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June 26, 2016

Best Kept Secrets on Scholastic.com: 15 Free Resources to Use Now!

By Genia Connell
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    Honestly, I've always liked to think of myself as a super-user of Scholastic's website. I've been using it a long time — think waiting for the screeching America Online dial-up long time. That's why, two years ago when I was sitting in an auditorium at Scholastic's New York headquarters listening to my friend give a presentation to new teachers on all eScholastic has to offer, I felt a little embarrassed. I didn't know some of the resources she was talking about!

    I started scribbling down notes on resource after resource. Some I had used but forgotten about, while others were brand new to me. I began thinking that if I didn't know about many of the resources (and I'm on the site nearly every day), there were probably others who would benefit from hearing about them for the first time, or perhaps being reminded of all Scholastic.com has to offer.

    The resources below are perfect to put into your lesson plans right away and are guaranteed to save you planning time when you insert them into your sub plans. So this week I'm happy to share with you a post that was conceived two years ago in that auditorium. I hope you will be as excited about some of the resources as I am!


     

    1. Character Scrapbook

    This reading response resource can easily be used to teach character traits or help a student delve deeper into any character — human or animal — from a fiction or nonfiction book. The scrapbook page can be saved and printed. These are also whiteboard-ready and can be done with the whole group. I've had students add their scrapbook pages to their reading response binders. 

    Additional Resources: 

    Character ScrapbookScholastic's Free Character Scrapbook



     

    2. StudyJams! Interactive Math and Science Activities

    I have no good reason for forgetting to use Study Jams! with my students — I wrote the scripts for 14 of the lessons! But still, I often forget to add them to my plans when I'm introducing new language and concepts, and only seem to remember them when I need a sure-fire way to make a challenging concept clearer. Use these short, engaging, interactive videos to help make difficult ideas in math and science easier for your students to understand. 

    Additional Resources:

    Study Jams

    Study Jams Free Resource



     

    3. Flashlight Readers

    Flashlight Readers is an interactive literacy experience. Regardless of whether your students are reading any of the many popular titles, the activities are fun and compelling, inviting students to, "Go inside your favorite books." These are also great to add to a class website because if your students are like mine, they will want to use these activities much longer than class time allows!

    Flashlight readersFlashlight Readers Winn Dixie

    Books Featured in Flashlight Readers

    Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
    Charlotte's Web by E. B. White Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
    A Dog's Life by Ann M. Martin Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
    Holes by Louis Sachar The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins
    The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick Author Blue Balliett

    Additional Resources:



     

    4. Word Workshop

    If you are looking for a go-to resource for making word walls, name tags, labels for book boxes and containers, or just about anything else that you want printed with an attractive border and font, then Word Workshop is for you! You can print cards in different sizes including half-page, whole page, and Avery-sized labels. I was at the Scholastic booths at ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) and NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) and was surprised that with all the high-tech things out there, it was the Word Workshop that was getting all the love! Once you visit the site, bookmark it! This is one of those resources I sometimes forget about after the start of the school year when the greatest amount of labeling happens in my room. Try it, you'll like it!

    Additional Resources:

    word workshop

    Word Workshop Free Label MakerWord Workshop Free Label Maker



     

    5. Planning Calendar

    Scholastic offers a full month of linked, timely resources for every month of the year. This calendar is great for planning ahead or to find special events to share with students such as historical dates and author birthdays. You can even print each month to keep this resource at your fingertips.

    Scholastic's Free Printable Planning CalendarScholastic's Free Printable Planning Calendar



     

    6. Story Starters

    Banish writer's block forever with this fun tool that offers up hundreds of different scenarios for students to write about. It's easy to use, whiteboard ready, and available on iPads. Choose your grade level and the genre you would like, pull the lever, and wait for your writing prompt to appear.  

    Kids love when prompts like, Write an email to a forgetful sorcerer whose bracelet has magic powers appear. These can be done by individual students or on a whiteboard with a whole class writing to the same prompt.

