what students have learned.
You Tube may provide students with music videos and clips of teens getting pranked by their friends, but it also can be a tool for learning. Use the channels above to augment your materials and find your own to show students that the web is also a place for education.
Ways to Use Poetry Outside of the ELA Classroom
- 12 April //
- Posted in How To //
- Tags : ELA, teaching resources, teaching tips, writing
- 2 Comments
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.
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–
–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:
- Mathapalooza: A Collection of Poetry for Primary and Intermediate Students by Franny Vergo, a collection of poems related to basic math.
- 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.
- Marvelous Math: A Book of Poems by Lee Bennett Hopkins, designed for students in grades 3-5.
- 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 Verse by popular children’s author Jon Scieszka, a wealth of silly and informational poems on popular science topics.
- Joyful Noise by Paul Fleischman, a collection of poems about insects and nature designed to be read by two people at once.
- Spectacular Science: A Book of Poems by Lee Bennett Hopkins, questions related to science answered in poetic verse.
- 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.
- The Watch That Ends the Night by Allan Wolff tells the story of the Titanic in verse.
- Harlem by Walter Dean Myers celebrates the people of Harlem in a book written in poem form.
- 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.
- May B by Caroline Starr Rose tells the story of a young girl living on the Kansas Frontier and the struggles she faces.
- 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 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:
- Found poetry
- Concrete poetry
- List 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:
The Pursuit of Happiness
All men are created equal
Evils are sufferable.
Or students may take information from an article about space exploration and turn them into a poem:
Stepped on the moon.
Sent rover to Mars.
Retrieved pictures from Hubble Space Telescope.
Spent a year on the International Space Station.
We have laid the foundation for success.
Going farther into the solar system than ever before.
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:
sometimes isosceles or right
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
Addie Mae Collins
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.
The Importance of Teaching Personal Finance
- 8 March //
- Posted in How To //
- Tags : life skills, teaching resources
- 2 Comments
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Top 100 Free Education Sites
- 14 February //
- Posted in How To //
- Tags : free resources, teaching resources
- 33 Comments
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. While there are standard go-to sites you can visit, such as Khan Academy, there may be a few that aren’t on your radar and you’ll love.
Here, you find the top free sites for teaching math, science, English, and social studies, and we’ve also added some of our favorite computer science and coding sites, language sites, and homeschooling sites.
No time to go through the whole list? Just use the “Quick Links” to jump straight to the section that interests you and bookmark this article for a reference later.
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.
Khan Academy is a brilliant star amongst the free education sites. It boasts hundreds of in-depth lessons across many subjects for students of many ages. It’s perfect for educators who need to polish up or students who need easy to manage content.
Code.org has gained recognition with its Hour of Code initiative. The website offers free, easy lessons to help kids learn some of the basics of coding. The lessons also help teach critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Google is something most teachers know about, but many haven’t taken the time to explore all of their awesome free resources for education. There are some fun activities too, such as Google Experiments where kids can create all kinds of unique simulations and games online.
FunBrain helps students learn through fun games related to math and reading. They’ll also find books and other entertaining resources.
Scholastic has developed a reputation for its high-quality educational books and materials and its website does not disappoint, offering lesson plans, interactive activities, and articles designed to help teachers and parents.
Gooru helps students take control of their own learning by providing them with information about how they learn best.
Edutopia focuses on helping educators grow. From articles and blogs from those working in the field to informational videos and classroom guides, educators in all areas of education will stay on top of the latest trends and find tips to help them improve.
DIY.org encourages kids to learn new skills. Teachers and parents can challenge them to set goals and complete tasks on the site.
Science Bob gets kids interested in science by providing experiments, research, Q&A, and other info all focused on science.
SchoolTube like the name suggests is a video platform that’s moderated. It provides fun and entertaining educational videos from K-12 and is the perfect resource for teachers, parents and tutors.
Ted-Ed goes beyond traditional Ted Talks by offering lessons to accompany many of those videos. In addition, you’ll find animated videos and resources for elementary, middle, and high school students, too.
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.
Code.org is home to the Hour of Code. In just an hour, kids can complete a fun coding game. There are many games to choose from, including those that feature popular characters kids love.
Tynker offers its own free Hour of Code activities and games for kids to enjoy.
ScratchJr Coding is the new literacy! Young children (ages 5-7) can program their own interactive stories and games.
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.
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.
Make Beliefs Comix 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.
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.
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.
Sutori 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.
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.
Geogebra is a free digital tool for all things geometry and is a lifesaver for class prep and assessments. You’ll get access to tools for activities like graphing, geometry, collaborative whiteboard, and more.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
NetSmartzKidz and its sister site, Netsmartz, promotes online safety. Kids and adults can learn all about staying safe online and avoiding dangers such as cyber bullying.
StopBullying.gov helps prevent bullying in all forms by providing teachers, parents, and students with resources to educate them about bullying and let them know what to do when bullying occurs.
