We teachers can never have enough resources on hand! And if those resources are free, it’s even better! Check out this compilation of links to lots of online tools to support your ELA classroom. (And don’t forget to pin it for later!)
APRIL 2020 UPDATE: Many of the resources on this list could be used for distance learning, but I’ve also created a separate post that lists lots of free downloads specifically to support ELA teachers during this period of remote learning.
Classroom Games & Review
To start this section, I of course have to send you to my own blog post with instructions and information for 6 tried and true review games! It’s packed with tons of free ideas for you.
Also, I have a free downloadable Bingo card that you can use to review a variety of subjects (instructions included).
You’re probably already familiar with the next two, but for anyone who’s not:
If your students have access to devices (1:1 or shared), Kahoot is a fun, fast-paced online review game.
Another popular similar option is Quizlet Live.
Grammar & Writing
Bob Jones University Press offers a suite of free online grammar instruction and practice that students can use at school or at home. Students can access brief instructional videos (or you can play them in class as part of your lesson), then take quizzes to check their understanding.
[Disclaimer: BJUP is a Christian publisher. This free online resource is created to correlate with the Christian school material that they produce. However, I do not recall it having much (if any) religious content. If your school is very strict about religious content, you may want to briefly preview.]
Grammar Monster is a fun, free online resource to peruse. They have a library of easy to understand explanations, practice grammar tests, and other grammatical goodies. They also have a YouTube channel full of instructional videos that would be a great addition to grammar instruction, or to link to in Google Classroom for students to review at home.
Indiana University offers several printable PDF brochures that would be a handy reference to aid students with writing tips and grammar rules. These are probably best for senior high. Some are clearly geared to college students. But they’re all free!
Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) is a familiar one, but I’d hate to leave it out. They offer free, in-depth resources on different formatting types and writing tips. Again, probably best for senior high.
Also check out this post with discussion and ideas for teaching writing.
Literature & Miscellaneous
Have you ever tried StoryBoardThat? It’s a fun online tool to create comic strips. You’ll need to create an account to use it. There’s a paid version that offers more options, but there are plenty of free features. You’ll find a number of comics already created for popular classic literature. Print these out to use as classroom decor, or send the students to the site to make their own for projects!
Here’s a controversial one, but my personal take on this site (and similar sites) is, “don’t hate- integrate!” Shmoop and Cliffs Notes! They actually have a lot of free, helpful resources that can save you some serious time if you’re creative in how you use them! (I wouldn’t recommend using the chapter questions, of course. 🙂 ) One of my favorite discoveries on Shmoop is the printable charts and infographics that are offered for some literature. Check these fun Macbeth charts! I printed the character pages, cut out the characters, mixed them up with some other material I had, and created a fun Macbeth bulletin board. Another awesome feature is their free side-by-side translations of Shakespearean original text with modern English. Both Shmoop and Cliffs Notes have fun videos for a lot of the classic literature too, but honestly, I felt like some of them weren’t classroom appropriate, so just preview first.
With the help of a couple awesome teacher groups on Facebook, I put together a list of 50 prominent female authors from a wide variety of backgrounds and time periods. Grab this free list and use it to help you or your students spark ideas for novelists to research, Women’s History Month, or what to read next!
Another free download you may be interested in is my editable class syllabus.
This one may seem like a big “duh!”, but have you checked out the online resources available through your local library recently? Some libraries offer free audio books, access to exclusive research databases, and more.
For Christian Schools
The following resources are expressly created for use in Christian school classrooms. That’s not to say that nothing they offer will be relevant to teachers in secular schools, but I did want to clearly differentiate them, because most of these tools include overtly Christian content and themes.
Facebook teacher groups can be a great source of free information, inspiration, and support. I have a Facebook group just for English teachers in Christian schools. It’s small right now, but we’d love for it to grow! Join us, then invite your teacher friends!
After struggling to help my students find books to read independently that were both interesting and appropriate, I compiled a list of titles that fit the bill, grouped into categories. Grab the middle school list for free here!
If you’ve been in Christian education any time at all, you are likely familiar with Bob Jones University Press and/ or A Beka Book. Both are established, quality Christian textbook and curriculum publishers that have been an authority in the world of Christian education for more than 50 years each. But have you checked out their websites lately? Both publishers are now offering an absolute gold mine of online resources that will be a huge help to you, whether or not you’re using their curriculum.
I already mentioned BJUP’s After School Help site. In addition to that, they also offer countless enrichment resources for your classroom at teachertoolsonline.com. Many are geared to accompany their curriculum, but it’s worth your time to browse them and pull out some things you can use!
Have you ever browsed a detailed scope and sequence? Both BJUP and ABB offer theirs for free on their websites, and it might just give you a greater understanding of your own curriculum to take a look at them. I know it did for me.
Earn CEUs with free professional development videos available from both BJUP and ABB!
Last, but not least, check out the blogs at Bob Jones and A Beka for fresh teaching ideas, and discussions on educational theory and practice.
What are your favorite free ELA resources? Link in the comments below! 🙂
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