Teacher Resources

On the CLAS Talk Ning, links to useful online teacher resources were often shared. The best of those are have been categorized below.


Scientific & Cultural Collaborative: The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District releases an annual directory of activities for teachers and schools that includes over 200 assemblies, field trips, campus workshops, teacher trainings and more – for all content areas. Many activities have financial assistance available.


Film in the Classroom Teacher's Guide - from Masterpiece on PBS, the guide offers ideas and tips on how to teach film, not just as an adjunct to classic literature, but also as a medium that can improve students’ understanding of literary elements such as character, theme, setting, point of view, and symbolism.

YoungArts Master Class - a project developed by Columbia University Teachers College for educators to integrate the arts into their classrooms. Lessons and activities available on the site help teachers integrate the arts into the subject areas of the humanities, visual & performing arts, math, and science. Free access to all nine episodes of HBO’s inspirational MasterClass mini-series online is included.

Book Lists

The American Library Association publishes annual lists of ALA Notable Books for kids aged birth-14.

Booktalker offers hundreds of short synopses of books for kids of all ages. A great teacher resource.

The Goodreads online community of readers will help you find out what others are reading and what you might like to read next.

General Classroom

You may have heard ads for Edutopia on public radio or TV. They refer to a website full of "resources that work in education." Put together by the George Lucas Educational Foundation, the site is "dedicated to improving K-12 learning by documenting, disseminating, and advocating for innovative, replicable, and evidence-based strategies that prepare students to thrive in their future education, careers, and adult lives." Information is organized by "core strategies" (integrated studies, project learning, technology integration, teacher development, social & emotional learning, comprehensive assessment), community (blogs, etc.), and general information (grade level resources, classroom guides, quizzes, schools that work, special reports, videos, webinars).

It's worth spending an hour exploring the PBS Teachers website. Every page offers a surprise. The resources available here start with links to a long list of educational shows produced by PBS, searchable under the Classroom Resources tab and PBS Programs drop-down menu. You can also search resources by topic (creative thinking, drama, literature, mythology, etc.) or media type (articles, audios, videos, interactive, etc.).

Shmoop is a collection of classroom activities, discussion questions, current events, and pop culture connections for teaching poetry, literature, Shakespeare, biography, bestsellers and more. Help with test prep (SAT, PSAT, College 101, AP Exams) also available. The site is the work of grad students at Stanford, Harvard, and Berkely schools of Ed.

Teaching Channel is a nonprofit education startup, which delivers information to teachers via short videos and video lessons. The videos are categorized by subjects (English language arts being one), grade levels, and topics (planning, class culture, behavior, engagement, differentiation, assessment, collaboration, common core, and new teachers). The site is set up as a social network with over 10,000 members as of mid-November 2011. Each member has a "workspace" for lesson planning and collecting ideas from the site.


The Literacy Web at the University of Connecticut brings together an amazing collection of links to best practices in literacy instruction. The drop-down menu under Literacy Topics on the homepage leads to online resources dealing with comprehension, effective teaching, early & adolescent literacy, content area literacy, media literacy, multicultural literacy, assessment of literacy and more. Resources are also cross-referenced by grade levels under the Teacher tab.

Teaching English with Technology is a website that showcases educators who are doing just that: making use of technology in schools and in their own literate lives. Check out links to their blogs and websites, including Colorado's own Bud Hunt (Bud the Teacher).


It's great to begin a class with a poem, something to read aloud that is pithy and accessible and which, if you have selected well, brings a laugh or smile or nod of the head or sometimes even a teary eye. Try Billy Collins' Poetry 180 or Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac to find poems appealing to secondary students; for poetry with younger students in mind, try The Children's Poetry Archive. We invite you to start the practice of beginning each day with a poem. And maybe you'll also find yourself starting or adding to a collection of poems to share with students.

