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Schools Closing? Free Ideas to Help

Is school cancelled where you are? Don't panic! 

I believe that it's not important to try and replicate school at home - that won't happen anyway.  You'll likely have families where multiple students are trying to access their one and only device.  Others may become caregivers to younger siblings.  The structure and surroundings aren't the same, so it's not going to be the same.  But, continuing to practice skills is important.  

Whether you're being directed to teach from a distance, or whether you just want to provide parents with some options they can access themselves, I've got you covered.  Everything on this page is free - there are no links to paid items.

Unplugged Ideas

  • Play cards.  Crib is my favourite game for building math skills.
  • Play with Lego or other building toys.
  • Get outside! Have a conversation about the science in your backyard.
  • Read together.
  • Play with pets.
  • Bake.  There are tons of math skills in baking!
  • Write.  Write a journal of daily events or write letters to family and friends.
  • Clean bedrooms.  Sort toys and clothing to give away to those in need.
  • Play board games.
  • Write a story.  Or, read a picture book and rewrite the ending.
  • Do some simple science experiments.
  • Learn a new skill - teach someone how to knit, or how to change the oil on the vehicle!
  • Start a personal inquiry project.  Read this blog post to learn more.  (The timeline will just be scaled down, of course.)

Online Ideas

English Language Arts

Epic - Epic is an online library, and it's free for teachers.  During school hours, your students can sign in for free as well.  They'll have access to all sorts of books, both fiction and non-fiction.  Some will even read aloud to students!

Storyonline.net - This site has famous actors read books aloud to kids.  Fun!


Khan Academy - Khan offered lessons in other subject areas too, but I'm most familiar with their math lessons.  They're sorted by grade and topic.  They offer an instructional video and practice questions for each topic.

Multiplication.com - All basic fact operations can be practiced through game play on this website. 

Science/Social Studies

Mystery Science - Again, free for teachers right now!  This website tackles all sorts of scientific content via mysteries.  Students explore scientific content through short or longer (45 minutes) lessons.

National Geographic  -  Learn about animals, cultures, and nature through videos and games.

Museum Tours - 12 famous museums from around the world offer virtual tours.  They can all be found linked through this website.

Wonderopolis - Basically anything you could wonder about is covered here!

All Subject Areas

BrainPop and BrainPop Jr - These two websites have AMAZING videos on any and all subject areas.  They include follow up tasks and quizzes too.  The subscription cost can be pricey, but they are giving away free access during school closures.  Fill out the form to request your access.

PBS Learning - Here you'll find many videos on all sorts of topics.  They are sorted by grade level and by topic.

Newsela - Newsela offers newspaper articles on a wide variety of topics.  What I like best about them, is they offer the same information at 5 different reading levels.  Perfect to differentiate to the needs of your class!  They, too, are offering free access right now.

abcya.com - There are great games sorted K-6.  Most are ELA or Math related.

TedEd - Hundreds of animations on all sorts of topics to spark curiosity in your kiddos.

For Teachers

Screencastify - If you need to demo how to access something or share your screen for any reason, Screencastify is the tool you'll want to use! 

Kami - Kami allows students to digitally write over PDFs.  They too are offering free accounts during school closures to teachers.  Email support@kamiapp.com to request access.

GoogleJamBoard - This is an interactive, digital whiteboard. Great for collaborative, brainstorming tasks.  Google has a host of other options that could work perfectly for digital learning including Google Classroom, Google Hangouts, and Google Slides.  Check out all they have to offer here.

From Me 

I've got a free resource library with printable lessons and activities for all subject areas.  If you don't already have access, click on the "Freebies" tab in the top right.  Enter your email address and you'll receive the link and password to access these files.

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