Classroom Inspiration: 15 Great Websites for Elementary Educators

The Internet is overflowing with information for teachers. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start searching for great lesson ideas. Who has time to sift through all of the mediocre material in order to find the truly inspirational ideas?

We’ve done the sifting for you. Though we’ve divided the sites by subject, most cover the education spectrum and will be useful to every teacher. Even better, they show you how to integrate subjects, whether that’s using a writing lesson to learn about thunderstorms or finding a musical beat during physical education. Read on for some fantastic lesson ideas.

Language Arts

readwrite

ReadWriteThink

Use this site when you have a very specific amount of time to fill. ReadWriteThink has ideas that range in length from 5-minute writing prompts that can kick off an assignment to multi-week units. The calendar activities section is packed with ways to tie your reading and writing lessons to seasons, notable people, and multicultural holidays.

Reading Rockets

Have a question about teaching reading and writing? You can probably find a well-researched answer to it on the Reading Rockets site. Spend some time watching professional development videos by education experts, and gather tips to better serve children with disabilities and English Language Learners. You will also find book lists, author interviews, and lesson ideas.

Scholastic

Browse thousands of lesson plans by grade level and subject. Many of the reading and language arts lessons tie into other subject areas as well. The Book Wizard is a brilliant tool for finding titles for hard-to-please readers and students who are above or below grade level. Check the Top Teaching blog for a mix of fresh ideas from teachers in the field.

School Library Journal

This is a good resource when you have readers who are difficult to reach. Find lists of kid-friendly comics and books that address diversity, or find an interview with a student’s favorite author. The site also provides news about education research, policy, and more.

Math

illuminations

Illuminations

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics provides this site with lesson plans, online games, and brainteasers. The lesson plans include Common Core standards, assessments, and links to related lessons. Fair warning: If you start reading the brainteasers, you might find it hard to stop.

Inside Mathematics

Check out the “problems of the month” section for questions meant to get students to think deeply about math. There are also assessments for second through fifth grades, all tied to Common Core standards. The site offers teaching support with example videos of successful classroom lessons.

K-5 Math Teaching Resources

You will find hundreds of math games and activities here that are ready to be printed for your students. This site shines in explaining the many ways you can integrate math in your classroom, with sections on math journals, math centers, and mental math.

Soft Schools

You will find material on all of the core subjects here, including a comprehensive math section. The math worksheets are organized by topic and can be printed. Students can use the free games without registration.

discovery_future

Discovery Education

Need some fresh ideas quickly? Discovery Education offers free lesson plans in every core subject area. The plans come with an activity, evaluation tools, a list of vocabulary words, and links to academic standards. Sign up for one of the virtual field trips, which allow your students to see new places and hear expert speakers via video.

PBS Learning Media

You’re probably aware of the dozens of education shows on PBS. Now you can easily find clips from those shows to share with students, along with support activities and links to academic standards. You can search by grade and subject matter.

Smithsonian Education

This is a great site for teachers who want to dig deeply into a subject. Find lesson plans in all of the core subjects, along with historical documents and photographs. Your students can even watch interviews with researchers who work for the Smithsonian. Check out the “field trips” tab for ways to enrich off-campus journeys.

The Learning Network

The New York Times produces this blog that offers lesson plans tied to stories in the news. Categories include the core subjects, along with topics such as economics, health, and journalism. Check for age-appropriateness because the blog offers content for students from third grade through high school. And, yes, there are crossword puzzles.

Arts

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ArtsEdge

This site, associated with The Kennedy Center, shows how art, music, dance, and history can be incorporated in classroom lessons. The site includes thorough lesson plans with links to videos.

Denver Art Museum Creativity Resource for Teachers

The museum provides lesson plans based on art from its collection. Search for ideas by grade level, culture, and skill. Many of the lessons include videos and links to other learning resources.

Teachnology

If you need breadth, this is the website for you. Teachnology has lesson plans, worksheets, and a bundle of other resources on a range of subjects, including music, physical education, art, and drama.

Think of this as the beginning

If you’re looking for a lesson on a very specific topic and don’t see it here, you might find it through one of these sites. Many have links to fantastic science, literature, and history websites. Or try your local museums and libraries. They often have programs and resources that don’t get the publicity they should. The resources you need are out there — often for free — if you know where to look.

 

Editor’s note: This piece was originally written by Katie Lepi and ran on April 18, 2013. A lot has changed since then, so we’ve had author Sarah Muthler update this piece with the latest techniques and innovations.

1 Comment

  1. Kerry

    May 14, 2015 at 6:24 am

    One I would definitely add is Vocabulary Spelling City (spellingcity.com) – – free games, handwriting worksheets, and spelling lists for teachers, and it all can be customized to your own curriculum!

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