Colorado Poets Center has a directory of writers who have published poetry and who live and work in Colorado or have strong ties to the state. The site contains biographies, bibliographies, selected poems, and contact information. The organization publishes The Colorado Poet.

Poetry Out Loud — a national poetry performance competition — awards $50,000 in cash and school stipends to participating students. Poetry Out Loud (POL) gives young writers and thinkers a chance to express themselves through poetry and get their voices heard. Students who participate in the state finals are eligible to win cash prizes and an all-expenses paid trip to Washington DC to compete in the national championship in April. Every year, thousands of teachers integrate Poetry Out Loud into their curriculum using a free Teacher Toolkit (found here) with an easy-to-use, standards-based plan that includes posters and lesson materials. To have the toolkit sent to you for free via snail mail, please email Suzi Smith, the State Coordinator, with your name, the name of your school, and mailing address.


CLAS members Maggie Freeburn and Carrie Nelson offered a bibliography of current titles on Middle Eastern Literature at the 2012 CLAS Regional Fall Conference. They have classroom sets of books to loan. Contact Marge Freeburn at mpfreeburn@mho.net for details.

EDSITEment!, an outreach of the National Endowment for the Humanities, contains a library of lesson plans for literature and language arts (and other subjects). What's impressive about the language arts lesson plans is their thoughtful organization and the wide range of links to resources that enrich the study of literature. Study units are searchable by grade level.

Reading Rockets is a national multimedia project that offers research-based and best-practice information on teaching kids to read and helping those who struggle. Sponsored by public television and a grant from the US Dept. of Education, the site focuses on readers ages 7-12. It offers resources (including videos and TV episodes) for parents, teachers, principals, and librarians (including in Spanish).

ReadWriteThink is a collaboration of NCTE, IRA, and Verizon that offers classroom, professional development, parent and after-school resources. Lesson plans are also cross-referenced to professional library offerings from IRA and NCTE.

Teenreads.com is the place to find information and resources on books for young adult readers. Looking for reviews of books? Information about authors (including interviews and videos)? The latest cool titles? How to start a book club? The ultimate teen reading list? Teenreads has all this and more: special features on picks for reluctant readers, graphic novels, summer reading lists, award winning titles, and other useful resources.

Summer Reading

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading offers reading lists by grade level. Excellent links to reading resources including kid activities, lists of children's book award winners, with everything searchable by subject, format, series, authors, and illustrators.

PBS Kids Summer Reading lets readers sign up for a community challenge that includes daily emails with activities, tips for parents, book lists, and the chance to win a daily prize!

The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge allows students to sign up themselves, parents to sign up kids, and teachers to sign up classes.

Teacher Vision has summer reading lists for students at all grade levels and for teachers. The breadth of these lists and emphasis on reading pleasure make them especially commendable.


50+ Web 2.0 Ways to Tell A Story is a wiki that contains a boatload of tools for digital storytelling--storybooks, collages, comics, timelines, videos, and more. A handy "Tool Box" makes it easy to explore resources. Even if you're already familiar with Animoto, bubblr, Flicktion, Kerpoof, or Mixbook, you and your students will still find new ways to tell a story.

Looking for instructional videos on usage? Check out Chalking Points on YouTube. The videos, produced by LSRS Games, describe common usage problems, such as "that" versus "which."

NEXTGEN, a part of the Denver Post, is written by and for students in 4th-8th grades. It offers a great opportunity for students to write for a real audience. Individual students can post items or teachers can showcase the writing of an entire class. The website includes news stories, photos, creative writing, reviews, a calendar of kid-friendly events, blogs, and "Talk Back" where kids can comment on other students' writing. The best stories posted to the site are considered for publication in Colorado Kids in the Tuesday Denver Post. Anyone can visit the site, but students must have parental permission to post on the site.

Colorado State University's excellent website, WAC Clearinghouse, contains a wealth of resources on writing across the curriculum. Their programs and website are linked to national and international WAC projects.