A number of sites on the Web provide lesson plans suitable for elementary and middle school. Below are some of our favorites. In some cases, a site combines both elementary and middle-school plans along with those for high-school.
Academic Lesson Plans
Education Place, a creation of Houghton Mifflin, provides K-8 instructional materials focusing on math, social studies, and reading/language arts. It includes special sections for parents and for kids, as well as Internet guides to projects and curriculum links.
Lesson Plans at TeachNet
This site provides an extensive list of lesson plans, catalogued by academic level and subject area. Special attention is paid to art, music, language arts, and science.
EduHound.com is a highly specialized educational directory with built-in resource links offered free to educators, students and parents. It seeks to harness the vast information resources of the Web, while enabling educators to use the Internet as a classroom tool. Sections include: internet tutorials, art, social studies, lesson plans, library research, special education, children's publications, math, substitutes, museums, student resources, the NEA and affiliated sites, teacher resources, and much more. The site covers grades K-12.
EdHelper provides extensive lesson plans for math, writing, science, technology, social sciences, as well as other subjects. In addition, there are study questions, puzzles, study guides, and other resources for grades K-12.
Nickelodeon's Web site for Educators
Nickelodeon's web site for educators makes available Classroom resources and lesson plans to use with Cable in the Classroom programming, Nick News, and Blue's Clues.
ProQuest provides links to lesson plans, professional resources, and classroom activities for both elementary and secondary teachers. Links are divided grades K-5, 6-8, and 9-12 as well as by subject matter.
Lesson Plan Search
This site provides a lesson plan search engine for teachers that include math, science, reading, writing, social studies, and much more. Alternatively, the site may be browsed by use of the extensive list of subject areas.
Core Knowledge is based on the "idea . . . that for the sake of academic excellence, greater fairness, and higher literacy, elementary and middle schools need a solid, specific, shared core curriculum in order to help children establish strong foundations of knowledge, grade by grade. This excellent site provides grade-specific lesson plans to support this goal. Unlike most of the other lesson plan sites, these plans have been refereed.
Teacher2teacher.com is a destination for teachers to get advice about teaching math. The site may be searched or browsed, with an extensive archive and list of frequently asked questions. Material is divided by educational level.
There are far more sites devoted to providing ideas for older grades than for the early grades, but one of the best for elementary and middle-school teachers is HomeworkSpot. With sections on arts and crafts, foreign languages, health/fitness, language arts, math, science, social studies, and technology, it is an especially helpful one-stop resource for younger students.
McREL Lesson PLans
McREL is a private, nonprofit organization whose purpose is to improve education through applied research and development, primarily for grades K-12. This site provides access to libraries of their lesson plans, classroom resources, as well as other materials for the classroom teacher. Topics covered include behavioral sciences, civics, economics, foreign language, geography, health, history, language arts, math, multi/disciplinary studies, science, and technology.
NASA Explores -Express Lessons and Online Resources
This site, from NASA, provides educational articles and lesson plans on current NASA projects. Printable and downloadable, these supplemental curriculum resources meet national education standards."
This site aims to "provide educators and students with access to the highest quality practices and resources in reading and language arts instruction." The site features searchable and browsable lesson plans for grades K to 12. Also includes annotated Web links and interactive student materials. A partnership between the International Reading Association (IRA), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and the Marco Polo Education Foundation.
Learning Through Listening: Free Lesson Plans
This site, hosted by Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, is for educators in grades K-12. Its purpose is to provide quick access to lessons and information that focus on developing listening skills and meeting the needs of diverse learners. The content on this site has either been written by educators or reviewed by educators for its practicality and applicability. Includes lesson plans.
Back to School Resources for Busy Teachers
Annotated links to teacher resources such as back-to-school activities, icebreakers, classroom management techniques, and related concepts and tools. Includes general teaching ideas and resources for English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers. From the Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers (CASLT).
FREE -- Teaching Resources and Lesson Plans from the Federal Government
A cornucopia of information specifically designed for classroom teachers from various departments of the Federal Government. You’ll find extensive information on
Arts and Music,
Health and Physical Education,
History and Social Studies,
Web English Teacher
At Web English Teacher educators can take advantage of online technology to share ideas and to benefit from the work of others. Beginning teachers can find guidance; experienced teachers can find inspiration. Think of it as the faculty library and faculty workroom on a global scale.
