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Links for Curriculum Planning

Page history last edited by Mallory Burton 5 years, 5 months ago

These are a selection of my favourite go-to websites for curriculum planning that I put together for a 2014 workshop called Goodbye Google.

I have many more links on my Sqworl and Diigo pages, but these are the websites I consistently recommend.



Themed Collections of Links 



Graduate students in Missouri have researched 2500 educational themes at eThemes.  You can search by topic and the websites are described.


Access: The site is free with no log-in.  Cautionary notes are included for websites that have advertising or online stores.

Multiple Means of Representation for the BC Curriculum Wiki

This is my own wiki developed originally for students I was working with at the grade 4/5 level.  However, I have added many of the grade 6/7 topics as well, especially in Science.  I selected resources that fit with the BC Curriculum IRPs and attempted to match them to the grade level.


Access:  The site is free with no log-in.  You do not need to request access unless you want to become a contributor.



World Book Online 

World Book Online is a safe place for students to conduct research and includes different modules for Kids, Students, Advanced, and French which makes it an ideal tool for differentiation.  Text-to-speech and definitions are available.  Articles can be emailed, downloaded,translated or printed.  To bring the articles into Kurzweil, choose Print but print the article to the KESI Virtual Printer.


How to import a World Book Article to Kurzweil.  .pdf version  video version


Access:  Most BC school districts subscribe to World Book Online and automatically log in when you access the site through the district network.  The site can be accessed from home if you get the username and password from IT.  In Prince Rupert, you can access WBO through the library website by inputting your library card number.


Simple English Wikipedia

Everyone knows about Wikipedia but did you know there's an entire version of Wikipedia written in simpler language that was originally designed for English language learners?  The articles can be converted to other languages including French using the sidebar on the left.


Access:  The site and is free and requires no log-in.  The text on this site is CC-licensed as Attribution/Share Alike.  Most of the photos are in the public domain or also CC licensed.  No guarantees about safety or accuracy of material.


This is a great place for intermediate students to begin research and for teachers to find essential questions for inquiry and backwards design.  You can search by topic or see a question of the day.  Most questions have a full page answer written in simple language, vocabulary lists, and a video. Thanks Jane R.!


Access:  free, requires no log-in.  No ads, seems to be a very kid-safe site.





Created by the founder of Wikipedia, this site hosts a collection of 45,000 (and growing) educational videos which have been described, rated, and uploaded by teachers.  A search for French returned 200 pages of results.


Access:  requires no log-in unless you want to become a contributor.  Just a caution that the videos are linked to their original sites so while the actual video may be safe, students may be linking out to YouTube or other sites to watch it.





The site offers free copyright-friendly photos for students and teachers.  Citations for the photos which can be copied and pasted are provided on the photo page.


Access:  The site is free and requires no log-in.  The advertising on the right-hand side is blocked by our district's filters.


Graphic Organizers


Education Oasis

This site hosts a collection of 58 graphic downloadable organizers with handy thumbnails.   To bring the organizers into Kurzweil, print them to the KESI Virtual printer.  There is also much more available at the main Education Oasis site.


How to import a graphic organizer from Education Oasis to Kurzweil .pdf version video version


Access:  This site is free and requires no log-in.





Shahi Visual Dictionary

This online dictionary pulls definitions from Wiktionary and photos from Google and Flickr. 


Access:  This site is free and requires no log-in.  Just be aware that the photos automatically pulled are not censored.


Miriam Webster Visual Dictionary Online

This online dictionary provides definitions with thumbnail visuals and/or labeled photos.  It would be useful for theme work or building vocabulary.  Use the index in the left pane to search for particular topics.  The search window in the middle does a generic google search.


Access: This site is free and requires no log-in. The large number of ads on the site are blocked in our district but are still annoying.  I prefer to use this site with Google Chrome Browser and the AdBlocker extension turned on.  What a difference!



Languages Online

These activities contain both online and printable options for each of 35 topics.  Recommended by teacher Penny H. who uses the site with her grade 5 students on the SMARTBoard. 


Alberta Learning Centre French 4-7

These outstanding online French modules were recommended by teacher Tannis C. during the workshop.   Each grade features different modules, audio tracks, games, workbooks, animations and glossary. 

Grade 4 covers My Classroom, Who am I, My Immediate Family, Holidays and Celebrations.

Grade 5 covers My Elementary School, Clothing, My Home, Animals, Holidays and Celebrations.

Grade 6 covers My Health and Well-Being, My Neighbourhood, Alberta-My Province, The Environment, Holidays and Celebrations.

Grade 7 covers School, People Around Me, Weather, Holidays and Celebrations.  This module is done in a different style than the others and is perhaps being re-vamped.



StudyJams by Scholastic

This great site by Scholastic covers many math and science concepts.  Slideshow or video presentations include a key vocabulary list and are followed by a quiz. The print version can be printed to the KESI virtual printer to bring the content into Kurzweil.  The videos have very engaging teenage characters.  The slideshows require reading and have a music background.   These are suitable for intermediate grades and older. 


Access:  The site is free and requires no log-in.  Kid-safe.


