Although most teachers are given loose parameters for their curriculum, including certain areas that must be mastered in time for testing, there is some leeway within these criteria for educators to create their own, unique lesson plans. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to come up with creative lessons and activities that are both fun and educational. Luckily there are many free resources available to help teachers create or supplement curriculum. So, in addition to non-traditional content resources like YouTube or learnist, as well as for-pay sites like teacherspayteachers.com, below are 10 excellent resources for you and your classroom.
1. Jump Start
This is a good all-around educational tool that offers fun classroom activities and worksheets based on both subject and grade (for Kindergarten through elementary). So whether you’re teaching second-grade math or fifth-grade science you should be able to find a few lesson-worthy ideas on this website.
2. Soft Schools
The lessons offered on this site range from pre-Kindergarten through middle school, and include every subject. With extras like phonics, online calculators, holiday themes, and quizzes, every teacher will find something to love from this online resource.
Getting kids interested in reading and writing is not always easy, but the earlier they develop a love of language and literature, the better they’re likely to perform in all subjects as they advance through school. Scholastic provides resources that help teachers to plan a reading curriculum as well as a slew of writing prompts in their Story Starters section.
This program from non-profit group Discovery Science Center offers not only lesson plans and classroom activities related to science, but also an online community of educators to interact with.
This is a pretty incredible resource for anyone who teaches history or social studies. In addition to providing links to more than 1,200 history websites that can supplement your lesson plans, it also offers links to hundreds of lesson plans, activities, games, quizzes, and more (for K-12 history classes) from a contributing community of teachers like yourself.
As you may have expected from the name of this website, you’ll find plenty of free math worksheets here (estimated in the tens of thousands by their own count). Lessons range from simple addition and subtraction to money, fractions, and statistics. There are also flash cards and games like Sudoku to help kids learn in a fun way.
7. PE Central
Physical education is about more than playing volleyball or soccer; it’s about ensuring the health of our youth. And that entails not only fun physical activity, but also lessons in health and hygiene. This website asks members to contribute lessons and ideas for activities for the benefit of all. So sign up to partake and participate.
While there are all kinds of websites geared towards creating (or supplementing) lesson plans for younger kids, finding help for high school classrooms can be a bit more difficult. But HippoCampus has got you covered with lessons for advanced mathematics (algebra, geometry, calculus, and more), as well as sciences, social studies, and even humanities. What teachers will likely enjoy even more, however, is the fact that they can create lesson “playlists” and customize them to correlate with content from a textbook.
9. Khan Academy
This website for the short-attention-span generation squeezes every lesson into bite-size segments (roughly 10-minute videos). The math, science, test prep, and other lessons are geared towards the high school and college crowd, but teachers can definitely use the videos provided to illustrate a point in class or as a resource for students that need extra help.
Not all lessons are of the academic variety. Whether students are planning to go to Harvard or peruse the options on or another website, they must first learn not only reading, writing, and arithmetic, but also how to behave in a safe and responsible manner both inside the classroom and in the outside world. This site offers lessons on pressing concerns like cyberbullying and internet safety that every teacher should probably address.
Leon Harris is a contributing writer for getarealdegree.com. Harris lives in Southern California, and enjoys eating healthy and exercising with his two Golden Retrievers; image attribution Grant Wiggins