Helpful Animals and Compassionate Humans in Folklore
This lesson plan focuses on helpful animal tales and folk tales with human and animal cooperation. Provides three lessons (for grades 3-5) with suggested readings. Includes a link to a related lesson plan, "Folklore and Ecology: Animals and Humans in Conflict and Cooperation." From a partnership of the National Endowment for Humanities, National Trust for the Humanities, and the MCI Foundation.
eThemes is your source for content-rich, kid-safe online resources that will help enhance your teaching and save you time. eThemes provides free, fast access to over 2,500 collections of websites, on topics ranging from Aerodynamics to Zebras and everything in between. By researching and creating these resources for you, eThemes will save you the time that you used to spend wading through millions of hits on Google, trying to find a few websites that meet your teaching needs. The staff of this site does the searching for you, giving you more time to improve your lesson plans and actually teach. A service of the eMints National Center and maintained by University of Missouri-Columbia College of Education staff and graduate students from the School of Information Science and Learning Technologies.
Service Learning with Animals
Collection of K-8 lesson plans that address "a variety of animal-related themes, from pet overpopulation to debunking common misconceptions about spiders and snakes." Includes lessons related to animal careers, caring for a pet, and understanding wildlife. Some lesson plans are available in Spanish. From the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Kids in the House
Use this interactive site to help children learn about the United States House of Representatives, the Office of the Clerk, and their roles in lawmaking. Also find historical material on important House events, historical figures, and works of art in the House; take a tour of the U.S. Capitol complex, the House chamber, and Statuary Hall; play games; and more. Of special interest is the page
with resources, activities, and lesson plans that complement the material on this site. From the Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives.
"Justice Sandra Day O'Connor welcomes teachers and students to the site for civics games, lesson plans, comprehensive resource link, civics-in-action projects, and more." Use the "Learn About Civics" section to find material about current members of the U.S. Supreme Court (and Sandra Day O'Connor), the three branches of government, tribal government, and state resources. Includes lesson plans on the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government. From Georgetown University and Arizona State University.
iCivics The Democracy Lab
The site is focused on providing games to help students to better understand government and how it works. In Do I Have A Right?, students run their own firm of lawyers who specialize in constitutional law. In Executive Command, they can be President for four years. In Supreme Decision, students help cast the deciding vote in a Supreme Court case.
BioEd Online: Biology Teacher Resources
This website's goal is "to provide useful, accurate, and current information and materials that build upon and enhance the skills and knowledge of [K-12] science educators." Although large sections are highly visual with streaming video presentations, a slide library of lesson plans and activities, "hot topic" pages, and science news, the site is refereed by experts and is of universally high quality. In addition to topical content, the site includes teaching strategies and lab techniques. Also includes a special section with K-5 content. From the Baylor College of Medicine.
My Wonderful World
A campaign -- backed by a coalition of national business and non-profit organizations -- to expand geographic learning in school, at home, and in communities." Find campaign materials, games and activities, geography quizzes, and ideas for parents, educators, and children and teens to incorporate geographic knowledge and learning into daily life. From the National Geographic Society.
Plant and Animal Care for the Classroom
This site provides suggestions for the use of specific plants and animals in classroom settings, including habitat details, what to do when they arrive, and care instructions. "The animals in the modules were selected because they are abundant, safe for students, easy to care for, and hardy and well-adapted to classroom environments." Some of the organisms include ants, earthworms, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, bulbs, and seeds. From the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley.
Rosa Parks and the Civil Rights Movement
In this lesson designed for grades seven and eight, "Rosa Parks, 'The Mother of the Modern-day Civil Rights Movement,' describes her pivotal role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott [of 1955-56] and helps students understand the importance of every individual citizen in a democracy." Includes the transcript of an interview with Parks, a brief biography of Parks, and an essay about being arrested, the boycott, and the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr. From Scholastic Inc.
