100 Awesome, Free Web Tools for Elementary Teachers
By Jessica Merritt
The Internet can be a scary place for elementary teachers. On one hand, you want to share the Internet as a wonderful tool with your students, but on the other, you worry about safety and helping them find the most useful resources without getting lost on the information superhighway. Because of this, we've put together a listing of some of the best sites for elementary teachers and students online, plus a few tools to help you keep everything together.
Organization & Collaboration
Save your bookmarks, collaborate with colleagues, and stay in touch with parents using these web tools.
- Thinkature: Thinkature offers real-time collaboration online for students, teachers, and more.
- Flickr: Share and store classroom images with this incredibly popular online photo storage service.
- Diigo: Diigo is a great tool for highlighting and sharing the web with your students.
- PBwiki: Create an easy-to-update web space and resource for your class using PBwiki.
- del.icio.us: Save your favorite sites and share them with your class using del.icio.us.
- Clipmarks: Create Clipmarks to clip out little pieces of the web to share with your classroom.
- Wizlite: Enjoy collaborative page highlighting with this tool.
- Netvibes: Create a class start page full of useful resources with Netvibes.
- Gliffy: Create and share flow charts, diagrams, and more with Gliffy.
- Notecentric: Share and store your class notes with this online note taking application.
Search Engines & Directories
Make use of these search engines and directories that offer the best of the web.
- Clusty: With this clustering search engine, you'll be able to search on Wikipedia, blogs, and more at one time.
- BUBL: Find selected Internet resources in specific academic subject areas through BUBL.
- Turbo10: This search engine looks on more than 800 deep web search engines at once, so you'll be able to save time and find great information you can't find anywhere else.
- Complete Planet: On Complete Planet, you can find more than 70,000 searchable databases and specialty search engines.
- Ask for Kids: This search engine was created with kids in mind, offering tutoring and reference help as well as search.
- Librarians' Internet Index: Find websites you and your students can trust in this directory compiled by librarians.
- CyberSleuth Kids: Get searches, homework help, and more from this website.
- Geniusfind: Geniusfind offers a directory to some of the best resources you can find on the web.
- Internet Archive: Check out the Internet Archive to get access to websites and pages that have fallen off the web.
- KidsClick!: Visit this website for a kid-friendly search engine.
- Digital Librarian: This site offers a librarian's guidance for the best resources online.
- Infomine: Infomine is full of scholarly Internet resource collections that you and your students can use.
- ProTeacher Directory: ProTeacher has teaching ideas, resources, blogs, and more for elementary school teachers.
Google is known for its useful web tools, but did you know that a lot of them have incredible applications for education? Take a look at these Google tools to see how they'll work for your classroom.
- Google Custom Search Engine: Create your own custom search engine and tell Google which sites you want it to index, and you'll be able to offer your students the best of the web.
- Google Docs: Google Docs offers teachers and students a web-based word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation editor that can be used securely and collaboratively from any computer.
- Google Book Search: Search the full text of books ranging from popular best sellers to out-of-print books on Google's Book Search.
- Google Groups: Set up a discussion group for your classroom on Google Groups.
- Google News: Google News is a wonderful place to look for news in newspapers and magazines around the world.
- Google Maps: Your class can use Google Maps to build maps of your community, learn about cities, and more.
- Google Page Creator: This Google tool allows teachers and students to create useful web pages without having to use complicated code.
- Google classroom posters: Help your students search the web better with these posters that contain tips for using Google Search and other Google products.
- iGoogle: iGoogle allows you to create a custom page for your classroom that includes components like a school calendar, bookmarks, news, and more.
- Blogger: Start a class blog with Blogger, and you can share work, pictures, and more, all while staying connected with your classroom community.
- Google Notebook: Use Google Notebook as an easy to use notepad for the web.
- Google Calendar: With Google Calendar, you can easily communicate school schedule information with your classroom community.
- Google classroom activities: Here, Google offers a few activity ideas for elementary school children.
Templates & Lesson Plans
These simple tools will make your job just a little bit easier.
- Student information roster: Download this PDF to have student information easily at hand.
- Lesson Plans Library: Discovery Education offers a wide variety of lesson plans, from Ancient History to Economics.
- Record-Keeping Template: This chart is useful for a wide variety of applications, including permission slip checkoffs, parent communication, and more.
Research & Reference
Make use of these tools to give your students the research power they need.
- Infoplease: Infoplease combines an encyclopedia, almanac, atlas, dictionary, and a lot more, all in one place.
- HowStuffWorks: Your students can find easy to understand information about how anything and everything works on this site.
- MetaGlossaryMetaGlossary defines more than 2 million terms, phrases, and acronyms.
- Repositories of Primary Sources: This index is a wonderful place to find strong sources for manuscripts, archives, historical photographs, and more.
- Refdesk: Find kid-friendly research resources through Refdesk.
- eHow: eHow explains in simple language how you can do just about anything.
Make learning fun by sharing these online educational games with your students.
- FreeRice: Have your students play this vocabulary game, and they'll learn while donating food to people in need.
- Brain Boosters: Discovery Education's Brain Boosters are challenging mental games.
