10 Learning Websites for K-12 Classrooms to Kick off the School Year Right
It’s back to school season, and kids are geared up with new backpacks, crisp notebooks and sharp pencils for the start of a new school year. Likewise, teachers know they have to keep their materials fresh each year to contend with their students. Engaging classrooms can be one of the toughest challenges, especially after two-and-a-half months of summer vacation.
This is where edtech plays an irreplaceable role in the classroom. Learning websites and games can accompany lectures and lessons or continue engaged learning at home. We’ve rounded up ten sites for K-12 that provide free study guides, research tools and practice games. After school, parents can turn to these learning websites if their children need extra help or when it’s time to study for a test.
10 Learning Websites for K-12 Classrooms
1. WeSpeke-—Group exercises, repetition, flashcards and worksheets may be useful methods to practice a language in the classroom, but can be stale homework for students on their own. Getting them to speak the language at home is not only more engaging, but will build up students’ confidence. With WeSpeke, users can chat with native speakers using the free text, audio or video services. Then, students can save any words, phrases or vocabulary in their WeSpeke Notebook to practice next time.
2. Keybr—This simple learning website practices touch typing on an easy-to-use platform. From beginners who are just learning the home keys to experienced typers who want to improve their speed, Keybr generates customized lessons according to each user’s level. Lessons never repeat, so students won’t grow bored typing the same words over and over.
3. Scholastic News for Kids—Get your students excited about current events and news topics with Scholastic’s special coverage for kids. Every article is written with simple sentence structure and explanations that cater to elementary and middle school students. Stories incorporate vocabulary in bold to define or contextualize advanced words. The site also offers video highlights and a “News for Kids by Kids” section written by their own young reporters.
4. Multiplication.com—Students can practice their math skills on this free game site. The solo and multiplayer games hone multiplication, division, subtraction, and addition skills with fun, colorful graphics. Many of the games are timed to improve memory and speed.
5. Dole Super Kids-—Bring nutrition class home with this interactive and customizable site about healthy living. Dole offers advice, multicultural recipes, articles, videos, and suggestions to inspire kids to eat healthy and stay active. The recipes look so tasty, kids will be excited to eat veggies, and parents will want to join in the kitchen.
6. Free Rice—This tool doubles as a way for kids to study and to give back to communities in need. Students can practice vocabulary, language, math, humanities, geography, science, chemistry and even SAT-prep. For each question they answer correctly, the World Food Programme donates 10 grains of rice. Talk about a whole new motivation for high achievement!
7. Ben’s Guide—There are a lot of names and dates to memorize in order to ace a U.S. history test. Luckily, Ben’s Guide to the U.S. Government helps students study branches of government, law, the election process, and historical documents. With study guides and games, users can choose a level appropriate for their age group from “apprentice” to “master.”
8. The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)—Without this website, anyone learning research writing, citations or subject-specific writing would spend twice the amount of time searching the web for guides. Great for high school and up through college, this one-stop site is the only tab students need opened while they navigate MLA, APA, and Chicago Manual of Style. OWL breaks down formatting and writing rules so they are easier to understand and practice.
9. Eric Weisstein’s World of Science—When you assign a biographical or research paper about a scientist, direct your students to this encyclopedia with over 1,000 entries of catalogued scientists and scientific principles. This site covers archaeology, scientific biography, mathematics, and chemistry, catalogued by Internet encyclopediast Eric Weisstein.
10. Visa’s Financial Soccer-—What better way to teach sports lovers about finances than with a FIFA-themed game? There are three levels of questions to test students’ money management skills with each play they make. “Amateur” covers topics for 11-14 years old, “semi-pro” for 14-18 years old, and “world class” for 18 and older. Longer passes get tougher questions and answering correctly maintains the player’s control of the ball.
Jennifer is a Boston-based freelance journalist who has covered emerging fashion and New York Fashion Week for Papercut magazine. When she isn't talking people's ears off, she studies art history and reconstructs thrift clothes into her own designs.