Thousands of Free Lesson Plans and Educational Resources for Teachers
" The easy-to-navigate K-12 resources are grade-specific and are aligned with state standards. Families and kids of all ages will also find excellent resources for practice, play, projects and reports on thinkfinity.org. Search for a specific topic, or choose from recommended activities, maps, games, reading lists and homework help. . . All Verizon Thinkfinity content is endorsed by its content partners, the nation's leading education organizations, who either develop or review each resource. Each of these organizations is a recognized leader in the specific discipline for which they create Thinkfinity content. From the Verizon Foundation."
Alternatives to the Animal Report
Classroom activity alternatives to the factual animal report often assigned to elementary school students. Suggestions include writing a narrative (such as a comic or legend) or creating a visual and oral presentation (caricature, found object sculpture, or animation). Offers links to other material on report writing and related websites. From LEARN NC, a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education.
English Lesson Plans -- The Lesson Corner
Clean, easy to navigate design with lesson plans on authors, famous books, English as a second language, grammar, linguistics, literature, parts of speech, reading, spelling, and writing. From an educational technology company. There is an annual charge.
"When using a general search engine (i.e. Google) it is not possible for teachers to use search narrowing criteria that is meaningful to them. With Lesson Planet, teachers can easily refine their searches by grade, subject, teacher rating, resource type, teaching method, theme, calendar, technology, duration and more. In seconds, teachers are able to find targeted, peer-reviewed, standards correlated online curriculum resources that enable them to more effectively differentiate their instruction so that it fits the learning styles of their students." Select from over 350,000 plus teacher-reviewed lesson plans and worksheets. Browse by subject, theme, grade level, or state. Initial free membership available.
Best Literacy and Language Arts Resources
While this page is part of a financial services site and, therefore, might seem like an inappropriate addition here, it does, nonetheless, offer much for the elementary school teacher, although there is a disproportionate emphasis on financial information (personal finance, the economy, investing, etc.). More relevant are sections on games and exercises on grammar, spelling, essay writing, reading, and more. The site also features numerous links to material on life styles (nutrition, exercise, etc.).
Lesson Plans in History
While the site features an excellent list of games, projects, lesson plans, etc., much of this material is highly visual. Nonetheless, the quality is high and is worth the attention of any teacher with enough vision to make use of the resources.
Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators
"Discovery Education provides engaging digital resources to schools and homes with the goal of making educators more effective, increasing student achievement, and connecting classrooms and families to a world of learning." Site includes
Free Teacher Resources,
many of which are highly visual, and
Free Student Resources.
American Museum of Natural History
Resources for Learning is a collection of activities, articles, evidence and analysis and more, for educators, families, students and anyone interested in teaching or learning about science. Of special interest is the link to
Kids and Families.
Teaching Resources: Math and Science
". . . a series of resources to help teachers make their lesson plans and curriculum captivating. Many of the science related resources are more focused on one particular discipline, while the math resources often contain a variety of information on many different mathematics, including K-8, algebra, geometry, and multiplication/division. Many of the links in [this] collection of resources contain advice and samples for how to efficiently design lesson plans around topics to generate the most interest."
Computers for Kids: Learning Resources
Useful list of sites with information designed to help students, teachers, and parents understand the history of computers, their parts and how they work, keyboarding, efficient and safe use of the Internet, educational computer games, and more. Also includes links to topics for more advanced learners.
Teaching Resources: Online University
"Online resources provide teachers with unique ways to teach every subject, making it both fun for students and more effective. Monthly themes, lesson plans, worksheets and tests can all be found online. Online resources also often have multimedia including video or use technology to enhance the lessons." Subject areas include social studies and history, math, reading, literature, grammar, writing, science, music, and more.
Books and Reading
There are a number of well-established and respected awards in children's literature. The following list outlines and describes the criteria for the major awards as well as lists the winners of each award.
- The Newbery Medal
"The Newbery Medal is the first children’s literary award in the world and it was established in 1922. . . . [It] is awarded annually to distinguished writers of children’s books. The Medal is one of the most prestigious literary awards in the US."
- The Caldecott Medal
"The Caldecott Medal is awarded to the artist of the most prestigious picture book for kids in the United States. . . . Aside from the . . . Medal awardees, the board may also give due recognition to some books by naming them "worthwile runners up."