    Interactive Story StarterInteractive Story Starter

    Additional Resources



     

    7. Poetry Idea Engine

    Poetry Idea Engine is a part of the Writing with Writers series, but it deserves a special shout-out of its own. The Poetry Engine guides students through writing four different styles of poetry: haikus, cinquain, limericks, and free verse. Clear, line-by-line directions and fill-in-the-blank examples with this interactive poem builder will quickly help your students become experts at each style. 

    Poetry Idea EnginePoetry Idea Engine

    Poetry Idea EnginePoetry Engine

     



     

    8. Virtual Field Trips

    With Scholastic's Virtual Field Trips teachers can take their students to learn about faraway places and get a firsthand look at history all from the comfort of their classroom. While Scholastic's First Thanksgiving virtual field trip isn't a well-kept secret (it's one of the most trafficked areas of the site), you may not know that there are other virtual field trips your class can take part in: 

    Virtual Field Trip to Ellis Island

     

    Additional Resources:



     

    9. Free Printables

    While I love my all-access subscription to Printables and think it's worth every penny, I realize the budget or the situation doesn't always allow for extras. Kudos to Scholastic for offering a very generous number of their printables for free. Look for each month's free p

    rintables in your Scholastic newsletter emailed to your inbox each month and be sure to try the dozens of free printables linked in the resource list below. 

    Free Printable Resources:

    If you like the Scholastic Teachers Facebook page, you'll also find all sorts of free reproducibles delivered right to your newsfeed nearly every day.

    Freebies on Scholastic's Teacher Facebook page

    My favorite find on the Facebook newsfeed last week was the link to the set of 40 quotes free to print and hang in the classroom. Thanks, Scholastic!

    40 Free Printable Quotes for Your Classroom

     


     

    10. Writing With Writers Free Writing Workshops

    Created with upper-elementary students in mind, this set of lessons includes writing tutorials from expert authors. Students can learn how to write myths with Jane Yolen, poetry with Jack Prelutsky, and mysteries with Joan Lowery Nixon just to name a few.

    Workshops covered:

    Writing with Writers

    Writing Workshop on Poetry with Jack PrelutskyWriting with Writers Student workshops



     

    11. Everything You Need — Resources

    Think of any topic you want your students to learn more about and Scholastic has probably put everything you need all in one spot for you. There are nearly 100 topics covered. In the Everything You Need collection, you'll find lesson plans, crafts, articles, book lists, and more. You can see them all here and check out just a few below: 

    Everything You Need Resources for dozens of topics



     

    12. Computer Lab Favorites

    Scholastic's Computer Lab Favorites is an area of their site where you will find more than 50 no-prep needed activities for student enrichment in language arts, math, science, social studies, and Spanish. Many are also compatible with interactive whiteboards. 

    Computer Lab Favorites

     

    12.5 Interactive Whiteboard Activities

    Scholastic has taken some of their best activities and formatted them to work on your interactive whiteboard. Activities are designed for SMART, Promethean, Mimio, and other brands of boards. 

    Free Whiteboard Activities



     

    13. Daily Starters

    This is another one of those things that I used regularly a few years ago, then stopped for no real reason. I've started using Daily Starters again this year, and I've found many more uses for them than just morning work! See my post "Daily Starters to the Rescue" which includes ideas and links to teacher guides for all grade levels. 

    Daily Starters

     



     

    14. Professional Development Videos and Podcasts

    With budgets being slashed, it's often not easy to have access to quality professional development, that's why I was thrilled to discover that Scholastic offers professional development from many experts in education. Watch videos and listen to podcasts from authors such as Pam Allyn, Ruth Culham, Laura Robb, and Jeff Wilhelm. Our district has even provided professional development hours for taking part in Scholastic's podcasts. 

    Scholastic Free Professional Development

     

     



     

    15. Freebie Corner

    The name alone, Freebie Corner, is enough to appeal to me. Here, you'll find student contests, sweepstakes, free resources, and lesson plans for all grades.

    Freebie Corner Free Resources for Teachers

     

    Hopefully this post will have helped you discover a new resource you can use in your classroom or even remind you of a forgotten favorite. I know there are still more parts of the website that deserve to be recognized. If you have a favorite, free Scholastic resource, please share it in the comment section below!

