TeachersFirst's Substitutes - Ideas and Resources

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This collection of ideas and reviewed resources is selected to help both substitute teachers and regular teachers leaving instructions for a substitute. The list includes useful time-fillers for when plans are not a perfect fit as well as teacher-friendly suggestions to make subbing a positive learning experience for all. Be sure to check "In the classroom" suggestions for practical tips and ways to use these offerings.

 

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A Year of Picture Prompts - New York Times

Grades
5 to 12
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Do you need some ideas for writing projects? The New York Times offers an archive of 160 images published during the 2016-2017 school year as inspiration for writing across many ...more
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Do you need some ideas for writing projects? The New York Times offers an archive of 160 images published during the 2016-2017 school year as inspiration for writing across many genres. Scroll through the site to find categories for images based on the form of writing encouraged for students. Also, a lesson idea bank inspires using pictures and writing in the classroom.

tag(s): creative writing (169), descriptive writing (41), journals (21), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Save this website to your favorites or link from your class web page. These inspirational ideas are perfect for journals, quick writes, or to develop into a full story or essay. There are plenty of unusual ideas to give even your most reluctant writer or artist an inspirational nudge. ESL/ELL students can be motivated easily with picture prompts. Share these prompts with your gifted students for some "out of the box" writing ideas. Keep these creative ideas in your "emergency" lesson plan folder for substitutes, or for your own spontaneous writing needs. Extend student learning and challenge them to share writing aloud in a podcast format using a site such as Buzzsprout, reviewed here.

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Pobble365 - Johnny Davies

Grades
4 to 12
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Scroll through these extraordinary, sometimes surrealistic images and find story starters, philosophical questions, sentences challenges, and more to create an interesting lesson. Be...more
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Scroll through these extraordinary, sometimes surrealistic images and find story starters, philosophical questions, sentences challenges, and more to create an interesting lesson. Be sure to click How to use... in the upper right corner and check out the 9 different ways to use Pobble365. Scroll to the bottom to install the free plug in for the Chrome browser to get a new wallpaper for your browser daily. Registering is not necessary to enjoy these images and the activities that go with them. Joining requires email or use your Google, Facebook, or Twitter account; it also allows you to view and comment on written work. Click the calendar symbol at the top to see all past images. You can download images as a PDF and view full screen.

tag(s): creative writing (169), digital storytelling (151), writing (364), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Bookmark Pobble365 on your display computer to be able to show an image quickly and easily at any time of the day. These unique images are perfect for quick writes, creative writing assignments, journaling, or blogging. There are plenty of unusual ideas to give even your most reluctant writer an inspirational nudge. Share these prompts with your gifted students for some "out of the box" writing ideas. Keep these creative ideas in your "emergency" lesson plan folder for substitutes or your own spontaneous writing needs. Share Pobble365 as a link on your class web page to inspire students in search of a topic they can "relate to." Have students choose their favorite response and find more pictures to turn it into a digital story. Try using Picsearch, reviewed here, or Compfight, reviewed here, to find free images. Students can "collect" their ideas and extend their learning by using presentation tool like Utellstory, reviewed here, that allows narrating and adding text to a picture.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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My Simpleshow - simpleshow

Grades
K to 12
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My Simpleshow creates dynamic and professional-looking video explanations easily (and for free!). View examples for an overview of the different available templates. Create an account...more
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My Simpleshow creates dynamic and professional-looking video explanations easily (and for free!). View examples for an overview of the different available templates. Create an account using your email to make your own videos. Start by writing a script or uploading a PowerPoint. Follow Simpleshow's step-by-step directions for using templates and adding images and text to create a video. Record your own soundtrack, or choose from provided voice-overs. Simpleshow works on any device with a web browser. Simpleshow recommends uploading published videos to your YouTube account for easiest sharing. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as Freemake Video Converter, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): animation (60), digital storytelling (151), movies (69), multimedia (56), slides (66), video (271)

