Classroom Strategies, Tools and Resources

Top 5 Resources for Learning Online

Free, standards-aligned resources to facilitate remote learning

Learning online is definitely a learning curve for many of our students and families. We can make it easier by sharing purposeful and engaging tasks our students look forward to working on independently and/or with their families. 

There are hundreds of free educational websites for educators and families being shared across all social media sites right now, and I want to share my personal recommendations for five websites that represent high-quality, standards-aligned content that encourages student voice and student choice. I have used each of these websites with my students and have shared them with kindergarten through twelfth-grade teachers in professional development and am excited to share them with you. 

CommonLit.org https://www.commonlit.org/ 

This literacy website is geared toward third through twelfth grades. Teachers may access rich fictional and informational text and share assignments via Google Classroom and/or by using a class code. Students can use the website to read a variety of texts, answer questions, pose questions, and analyze with online tools. And all of the text can be easily translated into a student’s native language, which can be a valuable scaffold! Students can also use the website independently to read the text that interests them the most. 

One of the most valuable resources on CommonLit is its text set collection. These text sets can be assigned in its entirety to help students continue to build knowledge and vocabulary, even if they’re reading independently at home–other sources of text sets are Achieve the Core and the Kentucky Text Set Project. Another helpful use for CommonLit is their Related Books filter, which allows you to assign additional knowledge-building texts to support instruction for many popular full-length texts.  

Newsela.com https://newsela.com/

This informational text website is focused on sharing current and past news articles for second grade through twelfth grade. While many aspects of the website are free at all times, Newsela is currently giving teachers full access to all features of the website for FREE. Students may access the Lexile-leveled text via Google Classroom and/or by using a class code to read what interests them. Students can find text features to support their learning by sharing maps, captions, graphs, photographs, and/or diagrams and include them in their Google Document to show how they engaged in the text. Then students can explain how the text features helped them understand the text more. This can also be done in a virtual group. The text can be translated into a student’s native language. They can also use Google Maps to locate where the event took place and to find out more about the location. National Geographic Kids (https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/) is another website that can be paired with Newsela to support student learning. 

IllustrativeMath.org https://www.illustrativemathematics.org/

This math website supports Kindergarten through twelfth grade. It is organized by the Common Core State Standard math clusters and includes the 8 Standards for Mathematical Practice. The website includes high-quality tasks and analysis of answers. Teachers can assign a choice of tasks via Google Classroom using the student view. Students can share their learning via FlipGrid.com and Seesaw (https://web.seesaw.me/), too. Additionally, if educators in grades 6-HS need full curricular materials to facilitate a switch to remote learning, Illustrative Mathematics offers free, full curricula for grades 6-8, as well as Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry.

Science Videos-Crash Course Kids (second grade through fifth grade) https://www.youtube.com/user/crashcourse

Crash Course (sixth grade through twelfth grade) https://www.youtube.com/user/crashcoursekids

These YouTube Channels were created by the Green Brothers (also known as the Vlog Brothers). They explain historical events, engineering and science concepts, and so much more with vivid text features, explicit explanations, and reflective questions. The short videos can be paired with the National Science Teaching Association’s Classroom Resources (https://ngss.nsta.org/Classroom-Resources.aspx), the History Channel’s resources (https://www.history.com/) and Mystery Science (https://mysteryscience.com/). Teachers can assign the videos via Google Classroom

KhanAcademy.org  https://www.khanacademy.org/

This website was created and is moderated by Salman Khan and his team. It includes an expansive list of high-quality, standards-aligned lessons for kindergarten through twelfth grade. The lessons include videos, practice, and a formative assessment for math, science, reading, and more. Students are given immediate feedback and teachers are able to observe daily progress. Teachers may assign the lessons via Google Classroom or by using a class code. 

Bonus Website: TED Talks for kids https://www.ted.com/playlists/86/talks_to_watch_with_kids

TED-Ed Lessons https://ed.ted.com/

Students can access dozens of TED Talks to learn about a variety of topics. TED-Ed includes lessons, graphic organizers, and reflective questions.  Listening and reflecting on TED Talks can be great ways for students to practice writing and speaking (via recordings) in response to sources, using evidence from the text. Remember that videos, images, and recordings like TED Talks are texts. The TED Talks can also be used as a launch for students creating their own TED Talk. 

The educational community is an amazing group of people who work together to support the needs of all of our students no matter the circumstance. I am a firm believer in sharing and learning from each other. Please connect with me via Twitter @tikaee or by email epstet@nv.ccsd.net anytime. I look forward to working with you.

13 thoughts on “Top 5 Resources for Learning Online

  1. Thanks so much for this information and the wonderful websites. Some I knew, but several others are brand new and so great! You made the first step of the online learning for me and my students easier!

  2. It is new to me I’m going to make a good use of it and like you point it out, learning becomes
    easier. Thanks once more.

  3. Thanks for sharing all of these! You are right – there are 100s of resources out there, and it can be intimidating for teachers. NEWSELA is on of my faves, and thanks for sharing how to utilize all of these!

    1. You are welcome. I am excited to see how teachers and students are using these sites to sharing their learning.

  4. Thank you for sharing these and ideas on how to integrate them. You are right – there are 100s of resources out there, and it is overwhelming to know which ones are best. I like NEWSELA, but you have given me some good ideas for all.

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About the Author: Tika Epstein is a Kindergarten through fifth-grade instructional coach and interventionist for a wonderful Title I elementary school in Las Vegas, Nevada. Additionally, she teaches pedagogy and content classes to alternate-route-to-licensure and new teachers. Tika is also a guest blogger, Twitter chat moderator, and Core Advocate Ambassador. When she is not teaching, she enjoys spending quality time with her husband, adult children, and two dogs.