     

    Honestly, I've always liked to think of myself as a super-user of Scholastic's website. I've been using it a long time — think waiting for the screeching America Online dial-up long time. That's why, two years ago when I was sitting in an auditorium at Scholastic's New York headquarters listening to my friend give a presentation to new teachers on all eScholastic has to offer, I felt a little embarrassed. I didn't know some of the resources she was talking about!

    I started scribbling down notes on resource after resource. Some I had used but forgotten about, while others were brand new to me. I began thinking that if I didn't know about many of the resources (and I'm on the site nearly every day), there were probably others who would benefit from hearing about them for the first time, or perhaps being reminded of all Scholastic.com has to offer.

    The resources below are perfect to put into your lesson plans right away and are guaranteed to save you planning time when you insert them into your sub plans. So this week I'm happy to share with you a post that was conceived two years ago in that auditorium. I hope you will be as excited about some of the resources as I am!


     

    1. Character Scrapbook

    This reading response resource can easily be used to teach character traits or help a student delve deeper into any character — human or animal — from a fiction or nonfiction book. The scrapbook page can be saved and printed. These are also whiteboard-ready and can be done with the whole group. I've had students add their scrapbook pages to their reading response binders. 

    Additional Resources: 

    Character ScrapbookScholastic's Free Character Scrapbook



     

    2. StudyJams! Interactive Math and Science Activities

    I have no good reason for forgetting to use Study Jams! with my students — I wrote the scripts for 14 of the lessons! But still, I often forget to add them to my plans when I'm introducing new language and concepts, and only seem to remember them when I need a sure-fire way to make a challenging concept clearer. Use these short, engaging, interactive videos to help make difficult ideas in math and science easier for your students to understand. 

    Additional Resources:

    Study Jams

    Study Jams Free Resource



     

    3. Flashlight Readers

    Flashlight Readers is an interactive literacy experience. Regardless of whether your students are reading any of the many popular titles, the activities are fun and compelling, inviting students to, "Go inside your favorite books." These are also great to add to a class website because if your students are like mine, they will want to use these activities much longer than class time allows!

    Flashlight readersFlashlight Readers Winn Dixie

    Books Featured in Flashlight Readers

    Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
    Charlotte's Web by E. B. White Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
    A Dog's Life by Ann M. Martin Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
    Holes by Louis Sachar The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins
    The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick Author Blue Balliett

    Additional Resources:



     

    4. Word Workshop

    If you are looking for a go-to resource for making word walls, name tags, labels for book boxes and containers, or just about anything else that you want printed with an attractive border and font, then Word Workshop is for you! You can print cards in different sizes including half-page, whole page, and Avery-sized labels. I was at the Scholastic booths at ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) and NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) and was surprised that with all the high-tech things out there, it was the Word Workshop that was getting all the love! Once you visit the site, bookmark it! This is one of those resources I sometimes forget about after the start of the school year when the greatest amount of labeling happens in my room. Try it, you'll like it!

    Additional Resources:

    word workshop

    Word Workshop Free Label MakerWord Workshop Free Label Maker



     

    5. Planning Calendar

    Scholastic offers a full month of linked, timely resources for every month of the year. This calendar is great for planning ahead or to find special events to share with students such as historical dates and author birthdays. You can even print each month to keep this resource at your fingertips.

    Scholastic's Free Printable Planning CalendarScholastic's Free Printable Planning Calendar



     

    6. Story Starters

    Banish writer's block forever with this fun tool that offers up hundreds of different scenarios for students to write about. It's easy to use, whiteboard ready, and available on iPads. Choose your grade level and the genre you would like, pull the lever, and wait for your writing prompt to appear.  

    Kids love when prompts like, Write an email to a forgetful sorcerer whose bracelet has magic powers appear. These can be done by individual students or on a whiteboard with a whole class writing to the same prompt.

