10 Useful Websites for Teachers This Fall
— Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor on
The school year is upon us, so we thought we’d share several of our favorite websites and resources for you hardworking teachers out there. If there are any others you know and love, add them into the comments below!
1. TeachThought: Tips for Teachers
TeachThought is a great website for practical information and thought pieces. Their mission “is to grow teachers,” and this is reflected in the site’s content. TeachThought organizes its content into four main categories—Critical Thinking, Learning, Teaching, and The Future of Learning—which offer everything from theoretical think pieces to practical tasks for application. Personally, I’m a huge fan of the articles in the teaching section on literacy—lots of wonderful ways to help create empathetic, engaged readers.
2. We Are Teachers: An Online Educator Community
We Are Teachers offers educators an online community where classroom ideas, advice, and humor are shared—along with giveaways and goodies. Anyone can submit an article for publication on one of the many different sections that the site offers, and the variety of funny, touching, and inspirational stories will keep you coming back. The classroom ideas and educational materials are of high quality, and the articles in the life and wellbeing section do a great job of promoting community.
3. Visuwords: A Visual Dictionary and Thesaurus
Visuwords is a great tool for visual thinkers. Here’s how it works: type in a word, and from the word sprout tons of definitions, synonyms, related words, and more. Words are connected by color-coded lines, telling you whether a connected word is a synonym, related somehow, or derived from the original word. Hover the cursor over any word to get a quick definition.
This tool benefits classrooms in several ways: strengthening vocab understanding, offering related adjective or verb forms of words, providing synonyms, and more. Visuwords can help with writing exercises, vocabulary questions, and reading comprehension.
4. Crash Course: Lesson and Videos on a Variety of Topics
While there are many websites boasting educational videos, Crash Course has one of the better catalogues. Created by bestselling author John Green and his brother, Hank, Crash Course has produced courses on a variety of subjects ranging from biology to literature, meant to accompany high school and college coursework.
For English classrooms, I’m a particular fan of the first episode of John Green’s 24-video series on literature. He talks about the how and why of reading, something many students need help understanding.
5. Vocapp: Free Flashcard Site
On Vocapp, you can use flashcards to learn a language, vocabulary, scientific terms, historical dates, or almost anything else you want. Although this website is geared towards learning languages, you can easily create your own flashcards to review whatever material you need to learn.
For classrooms, consider having students make themed decks for literary devices in texts, difficult vocabulary items for practice in the classroom, or even short quizzes to practice with their classmates.
6. Socrative: Live Polling for Classrooms
Socrative is a web-based “clicker” that allows you to quiz your students and see the results in real time. It also gives you the opportunity to see the reports in a chart or graph. The polling options that this tool offers can help you get class opinions on texts, even allowing the shyer students to contribute. This tool is also great for pop-quizzes, test review, and more!
7. Remind: A Communication App
Remind is a super simple, free app that allows teachers to communicate with their students and students’ parents about test scores, class changes, etc. It’s more modern than email without needing to exchange phone numbers. Privacy concerns? Remind has an iKeepSafe certification, which follows several guidelines to ensure that students and teachers are protected.
8. NoRedInk: A Grammar and Essay-Writing Help Site
NoRedInk is a free website built by teachers to help students with their grammar and writing abilities, with the ability for teachers to track student progress. Teachers can create planning diagnostics to group students based on their needs, see problem areas for specific students, and track growth over time.
Students, on the other hand, can practice grammar in many different activities. For instance, one activity gives students a single passage and allows them to move punctuation around, delete unneeded parts of the sentence, capitalize/uncapitalize words, etc.. After making a teacher account, watch the 2-minute video—it’s great.
9. Nearpod: Activities Linked Together via Devices
Imagine a slideshow, like PowerPoint, but instead of students all facing the front of the classroom, they are sitting in a circle, participating in the lesson at their own pace, on their own screen. Nearpod allows students to share lessons with their students and collect student feedback in real time.
Compatible with Google Classrooms. Nearpod is a great way to not only give a presentation but also allow for student collaboration and discussion, as well as note-taking on the screen itself.
10. Peergrade: An Anonymous Feedback Tool for Assignment Review
Peergrade allows you to create an assignment, have students submit work, and then after the students submit their work, it is anonymously distributed to other students for peer feedback and review. Students give and receive feedback on their assignments, and you, the teacher, can access the whole summary. The anonymity of the tool helps provide (more) honest feedback—no more scathing reviews between classroom rivalries or shyness when correcting a best friend’s essay!