In the Classroom

Challenge older students to create their own Simpleshow. Have students use this tool to share their ideas or to "prototype" an idea. Students can modify their learning and create videos to show math processes, explanations of complex concepts, review new learning, teach others, explain scientific processes, tell stories, or present research. The possibilities are endless, and students will come up with hundreds of more uses. Use Simpleshow presentations in blended learning or flipped classrooms. Use Simpleshow to create teacher-authored animations for students in ANY grade. This tool is an excellent way to present new information or ideas for discussion. It is an easy way to share information with the class when a substitute is in your classroom. Embed your Simpleshow creations on your website or blog for students to review at home. Use a Simpleshow video on the first day of school to explain class rules or to give an exciting introduction to the year ahead. Use Simpleshow to create presentations for back to school night or conference nights to display on your interactive whiteboard or projector.

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Class Responder - Teacher Created Resources

Grades
K to 12
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Interact with students in real-time with Class Responder. Assign lessons, create quizzes and activities, then view student responses on any device. Create your account with email, then...more
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Interact with students in real-time with Class Responder. Assign lessons, create quizzes and activities, then view student responses on any device. Create your account with email, then follow prompts to add students, create groups, and choose response options. Class Responder activities are for grades 1-6, However, you can create your own for older students. Activities offered on the site include correlation to state and national standards.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): classroom management (149), DAT device agnostic tool (177), polls and surveys (55)

In the Classroom

Be sure to click the "Help" link at the bottom of a page or the upper right corner of any page for information about using and setting up Class Responder. Use Class Responder in a 1:1 classroom, then have students provide feedback in real-time to demonstrate understanding. Use as an exit slip, to identify material that needs to be retaught, or to locate specific students that need remediation. Class Responder is perfect for use in flipped or blended learning classrooms to share videos and ask questions before students come to class. Create several activities to save just in case you need an extra lesson on short notice, need to have a substitute, or to use as an at-home lesson for snow days.

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Classroom Freebies - Charity Preston

Grades
K to 8
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The Classroom Freebies Resource Library contains thousands of free materials for grades K-8. Many different kinds of resources are included such as task cards, classroom management...more
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The Classroom Freebies Resource Library contains thousands of free materials for grades K-8. Many different kinds of resources are included such as task cards, classroom management charts, coloring sheets, worksheets, and posters. Use the search bar to find specific content or browse using links to grade level content and topics such as the End of the Year and Common Core Freebies. Follow links for directions about downloading materials.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): back to school (60), book reports (36), classroom management (149), commoncore (89), posters (41), preK (284), substitutes (17), worksheets (62)

In the Classroom

Bookmark Classroom Freebies as an excellent resource for teaching materials throughout the school year. Take advantage of the free printables for use on bulletin boards, for classroom management, and centers. Choose materials from the site to use in substitute folders. Be sure to share this site with your fellow teachers! You might consider finding snow day and vacation day activities to post on your class website for parent and student use.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Math Salamanders - Crispin Salamander

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K to 6
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Math Salamander offers a huge selection of math worksheets and interactives for preschool through 5th grade. Browse the site by grade level or topic to find the resources available....more
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Math Salamander offers a huge selection of math worksheets and interactives for preschool through 5th grade. Browse the site by grade level or topic to find the resources available. In addition to worksheets, choose the Online Practice for online interacitves to practice math knowledge and skills.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): addition (224), division (157), geometric shapes (167), measurement (179), money (184), multiplication (209), number sense (94), numbers (191), place value (55), preK (284), subtraction (186), time (138), worksheets (62)

In the Classroom

Although there is relatively heavy advertising on this site, the many resources make it worth a look. Take advantage of the free worksheets on Math Salamander for use with students needing additional practice, to send home when parents request additional work, or to keep in your substitute folder for quick practice activities. Be sure to share a link on your class page for parents to access at home. Create a link to online interactives on your classroom computers for use as a math center.