PE Central is a physical education teacher’s ultimate resource. It includes lesson plans, assessment ideas, and other resources.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Howtostudy.org features articles on different study skills and test-taking strategies. There’s even a subject-based “How to Write” section to help students learn how to write all kinds of informational texts.
Don’t forget Help Teaching’s Study Skills and Strategies worksheets either!
Lesson planning 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.
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.
ShareMyLesson offers lesson plans and other resources shared by teachers, educators, and educational companies around the world.
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.
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.
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.
Homeschool curriculum can be expensive. Thankfully, there are plenty of free resources out there to help offset the cost. You’ll also find lots of tips, tricks, and other resources to help make your hoeschooling journey successful.
Homeschool.com bills itself as the #1 resource for homeschooling and with good reason. The website is full or articles about homeschooling, local homeschooler groups and even free curriculum and homeschool mom planner.
Beestar offers online elementary math and reading exercises. With a free account, kids can access a set number of free worksheets a day. There are also competitions kids can enter for a small fee.
Brainly gives students a place to ask questions and get answers. Think of it as a moderated Reddit or Yahoo! Answers for kids and teens. Most of the content on the site is free, although some verified answers require a subscription.
CK-12 is a platform that offers free online textbooks and resources for students and teachers. Why pay for curriculum when you can get free, customized resources online?
Abeka provides comprehensive, biblically-based curriculum, textbooks, teaching aids and more for Preschool–Grade 12, with a proven spiral learning approach.
There are some skills that aren’t taught in high school, but they’re extremely important for students to learn. These sites help students gain these essential skills.
Practical Money Skills bills itself as a site that offers financial education for everyone. The site includes free articles and learning modules for students, lesson plans for teachers, and a host of fun games, including many related to athletics.
EconEdLink is the highly-rated go-to-place for K-12 economics and personal finance resources, providing high-quality lesson plans, videos, assessments, activities, professional development webinars, and more for educators.
Everyday Life from GCF Learn Free features multiple interactive tutorials designed to take students through everyday life activities, including work shills and getting around town.
Overcoming Obstacles is a free life skills curriculum for students in grades K-12. Their resources include strategies for teaching social and emotional skills. Teachers and parents must register for a free account to access the curriculum.
For more resources, check out Help Teaching’s selection of free life and money skills worksheets.
Did you favorite sites make the list? If not, share them in the comments. Maybe they’ll make next year’s list of the 100 Best Free Education Sites. Remember to check out Help Teaching for all of your worksheet and printable needs too.
15 Ways to Raise Funds for Your Classroom Needs
- 2 February //
- Posted in How To //
- Tags : fundraising, teaching resources, teaching tips
- 3 Comments
Public school teachers truly are miracle workers. Not only do they work hard to turn around struggling students and help exceptional students succeed, but they often do it with a limited budget and a lack of quality materials and classroom supplies.
To make matters worse, many teachers in US schools are faced with drastic budget cuts that put an end to field trips and threaten science equipment, sports equipment, music programs, and other extracurricular activities. These programs and supplies are so important that some teachers are even resorting to paying for supplies with their own money. In fact, a June 2021 survey revealed that teachers spend $750 on average while as much as 30% of teachers spent $1,000 or more!
This is why sites like Pinterest are choc-full of ideas for turning household goods and recyclables into fun classroom projects. Sometimes, however, teachers need more than recycled goods. This has been made particularly clear during the pandemic lockdown where as many as 55% of students had inadequate home supplies. And now that many students are back at school, safety measures to prevent Covid-19 transmission has meant that many school supplies can’t be shared. (We won’t go there with teachers needing to pay for their own personal protective gear)
According to the study, the biggest needs by public school teachers were:
- Basic School Supplies – 80%
- Technology – 60%
- Inclusive/Adaptive Materials – 60%
- Books – 55%
- Furniture – 50%
- PPE, Cleaning and Safety Equipment – 45%
That’s when money – and a bit of goodwill – comes into play. If you desperately need to raise money, we’re here to help with a list of websites and other resources to help you raise funds for your classroom.
Note: School fundraisers and your own fundraising activities can be a bit of a tight rope walk. Before posting any school fundraising events for your classroom, check your school or district guidelines. Some school districts require that teachers receive approval from the administration or the board before they attempt to raise money.
Option 1: DonorsChoose.org
DonorsChoose.org gives teachers the opportunity to post their classroom needs and allows others to contribute to those needs. Friends, family, and community members who know about the project can contribute to help raise money for school supplies, but the project will also be visible to a wealth of donors who regularly work with the site to help fund classroom projects. While teachers can request virtually anything, projects with lower costs, longer deadlines, and clear academic goals have the highest funding rates. Once teachers receive the materials from DonorsChoose, they must fill out documentation and thank you package to send to donors. Successfully completing the documentation earns teachers more points to submit new project requests.
