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17 Free Educational Websites for High School


These are some of the top free educational sites for high school.  I’ve focused here on websites you can let your students roam free on because the entire site is filled with educational tools to equip your students for academic success.

These are some of the top free educational sites for high school.  I’ve focused here on websites you can let your students roam free on because the entire site is filled with educational tools to equip your students for academic success. 


All subjects:

https://hippocampus.org/  

Free educational videos and resources for middle school through college iIn math, natural science, social science and humanities.  Your students can study independently, you can use content for your lessons or you can create playlists for your students to review.


https://khanacademy.org

Incredibly helpful, straightforward, standards-aligned videos, practice exercises and articles.  Topics for 7-12 include math, reading & language arts, science, economics, arts & humanities, computing, life skills and test prep.  Teachers can also assign work and track student progress with a teacher account.


https://www.bibme.org/ 

This website will help your students get their citations correct in APA, MLA and Chicago Style.


https://quizlet.com/

Students can equip themselves with learning tools and flashcards to help them study for almost any topic your school offers a class in.


English:

https://www.gutenberg.org/ 

This site offers tens of thousands of free ebooks.


http://www.openculture.com/freeaudiobooks 

Features free audio books.


https://www.grammarly.com/

Advanced spelling and grammar checker with browser plugins.


Math:

https://www.purplemath.com/

Struggling students can use lessons to help with algebra and beginning trigonometry courses, as well as test prep.


Social Studies:

https://www.oerproject.com/

A free introductory history course that establishes an interdisciplinary foundation of historical thinking practices, and a free standards-based world history course that builds upon those foundational skills in preparation for AP, college, and beyond.


https://www.digitalcivicstoolkit.org/

A collection of resources for educators to help high school youth explore a range of civic opportunities and dilemmas with modules focused on: Exploring Community Issues, Investigation, Dialogue, Voice, and Action.


Sciences:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

An online portal to NOVA, which claims to be the most-watched prime time science series on American television now in its fifth decade of production.


https://nclab.com/

NCLab provides data analyst and Python developer career training programs that deliver the knowledge, practical experience, competency, and confidence needed to give their students an early competitive edge in STEM skills. 


https://www.experimonkey.com/

Let students explore science experiment ideas, facts, brain games, quizzes and videos.


Arts:

https://www.si.edu/openaccess 

Students can view art, history, culture and science pieces as well as participate in themed activities and games.  They also provide educator resources and digital tools through the Smithsonian Learning Lab and  Smithsonian's History Explorer.


https://artsandculture.google.com/

Your high schoolers can explore and interact with art and architecture around the world, with new picks featured every day.


https://spark.adobe.com/ 

Let students create impactful social graphics, web pages, and short videos in minutes. Graphics can be used to make science fair posters, social studies infographics, math flashcards, etc.  They can turn field trip journals, language arts essays, lab reports, and more into dynamic web pages.  Book reports, physics explainers, poetry analyses, and more can be shown as video presentations.


Organization:

https://habitica.com 

A gamified to-do list to help students keep themselves organized and motivated.


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These are some of the top free educational sites for high school.  I’ve focused here on websites you can let your students roam free on because the entire site is filled with educational tools to equip your students for academic success.


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10 Free Educational Websites for Elementary Students


Here are some of the top free educational sites for elementary.  There are so many great resources out there, and so many websites have that one amazing resource that just hits that one standard perfectly.  I’ve focused here on websites you can let your students roam free on because the entire site is filled with educational gems!

Here are some of the top free educational sites for elementary.  There are so many great resources out there, and so many websites have that one amazing resource that just hits that one standard perfectly.  I’ve focused here on websites you can let your students roam free on because the entire site is filled with educational gems!


https://www.khanacademy.org/

Incredibly helpful, straightforward, standards-aligned videos, practice exercises and articles.  Topics for K-6 include math along with reading & language arts.  You can even assign work and track student progress with a teacher account.


https://code.org/learn 

Your students will learn to code with challenges and games conveniently leveled for pre-readers, grades 2-5 and grades 6-8.  Clicking on an activity will show you what standards it supports, whether it can be completed by students independently, what technology is needed, languages it is offered in and how long it will generally take to complete.