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Celebrate Pi Day - NBC Learn

Grades
5 to 12
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Celebrate Pi Day (or any day) with this collection of 9 video stories and accompanying activities. Taken from NBC news stories, each short video includes an opportunity to apply math...more
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Celebrate Pi Day (or any day) with this collection of 9 video stories and accompanying activities. Taken from NBC news stories, each short video includes an opportunity to apply math concepts to real world situations. Use tabs on the side of each video to view a transcript or suggested math and statistics activities relating to the topic.

tag(s): journalism (57), news (258), pi (28), problem solving (292), statistics (126), video (271)

In the Classroom

Stash this site in your bag of tricks for when you need an easy to teach lesson for a teacher in training or a substitute teacher. Use the videos as inspiration for finding math in other news stories. Have students find videos and create their own math and statistics questions for classmates to answer.

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CommonLit - CommonLit

Grades
4 to 12
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Access commonly taught themes for classic literature and discussion questions for that theme. Plus there are Text Sets perfect for social studies teachers! Choose a Lexile'''® grade...more
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Access commonly taught themes for classic literature and discussion questions for that theme. Plus there are Text Sets perfect for social studies teachers! Choose a Lexile'''® grade level for reading and download the text in PDF format or read online. Each text has a menu across the top offering Paired Texts, Related Media, Teachers Guide, and Parent Guide. Accompanying the text are critical thinking questions, an Assessment, and some have Guided Reading Mode. Choose the size of the font, listen to the Read Aloud (and pause it), translate to Spanish, and Highlight. Track student progress. All of this for free! What else could one want? Well, you can also request a text, and they will negotiate with the copyright holders to have that text on their site. Take a look at their blog, too! You'll find lots of suggestions and thoughtful reflections for using nonfiction texts with your students.

tag(s): critical thinking (116), literature (264), themes (12)

In the Classroom

CommonLit is an excellent resource for literature teachers, speech and debate teachers, and history teachers. Share the site with students on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and ask the class what themes they would like to investigate. Under each theme are two questions. Divide the class into small groups with each group investigating one of the questions for one of the themes and reading the accompanying text. Differentiate for students by having students read on the same theme, but at their reading level. Challenge individuals, pairs, or small groups to create a graphic organizer for the story they read replacing paper and pencil and using a tool like Holt Interactive Graphic Organizers, reviewed here. You could take this to another level and have two groups read different selections on the same theme, use a graphic organizer to make comparisons for how the theme was presented, and then modify learning by challenging the groups to present their findings to the class via video. Use a simple video creator like Biteable, reviewed here. This site would also work when you have to make substitute plans unexpectedly. Just put the link in your plans and tell the sub what theme you want students to read about, or better yet, let the sub choose!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Secondary Sample Mathematics Tasks - The Dana Center - The University of Texas at Austin

Grades
K to 12
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The Dana Center offers this set of 30 rich instructional tasks correlated to American Diploma Project Benchmarks. Topics include several secondary math topics such as geometry, algebra,...more
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The Dana Center offers this set of 30 rich instructional tasks correlated to American Diploma Project Benchmarks. Topics include several secondary math topics such as geometry, algebra, and trigonometry. Activities include some or all of the following: an introductory rationale, specific directions with images, discussion questions and questions, and sample solutions. Choose the PDF link to print any activity for easy download.

tag(s): data (156), functions (69), patterns (87), professional development (160), pythagorean theorem (33)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and use activities from this site throughout the year for homework, centers, or use in your substitute folder for a quick and enriching activity while you are away for the day! Share a link to one of the activities with parents throughout the year as a supplement to classroom resources.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Form Time Ideas - Jonathan Hall