Option 2: TeacherLists.com
TeacherLists.com gives teachers a place to post their classroom supply lists so parents and members of the school community can easily access them. While the goal of the site is just to share lists of school supplies, teachers can also create lists for other reasons, giving parents and other school supporters gift ideas for Christmas or Teacher Appreciation Week. Teachers can also win free supplies by referring other teachers to the site. For example, getting one new teacher to sign up earns teachers a selection of Wet Ones hand sanitizing wipes.
Option 3: Classwish
Classwish offers multiple ways for teachers to get resources for their classrooms. At the basic level, teachers create wish lists and share those lists with potential donors to help them get the items and the funds they need. The site also helps schools partner with local businesses to create a workplace giving or matching gift programs. Parents, friends, and others can also send greeting card gift certificates to help meet their classroom needs.
Option 4: Adopt-A-Classroom
Through Adopt-a-Classroom, teachers can get their classroom needs in the hands of donors who want to help meet those needs. Similar to DonorsChoose, teachers post their latest projects and other classroom needs to their Adopt-A-Classroom profile. They can then share those needs through social media or promote their page within the community to get people to donate. Donors who regularly visit the site can also search for different teachers’ needs and donate.
Option 5: DigitalWish
With DigitalWish teachers can ask for donations to help bring technology into the classroom. While teachers may not receive new computers or high-end equipment, they can receive cool software and smaller digital items, such as handheld video cameras, to help bring their classrooms into the 21st century. The site also regularly offers grants to help teachers get specific products and works with companies to provide deep discounts for teachers.
Option 6: PledgeCents
Jumping on the crowdfunding bandwagon, PledgeCents helps teachers use the power of crowdfunding to raise money for their classroom needs. After setting up a project, teachers share it through social media sites and encourage others to share it as well. As the project starts to go viral, more and more people can donate to it, helping teachers reach their goals a few dollars at a time. Since the goal of PledgeCents is to get others involved, teachers should not be shy about asking for donations and should work hard to present a compelling case to get their needs met.
Option 7: Freecycle
While Freecycle might not help you meet specific classroom needs, it could help you find free resources for your classroom. On Freecycle, people give away things for free. By connecting with a local group, you could find free classroom furniture, boxes and other random objects for craft projects, or even request specific items for a classroom project. Getting some items for free could help free up money in the budget for other classroom supplies.
Option 8: TeachersPayTeachers
One way to get extra funds for the classroom is just to make extra money. TeachersPayTeachers allows teachers to sell lesson plans, worksheets, and other educational materials. By adding and promoting their materials, teachers can make a little extra cash to use in the classroom. They’ll also find free lesson plans, worksheets, and other resources to use with their students. You can also now raise funds to purchase things on the site through the TpT ClassFund.
Option 9: DoSomething.org
While teachers can’t start campaigns on DoSomething.org, their students can. Designed to help teens and young adults fund their causes, teachers can help students get started using DoSomething.org. Through the site, students can find funding and support for school fundraisers, community service projects, and other ideas designed to help others and make the world a better place. If students don’t have their own cause, teachers can help them find an existing cause to support. This works great for character education classes and school clubs.
Option 10: Amazon Lists
If you have an Amazon account, you can set up a wish list full of items you need in your classroom through Amazon Lists. Share the link with parents, friends, or even total strangers and ask them to purchase something from your list. Items purchased from your list can be shipped directly to you at the address you select. The address will be hidden from senders so safety is not an issue. Don’t have a strong network of support? Connect with a page such as Teacher Amazon Gifting which encourages teachers to support one another by purchasing items from wishlists or tweet out a link to your list with #SupportATeacher and #clearthelist.
Option 11: GoFundMe Education
GoFundMe allows teachers to post fundraisers for their classrooms on its cloud-funding platform. The site includes categories for teachers, teams and clubs, and students and parents.
Option 12: SimpleFund
SimpleFund gives parents and students a chance to raise funds for schools by using their cell phones. They earn funds by reading articles, watching videos, and downloading apps.
Option 13: Class Tag
Class Tag helps you raise money as you communicate with parents. Every time you engage with parents, you earn coins within the program. Those coins can be redeemed for classroom supplies.
Option 14: Shoparoo
Shoparoo uses grocery receipts to help schools earn money. Parents simply download the app and upload their receipts every time they shop. Then the school earns money.
What other websites, resources, or methods have you used to help fund your classroom needs?
Option 15: Old-fashioned Bake Sale & Walk a Thon
Depending on your fundraising goal, take a look at your community and see what would work well as a community builder and fundraiser. This can be in the form of a traditional bake sale where students’ parents contribute to raising funds, or take it up a notch by hosting a market where local artisan businesses can participate for a fee for a stand. Other ideas include sponsored playground tiles, experience auctions, or challenges, such as seeing how long a class can listen to “Baby Shark” before quitting.
Do you have any unique fundraising ideas? Why not comment below! Let us know if you’re at a public or private school and what you do to get additional classroom supplies without spending your own money.
