As schools faced closing due to the coronavirus, numerous resources were posted and shared via social media to help teachers and parents find meaningful educational activities for their children. This post is an attempt to catalog some of the resources provided.
TASL’s Awesome, Curated List of Resources for Distance Learning
I’m reserving this section for lists of resources that are basically better than mine. I’m finding that as time passes in this pandemic, the more talented groups of teachers and parents are working together to provide access to resources and information to make remote learning a positive experience for our children. In fact you can probably click on any listed here and ignore my list all together. That being said, let’s begin.
TASL Distance Learning Resources & Ideas for School Closures – The TASL list is best in class of really well put together lists of resources. You will find literally everything you need here, including several of the resources I’ve listed below. If you can’t find something here to help craft learning experiences for your students or children, then you aren’t really looking.
Virtual Tours and Fieldtrips
This Virtual Tour of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History lets you explore not only their current and permanent exhibits, but past exhibits as well. You can even look at some of their research stations. They also have some great distance learning resources as part of the Smithsonian Learning Lab.
The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks is a new Google Arts & Culture exhibit and interactive documentary, timed to launch in celebration of this month’s NPS Centennial. The exhibit allows you to take 360-degree tours of some of the most remote and beautiful U.S. National Parks. Instead of featuring much-documented vistas like Yosemite or the Grand Canyon, for example, the exhibit instead focuses on a selection of parks you may not have traveled to yet (or may never see), including the Kenai Fjords in Alaska, Hawaiian volcanoes, New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns, Utah’s Bryce Canyon, and Florida’s Dry Tortugas
Georgia Aquarium – Webcams at the Georgia Aquarium, which show marine life footage of beluga whales and African penguins, can offer the easy viewing and peaceful content consumption needed during the trying times of the coronavirus outbreak.
12 Famous Museum Virtual Tours – curated in an article by People Magazine. Experience the best museums from London to Seoul in the comfort of your own home.
Another curated list that circulated on social media courtesy of Mrs. Fahrney includes:
- The San Diego Zoo has a website just for kids with amazing videos, activities, and games. Enjoy the tour!
- Yellowstone National Park virtual tour from NPS.gov
- Travel to Paris, France to see amazing works of art at The Louvre with this virtual field trip.
- This Virtual Tour of the Great Wall of China is beautiful and makes history come to life.
Click here to see her list in it’s entirety.
20 Virtual Field Trips from the Adventures in Familyhood – This list developed for families to explore, contains virtual tours of museums and zoos, and includes activites for children.
If 20 is good then 30 must be better. That’s why I’m including 30+ Virtual Fieldtrips for Kids, a curated list including Zoos, museums, and a variety of other ways to explore. She talks about using tools like Google Earth to go on a virtual expedition.
Books, Reading, and Writing
Reading is fundamental to learning and something we should all do more. This week many resources to access collections of books as well as have them read to children were posted. Here are a few, but you may want to check out your local library’s website for more.
The Library of Congress has an extensive collection of online books for students of all ages. Their educational resources are definitely worth exploring.
Project Gutenberg is a library of over 60,000 free eBooks. Choose among free epub and Kindle eBooks, download them or read them online. You will find the world’s great literature here, with focus on older works for which U.S. copyright has expired. Thousands of volunteers digitized and diligently proofread the eBooks, for enjoyment and education.
The NY Public Library released an app called SimplyE where you can download many of the ebooks in their collection or even from your local library for free. Users who don’t have a library card can still use the app to access their favorite selections from classic literature.
Eric Carle reads his children’s classic, the Very Hungry Caterpillar.
The Big List of Children’s Authors Doing Online Read Alouds & Activities – This compilation has a lot of great, direct links to videos and social media streams of famous authors and celebrities reading children’s books. There are a number of interesting activities for children toward the bottom of the post.
The Global Space Education Foundation is posting videos of astronauts reading children’s books from SPACE. Check out https://storytimefromspace.com to see and hear their latest posts.
#OPERATIONSTORYTIME children’s authors read various stories online. This article contains multiple links to authors reading childrens books on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and more.
Writing is also important. The NY Times has a program where students can respond to daily writing prompts. They’re even hosting webinars for teachers on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 via Zoom to explore how to use this for students.
Frozen’s Josh Gad Is Reading Books to Kids on Twitter Amid Coronavirus Outbreak. Tweets of Josh reading books like Olivia Goes to Venice can be found by following his posts @joshgad.
Online Courses for Kids and Parents
There are a variety of free and interensting online courses being shared. Some may tempt kids or parents alike and may be a great way to spend some quality time while learning together.
Scholastic is offering free online courses so your kids can keep learning while schools are closed on their “Learn at Home” website. Appropriate for the lower grades, this site hosts a variety of different classes arranged by grade level that are simple enough to explore with your child at home.
Imagineering in a Box is a series of online video classes created by Disney and hosted on Khan Academy to teach students how Disney creates the rides and attractions at their theme parks. You can get a glimpse of what goes on behind the curtains in this cool series.
LUNCH DOODLES with Mo Willems! In this fun course hosted by the Kennedy Center, “Mo Willems invites YOU into his studio every day for his LUNCH DOODLE. Learners worldwide can draw, doodle and explore new ways of writing by visiting Mo’s studio virtually once a day for the next few weeks. Grab some paper and pencils, pens, or crayons and join Mo to explore ways of writing and making together.” While you are there, check out the many educational resources hosted on the Kennedy Center’s site.
10 University Art Classes You Can Take for Free Online – This article links to different online university classes related to art including art appreciation topics, art trafficking and crime, psychology of art, art and archaeology, and more from universities including Harvard, Duke, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
The Milk Street Online Cooking School’s classes are free for the next 30 days. These courses cover a variety of topics including specific skills and may be better for older students or adults.
CodeWizardsHQ curated a great list of coding classes and activities for students of all ages from 4+. You’ll definitely find something here to interest children and are simple enough that you won’t need to learn computer science to help teach the topics. Most teach you through exploration and are fun.
Chef Massimo Bottura is uploading cooking videos to his Instagram account. These are great resources from a master chef that are really more appropriate for highschool culinary students or adults.
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NBC Learn – has curated over 1200 video resources all conveniently categorized to make it much easier for your student to do research or explore.
What’s not to love about NASA and Space! Fortunately they’ve made their entire collection of images and videos available online for free at images.nasa.gov for you to search or browse. But don’t stop here, NASA’s site is a literal treasure trove of educational content.
Paris Musées, a collection of 14 museums in Paris have recently made high-res digital copies of 100,000 artworks freely available to the public on their collections website. The site also includes virtual exhibitions. For an immersive experience, try navigating the site in French.
Hopefully some of these resources will be useful. Social Media has blown up over the past few days with different posts about things you can do to help kids teach and learn during school closings. The difficulty will really lie in separating what’s good from what’s not. If I can offer a couple of tips, always keep your students’ and children’s privacy in mind when evaluating resources. Stick with sources you know and trust like libraries, museums, etc. You shouldn’t have to sign up for or pay for resources, especially now. And check out the websites of your local and school library. Most of them will curate access to tons of useful and appropriate resources for you and your child.