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June 1, 2015
Vol. 72
No. 9

(Free) Tools for the Task

Instructional Resources For Teachers


Teachers with Apps . A portal to hundreds of free field-tested apps created by teachers.


Library of Congress . The library's education website offers free professional development modules and more than 50 teacher-created lesson plans that use primary sources from the library. Topics range from music in U.S. history to the suffragettes.
ProCon . This collection of short, researched, fully cited pro and con statements on 47 controversial topics is great for teaching students about respectful debating. The site also includes infographics, videos, fact boxes, and lesson-planning guidance on each topic.
DOCS Teach . The National Archives and Records Administration has sample units fashioned around the archives' collection of documents. Teachers can use templates to create their own interactive activities using historical documents and help kids learn to think like historians.
Teaching Tolerance . Download "The March Continues: Five Essential Practices for Teaching the Civil Rights Movement," a guide for teaching the civil rights movement and talking with students about race.
Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History . This group's Affiliate School program is a gateway to 60,000 American historical documents, classroom materials, and resource lists created by fellow teachers. Teachers who become affiliates are also eligible for the institute's teacher seminars.


Sally Ride Science . Classroom resources entice students into studying science—including "career cards" that show kids STEM careers, ecology-related class activities, and images from space. Includes teacher's guides.
SySTEM Alert! A bimonthly STEM-centered publication from Pitsco Education engages middle-level students in STEM ideas by showcasing real-life applications, career connections, and math games.


No Red Ink . Hundreds of free lessons and tips help with teaching grammar and related topics and meeting Common Core writing standards.
Education World's Language and Literature Subject Center . This portal links to free reading, language arts, and literature teaching materials; lesson plans; printable worksheets; and other tools.

Resources for Administrators


National Center on Time and Learning . Find dozens of free resources to help K–12 schools make systematic changes that extend learning time as well as strategies to help everyone within a school or district use the time they have more productively.
Center on Education Policy . Look for reports describing how U.S. districts and states extended learning time, changed curriculum, and strengthened students' social-emotional health as part of the federally funded School Improvement Grants process.
The Equity Alliance . Find learning materials, webinars, data, and opportunities to connect with like-minded educators focused on promoting equity in K–12 education.
TED Talks . Many of these videos of compelling speeches by thought leaders focus on improving K–12 education. Here are two that discuss innovations leaders are trying—from Harlem to South Korea:
<BQ> "Our Failing Schools: Enough Is Enough" by Geoffrey Canada, Harlem Children's Zone. The United States needs to try some risky ideas in K–12 schools or we'll head off "the educational cliff." "Use Data to Build Better Schools" by Andreas Schleicher of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development's Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). How some countries have used PISA results to make bold changes in order to offer equal opportunity. </BQ>

For Improving School Climate and Community Partnerships

Southeast Educational Development Laboratory . After-school Training Toolkits help schools craft after-school instruction that boosts academic skills in the arts, math, science, literacy, technology, and homework help. Each kit includes standards-based content goals, lesson plans, assessment strategies, and links to resources. A collection of videos shows real-life examples.
Overcoming Obstacles . This free, secondary-level curriculum features 80 lessons and 500+ activities on such life skills as managing emotions. resolving personal conflicts, and developing financial responsibility.

Grants for Projects and Professional Development

Google RISE Awards support organizations that promote access to computer science education for students ages 7–18 and target girls and students from underrepresented minority groups.
Toshiba America Foundation gives grants for projects designed by K–12 classroom teachers to improve science and math education.
RGK Foundation gives grants for projects in math, science, reading, and teacher development, and for after-school enrichment.
American Honda Foundation supports scientific education projects, including those that offer unique approaches to teaching youth in minority communities.
VOYA Financial gives grants for innovative classroom projects and school-based running and fitness programs.
Farmers Insurance. Any K–12 teacher who has been "thanked" on Farmers' "Thank a Million Teachers" site can apply for funds for school supplies or toward a professional certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

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