https://www.arcademics.com/  

This is a hub for educational games, and every single game here is truly educational.   Language arts skills such as grammar, spelling and typing and a wide variety of math topics.  If you want your students engaged while building fact fluency, this is where you send them.


https://www.sheppardsoftware.com/ 

Another place where educational games dominate.  In addition to math and language arts, this website also includes a variety of science and social studies games.


https://www.typing.com/

With an ever-increasing focus on technology in our world, typing is a crucial skill.  Younger students will develop their fine motor skills and familiarity with the keyboard, while older students can improve their typing speed.


https://wonderopolis.org/

This website is dedicated to answering all those wonderings kids have.  It’s a great place to stoke your student’s curiosity and let them see that there are answers out there.


https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/

There are great educational videos, photographs, quizzes and even suggestions for fun science experiments.  This is also a great place for your young readers to do their own research when writing about nonfiction topics.  Disclaimer: there are also some silly games and loosely educational personality quizzes.


https://www.storylineonline.net/ 

Your students can watch stories read aloud by various actors.  The stories are from a variety of genres and have suggested grade levels K-4th.  They are also starting to add some titles read in Spanish, and even have one read with an ASL interpreter.


https://www.prodigygame.com/ 

An adaptive, standards aligned math skills game, built into an immersive video game world kids love.  Students battle monsters with spells cast by correctly answering math questions.  The game will level, assess and continually challenge your students all by itself, or you can create a class and assign your own questions to match what you are studying.  Disclaimer: There is avatar customization and students can "meet" other avatars in-world then run around aimlessly together, so you'll have to enforce that your students should be in battles at all times.


https://www.sketchup.com/

Let your students build their engineering skills by experimenting with 3D modeling software.  They can use the basic free software designed for personal use, or SketchUp for Primary and Secondary program is free with a G Suite or Microsoft education account.


Pin this blog post to get back to later:

Here are some of the top free educational sites for elementary.  There are so many great resources out there, and so many websites have that one amazing resource that just hits that one standard perfectly.  I’ve focused here on websites you can let your students roam free on because the entire site is filled with educational gems!


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Tips and Tricks for Teaching Virtually


Teaching virtually might make you feel like a first year teacher all over again. My goal with putting this blog post together is to leave you feeling empowered! I want you to know that all of your teaching strategies can still be used, just in a new way. Hopefully these tips and tricks give you a place to focus your efforts and a vision of what is possible.

Teaching virtually might make you feel like a first year teacher all over again. My goal with putting this blog post together is to leave you feeling empowered! I want you to know that all of your teaching strategies can still be used, just in a new way. Hopefully these tips and tricks give you a place to focus your efforts and a vision of what is possible.   

5 Things I Wish I Knew from the Beginning

If I could go back in time and start over, these are the 5 things I wish I knew from the beginning of my virtual teaching experience.

Teaching virtually might make you feel like a first year teacher all over again. My goal with putting this blog post together is to leave you feeling empowered! I want you to know that all of your teaching strategies can still be used, just in a new way. Hopefully these tips and tricks give you a place to focus your efforts and a vision of what is possible.

1. Relationships are the MOST important thing.

Before the school year starts, take the time to call each of your new students and also talk to at least one of their parents. Your relationship with your students' parents is arguably more important than the relationship with the student when teaching virtually. The teacher and parent are a team! Of course you still want to get to know each student and learn about what motivates them, and a phone call is a great way to get that started. 
Use a tool like You Can Book Me to have families sign up for their call time. Use a tool like Google Voice so that you don't need to give out your actual phone number. Regular contact is really important when teaching virtually. 
*Do your best to treat the parent-teacher relationship like a work colleague, not a friend. You need to work together for the good of the student and it can get tricky if professional boundaries are crossed. My first year teaching virtually I had this one parent who wanted to chit chat for upwards of an hour before letting me talk to my student. I did not have time for that but I didn't know how to cut her off! #introvertproblems 

2. Start with Procedures, just like in the classroom.

Take the first few weeks to establish procedures before expecting anything academic to stick. Teach students where to go to find their lessons. Teach students how to complete a lesson virtually. Teach students how to turn in assignments. Teach students how to ask for help (how to send an email). Teach students every procedure they will need in order to be successful and then practice each one until it is mastered. 
The academics can be handled asynchronously at first. Take the live lesson time to establish procedures and build relationships. 

