Early on, my mentor gave me some good advice. When it comes to lesson planning, it’s best to beg, borrow, and steal. Why? Planning sucks up all your time. And teachers love to share. There’s no reason to start from scratch when you can find exactly what you’re looking for. But there are so many tools out there. How do you know where to find the best stuff? We’ve got you covered. Here are the best online tools for teacher planning.
Goal: I’m looking for podcasts to teach current events.
A public radio journalist started Listenwise when she realized there wasn’t a podcast resource for schools. There are thousands of 3-6 minute stories for grades 2-12 for English, social studies, science, and current events. Each story is part of a standards-aligned lesson, and there are all kinds of bonus features like auto-scored quizzes, interactive transcripts, and discussion questions. We love the debate series where both sides of an issue are considered.
Goal: I want to learn new ways to teach.
BetterLesson has thousands of teaching strategies and lesson plans for all subjects and grades. Long before the pandemic, BL was the go-to source for blended and personalized learning resources. Want to flip your classroom? There’s a video for that. Looking for a series of self-assessments? You can find that too. It’s easy to search by topic or skill. Everything was designed by teachers for teachers (plus, it’s free!).
Goal: I want to supplement my curriculum.
The best part of this tool: it’s always free. You can search by Lexile range, genre, theme, standard, and literary device. No more time-consuming searches to find a poem, article, or reading passage that will align with the topic or skill you’re teaching. It’s all there for you. Plus, there are comprehension questions and assessments.
Goal: I’m looking for instructional videos and additional practice.
Try: Kahn Academy
There are so many different resource types. I especially love using the instructional videos for remediation and small groups. Resources are aligned to state-standards and commonly used curriculums like EngageNY. The learning experience is multi-modal when you start using Kahn Academy resources.
Goal: I’m looking for a fast and easy worksheet tool.
Wizer makes it so easy to make or customize a worksheet for your kids. Then, you can upload them straight to your LMS. Even better? You can add audio and video. There are so many different question types, including matching. We love how pretty the worksheets look and the automatic checking and grading feature.
Goal: I’m looking for a tool to personalize my instruction.
This adaptive skills-based program makes supporting students’ individual learning needs sustainable. After they take a diagnostic test, students get recommended skills they can work on at any time. Hands down, this is my all-time favorite tool for differentiating instruction. IXL is perfect for station rotations, early finishers, and independent work time. Students can work on English, social studies, math, science, and Spanish.
Goal: I’m looking for a tool that will scaffold my resources.
Try: Insert Learning
I wish Insert Learning was around when I was in the classroom. It’s game changer for reaching all of our students. Plus, it makes personalizing resources sustainable. This chrome extension breaks up reading into manageable sizes. You can add annotations, embed videos into websites, add maps, quizzes, discussions, and more.
Goal: I’m looking for resources to create an inclusive class community.
Try: Learning For Justice
Learning For Justice offers resources to bring SEL and social justice into your classrooms. They offer lessons, learning plans, teaching strategies, film kits, and more. We love the Learning Plan Builder, where you can create, save, and share lessons.