- The Batchelder Award
"The Mildred L. Batchelder Award is awarded to an American publisher for a children's book considered to be the most outstanding of those books originally published in a foreign language in a foreign country, and subsequently translated into English and published in the United States."
- The Belpre Medal
"The Pura Belpre Award can be given to a Latino or Latina writer and/or illustrator whose literary work for children portrays the Latino cultural experience. The Belpre Medal was established in 1996 and was given every other year, until the year 2009. From 2009, the Pura Belpre was awarded annually."
- The Carnegie Medal
The Carnegie Medal "is granted to the most outstanding children’s and/or young adult book of the year. In order to become a candidate for the Carnegie Medal, the book should be written in English. In addition, it should also be published in the UK."
- The Odyssey Award
"The Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production was named after the epic poem The Odyssey. This is because The Odyssey exemplifies the ancient oral tradition of storytelling. [It] is given annually to the best kids’ audiobook producer. The ALSC and the YALSA also decide which Odyssey Award Honor titles to select each year."
- The Sibert Informational Book Medal
"The Sibert Informational Book Medal is for authors and illustrators of US-published informational books. [It] was first presented in 2001.
- The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award
"The Wilder Award recognizes writers and illustrators of outstanding US-published children’s books. [It] is given to authors who have made substantial contributions to children’s literature for years. The award was named after Laura Ingalls Wilder, the first recipient of the bronze medal."
- The Coretta Scott King Book Award
"The Coretta Scott King Book Awards was named after Martin Luther King’s wife, Coretta Scott King. The award aims to recognize African American authors and illustrators of young adult and children’s books."
- The Schneider Family Book Award
"The Schneider Family Book Award is given annually to authors and/or illustrators of books that portray aspects of living with any form of disability. The said work of literature, in order to qualify for the Schneider Family Award, should be aimed for young adults and younger audiences."
- The Printz Award
"The Printz Award was established to honor books that exemplify literary excellence. It’s aimed towards promoting young adult literature."
- The Alex Award
"The Alex Award is awarded annually to adult books that create a special appeal to young adults. This award was first given in 1998."
Book Lists of Children's Literature
The Monroe County (Indiana) Public Library provides an extensive list of links to lists of books especially appropriate for elementary and secondary readers. Included are lists of Newbery and Caldecott Medal and Honor books, Young Hoosier Book Award - Nominees and winners, as well as other lists to guide book selection.
Children's Literature Web Guide
The Children's Literature Web Guide is an attempt to gather together and categorize the growing number of Internet resources related to books for Children and Young Adults. Much of the information that you can find in these pages is provided by schools, libraries, and commercial enterprises involved in the book world. The primary contribution of this site is to compile book award lists from a variety of print and internet sources.
The Literary Web
With links to authors and illustrators, children's literature, publications for children, and publications by children, this is one of the most complete lists of high-quality materials about children's literature on the Web.
Teen Books and More
Collection of fiction and nonfiction book reviews by library staff and by teen contributors. Also features topical fiction and nonfiction reading lists covering such subjects as sports, music, crafts, faith, family relationships, gender issues, war, and travel. Includes links to resources for teens in areas such as money, careers, and volunteering. From the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.
Davy Crockett, Tall Tales, and History
This lesson plan (for grades 3-5) uses the legend of Davy Crockett to teach students about the characters, events, and literary characteristics of tall tales. Includes suggested activities and links to online material about Crockett and tall tales. From a joint project of the National Endowment for the Humanities and other organizations.
"ARTSEDGE — the National Arts and Education Network — supports the placement of the arts at the center of the curriculum and advocates creative use of technology to enhance the K-12 educational experience. ARTSEDGE empowers educators to teach in, through, and about the arts by providing the tools to develop interdisciplinary curricula that fully integrate the arts with other academic subjects." You will find extensive and excellent materials for all grades on literature, theater, history, music, and more. From the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
The 10 Education Blogs Every Teacher Should Be Reading
A convenient list of some of the best Blogs written by and for K-12 teachers focusing on instruction in foreign languages, science, reading, math, the arts, and technology as well as lesson plans, professional burn-out, beginning teachers, and making teaching and learning fun.
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