Going back to school after a long summer vacation isn’t easy for teachers, kids and parents, and it’s a different kind of challenge for each of these groups. For kids, it means the end of playing all day long. For parents, it’s the pressure of preparing children for school – from acquiring school books and school supplies, to getting them back to more disciplined eating and sleeping regimes. And finally, the beginning of a new school year for teachers means hard work on preparing for those first weeks of lectures and classroom activities.
However, there’s a certain feeling of excitement that follows back-to-school preparations. That’s because the role of school, with all its learning opportunities, is to encourage teachers and students to grow, develop and become the best versions of who they are. It’s an exciting two-way street where ideas are shared among all members of the educational system, and knowledge is not only passed from teachers to students, but the other way around as well.
Since the educational system is constantly changing to keep step with the increasing presence of technology in our lives today, we commonly turn to technology to help us with school-related issues. And technology can certainly be a great aid in helping us prepare for the new school year. That’s why we compiled this master list of back-to-school resources that will be beneficial for everyone who’s experiencing back-to-school trials, whether you need help with school supplies organization, lesson plan preparation, or resuming where you left off with last year’s lessons.
Back-to-School Resources for Teachers: Easier Lesson Plan Preparation
1. EdWeb – a collection of teaching and learning resources, including live webinars, and a network for teachers where they can share ideas, collaborate and grow professionally.
2. TeacherTube – a collection of instructional videos that can help teachers with ideas for their lesson plans.
3. Quizlet – enhances learning through the use of flashcards, classroom games, study sets and more. There is a free basic account for teachers and it can help them create more engaging classroom activities.
4. 4Teachers – online tools and resources for easier and more engaging tech integration into the classroom.
5. GoAnimate – not free, but for only 79$ a year teachers can make wonderful educational videos with the help of smooth, GoAnimate video design tools, thus making lectures visually stimulating and easier to grasp and remember.
6. EdPuzzle – free for teachers, this video platform allows users to add the audio component to videos. That way teachers can engage students with their carefully planned out lessons integrated into interesting videos.
7. Socrative – can help teachers engage their students in class with fun activities, quick quizzes for assessment and more.
8. ABCTeach – a huge collection of worksheets, printables, interactive thematic activities, etc. There are free and paid ($39.99 per year) membership options.
9. ABCMouse – offers lots of wonderful free material for teachers who are preparing pre-K children for kindergarten.
10. Teacher Planet – a nice free collection of lesson plans, templates, printables, worksheets, and other classroom-ready resources + fun stuff (cartoons, jokes, quotes, brain boosts).
11. Education World – a wide variety of teaching resources, from templates, worksheets and printables, to fun 5-minute lessons, tech in the classroom tips, and more.
12. Teachers Pay Teachers – a community of teachers where they share or sell original lesson plans and classroom ideas.
13. Teaching Channel – a free video showcase platform and online community of teachers where they can share and learn different teaching strategies and techniques.
14. Busy Teacher – thousands of free worksheets that can help teachers with ideas for grammar, reading, vocabulary, writing, pronunciation, exercises and more.
15. Moovly – video-making platform that can help teachers jazz up their lectures with digital storytelling, animated book trailers, how-to videos and more. Moovly is free for education – all students and teachers can get a free Edu Plus license!
16. Voki – makes teaching and learning fun with customizable speaking avatars for teachers and students that enhance class engagement and lesson comprehension.
17. Voice Recorder – a completely free tool for recording sound using a microphone and saving it as mp3 file. It can help teachers create listening exercises, podcasts and more.
18. Coggle – mind map creator and a great way to understand, organize and share information on any topic. Users need to sign up.
19. Slidely – free online app for creating, sharing and discovering videos and slideshows.
20. Image to Word Converter – a nifty iPad or iPhone app that lets users take a photo of any paper or on-screen document and convert it to editable Word document. It can help teachers convert teaching lessons they find online to editable files that they can revise and build upon.
Resources for School Kids and Students: Learning Aids and Prompts
1. Make Beliefs Comix – a free tool for creating comics that helps students with their writing, reading and developing an understanding for different points of view.
2. Edmodo – free online learning platform, best used for discussion board activities where students can post, read and reflect on other student’s posts and prompts.
3. TV411 – free collection of short, entertaining educational videos that will help users “read for success, fine-tune your writing, expand your vocabulary, get a grip on math, and explore science… all designed to help you reach your learning goals,” as they claim.
4. Khan Academy – free world-class education for students. Includes lessons in math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics and more. There’s a also a sign up option for teachers and parents.
5. Open Culture – free cultural and educational web media with many free online courses, e-books, audio books and textbooks, language lessons and more.
6. PrepFactory – free website for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
7. SpellingCity – an award-winning site that focuses on helping students master their literacy skills.
8. Animaker – easy to use online animation video making software. There is a free plan that allows users to create 2 minute long videos of SD quality.
9. Fotor – simple and smooth tool for editing images and making photo collages. Very convenient for presenting ideas.
10. Spreeder – free app for practicing speed reading; users can paste any text they want in the app and read 3x faster than usual.
11. BookPal – website that offers classroom book sets, bulk books and educational material in both hard copy and e-book format.
Back-to-School Resources for Parents: Organizational Apps and Tips
1. Labeley – a free online tool for creating labels for school supplies, school clothes, lunch boxes, mugs, toy bins, and more. Helps parents organize their children’s belongings prior to and during school.
2. Parent Toolkit – helps parents get involved with their children’s educational progress, and provides lots of tips and resources for supporting a child in all stages of growing up, from academic, health and wellness resources, to social and emotional development resources.
3. FreshGrade – a free platform for parents, kids and teachers for as long as they choose to use it. It can be of particular interest to parents because it’s a free “window into the classroom”, providing parents a chance to follow their kids’ progress at school.
4. Understood – one in five children have learning and attention difficulties. This website provides lots of helpful resources that can support parents in unlocking their children’s strengths and helping their kids reach their full potential.
5. Teacher Lists – comprehensive lists of school supplies most commonly requested by teachers and schools, available for all grades.
6. Expect More Arizona – has interesting ideas for fun activities to do at home that parents can organize for their children. Ideas are categorized into different groups according to grade levels.
7. Scholastic – just enter your child’s age and topic you’re interested in (crafts and activities, learning printables, books and recommendations, developmental guides, etc.) and a wide range of helpful resources will appear, from parent primers and articles to useful apps.
8. Internet Safety Hangman – a fun hangman game that parents should encourage their kids to play to learn the do’s and dont’s of the Internet communication.
9. Peta Kids – a page with lots of healthy food suggestions for back-to-school lunches, sweet treats, drinks, snacks and other lunchtime tips.
10. Picniic – an app for iPhone or iPad users that will really help in family management and organization of those daily activities that sometimes turn out to be too difficult to plan and manage.
We’ll be monitoring, improving and updating this list of resources regularly, so check back often for more helpful tips that can help you stay on track with all the best educational resources out there.