Money-making ideas for Parents and Teachers
If you’re interested to learn more about Public School Revenue Sources
Free Interactive Web Resources for Teaching Science
- 1 February //
- Posted in How To //
- Tags : science, STEM, teaching resources, teaching tips
- 2 Comments
Science is a wonderful subject to teach. It’s all about exploring, learning, and discovering how the natural world works. The Internet is positively busting with amazing (and questionable) resources, which can lead to hours of your time being spent looking for quality resources to use in your classroom.
We hear your calls and have put together a list of Free Interactive Web Resources for Teaching Science that we love. While we’d all love to have operating rooms, telescopes, and a laboratory in the classroom, we’ve kept things simple. All you’ll need is an Internet connection, tablets, and computers, which we’re sure you already have in your teaching toolbox. With these interactive resources, your students can experience science unlike any generation before.
e-learning for Kids provides animated mini-courses covering many scientific disciplines for elementary and middle school students. Students can work their way through each course and take the provided quiz when finished.
YouTube channels for kids such as SciShow Kids and NatGeo Kids
offer a wealth of well-researched information you can rely on in the classroom whether you’re teaching the body, volcanoes, or how we grow food.
Edheads offers a variety of exceptionally well-designed interactives with accompanying teacher guides. For example, let your students discover physics with the virtual Simple Machine.
VisionLearning https://www.visionlearning.com/en/glossary this is an excellent resource for providing explainers and definitions of scientific terms and concepts.
KS2 Bitesize by the BBC brings science alive with their collection of living things, materials, and physical processes interactives. Each topic includes animated activities, background reading, and a quiz.
BrainPop is an amazing resource to have in your teaching toolbox. It offers a wide variety of subjects and grade levels. It’s video lessons are well crafted and come with other teaching materials such as quizzes, worksheets, graphic organizers, related readings, and many more.
Smithsonian Learning Lab is a free and interactive site that provides teachers with literally millions of digital resources and tools that can be downloaded and even adapted. You can create personalized lessons and share them with colleagues as well as class rosters.
Learner.org provides dozens of interactives across scientific disciplines and is searchable by grade level. Be sure to try Amusement Park Physics, where students investigate the physics of amusement park rides by constructing animated roller coasters.
NASA Quest brings the expanses of the universe to K-12 classrooms with its innovative collection of interactive resources. Challenge students to design robotic airplanes to explore Mars, solve air traffic problems, or take part in the next NASA Quest Challenge.
PBS LearningMedia offers an extensive collection of interactive STEM resources. Search this collection of videos, audio files, interactives, and images by discipline and grade. The “Background Essays” and “Discussion Questions” offer great starting points for classroom use. Resources are free, but you need to register for an account after viewing three.
Scholastic offers a range of interactive activities geared toward elementary and middle school students. Check out the “Weather Watch” module. Students will enjoy playing Mother Nature with the Weather Maker interactive and solving real-world “weather mysteries” with the Weather Detective Web Quest.
Wonderville will grab students’ attention with their engaging collection of science-themed activities, comics, games, and videos.
Mystery Science Their Open-and-go lessons inspire kids to love science. Their K-5 science curriculum is loved by kids all over and they’re aligned to Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core!
PhET Science Simulations This site offers free, fun and interactive simulations on math and science that are research-based. PhET tests and evaluates each of its simulations extensively so that they provide the most educational value and effectiveness.
Stem Rising This is a US Department of Energy initiative aimed at inspiring and educating students to set them on an upward trajectory into a career in the STEM. It provides programs, competitions, events, internships, resources, and much more.
Exploratorium offers educational media perfect for classroom lessons and activities that center on playing to learn. It provides resources for a wide range of ages and ability levels and supports different educational philosophies from informal unschooling to more traditional classroom structures.
California Academy of Sciences is a treasure trove of diverse, research-rich lessons that will inspire budding scientists. This can be used along with the academy or as a standalone.
Defined Learning This website provides a stellar line up of resources that are perfect for project-based learning from kindergarten all the way up to 12th grade. It empowers students to thrive with research-proven methods.
The Ultimate Guide to Teaching Science
- 12 June //
- Posted in How To //
- Tags : science, STEM, teaching resources
- 16 Comments
Looking to invigorate your science curriculum and teaching this year? Help Teaching’s team of teachers understands the time and commitment it takes to prepare meaningful science classes and lab activities, not to mention stay up-to-date with the latest scientific advances. We’ve gathered links from across the internet to over 80 of our favorite resources to help support rookie and veteran science teachers and homeschooling parents alike. This year we’ve added several new science sites and a new category for our favorite engineering sites. Happy Teaching!
|Next Generation Science Standards||Astronomy|
|Breaking Science News||Biology|
|Science Activities||Earth Science|
|Collaborate and Explore||Physics|
Next Generation Science Standards
Whether or not your state has adopted the new science standards, they have been released and are the talk of the science teaching community.
Bozeman Science provides a free series of NGSS videos on each of the disciplinary core ideas. The videos give a clear overview of each standard as well as suggestions on how to teach the core ideas at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.