3. It isn’t about the technology

You're probably thinking "what?!" right now so hear me out. It doesn’t matter which program or platform you’re using. You can accomplish the same thing with whatever digital tools you are allowed to use. I see people on social media get so hung up on what the "best" digital tools are. It doesn't matter which tool you use as long as it works on your students' device type and it accomplishes your academic goals. 
Your teaching strategies will always be more important than the technology (tools) you use to accomplish them. 
Teaching virtually might make you feel like a first year teacher all over again. My goal with putting this blog post together is to leave you feeling empowered! I want you to know that all of your teaching strategies can still be used, just in a new way. Hopefully these tips and tricks give you a place to focus your efforts and a vision of what is possible.
Everything I share in this blog post is based on the digital tools I had access to but I promise you that there are several other tools that can accomplish the same thing. Just find the ones that work for you. 

You might also be disappointed to find that this blog post doesn't have any technology tutorials. My goal is to empower you to use whatever you have available to you. There are zillions of tutorials out there for whatever tech tool(s) you choose to use. 

4. Communicating clearly is critical
Write out your directions, emails, etc. and then delete HALF of it. Make all communication as concise as possible. Use bullet points. Consider multiple learning styles. That's it. That's the tip. 

5. Everyone needs praise, including the parents
Give kudos (praise) early and often. Set the tone that you’re proud of your students and their parents for their efforts even before any academic work is done. You can use digital stickers, video messages, quick phone calls, emails, or a combination of all of these. 


If you're teaching online suddenly and have no idea where to start, check out this blog post: Tips for Teaching Online During Distance Learning

20 Things to Remember about Teaching Virtually

1. Consistency and simplicity are more important now than ever. Set consistent routines and procedures and stick to them, even when they get boring and repetitive. 
2. Be engaging and interactive. Put on your news anchor voice to make the screencasts and video sessions come to life. Use props, costumes, and backgrounds strategically. 
3. Set office hours and stick to them. Teach families early that you're available during specific times. 
4. Create a routine for yourself for your day. Always answer emails at the same time, grade at the same time, eat at the same time. This will help make the overwhelm seem more manageable. 

5. When recording videos, sit with the wall behind you. The last thing you want is someone to walk behind you and disrupt your whole flow. You have much more control when you sit up against a wall. I have this blog post about Setting Up Your Virtual Teaching Space for more info. 
6. Teach in small chunks and spread a lesson over multiple days. This mostly applies to live sessions. Keep it concise before you lose students' attention. 
7. Make a guide for the entire week on one page or in one place. Always format the guide the same way and always put it in the same place. 
8. Be patient and accept the learning curve. You're basically a first year teacher again!
9. Document everything. Every phone call, every attendee at live video sessions, every email (don't delete them). 
10. Call your homeroom students once a week. Use a tool like You Can Book Me or Sign Up Genius to schedule your calls. It is totally worth it. 
11. Make time for yourself to disconnect and unplug. Every day and for longer stretches on the weekends. 
12. Teach procedures first before you get into new content. You can use non-academic activities while teaching procedures so that students have practical practice for each step. Review the procedures even after students have mastered them. 
13. Lots of coffee helps but also pace yourself. It is overwhelming at first but it does get easier. 

14. Good humor is essential. You're going to make mistakes, you're going to say something awkward. Laugh it off. 
15. Don't expect perfection. Expect mistakes! Model to students how to make mistakes and how to react to them when you do. We are all human. 
16. Cut way back on the pace of learning. Really take a look at your curriculum map and decide what is essential. Try to use cross-curricular activities to get in as much learning as possible at a much slower pace of learning. 
17. Be flexible. 
18. Keep things in perspective. You know your population of students and the challenges they face at home. Don't ask for more than they are capable of giving and praise them for any effort they're able to give. 
19. Don't compare yourself with other teachers! You're going to see amazing things happening when you scroll through Instagram. These are highlights of the best content a teacher is sharing. Try to not compare because you don't know how long they've been teaching virtually or what skill set they went into it with. 
20. Take your work email off your phone (unless you school pays for your phone). You can check email a few times a day but it is very important to separate yourself from it during your off hours. Especially if this is how families are contacting you for tech support. Only reply during your office hours. 


