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Smoky Hill Education Service Center

Educator Resources


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Educator Resources

The following are curated links to free or discounted resources, products, and services for educators and schools - currently more than 125 selections! New and recent additions to the page are now highlighted as well. 

Have a favorite resource you don’t see listed here? Send it to info@smokyhill.org, and we’ll consider adding it to the list!

Please also make us aware if a resource has disappeared or has abandoned a free/discounted model.

Curriculum and Lesson Planshttps://www.smokyhill.org/vimages/shared/vnews/stories/5ccb0747e589b/Teacher.jpg


                - Amazon Inspire: Open collaboration site to share and discover educational resources.

                - Discovery Education: Resources and professional networking in STEM and social studies fields.

                - Ed Helper: Wide variety of free lesson plans, worksheets and more for pre-K-12.

                - Education World: Searchable site of lesson plans in a wide variety of subject areas, as well as tools for teachers and administrators and many useful fillable templates. All content is free.

                - Flipgrid: Free platform for video discussion and replies. Includes a Discovery Library of pre-made topics.

                - Ice Breakers: Free handout from our 2017 CTE Conference.

                - Jumpstart: Free games for grades Pre K-5.

                - My American Farm: Free games on an agriculture theme for grades K-5 to teach science, language arts, math, geography and more.

                - National Geographic: Lesson plans, maps, photos and other reference materials, Pre-K through higher education.

                - Nearpod: Free lesson creation and search site that also allows for student interaction and feedback.

                - Open Educational Resources: Open-source platform to share and find free lesson plans and resources.

                Project Management Institute Educational Foundation (PMIEF): Variety of resources and project to help teachers with project-based learning.

                - Scholastic For Teachers: Free lesson plans, ideas, activities and more.

                - Smithsonian Educator Resources: The hub to begin a deep dive on a wealth of free resources from the Smithsonian, including the Smithsonian Learning Lab (a platform for creating, sharing and discovering lesson plans based on Smithsonian materials), online educational games, and resources based on each museum in the Smithsonian system.

                - Super Teacher Worksheets: Worksheets and activities across broad subject areas as well as holidays. Full access to more than 10,000 items requires paid membership, but there are many completely free items as well. Also includes “Make Your Own Printables” generators.

                - Teacher Created Resources: More than 400 free lesson plans created by teachers for Pre-K to grade 8. Includes downloadable pdfs.

                - Teacher.org: Free lesson plans organized by subject and grade level.

                - TeacherVision: Offers many free worksheets, lesson plans, templates, forms, and more. Makes more available with a paid plan.

                - TeAch-nology: Offers more than 46,000 lesson plans, 10,000 printable worksheets, and more - all for free.

                - TES (Times Educational Supplement): More than 700,000 lesson plans and other resources for K-12, created and shared by teachers. Many items are free, others may be purchased a la carte.

                - Tiki-Toki: Create professional-quality timelines online (free tier available). Great for history courses, business and personal planning, and more.

                - We Are Teachers: Free classroom ideas, printables, even humor and “memes.”

                Webquest.org: Central hub for the "Webquest" lesson plan model that uses the Internet and information literacy concepts to teach in a wide variety of subject areas.


            Subject Areashttps://www.smokyhill.org/vimages/shared/vnews/stories/5ccb0747e589b/art-1840481_1920.jpg


                - Arts Edge: From The Kennedy Center, offers free K-12 lessons centered in the arts.

                Make Beliefs Comix: Creative storytelling and artwork using easy-to-create comic strips.

                - National Gallery of Art: Free images, lessons and other resources.

                Recipe Challenge: Lesson plan presented at a past CTE conference with SHESC to develop a "party" food that also meets USDA school standards. Also comes with an ingredient list worksheet and taste test evaluation form.

                - ToonDoo: Fast and free way to create cartoons and cartoon characters.