NGSS@NSTA provides current information about the implementation process and professional development opportunities, including free web seminars, to support science teachers looking to incorporate the standards into their curriculums.
NGSS is the primary resource for teachers looking to read and learn about the new science standards. Teachers may find the EQuIP Rubric overview page useful for identifying high-quality instructional materials that align to the standards.
The National Academies Press offers several NGSS-related publications useful for teachers, many of which can be downloaded for free after creating an account.
PBS LearningMedia NGSS links to a large collection of NGSS resources for professional development and classroom use.
Parent Q&A is a flyer designed to answer parent questions about the Next Generation Science Standards but is also a nice overview for teachers and administrators.
The Concord Consortium features a unique tool that allows educators to navigate the NGSS by core idea, practice, and crosscutting concept and locate high-quality digital activities that support the standards.
Breaking Science News
Check these sources regularly to stay current with scientific research. Better yet, have your students read them as well!
Newsela website and app keep educators and students alike up-to-date with current events, including a large selection of STEM news stories at different reading comprehension levels. Registering for the free version of the platform allows teachers and students unlimited access to articles.
Scientific American maintains a section dedicated to education that includes activities, information on their program connecting teachers and scientists, tips on improving science literacy, and more.
Live Science will help keep you up to date with science headlines across disciplines.
BBC Science & Environment is the place to go for breaking science news. Whether you are a busy science teacher or student looking for the hottest topics in science, BBC has coverage for you.
Science Daily offers a compilation of breaking news articles for those interested in the latest research.
ScienceBlogs hosts posts from over sixty blogs, presenting a wide range of science news and viewpoints.
HuffPost Science will help keep you up to the minute with breaking science stories.
NewScientist shares topical news stories on all things science-related.
Like the scientific method, great science instruction takes systemic modifications. Read on for resources that will help invigorate your science teaching.
Good Thinking! The Science of Teaching Science by the Smithsonian Science Education Center houses a collection of must-watch videos for anyone who teaches science. These short, animated videos explore common student misconceptions on topics ranging from natural selection to chemical reactions.
NSTA Learning Center links science teachers with professional development resources by subject and grade. Be sure to peruse their collection of 4,000+ free articles, web seminars, podcasts, and modules available to support your professional growth.
What Works Clearinghouse reviews and summarizes education products and research to help educators make evidenced-based decisions when it comes to teaching.
SERC is working to improve STEM education by providing a rich assortment of professional development opportunities and resources for educators.
Understanding Science is a primer for teachers and students alike on what science is and how science really works.
BSCS Science Learning helps to transform science education by working with science educators worldwide to provide a variety of resources. They conduct research on improving science instruction, develop instructional materials, and offer professional development.
Baylor University put together a resource on how to identify effective stem resources for students to help make sure your teaching is effective.
Help Teaching’s library of printable science worksheets is ideal for practice and assessment. Our growing collection of self-paced science lessons for biology, chemistry, physics, and earth science are a great way to introduce topics and reinforce learning.
Science competitions and fairs can inspire students to pursue STEM careers while providing hands-on learning opportunities. Consider challenging your students to participate in a local science fair for one of these major science competitions: Young Scientist Challenge, ExploraVision, Regeneron STS, & Google Science Fair.
Science lends itself to hands-on activities that engage students in active learning. Save time and get inspired when preparing lessons this year by reading these links.
Science Friday partners with educators and scientists to create STEM activities, lessons, and resources for all learners. This site connects teachers with relevant, unique, and dynamic instructional materials, videos, stories, and more.
ScienceNetLinks brings together a large, searchable database of science lessons, interactive tools, news, and hands-on activities to support formal and informal science education.
Science Buddies is the place to look for science fair topics and activities. Not only does Science Buddies provide science fair project resources for students and teachers, but their growing collection of science activities are perfect for classroom and home use.
BIE maintains a library of science project-based learning units that encourage student inquiry and investigation.
Lawrence Hall of Science: 24/7 offers citizen science projects, hands-on activities, online games, and more for classroom and home exploration.
PBS LearningMedia has thousands of the best digital science teaching resources in an easily searchable platform by grade, subject, standard, and format.
Zooniverse brings together a collection of citizen-science or people-powered, research projects where everyday people can contribute to real science.
Science Kids has a nice collection of experiments, science fair project ideas, games, videos, and images designed to get kids interested in science.
Annenberg Learner brings together a collection of science interactives that can readily support any science curriculum.
Virtual Microscope simulates the use of various types of microscopes for students through the examination of set image samples.
PhET Simulations supplement classroom learning with a large array of well-designed science interactives.
The Science Spot contains a vast library of information and resources pertaining to all areas in science, including forensic science and astronomy. This is an essential resource of middle school teachers and students as well as for high school teachers. This website also provides tips for implementing interactive science notebooks in the classroom.
Hook your students on science by sharing videos from Veritasium, Science360, SciShow, It’s Okay to Be Smart, Untamed Science, and Help Teaching.
Collaborate and Explore
We teach our students that collaboration is an essential part of doing science. Practice what you teach with these links for connecting and sharing with teachers who have similar goals.