10 Tech Skills to Teach Students RIGHT AWAY

1. How to log in to their device.
2. Where to find their assignments.
3. How to turn in their finished assignments. 
4. How to join a live video session. 
5. How to do a split-screen during video sessions so they can see you and another window at the same time.
6. How to ask for help. This usually turns into how to write an email.
7. Where to find their grades/feedback for assignments.
8. How to add and edit text boxes in whatever program you're using. And the undo button. 
9. How to bookmark a website and how to find saved sites. 
10. How to re-open a closed tab (ctrl+shift+T usually). 
Teaching virtually might make you feel like a first year teacher all over again. My goal with putting this blog post together is to leave you feeling empowered! I want you to know that all of your teaching strategies can still be used, just in a new way. Hopefully these tips and tricks give you a place to focus your efforts and a vision of what is possible.
If you're thinking right now "where is the tutorial for each of these?" then I'm probably going to disappoint you. It really should be your voice on a video walking students through how to do these things in your LMS or on your class website. I promise it is worth the time and it will be much more meaningful for your students if it is from you. 
That being said, feel free to hop on YouTube and watch tutorials for yourself to get comfortable with the technology. Then use that knowledge to customize it for your students. 

What to do the First Day of Virtual School:

If you don't have a class website yet then it may be hard to visualize how all of this is going to work. You NEED a place to host your assignments. Every assignment can be on its own page that way students can find any assignment at any time quickly and easily. Once the routine is established of how to get to their lessons, all you have to do is put the name of the assignment on your weekly guide and students will know where to look for it. Check out this blog post - Class Website 101 for more information.

Best case scenario is that you've already talked to each student on the phone once and they know how to access their assignments, so you're just tech support that first day. 
If that didn't happen because you weren't given enough time, make sure to send students a video walkthrough of where to find their assignments and the other 9 things from above. You can review these procedures once you get students into a live video. 

It may seem totally counter-intuitive, but the first day isn't about you (the teacher) when teaching virtually. Students will be so busy at home logging in and checking out their first assignment(s) that you won't really need to be involved right away. You can use this time to call a few students in your homeroom, answer emails, and prepare more asynchronous assignments. Most of the work when teaching virtually is behind the scenes. I actually find it much less exhausting (after the beginning of the year overwhelm is done). 

Your first live video session will be mostly establishing norms for video sessions. Depending on the age of your students you could do a get to know you scavenger hunt or read a picture book to students, or play a game of I spy. Anything that will take about 10-15 minutes and establish a routine for students of how to attend a live lesson. I recommend not making it academic. You can still give them tasks to complete in another tab or a file to work on, but have it all be "fun" stuff that won't be graded. 

In Conclusion:

Good Teaching is Good Teaching

75% of the job is good teaching. Use best practices for introducing lessons with an engagement piece, support students where they are skill-wise, and track your data to make informed curriculum decisions. You've got this! The 25% tech will come with time and practice, but isn't the most important thing. 

Don't Reinvent the Wheel

Seek out prepared lessons and curriculum so that you can focus your energy on facilitating your students' learning. This will enable you to spend your time making custom materials for individual student differentiation, calling families, grading assignments, and preparing for video sessions. 

Bonus Tip: Find your Professional Learning Community

I have a digital one because I was the only one at my school teaching tech. Learning from and with other teachers will be a huge shortcut for you. Join my Technology Teacher Talk Facebook Group!


Teaching virtually might make you feel like a first year teacher all over again. My goal with putting this blog post together is to leave you feeling empowered! I want you to know that all of your teaching strategies can still be used, just in a new way. Hopefully these tips and tricks give you a place to focus your efforts and a vision of what is possible.



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