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You've Got This: 2020 Roundup of Back-to-School Resources
Written by: Kajeet
If you’re looking for effective lesson plans, a new way to teach course content, online assessment tools, or just need some good old-fashioned teaching inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. Here are our back-to-school resource picks for teachers involved in in-class, hybrid, or blended learning. We’ve covered everything from the best sources of course content and tools to use inside the class and outside to assessment tools, writing/grammar applications, social/emotional tools, and class management tools.
LESSON PLANS AND GENERAL LEARNING
First, we have the Library of Congress with resources that are created by teachers, for teachers. The LoC’s ready-to-use materials can help you easily incorporate the LoC’s unparalleled primary sources into your lesson plans, and it provides more than just plans. Presentations, activities, professional development, and materials sorted by common core vs. state-specific content can also be accessed.
BetterLesson’s mission is to “support every teacher in developing the next generation of resourceful, compassionate, and resilient learners.” Their site provides instructional coaching, design workshops, student-centered learning programs, and flexible learning plans that you can tailor to your needs.
The New York Times also offers rich resources when it comes to lesson plans and teaching resources. In partnership with the Learning Network, NYT publishes roughly 1,000 teaching resources every school year, all based on or requiring NYT content, including articles and essays, images and videos, and graphics and podcasts, all of which can be used as teaching tools across multiple subject areas. Resources available include picture prompts, current events, using numbers and statistics in today’s world, and subject-specific resources for English, math, social studies, science, the arts, and more.
NASA and PBS also provide rich resources for teaching STEM subjects, history, language, and more, broken down by grade level and subject. Create lessons, quizzes, and puzzles, see your state’s standards, and manage your classes and assignments, all using award-winning series and collection.
TESTS AND ASSESSMENTS
For tests and assessments, we recommend EdPuzzle, Google Forms, Socrative, or Kaizena, all of which you can use to build sleek, functional, easy-to-use forms, tests, and quizzes. Built-in features include options for real-time feedback, multiple-choice vs. short-answer question formats, options for discussion-based assessments, and tools to ensure that your students are watching, understanding, and completing assignments and tasks.
With ClassDojo, you can use a messaging app to connect with your students, incentivize learning, manage your class, and measure class engagement. We like the interactivity of TedEd as well, with its colorful and dynamic lessons and content that is designed to capture the imagination of your students.
Use ReadTheory to inspire your kids to read while simultaneously developing their critical reasoning skills, and try Kahoot if you want a flexible platform on which you can assign work, conduct assessments, manage students and class materials, and provide feedback to students – all on a clean, comprehensive, easy-to-use UI.
For classroom management, try BouncyBalls. This tool helps you manage the decibel level in your class by capturing your classroom’s noise level using your computer’s microphone and representing the sound level with balls that bounce when the room gets too loud. Use it so that you don’t have to verbally remind your class time and again to dial it down! Also, you can use Random Name Picker from ClassTools.net to randomly call on students to test their understanding and make class interaction a little more fun and easier for you. ClassTools has many other resources that are also worth looking at, such as a countdown timer that you can customize to your needs so that it becomes easier to start and finish and activity, a news presentation generator, puzzles, and more.
SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL LEARNING
Use Common Sense Education for material on social and emotional learning topics such as humility, gratitude, compassion, empathy, self-control, teamwork, and a lot more. Many materials provide links to other sources with content that is relevant to social and emotional learning. CASEL is a recognized leader in social and emotional learning and provides countless resources that can help you make your classroom and online interactions more equitable and amicable.
READING, WRITING, AND GRAMMAR
BrainPop Grammar and Daily Grammar are both fun sites that come with many interactive games, activities, and videos that can strengthen your students’ reading, writing, and grammar skills. They come with courses on grammar, writing, and vocabulary, as well as critical reasoning and essay writing. There are hundreds of lessons from which to choose, as well as dozens of quizzes, all broken down by subject matter area, grade level, and learning goals.
Use Remind to help keep your students on-task. Its well-designed two-way communication tools make it easy for you to share updates, make announcements, and connect with and discuss with your students, and it’s a great tool for improving student accountability.
FreshGrade is a great all-in-one tool that has something for everyone. Use it to make lesson plans, distribute classroom materials, communicate with parents, conduct assessments, and have your students create portfolios and share online work.
Khan Academy, a pioneer in online learning, provides students with online instruction, videos, test prep, and self-learning tools. Use it in conjunction with a tool such as Trello, which started as a project management tool. It uses visual cards with easy drag-and-drop capabilities that can streamline and even automate your workflows and improve productivity.
Finally, Seesaw is a student-focused tool that provides students with an online portfolio and communication channels via which questions and feedback can be shared between the student and teacher and collaboration can be promoted between students inside or outside the classroom.
If what you need is a no-nonsense source of lesson plans that can help you quickly build your course and dive into teaching, try ReadWriteThink or Teachnology. Both tools provide clear, organized lesson plans for K-12 and additional sources for reading, science, math, and more.
As classrooms move more and more to online, blended, and hybrid teaching models, it is more important than ever that teachers and educators know where to find high-quality materials designed for online use and how to use these tools. For assistance with online learning, assessing the needs or risk areas of your school or district, or designing a custom technology plan tailored to the needs of your students, your school, or your district, please contact a Kajeet Solutions Engineer here for a free consultation.
Tag(s): Technology Insight , Ed Tech Inspiration , WiFi for Students , distance learning , Covid-19 , Education