    Interactive Story StarterInteractive Story Starter

    Additional Resources



     

    7. Poetry Idea Engine

    Poetry Idea Engine is a part of the Writing with Writers series, but it deserves a special shout-out of its own. The Poetry Engine guides students through writing four different styles of poetry: haikus, cinquain, limericks, and free verse. Clear, line-by-line directions and fill-in-the-blank examples with this interactive poem builder will quickly help your students become experts at each style. 

    Poetry Idea EnginePoetry Idea Engine

    Poetry Idea EnginePoetry Engine

     



     

    8. Virtual Field Trips

    With Scholastic's Virtual Field Trips teachers can take their students to learn about faraway places and get a firsthand look at history all from the comfort of their classroom. While Scholastic's First Thanksgiving virtual field trip isn't a well-kept secret (it's one of the most trafficked areas of the site), you may not know that there are other virtual field trips your class can take part in: 

    Virtual Field Trip to Ellis Island

     

    Additional Resources:



     

    9. Free Printables

    While I love my all-access subscription to Printables and think it's worth every penny, I realize the budget or the situation doesn't always allow for extras. Kudos to Scholastic for offering a very generous number of their printables for free. Look for each month's free p

    rintables in your Scholastic newsletter emailed to your inbox each month and be sure to try the dozens of free printables linked in the resource list below. 

    Free Printable Resources:

    If you like the Scholastic Teachers Facebook page, you'll also find all sorts of free reproducibles delivered right to your newsfeed nearly every day.

    Freebies on Scholastic's Teacher Facebook page

    My favorite find on the Facebook newsfeed last week was the link to the set of 40 quotes free to print and hang in the classroom. Thanks, Scholastic!

    40 Free Printable Quotes for Your Classroom

     


     

    10. Writing With Writers Free Writing Workshops

    Created with upper-elementary students in mind, this set of lessons includes writing tutorials from expert authors. Students can learn how to write myths with Jane Yolen, poetry with Jack Prelutsky, and mysteries with Joan Lowery Nixon just to name a few.

    Workshops covered:

    Writing with Writers

    Writing Workshop on Poetry with Jack PrelutskyWriting with Writers Student workshops



     

    11. Everything You Need — Resources

    Think of any topic you want your students to learn more about and Scholastic has probably put everything you need all in one spot for you. There are nearly 100 topics covered. In the Everything You Need collection, you'll find lesson plans, crafts, articles, book lists, and more. You can see them all here and check out just a few below: 

    Everything You Need Resources for dozens of topics



     

    12. Computer Lab Favorites

    Scholastic's Computer Lab Favorites is an area of their site where you will find more than 50 no-prep needed activities for student enrichment in language arts, math, science, social studies, and Spanish. Many are also compatible with interactive whiteboards. 

    Computer Lab Favorites

     

    12.5 Interactive Whiteboard Activities

    Scholastic has taken some of their best activities and formatted them to work on your interactive whiteboard. Activities are designed for SMART, Promethean, Mimio, and other brands of boards. 

    Free Whiteboard Activities



     

    13. Daily Starters

    This is another one of those things that I used regularly a few years ago, then stopped for no real reason. I've started using Daily Starters again this year, and I've found many more uses for them than just morning work! See my post "Daily Starters to the Rescue" which includes ideas and links to teacher guides for all grade levels. 

    Daily Starters

     



     

    14. Professional Development Videos and Podcasts

    With budgets being slashed, it's often not easy to have access to quality professional development, that's why I was thrilled to discover that Scholastic offers professional development from many experts in education. Watch videos and listen to podcasts from authors such as Pam Allyn, Ruth Culham, Laura Robb, and Jeff Wilhelm. Our district has even provided professional development hours for taking part in Scholastic's podcasts. 

    Scholastic Free Professional Development

     

     



     

    15. Freebie Corner

    The name alone, Freebie Corner, is enough to appeal to me. Here, you'll find student contests, sweepstakes, free resources, and lesson plans for all grades.

    Freebie Corner Free Resources for Teachers

     

    Hopefully this post will have helped you discover a new resource you can use in your classroom or even remind you of a forgotten favorite. I know there are still more parts of the website that deserve to be recognized. If you have a favorite, free Scholastic resource, please share it in the comment section below!

     

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