When it comes to helping students, few tools are as effective as a great classroom teacher. But a great classroom teacher with great tools? Unstoppable. Yet wading through the tons of resources out there to find the ones that can work for you takes time: this one has too many ads, that one's too expensive, this one has parts that aren't age-appropriate…we feel your pain. With that in mind, we've culled the best resources from the Internet. Here it is: a list of the top seven types of online tools to help support your work in the classroom.
Quick, now—everyone get into their groups for three minutes of group work. Now, let's reconvene and discuss our findings for two minutes. Five minutes left in this section of the test…
You have limited time with your students, and chances are you have a detailed plan for how to make the most of it. We're also guessing that constantly resetting the timer on your smartphone isn't high on your priority list when it comes to how to use that time. Problem solved! Magoosh's study timer and stopwatch for iOS is here to help. It's perfect for proctoring practice exams—it's pre-programmed for the ACT and SAT, among others—but also has "study time" settings you can use flexibly in the classroom. Students will also find that it has a question counter feature they can use to track their practice for standardized exams, as well, if they use it individually.
2. Foundational Math Concept Resources
Every teacher has had them: students who have transferred from another high school and somehow ended up never having taken algebra; students who have forgotten everything they ever knew about geometry over the summer; students who could just use a solid refresher on the basics. Khan Academy is a great resource for them! Breaking down math lessons into their component concepts (as well as courses), the non-profit allows students to refresh what they need to know with guided video lessons and practice. (If students need a quick brush-up before taking a standardized test like the ACT, Magoosh has blog posts that can also help them!)
3. Foundational Language Concept Resources
Of course, there's more to ELA learning than the knowledge that students will need for standardized tests (though they can brush up on the necessary grammar and vocabulary here!). Enter Purdue Online Writing Lab. This resource has everything from clear-cut guides to MLA (and APA, and Chicago, and AMA) style to English as Second Language Lessons. Many high-school teachers will find their guides to academic writing particularly useful for students struggling with the transition to more formal work.
4. Test Prep Resources
Students need the skills to succeed both within and outside of the classroom. Whether you're in charge of your high school's test prep program or simply want to help your students prepare for a section of a standardized college admissions test, Magoosh has the materials to help you. Where to start? Take a look at the video we prepared for students who are beginning their study for the ACT.
The next step for many students will be to take an ACT practice test and figure out their study goals. Of course, not all students will take the ACT—and Magoosh has tons of material for those taking the SAT, as well, including this practice test to start them on their way!
5. Scheduling Guidance
How many minutes do you get with each student every day? If you're like most teachers, the answer is: probably not enough. Hence, homework (we know, we're preaching to the choir here!). One key skill that students learn in high school is how to schedule their time. When students struggle to do this, you're the first line of defense! Help them master their study plans with Cornell's guidelines for creating a study schedule. Written for college students, it nevertheless has useful and practical tips that high schoolers can use, as well (prioritize, provide time for spaced review). Students balancing school work with test prep will also find that scheduling their ACT study or SAT study in a methodical way will get them the best results.
Okay, so it might not be your main purpose in the classroom…but entertaining and delighting students (while sneaking some new knowledge into their heads) is a big reason a lot of us became teachers in the first place. If you teach history or science, you'll find that the Crash Course videos are pretty much pure joy. Teaching another subject? You can find great speakers on a variety of subjects giving bite-sized TED Talks that stimulate student interest and curiosity—always a valuable commodity.
If the Temple of Apollo's lesson for visitors was know thyself, the corresponding maxim for your classroom might be know thy students. No, you don't have to give your students Buzzfeed's Which Famous '90s Cat Are You? quiz (we may have made that one up), but there are lots of ways you can bring in online resources to help supplement their learning. Working in the social sciences? The New York Times' weekly news quiz may be a great way to keep students' knowledge of current affairs sharp. Helping students decide which standardized test to take? Magoosh's SAT or ACT quiz can help them decide. And for gathering data about your students and the tests you write and deliver, Socrative has great tools to help them—and you—keep progressing. Happy quizzing!