            Reading, Literature, and Journalism

                - Achieve the Core: Close reading lessons by grade level for K-12

                - Ashlock Instructional Templates

                - Common Lit: Free collection of reading passages in all literary and non-fiction genres for grades 3-12. Passages come with text-dependent questions which help you track student progress.

                Flipboard: By creating custom digital "magazines," this is a great tool for teaching students the principles of curation and newsworthiness using pre-existing content.

                - Literacy Design Collaborative: Free assignments and lessons, primarily focused on literature, but also delving into other subject areas (including lessons written around the Hamilton Broadway musical).

                - New York Times Learning Network: Lesson plans, writing prompts, multimedia and contests with a focus on teens.

                - Read Works: Free comprehension lessons by grade level for K-12

                - West Virginia Reading First Phonics lesson plans


                - Adobe Education Exchange: Free lesson plans, curricula, assessment tools, digital assets, presentations, projects, and tutorials based on the Adobe family of software products.

                - The Biology Corner: Free lesson plans and worksheets in biology.

                - Code Combat: “Dungeon crawler” style game that teaches kids computer programming and coding.

                - Code.org: Site to help with teaching coding to K-12 students with lesson plans and projects, including ones based on popular games such as Flappy Bird and Minecraft.

                - Draw.io: Create for free a variety of visual flowcharts, mindmaps, Venn diagrams, engineering diagrams, network plans and much more.

                - NASA: Free K-12 lessons based on resources from the space agency.

                - National Science Teachers Association: Free books, resources, videos, games, activities, lesson plans and more in science.

                - Simple Planes and Simple Rockets 2: These highly realistic “sandbox” games allow students to explore everything from aerodynamics to orbital mechanics to rocket propulsion. As of April 2019, they are also free for educators, DRM-free, so they can be used on as many computers as necessary.

                - Weebly for Education: Create a free classroom website and blog, allow students to build their own free sites, and manage classroom assignments and communication with parents.

                - Wix: Easy and free website creation and hosting for an introduction to Internet design, blogging and web commerce.

            Business & Humanities https://www.smokyhill.org/vimages/shared/vnews/stories/5ccb0747e589b/woman-1031000_1920.jpg

                China Dynasty: Free project-based lesson plan from Marketing Education Resource Center on global economics and manufacturing.

                - CoreEcon: Free full eBook and app-based electronic textbooks on the economy, economics, society, and public policy.

                - EDSITEment: Lesson plans and classroom activities in the humanities for free.

                - National Women’s History Museum: Lesson plans, video, “Electronic Field Trips,” and more.

                - New York Federal Reserve Bank's Educational Comic Book Series: Free downloadable comic books on monetary policy, the Federal Reserve System, and the concepts of barter, currency and banking. Free printed classroom sets are also available upon request on a limited "first come, first serve" basis.

                - Odoo's "Scale-Up!" business game: Combining online elements and physical cards, students learn about business creation, entrepreneurship, accounting and more! Educators can get a free copy or try it first by checking out the copy in our Resource Library!

                - Smithsonian’s History Explorer: Lessons, interactives, media, featured artifacts and more connected to the National Museum of American History for K-12.

                - USA.gov: A few free lesson plans on aspects of the federal government.



CORE Phonics Survey: 10-15 minute survey from Scholastic to assess phonics skills, grades K-8.

Really Great Reading: Free, downloadable diagnostic surveys for pre-reading through advanced phonics. Copies are permitted. Provides only one version of each test, so not intended for progress monitoring.

San Diego Quick Assessment of Reading Ability: A 10-minute test for grades K-11 to assess reading level.

Socrative: Real-time student assessment of student learning and comprehension. Includes a free tier.



Free Multimedia Resourceshttps://www.smokyhill.org/vimages/shared/vnews/stories/5ccb0747e589b/eye-1686932_1920.jpg

- Adobe Spark: Free for educators, a great tool for creating presentations, graphic design, videos and more.