Grades
5 to 9
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Form Time Ideas offers a constantly changing selection of daily quick activities in many subjects. (For American teachers, "form time" is roughly equivalent to "homeroom" time.) Choose...more
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Form Time Ideas offers a constantly changing selection of daily quick activities in many subjects. (For American teachers, "form time" is roughly equivalent to "homeroom" time.) Choose the Home Page to view a mix of topics such as Brainteasers, In the News Today, and Word of the Day. Select links to choose activities for only specific topics such as literacy, numeracy, or news. Easily print any page using the link in the top right corner of each section. If finished early, refresh the page for a new set of activities! You can also click on the button under each question to only refresh that particular question/statement. The site was created in the UK, so some of the pronunciations and spellings may differ from those in American English.

tag(s): grammar review (41), literacy (103), news (258), numbers (191), riddles (16), substitutes (17), vocabulary (314)

In the Classroom

Form Time Ideas is perfect for daily review and bell work as students arrive in class or as a quick review at the end of class. Print out different pages for use during quiet times or send home for absentee students to complete. This site is excellent for enrichment. Include it on your class web page for students to access both in and out of class. Substitutes will love the handy ideas on this site!

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AWESOME RESOURCE! Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12

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NameCoach - Praveen Shanbhag

Grades
K to 12
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Never mispronounce a name again, thanks to the help of NameCoach! Users record their names using their own computer or any other device. Add phonetic spelling or pronunciation tips....more
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Never mispronounce a name again, thanks to the help of NameCoach! Users record their names using their own computer or any other device. Add phonetic spelling or pronunciation tips. You can listen to the names as often as you wish. Create your account to make lists for Back to School, award ceremonies, graduations, and much more. After creating your name page, share a link to participants through email or as a link on your class webpage or blog. Create a master list with sublists for use in different departments, classes, or for individual events.

tag(s): classroom management (149), pronunciation (41)

In the Classroom

Create a master list of student names in your school or class using NameCoach. Provide a subset for different activities such as award ceremonies, after-school programs, or for student tutors. Share with your school's ESL/ELL teacher as an authentic way to learn and practice unfamiliar names. Provide this list (and URL) to any substitute coming to your classroom. Use it in world language classes to help students learn pronunciation of new names.

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Chinese Checkers - Jerome Meriweather

Grades
1 to 9
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Put a technology twist on Chinese Checkers without losing any marbles! Play with 2, 4, or 6 players. Follow the score and number of moves. Just click on your color ...more
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Put a technology twist on Chinese Checkers without losing any marbles! Play with 2, 4, or 6 players. Follow the score and number of moves. Just click on your color choice to begin. The Help page wasn't working at the time of this review.

tag(s): gifted (82), logic (246), puzzles (204)

In the Classroom

Introduce Chinese checkers on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Offer this game as a writing prompt for students to learn how to write directions. Give it as a challenge without any spoken or visual directions. Challenge student groups to plan and explain a strategy to be the winner with the fewest moves. Have students determine ways to earn extra points in the game. Share this site with your gifted students for some extra mindbending challenges. Substitutes will want to keep this site tucked in their bag of tricks.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Teachable Moments - Walch Education

Grades
5 to 12
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Find several "teachable moments" lesson plans based on articles and current topics, ready for download in PDF format. There are a variety of topics such as Pluto is no Longer ...more
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Find several "teachable moments" lesson plans based on articles and current topics, ready for download in PDF format. There are a variety of topics such as Pluto is no Longer a Planet, Vending Machine Bans in Schools, and Is the Internet Making us Dumber? Click to download and view each lesson including background information, standards, worksheets, and options for use. The lesson plans are quite thorough and include links to related articles. They encourage "close reading" a la CCSS with engaging material in science, social studies, and other subjects. You can ignore the ads for purchase of "related materials."

tag(s): canada (31), civil rights (120), differentiation (49), energy (210), planets (131), poetry (222), politics (101), population (63), recycling (59), slavery (66), sports (98)

In the Classroom

These interesting, topical lessons would make a great resource for days when a substitute will be in your classroom or may fit perfectly in your regular curriculum. The Internet plan is well suited for digital citizenship and/or research curriculum. Save in your sub folder for a ready-to-go class activity. Print and use lessons as part of class debates and projects. Replace paper and pen and use a tool like Zoho Show (similar to Powerpoint, but easier and free), reviewed here, for students to present results.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Free Math Worksheets - Pre-Algebra through Calculus - Kuta Software