Teaching Channel is on a mission to create an environment where teachers can watch, share, and learn new techniques to help every student grow. Start by watching these science videos, then explore the entire site for more teaching inspiration.
Skype in the Classroom helps teachers connect with other educators and experts in their fields. Use Skype to bring your students on virtual field trips, interact with a virtual guest speaker, and collaborate with another class from across the country or around the world.
STEM on Google+, and STEM Educators are Google+ groups offering vibrant online communities of science teachers sharing resources and best practices.
Professional Learning Communities allow teachers to connect with others in their schools, districts, and communities who are dedicated to science education.
Google Educator Groups bring educators together, both online and offline, to share ideas on web-enabled learning.
AP Teacher Community connects and supports those instructing AP courses.
Don’t miss out on the latest discoveries about the universe with these links.
NASA Education for educators opens a universe of information about space science through lessons, videos, professional development, and more. Get started by browsing astronomy teaching resources in NASA Wavelength.
Google Sky does for the view of space what Google Earth does for the view of your neighborhood.
Air and Space Live webcasts from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum bring a world and beyond of learning opportunities for anyone interested in astronomy.
If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel dubs itself, “a tediously accurate scale model of the solar system,” but don’t be misled by the tagline. This interactive is beautiful in its simplicity and will engage your students on this virtual journey through our solar system.
National Optical Astronomy Observatory offers numerous space-based resources, programs, and resources for educational purposes.
From life science to AP biology, helping students develop an understanding of the nature of life is essential for science literacy.
BioEd Online from Baylor College of Medicine offers science teachers resources that include lessons, videos, classroom slides, and a full library of magazines and storybooks for use with K-12 students as well as professional development courses for teachers.
BioInteractive by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute is a free collection of virtual labs, films, animations, apps, and more that are ideal for biology education.
Encyclopedia of Life offers an extensive collection of free resources on just about any organism.
The Biology Corner offers a wealth of teaching resources for biology teachers, including classroom presentations and lab handouts.
Ask a Biologist not only allows K-12 students to submit questions for biologists to answer, but also offers a wealth of biology-related articles, activities, games, and more.
Solve the Outbreak is a free app by the CDC that challenges students to solve epidemiology mysteries. It’s fun, really!
Cells Alive brings microbiology to life through amazing photos, interactives, and videos.
BEN: BioSciEdNet managed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, helps teachers to engage their students with animations and lab activities.
Biology4Kids offers clear explanations of many topics for elementary and middle school reading levels or for teachers searching for material covering the basics, from scientific study to cell biology.
American Physiological Society supports education through student activities and curricula, education projects that link teachers and physiologists, and teacher learning resources.
Teaching the central science takes knowledge, skill, and a bit of wow factor. Use these links to help make your class preparations a little easier.
American Chemical Society’s education page is the place to find materials for teaching chemistry, professional development opportunities, and reports on chemistry education.
ScienceGeek.Net is chemistry teacher Andy Allan’s personal website where he shares his collection of presentations, labs, and more.
Evan’s Chemistry Corner provides worksheets, transparencies, and lab activities for Regents Chemistry in New York State, but these resources can be used in any high school chemistry classroom.
Kent Chemistry contains instructional pages covering topics in chemistry, along with accompanying videos, practice questions, worksheets, and lab activities. Both high school-level and AP chemistry are covered.
Illustrated Glossary of Organic Chemistry catalogs 1,500+ terms and is an essential resource for any organic chemistry course.
Periodic Videos from the University of Nottingham features videos and experiments on each element. Check out their 500 videos on YouTube as well.
Crash Course Chemistry contains a playlist of YouTube videos covering various topics in chemistry in a short amount of time.
Chemmy Bear contains a multitude of resources for AP chemistry, from handouts and activities to study cards and practice tests. This site is especially helpful for newer AP chemistry teachers and for teachers of honors chemistry courses.
Seasonal science “holidays” offer fun and engaging ways to incorporate STEM activities into your classroom. Celebrate science this year with these theme days and weeks:
World Space Week Stellar Activities October 4 – 10, 2018
Earth Science Week Fun Daily Activities October 14 – 20, 2018
National Chemistry Week – Chemistry & Forensics October 21 – 27, 2018
America Recycles Day Activity Guide November 15, 2018
Earth Day Activities for Kids April 22, 2019
World Oceans Day Activities June 8, 2019
Developing student understanding of the earth’s structures and processes helps nurture an appreciation of the natural world.
EarthLabs supplies rigorous units on earth and environmental topics that focus on hands-on laboratory activities and data analysis. Each unit provides all the information, resources, and lessons necessary to elevate earth science and environmental lab instruction to the next level.
NOAA brings together a wonderful collection of resources about the oceans and atmosphere.
USGS Education compiles a wide variety of videos, maps, images, and interactives ideal for use in the earth science classroom.
ClimateChangeLIVE engages students with two electronic field trips for the classroom as well as supplemental materials and support for teachers.