- edpuzzle: Free tool for teachers to turn existing or original videos into engaging and interactive video lessons. Allows tracking and accountability tools as part of the website.

Kansas State Library – Digital Book eLending: Free eBook and digital audiobook resources for Kansas residents, including cloudLibrary, Enki Library, Freading (eBooks); RBdigital (eAudiobooks); BookFlix, and Britannica E-STAX (digital materials for youth).

Internet Archive: More than 15 million free-to-download books and texts.

Lapse It: Free iOS app for taking time-lapse photography.

LibriVox: Free public domain audiobooks, read by volunteers.

Pixabay: More than 1 million free and royalty-free stock images and video.

- Powtoon: Video animation cartoon presentation tool. Includes a free tier and discounts on pro plans for educators and students.

- Prezi: Unique and engaging presentation tool. Free for basic use and discounted pro account for educators.

Project Gutenberg: More than 58,000 free eBooks and magazines in the public domain.

- Screencast-O-Matic: Program for capturing screens to create lesson or educational videos. Includes a free tier. 

- SlideShare: Free tool for creating presentations and infographics.

Sunflower eLibrary: Central location for more than 130 public libraries in Kansas, allowing checking out eBooks and audiobooks for free with a library card.

Synth: Create short classroom collaborative podcasts to both present as a teacher and get audio feedback from students.

TEDEd: Build or discover lessons built around the popular TEDTalk video series.

Unite for Literacy: Picture eBooks that also include audio narration. Available in multiple languages.

- Voicepods: Text to speech converter that allows five conversions per month at the free "Lite" level from pdf, Word, txt, and even images. Voicepods also offers educator discounts - often more than half off the retail cost - by contacting them here.

WordArt: "Word Cloud" art creator that uses a list of words to automatically create unique graphic art designs. 


Free or Discounted Products and Serviceshttps://www.smokyhill.org/vimages/shared/vnews/stories/5ccb0747e589b/old-1645813_1280.jpg

AT&T: Wireless service discounts available for educators.

Audacity: Great free program for recording and editing audio.

- AWS Educate: Resources for educators based on Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform. Individual educator accounts include $75 in AWS credits which can be used for services such as database storage, computation power, Amazon Polly text to speech, robotics and much more.

- Diigo: Free tool for saving and tagging websites for later that also allows including highlights, notes, and outlines right on the web page and collaborating with others.

- Evernote: Free cross-platform note-taking and organization tool.

- Free Technology for Teachers: Excellent and current blog with more than a decade of posts with excellent recommendations on technology for educators.

GIMP image editor: Free and open source program for editing images.

- Google Keep: Online tool and app to take notes across devices, save websites for later reading, and make personal reminders.

HUD Good Neighbor Next Door: Government program through which pre-K through 12 grade teachers can receive a 50% discount on the list price of select homes in revitalization areas with a 36-month commitment to live in the property and other requirements.

Microsoft Products: Microsoft offers much of its software for free or at a discount for educators, including Office 365 (including OneNote, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Teams).

- Padlet: Free website, document, and board tool for creative collaboration.

- Pocket: Free cross-platform tool for saving websites and articles to read later in a single location.

Verizon: Wireless discounts for educators. May need to provide employment validation.


Competitive Grants and Contestshttps://www.smokyhill.org/vimages/shared/vnews/stories/5ccb0747e589b/winner-1548239_1920.jpg

ACS-Hach High School Chemistry Classroom Grant: Open to high school chemistry educators in the U.S. or U.S. territories, who can request up to $1,500 for their ideas. (Currently past deadline for 2019. Watch the site for updates).

“The Beacon” Technology Teacher Grant: Competitive grants for projects to implement specific technology in the classroom. (Currently past deadline for 2019. Watch the site for updates).

Emerging Teacher-Leaders in Elementary School Mathematics Grants: One recipient per year of a $6,000 grant to an elementary school teacher for continuing mathematical knowledge. Full requirements at the link.

