With all the chaos of school closing and teachers scrambling for resources, I have had quite a few emails from teacher friends wondering which online resources I suggested for my own students during our state-mandated shutdown. So I decided to share with you, the free online resources I am suggesting for parents. I am only suggesting free ones folks. There is no reason for teachers or parents to be spending precious dollars during these uncertain times.
Free Online Resources
First of all, please understand, where I live, not every child has access to a computer nor internet services, so any resources I suggest are supplemental to the packet and activities I sent home. (I sent a huge packet of materials plus some Spring Break Boredom Buster ideas to keep learning hands-on and fun!) It’s just not realistic to think that every child has that kind of technology. But for those that do and can access learning online, here are the free resources I am sending to my own class.
Students learn through active play with this site developed by teachers. One of my greatest worries about sending online resources and lists home with students is that they will be on a device all day. Those are the same students that need to be moving the most. With FluencyandFitness.com they are going to be moving. I promise. And it’s free during this time so go and grab it, friends!
Students love stories. They need to hear a wide variety of texts and different voices. Storyline Online will give them plenty from which to choose. I love hearing the actors’ voices reading children’s stories. (Have you heard David Harbour read Snappsy the Alligator yet? I love him in Stranger Things!) Definitely send this website Storyline Online to your parents.
Kids love ABC Mouse. This is a no brainer. Have your parents sign up for the 30-day free trial. This site covers math, reading and science and it’s perfect for our aged kids. Remind your parents, they don’t have to purchase it. Just sign up for the ABC Mouse free trial and that should, hopefully, last through the shutdown.
Another really great site that we use regularly in my class and my students love is Epic. I’m so delighted students can continue to use it at home. It has videos, audio stories, stories to read and quizzes for all kinds of interest. If parents sign-up for the 30-day trial with Epic, they can use it throughout the shutdown period.
Brainpop Jr. is perfect for early learners like our students. All you have to do to get it for free during your shutdown is to fill out a request form. Students will get a plethora of subject areas, videos, and games.
Mystery Science has a load of science lessons and activities and they are separated by grade level so it’s easy for parents to navigate. I love that there are video lessons and activities to extend learning. The lessons are questions our own students would ask, ‘who invented pizza?’ ‘can animals laugh?’ ‘what’s the largest tree’. I’ve used these lessons in my own classroom, and I think parents will enjoy them, too. So check out Mystery Science. By the way, no sign-up or log-in required for this one.
Phonics Hero will give your kiddos some much-needed phonics reinforcement. We do NOT need them to lose any skills while they are at home. Am I right? Phonics Hero is giving teachers the opportunity to create accounts for their students for a free month. It is a little work up front, but well worth it to give your students those games and activities to keep letter/sound fluency and reading at the front of their mind. So go set up your class on Phonics Hero now.
Of course, you’ve heard me talk about Vooks in the past. Vooks is such a great source for animated stories. My students love them, and I love how the text is highlighted as it is read. It’s a wonderful resource and so engaging for little ones. Parents can try is free for a month. So definitely, definitely grab this one and add it to your list.
This is a completely new free resource coming out from Scholastic, but it looks pretty good. It’s separated by age/grade ranges and includes stories, videos, and activities. My students love our Let’s Find Out activities, so I’m guessing this is going to be a great one as well. Just click scholastic.com/learnathome
And finally, of course, you have to send out a link to GoNoodle. My students would be lost without it. And quite honestly, I am going to miss doing the Dino Stomp and showing off my best NTV dance moves with them over the next several weeks. Share the love of GoNoodle with your parents if you haven’t already. No explanation needed.
We are very fortunate that companies have stepped up and have done the right thing by offering these services for free to our students. I am so touched by their giving spirit. Sometimes teachers can feel very unsupported, but I think these small gestures of giving go a long way.