COSEE is dedicated to helping build collaborations between students, teachers, and scientists interested in ocean studies.
Physics is daunting for many students. Great physics teachers actively engage students with the study of the interactions between energy and matter.
The Physics Classroom supplements physics instruction with tutorials, animations, teacher toolkits, and lab activities.
The Physics Front is an extensive collection of materials, including online tools and lesson plans for K-12 physics and physical science instruction.
PhysicsCentral shares everything from articles to posters to home projects to support those educating physics students at all levels.
APlusPhysics contains helpful video tutorials and web pages for students to learn from, covering topics ranging from high school physics to AP physics. The site also contains worksheets for teachers to print and distribute to students as well as activities that teachers can implement.
Burrows Physics‘ playlist contains a multitude of videos covering various higher-level physics topics. These are helpful in providing instruction to students outside of the classroom.
Practical Physics offers a wide array of experiments that enable students to get hands-on experience with concepts in physics, enriching students’ understanding and refining students’ ability to visualize the forces and science at play in the real world.
ComPADRE is a digital library of teaching resources for physics and astronomy educators.
American Association of Physics Teachers will keep you posted on conferences, projects, and competitions as well as just about everything you need to stay up to date with teaching physics.
Engineering Practices & Design
Today’s science students must understand engineering practices and design solutions to help them prepare for everyday life and career paths. Enrich your STEM curriculum with these engineering resources.
TeachEngineering is a website that guides teachers in nurturing students’ abilities to create innovations to challenges in any subject. Some activities include how-to videos on YouTube.
NASA Engineering Design Process aids teachers in helping students to understand that engineers must imagine and plan before they begin to build and experiment in a variety of challenges for K-2, 3-5, and 6-8. The site also provides plenty of guidance for supporting students in the engineering design process.
Science Buddies offers educators an exhaustive description of the engineering method with a side-by-side comparison against the scientific method.
TryEngineering has 100+ engineering lesson plans for teachers. Students interested in pursuing engineering careers will find the university and career portals useful.
EngineerGirl by the National Academy of Engineering offers a wealth of information on engineering professions for girls and women.
Although this list is by no means comprehensive, we hope it will inspire and energize your science teaching and classroom this year. Be sure to visit HelpTeaching.com and utilize our growing library of K-12 science worksheets, lessons, and questions!
7 Things to Remember When Working with Kids with Autism
- 6 April //
- Posted in How To //
- Tags : autism, classroom management, parent resources, teaching resources
- 4 Comments
April is Autism Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about autism within the community. Learn more about working with kids with autism.
As autism rates have risen over the years, so has awareness. However, as parents of children with autism know, a lot of myths and misunderstandings still exist. Whether you’re a teacher, a principal, or someone who works in another capacity in the schools, it’s important that you avoid the myths and develop an accurate understanding of what autism is and what it looks like to work with kids with autism.
1. Autism is a Spectrum
Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of autism is that kids with autism are on a spectrum. There’s a world of difference between kids with high-functioning autism versus low-functioning autism. Before assuming anything about a child with autism, learn where they are on the spectrum and what particular aspects of autism they demonstrate the most.
- Are they socially awkward?
- Do they have trouble understanding non-literal language?
- Do they lack basic communication skills?
- Do they have tics?
- Is it difficult for them to make eye contact?
- Do they express emotions inappropriately?
Not all children with autism will express all of these traits and some will express all of them and more.
2. Autism does not Signal a Lack of Intelligence
Many parents have sat through IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meetings where they listened to professionals discuss their child’s lack of intelligence. For example, in a recent initial IEP meeting for a newly-diagnosed child with autism, the Child Study Team leader said, “We’ll give him a series of tests to see where he is, but I’m sure he’ll be low.” This assumption was made simply because the child had been diagnosed with autism. Imagine how surprised she was to learn that not only did the student not score low, but he was working above grade-level in multiple subject areas.
Kids with autism may struggle academically, but often their struggles do not signal a lack of intelligence. Rather, they signal their struggle to adapt to the educational system. In many cases, kids with autism solve problems and communicate differently than what is expected. Sometimes teachers and other educational professionals think they got the answer wrong, when really they just thought about it differently.
3. Autism Often Confuses Other Kids
Several years ago, Sesame Street introduced its first autistic character, Julia. While Julia represents a character to whom many children with autism relate, she also serves as a tool to help teach other kids how to interact with kids who have autism. Kids don’t always know how to act around kids who are different or who don’t do what’s expected. Teachers can use models like Julia and other activities to help kids understand what autism is and how to interact with their peers who have autism. After all, everyone has differences. Some of those differences are just more noticeable than others. Learn more on this topic in “Educating Children about Autism in an Inclusive Classroom” from the University of Prince Edward Island.
4. Autism is Unpredictable
One thing about working with kids with autism is that you are never quite sure how they will react. Sometimes, you’ll expect them to react negatively to a loud concert and they’ll be fine. Other times, you will think a certain activity will be easy for them and it will become a major challenge. When you work with kids with autism, you must be flexible. You must also learn to recognize their cues so you can adjust a situation to avoid making it a bigger problem.