Grades
7 to 12
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Find and print many worksheets for upper level math skills. Worksheets are divided by subject and content at this easy to navigate site. Subjects include Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Algebra...more
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Find and print many worksheets for upper level math skills. Worksheets are divided by subject and content at this easy to navigate site. Subjects include Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Algebra 2, Geometry, and Calculus. Choose your course then topic area to find a problem set. Click to print. View answers on a copy of the worksheet included.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): area (71), equations (153), exponents (44), factoring (31), factors (40), geometric shapes (167), inequalities (25), polynomials (28), quadratics (30), ratios (62), transformations (18), volume (53)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this site for use throughout the year. Quickly download and print worksheets for review. Use with a substitute or for extra student practice. Share a link to the site on your class website for students to access at home for review and practice of concepts.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Creativity Games - Ryan Chadwick

Grades
5 to 12
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Creativity Games offers challenges, games, and puzzles to encourage creative thinking. Find new activities each week such as random word identification, code breakers, or creative challenges....more
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Creativity Games offers challenges, games, and puzzles to encourage creative thinking. Find new activities each week such as random word identification, code breakers, or creative challenges. Choose the Random Word Generator link to generate a set of random words to use in creative writing, or choose a preset creativity game from the drop-down box provided. Read several great creative writing tips in the creative writing prompts section of the site. This site also features blog entries on a variety of topics related to creativity and education.
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tag(s): creative writing (169), creativity (120), logic (246), poetry (222), puzzles (204), substitutes (17), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Use any of the challenges on this site as a brain warm-up as students trickle into class or before the homeroom bell rings. Display the Random Word Generator on your interactive word (or projector). Choose a link to provide a set of random words to use in poetry or creative writing assignments. Use logic games to warm up brains in math class. Assign weekly games for students to complete in free time or for use with gifted students. Read through the creative writing tips together as a class then add you own ideas. Post your ideas in your classroom using an online poster creator, such as Padlet, reviewed here. Teacher-librarians can post a weekly brain challenge to inspire students who visit the media center. Any teacher will want to include this link on your class web page for students to access from home or during study periods. Substitutes will want to mak this one in favorites to always have something ready to go when the lesson plans go missing!

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Famous People Lessons - Sean Banville

Grades
6 to 12
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This collection of over 150 lessons provides biographies and profiles of well known personalities for ESL/ELL (and other) students. The famous people range from 50 Cent to Walt Disney....more
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This collection of over 150 lessons provides biographies and profiles of well known personalities for ESL/ELL (and other) students. The famous people range from 50 Cent to Walt Disney. Scroll through the list of names. The main page shows each person's profession (or claim to fame), nationality, birthdate and date of death (when appropriate). Choose a name to go to the lesson. Lessons include a short biography (7-8th grade level reading) and activities to accompany it. Examples of activities include synonym match, cloze activities, spelling, and discussion questions.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): biographies (87), fluency (24), parts of speech (67), reading comprehension (128), spelling (166), summarizing (17), word choice (27)

In the Classroom

This is an excellent site to use as part of a biography unit to match biographies to individual student interests. Allow students to choose a person, then print activities for them to complete. Use this site to practice reading fluency, informational texts, and comprehension with any student, Use this site in your substitute folder. Choose several biographies and print accompanying activities for students to complete. Transform student learning by having them create an annotated image of a biographical character including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here. Share with learning support teachers as well as ESL/ELL teachers to use as a high interest activity for older students.