ILA Regie Routman Teacher Recognition Grant: International Literary Association grant of $2,500 to an outstanding K-8 teacher who is “dedicated to improving and enriching the teaching and learning of purposeful reading and writing across the curriculum.” Requires that at least 60% of the student body qualify for free or reduced lunch.

McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation: Provides generous academic grants, teacher continuing education grants, and student teacher scholarships. Applications taken Jan. 15 – April 15 annually.

-National Weather Association Foundation Sol Hirsch Education Fund Grants: Annual awards up to $750 for K-12 educators to help improve education in the science of meteorology.

NEA Foundation Student Achievement Grants: Provides $2,000 and $5,000 grants to project proposals to improve student learning. Only open to current members of the National Education Association.

Pets in the Classroom: Small animal, aquarium, reptile, or amphibian grants of up to $75 or $125 to purchase (or $50 to maintain) classroom pets. Redeemable through Petco, Pet Super Market, Pet Supplies Plus, Petland, or Petsmart.

-Target Field Trip Grants: Offers grants of $700 to give students field trip opportunities outside the classroom.


Classroom & School Management Toolshttps://www.smokyhill.org/vimages/shared/vnews/stories/5ccb0747e589b/window-770535_1920.jpg

- Braineos: Free site to create flashcards and study them with a variety of games.

Classcraft: “Gamify” the classroom with roleplaying game-like motivational tools that can be adapted to any curriculum. Free for teachers with unlimited classes.

ClassDojo: App that’s free for educators to connect the classroom with students and parents.

- Class Messenger: Free tool to send reminders and requests to students and teachers, as well as sharing photo and video updates about class activities.

CleanBrowsing.org: Safe browsing that parents and smaller schools can use to provide a safe environment for kids. Basic functionality is free.

EdShelf: Huge curated directory of educational websites, apps, programs, and other tools across all ages.

Formative: Life assessment and feedback tool, including thousands of customizable quizzes. Includes a limited free teacher level.

Google Classroom: File sharing and grading service that centralizes multiple Google products. 

Kahoot: Tool for creating classroom learning games or trivia quizzes.

- LiveBinders: Great free organizational tool for information and "packages." Useful for organizing all materials for substitutes, learning packages for families, and bringing online resources for teaching together in one location.

- Moodle: Free, open-source tool for create and share learning documents, courses, books and more.

- Online-Stopwatch: Handy and simple free online stopwatch and countdown timer for use in a pinch.

- Pear Deck: Assessment and feedback tool for the classroom. Includes a free tier option.

Plickers: Fun and unique tool to get quick feedback and assessment from students without a lot of technology. Simply use an app on your device to scan across physical "Plickers Cards" that students can hold up in one of four directions to give answers or feedback.

- Quizalize: Create classroom quizzes and assign follow-up activities. Includes a free tier for educators.

Quizlet: Site to create and share flash cards.

- QuizStar: Easy and free online tool for creating online quizzes for students

- Remind: Group messaging tool for communicating with students and parents. Classroom level is free with the option to upgrade to an institution-wide paid plan.

Screen.guide: Allows parents to monitors kids’ behavior on phones and other mobile devices.

- Seesaw: Single tool for both assigning and managing classroom assignments with students and communicating with parents. Includes a free tier.



Academia: Social network for academics with more than 83 million members, allowing an easy way to share academic papers.

Share My Lesson: Network of more than 900,000 educators sharing more than 420,000 free lesson plans and activities.

- Zoom: Website and app (with free tier) for video and audio conferencing and screen sharing. Great for meetings and remote classrooms. 



Kansas State Library – Database Resources for Librarians and Educators: Includes Explora Teacher Resources, NoveList Plus, Literary Reference Center, WorldCat, Professional Development Collection, and ERIC.

Collins Dictionary



Your Dictionary 

Word Reference