Top Free Resources for Elementary School Teachers

February 7, 2023

I recently volunteered to be the guest reader for my daughter’s second grade class. The concept is easy: show up, read the kids a book (giving the teacher a much needed 20 minute break), and call it a day. No big deal, right? Wrong…in all aspects. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Let me paint you a picture. I painstakingly culled our home book collection for the perfect book. One that was enjoyable for me to read, provided a good moral lesson, and would keep the kid’s attention (This is the book I chose if you’re interested!). I walk in, perfect book in hand, bright eyed and excited to see my kiddo and her 23 class besties. I imagine sitting in a nice circle, holding everyone’s attention, and reading the book start to finish with no interruptions (Ha!).  As I walk in, I’m quickly bombarded with little hands and bodies invading my personal space. They are asking a lot of questions (SO many questions!). Their voices are growing exponentially louder. One kid wants to know what book I’m going to read, another wants to know why the sky is blue. The overwhelm is setting in. I’ve managed teams of adults, big teams with complex tasks, and let me tell you…managing 24 kids is nothing like managing 100 adults. I smile at my daughter’s teacher as she corrals everyone to the reading circle. I managed to get through the book with only 1,235,354,896 interruptions, questions, and unrelated stories. I walked out of the classroom exhausted. Teachers, how do you do it?! I’ve always had great respect for teachers.  I couldn’t do it. Y’all are not paid enough and don’t get the credit you deserve.  I see you, I thank you, and I love you for what you do for our kids. As a small token of my appreciation, and an attempt to make your lives even just a little easier, I’ve scoured the web for a few (free!) resources for teachers.

1. In a recent blog post, Hey Teach! provides a list of ten free lesson planning resources for teachers. From language arts to STEM and history, this list is comprehensive, free, and sure to help our teachers plan their days. The list includes resources from PBS, Scholastic, EPIC, the Stanford History Education Group, National Geographic and more. 

2. TeachStarter has an online gallery that includes a TON of free printable worksheets, infographics, posters, and flashcards.  From shapes and colors to word problems and vocabulary, TeachStarter has resources for all ages and subjects.  

3. Teacher Created Resources is an educational publishing company founded by Mary Dupuy Smith, a classroom teacher. All of their products are "created by teachers for teachers and parents." Their website lets you filter activities by grade and subject, providing detailed descriptions for lessons including the objective, focus areas, and any supplies needed (with links to free supporting materials!).

4. DogoNews provides student-appropriate news articles, with original and simplified options to appeal to a wide-range of ages and reading abilities. You can also listen to the article, which is a terrific option for struggling readers.

5. Learning for Justice promotes diversity and fights racism by providing inclusive education programs that forge pathways toward building equitable societies. From topics such as bullying, immigration, race, religion, and ability, teachers are sure to find resources to help tackle even some of the most challenging questions and topics from our young learners.

6. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Beeloo! With easy to assemble, curated activity packets for a wide range of ages and interests, Beeloo provides teachers (and parents!) with free, printable resources to include in curriculum, help with downtime between lessons, fast finishers or keep kids engaged when bad weather means recess is indoors (and so much more!).

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