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Math Centers and Games - Shari Sloane

Grades
K to 4
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Find directions and printables for elementary math games. Scroll down the page to view directions for games such as "Shake and Share" and "Make a Train Race." Most activities use ...more
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Find directions and printables for elementary math games. Scroll down the page to view directions for games such as "Shake and Share" and "Make a Train Race." Most activities use items already available in classrooms such as dice, cubes, or money. Print worksheets using the link to the PDF printable, if needed.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): addition (224), money (184), preK (284), probability (136), substitutes (17), subtraction (186)

In the Classroom

Use ideas provided on the site for math centers in your classroom. Share this link (or specific activities) on your class website). Choose a game or two to included in your substitute folder for an easy math activity while you are gone.
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Art Lessons and Lesson Plans - Ken Rohrer

Grades
K to 12
8 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Find an extensive collection of art and drama lesson plans for use in all grade levels. Choose a grade level from categories on the left side of the page. Pick ...more
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Find an extensive collection of art and drama lesson plans for use in all grade levels. Choose a grade level from categories on the left side of the page. Pick from sub-categories such as type of medium, art period, or artist. One particularly useful category is by integration: ideas you can choose for lessons in subjects such as health, science, or language arts. Once you choose a lesson title, specific details include materials used, appropriate age levels, instructions, and images of projects. Many, but not all lessons also include correlation to national standards. Click on the printer friendly link to print lessons without all the clutter on the page.
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tag(s): animals (319), artists (77), colors (78), geometric shapes (167), insects (71), japan (60), native americans (79), origami (15), painting (63), preK (284), recycling (59), symmetry (51)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this site as a resource for art projects throughout the year, especially if budget cuts have taken away your art teacher! Be sure to check out the link to Sub Lessons. Print and save a couple of these to have in your substitute folder for use if necessary. Share with your art teacher (if you have one) as a resource.

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Chalk - Planboard - Lesson Planning Organizer - Vetica

Grades
K to 12
13 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Plan and view your academic year using this online lesson plan organizer. Integrate standards by choosing from Common Core, Ontario Curriculums, or your own custom-created standards...more
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Plan and view your academic year using this online lesson plan organizer. Integrate standards by choosing from Common Core, Ontario Curriculums, or your own custom-created standards (or IEP goals?). Select your own schedule by choosing days of the week and time periods. The site also supports custom rotations up to an eight-day length. Attach files, edit, set off days, or share schedules easily with links in the software. Print finished plans or save as a PDF. You can also email plans at any time. The free version of this application supports up to 100 lesson plans and 25 MB of storage.
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tag(s): classroom management (149)

In the Classroom

Create your lesson plans using this application easily from anywhere you have computer access. Share lesson plans with other teachers when team planning. If you need a printed copy of lesson plans, easily print them in PDF format upon completion of planning. Use this tool to email "last-minute" substitute lesson plans into school.

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david, TX, Grades: 9 - 12

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HHMI - BioInteractive - Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Grades
8 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
HHMI's BioInteractive five lab collection allows you to explore genetics, heart diseases, nerve cells, and the immune system without any mess to clean or supplies to buy! Learn about...more
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HHMI's BioInteractive five lab collection allows you to explore genetics, heart diseases, nerve cells, and the immune system without any mess to clean or supplies to buy! Learn about changing fly DNA or play the role of a doctor's intern to better understand how heart disease works. These activities have interactive lab areas with learning objectives, a notebooking area, quizzes, extra resources, and a help area. They are complete with teaching suggestions and learning objectives. The bacterial identification lab and immunology lab are even available as apps for your mobile devices. Some areas of this site require Shockwave.

tag(s): bacteria (30), body systems (58), flips (7), genetics (87), heart (40), human body (133)

In the Classroom

Spice up your life science or biology curriculum with these activities. Use them as dry labs prior to the hands-on or classroom "wet lab." Alternatively, they could be used as a substitute laboratory when supplies are low, if students are learning online or from a distance, or if students have ethical objections to using live specimens. Thinking about blended learning or flipping your classroom even just a little? These activities are great because they can take some of the practice typically done in class to the home setting, allowing you to further delve into student driven experiments and inquiry in the classroom.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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