- Learning Adventures: This collection offers multimedia education on sharks, slavery, and more.
Reading & Writing
These tools are useful when teaching students about reading and writing.
- The Online Books Page: This website is home to more than 30,000 free books that you can read online.
- Bartleby: Bartleby offers lots of different texts online, from novels to reference.
- Audio Books for Kids: Allow your kids to listen to audio books for free with this site.
- RhymeZone: In the RhymeZone, you can type in a word to find its rhymes, synonyms, definitions, and more.
- Children's Storybooks Online: This site offers illustrated children's stories for free.
- Word Search Generator: Create a customized printable word find worksheet with this tool.
- Free Classic Audiobooks: On this site, you'll find classics like Huckleberry Finn on audiobooks for free.
- Poetry Idea Engine: The Poetry Idea Engine is a great tool for writing haikus, limericks, and more.
- Orangoo: Use this quick online spell check to make sure your text is perfect.
- Bibliomania: Bibliomania offers more than 2,000 classic texts, along with notes, author biographies, and study guides.
- Writing Prompts/Journal Topics: Check out these topics to assign to your students.
- Handwriting Worksheets: Use these worksheets to help your students practice their handwriting.
- Project Gutenberg: This project has more than 25,000 free books, and over 100,000 titles in its network.
Math & Science
Make use of these tools to deliver a richer math and science experience.
- SuperKids Math Worksheet Calculator: Create math drill worksheets using this tool.
- Calcoolate: Give your classroom an awesome calculator with this "cool" tool.
- Produce Oasis: Visit the Produce Oasis to learn about nutrition and food.
- eNature Zip Guides: Find wildlife that lives in your local area with this online nature tool.
- The Abacus: Check out The Abacus to find an abacus tutorial, calculations, and more.
- Visible Body: Use Visible Body to give your class a 3D look at human anatomy.
- Universal Currency Converter: Teach your class about money around the world with this currency converting calculator.
- whonamedit: Find out about the name behind medical conditions with this online tool.
- Ask Dr. Math: Dr. Math has formulas, instructional resources, and more.
- TryScience: TryScience has great ideas for experiments, field trips, and science adventures.
- Create A Graph: With this web tool, you'll be able to quickly and easily generate graphs.
- Climate Zone: Teach your students about the climates of the world with Climate Zone.
- Math Playground: On the Math Playgound, you'll find worksheets, logic puzzles, and more.
- Roman Numeral Converter: Use this converter to easily switch back and forth between roman numerals and regular numbers.
These online collections offer a wonderful way to share art from around the world with your students.
- The Guggenheim Museum: Share the Guggenheim's online collection with your students.
- Louvre Museum: Find some of the Louvre's collection available online here.
- Catalog of American Portraits: You can find more than 80,000 portraits in this portrait search.
- Classical Music Archives Listen to the works of the great composers on this website.
- National Gallery of Art: Find galleries of photographs, sculpture, and more in the National Gallery of Art.
History & Social Studies
From geography to mummies, you'll find lots of tools for exploring our world here.
- 50 States: This website offers a wealth of information about each of the 50 states in the US.
- Geodata.gov: Find useful state, local, and federal geographic data on this website.
- Maps.com: This online map store has lots of wonderful games, including a US Capitals map game and a geographic continent map game.
- The Biography Maker: Use this tool to turn a biography into a wonderful story about a person's life.
- Visible Earth: Show your class unique perspectives of the earth with satellite images from Visible Earth.
- Clickable Mummy: Explore the different parts of the mummy and learn about the mummification process with this online tool.
- Countries of the World: Find country studies from the Library of Congress and other authoritative sources through this site.
- EyeWitness to History: Get a look at the ancient world through World War II through photos, voices, and other media on this history site.
- CIA World Factbook: The CIA World Factbook has useful information about the countries of the world, including maps and flags.
- The History Beat: This site offers loads of history timelines on the web.
- ANYDAY Today-in-History: Learn what happened on any day in history with this online tool.
- dMarie: dMarie's time capsules offer a way to look at data for dates from 1800 to 2002.
Make use of these online libraries to enjoy incredible collections that you can share with your students.
- Smithsonian's Galaxy of Knowledge: The Smithsonian has a digital library, arts, science, lectures, and more.
- Exploratorium Digital Library: Exploratorium offers a variety of collections in gigital media and digitized museum materials for elementary school students and beyond.
- SONIC: The Library of Congress' Sound Online Inventory and Catalog houses about 2.5 million audio recordings, including unpublished recordings.
- The Internet Public Library: Founded by a class of students at the University of Michigan, the Internet Public Library is a full-service library online.
- Stately Knowledge: This kid section of the Internet Public Library offers basic facts about the United States, the world, health, music, and much more.
Create fun and educational activities for your class with these resources.
- Electronic Fieldtrips: Take field trips online with this site.
- Exploratorium Hands-on Activities: Here you'll find activities including sport science, a journey to Mars, and cow's eye dissection.
- GPS Activities & Lesson Plans: This resource will show you how to make GPS and geocaching an important part of your curriculum.