5. Autism Requires Predictability
Imagine living every day without knowing what’s going to happen. For kids with autism, that’s often a reality. They are not always in control of their emotions and navigating life can be confusing. Surprises lurk around almost every corner. However, the adults in their lives can help limit those surprises by developing routines for them to follow. For some kids, just knowing the general schedule of the school day will help. For others, parents and teachers will need to develop a detailed schedule that includes the smallest of events, such as brushing their teeth and going to the bathroom. If the schedule is going to change for any reason, adults should also try to take time to warn the child about the change in advance. For example, a child expecting to do math at 10:15 may be upset if he goes out for early recess instead. Even though recess is fun, the disruption to his routine could outweigh that fun.
6. Autism Requires Parents and Educators to Work as a Team
Educators have a lot of students to focus on, but when working with a child with autism, it is essential they take the time to develop a relationship with the child’s parents and work as a team to ensure they are working in that child’s best interests. Educators should respect a parent’s position as an expert on the child, while parents should respect an educator’s professional expertise and observations in the classroom. Educators must also be careful not to criticize parents of autistic children for making decisions related to their child. They must also take into consideration the child’s autism when making observations about the child’s appearance or behavior. For example, a note home saying “Please ensure your child wears socks each day” may seem innocent, but it may not take into consideration the fact that the parent is encouraging the child to become more independent in dressing himself and letting him go to school without socks when he forgets is part of that process.
Some of the information above may overwhelm educators. “I have 25 students in my class. How can I spend this much time on the needs of just one?” At the end of the day, it’s not that hard. Just as you get to know your other students, get to know your students who have autism. Learn their quirks. Get to know their personality. Focus on their diagnosis, but at the same time don’t focus on their diagnosis. Just treat them as human beings.
There are lots of resources available to help educators work with children with autism. One of them is the School Community Tool Kit from Autism Speaks. It contains a wealth of resources, information sheets, worksheets, and activities to help the many different people in a school community understand autism.
For educators looking for help with behavior modification, check out Insights to Behavior, a free resource full of activities to help educators create behavior plans for students, as well as find activities to help with some of the social and emotional challenges kids with autism face.
You can find additional books, videos, toys, and information sheets in the Autism Speaks Resource Library. If you’re looking for more educational resources, you may appreciate Help Teaching’s Life Skills or Study Skills worksheets or use Help Teaching’s Test Maker platform to develop tests, quizzes, and worksheets that can meet the needs of your autistic students.
Resources for working with kids with autism
The internet is bristling with free resources to help teach your students with autism!
- Kids Konnect has World Autism Awareness Day Facts & Worksheets
- Stages Learning Materials offers free autism resources you can download, print, and use immediately
- Waterford.org has free activities, teaching strategies, and resources for teaching children with autism
Teachers and parents will benefit from professional development in this area:
- The Teacher’s Corner at the Organization for Autism Research is giving away resources to teach yourself about how you can better support students on the spectrum in your classroom.
- The Autism Society has material geared for school administrators, teachers and families
- More programmers are turning their attention to the unique learning needs of kids on the autism spectrum. CommonSense.org has a list of the best apps for kids with autism
- From kindergarten to college, students with autism spectrum disorder can soar with this guide to academic resources, social support, and expert tips for school success produced by Student Training & Education in Public Service
- Accredited Schools Online has a free guide which discusses the unique difficulties autistic students face and how educators and families can respond to them
- From music education to handwriting, snug vests, and even cruise vacations, the state of Oregon’s Columbia Regional Program has compiled a list of Best Web Resources for Autism
- The University of Louisville’s Kentucky Autism Training Center has assembled and exhaustive list of instructional resources and products
- The National Association of Special Education Teachers has a compendium of resources for nearly every topic in autism education
- A number of different approaches can be used to yield positive results when teaching students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, outlined in this article from St. Joseph’s University
- The Indiana Resource Center for Autism at Indiana University’s Institute on Disability and Community offers Teaching Tips for Children and Adults with Autism
- The Marcus Autism Center has tools and tips for helping you care for a child with autism
- Here is a valuable list of autism resources compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Books, worksheets, and videos for students with autism are selected by an astute 8th grader from New Jersey in this list from the Association for Science in Autism Treatment
- The National Education Association has oodles of resources for educators
- With students, teachers and families at home due to COVID-19, the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador has pulled together some resources to help you keep busy
- Missouri State University’s Project Access offers COVID-19/Coronavirus and Online/Distance Learning Resources to school district personnel who serve students with autism, and it also has a list of storybooks by luminaries such as U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor read on video
- Check out these Resources for Families of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder During COVID-19 from the University of Houston’s School Psychology Autism Research Collaboration
This is just a small sampling of the resources available to you as you face the challenge of teaching a student with autism.
Image source: Vecteezy