Math 6 Spy Guys (Alberta)

Outstanding basic math concepts could be used grade 4-7.  A formed UDL team recommended this site which they use for student homework support. The site has instructional videos, a glossary for math terms used in the lesson, printable math activities, and notes for parents about how they can support students with each lesson. The printable activities can be imported directly to SMARTBoard using the virtual NB printer. The area and perimeter lesson is a great one to demo.

CK-12 STEM Curriculum Curation

This non-profit organization aims to produce and collect high quality resources (print, video, quizzes, study aids) to address STEM curricular topics aligned with US Standards.  The collection is especially strong in math and science at the middle to high school level but includes a few other topics as well. 




Spelling City

This website allows you to work from pre-made lists (such as the Dolch words) or to input your own spelling words.  The website will help teach and test the words and instantly creates a variety of games from the words you input.  I have tried it with more difficult words and it still works.


Access: The basic site is free and requires no log-in.  The paid version gives you access to more features and games.


Educational Games


This website was recommended by grade 5 teacher Penny H. during the workshop.  It includes a wide variety of K-5 games and resources including a 100's chart, a Word Cloud tool which looks like a safe alternative for Wordle, Dolch Word activities and much more.



Access: free no log-in.  Some advertising for apps on the front page but once you're in the grade sections there is no advertising.


Free Rice 

This vocabulary (and other topics) quiz site quickly adjusts to your level and builds in repetitions for words you defined incorrectly the first time, helping to build vocabulary.  Once you start playing, you can also select a level at the bottom.  For every correct answer, this website donates rice to fight world hunger.  The site originally started out with just vocabulary but is starting to add additional topics such as the chemistry symbols, multiplication tables, French,  and world geography.


Access:  This site is free and requires no log-in unless you want to track your progress, join groups, etc.  There is some advertising for donations.




Into The Book 

This outstanding website focuses on 8 reading strategies.  The activities are both educationally sound and engaging with phenomenal graphics.  The Kids Area has interactive activities for each reading strategy.  The teacher section has videos of teachers teaching, lesson plans, posters, downloads, and more.  I first saw this demonstrated by the BC UDL team from Birchland Elementary who use it extensively on their SMARTBoards. 

My favourite is the summarizing activity which teaches kids about main idea and supporting details by writing a Pirate Handbook.  Suitable for intermediate to middle school.


Access:  Easy log-in with just a first name.  You can register if you want to save your progress.  Now works on the iPad!


Schmoop Literature

This website is written in very student-friendly language asking questions like "Why should I care?" in considering great literature.  Includes summaries, character studies, themes for classic literature.  The Romeo and Juliet summary video "How it All Goes Down" is especially hilarious. 


Access: This site has free and paid options and there is no log-in for the free materials.  There is some advertising for the paid portion.




Great Source iWrite 

This website guides students through the writing process for the main types of writing narrative, persuasive, expository, research, and response to literature.  Provides step-by-step instructions and downloadable graphic organizers to guide every step of the process.


Access:  This site is free and requires no log-in.  Some advertising. 



Current Events (Leveled Reading)



Newsela is a current events website featuring articles written at various levels of complexity and with different amounts of text.  Just click the panel on the right hand side to change the level. 


Smithsonian Tween Tribune

More leveled reading from Smithsonian.  Click the "Lexile" levels below the article to alter the text.


Collecting and Sharing Bookmarks


Social Bookmarking:  Diigo and Delicious

This is my favourite tool for sharing bookmarks with teachers and hands-down my most useful online tool.  I use Diigo to store my bookmarks on the web rather than have them attached to a particular computer.  This allows me to add to or access my bookmarks from any device or platform (iphone, ipad, mac computer, windows computer).  I can give my bookmarks reasonable names and write comments about the websites.  The bookmarks are tagged with searchable keywords instead of put into folders.  Since most of my bookmarks are public (I can designate bookmarks as private as well) other people can search to see what I've bookmarked on a certain topic.  I can also see what other people have bookmarked.  You can follow people or create groups to which a number of people post bookmarks.  You can also share bookmarks easily by creating lists. 


Social Bookmarking in Plain English Video from Commoncraft


Access:  free but you can upgrade, requires log-in.  To avoid the ads, use Chrome Browser with AdBlocker.  Also an app. 


Shortening urls:  Bitly

Bitly is an online service you can use to shorten long web addresses (urls) that would otherwise be difficult to type correctly.  Just copy and paste the web address into the space at the top and bitly will shorten it.  If you create an account you can further customize the url making it even easier for kids to type and remember.


Access:  free but you can upgrade, does not require log-in for simple conversion.  Also an app.


Visual Bookmarks:  Sqworl, Pearltrees, Symbaloo, Pinterest, etc.

I have tried several but I still like Sqworl best for sharing websites with students.  The students only have to type in the short sqworl address and then have access to the selection of visual thumbnails you've provided.  You can search sqworls other people have already posted and favourite them if you have logged in.  You can also have sqworls that branch to other sqworls. Very easy to use as you just paste in the url and sqworl pulls the picture for you.


This sqworl contains all the websites on this wiki page and many more.


Access: free but you can upgrade to no ads.  Does not require a log-in to browse or view existing sqworls but you do need to log-in to create your own. Our district blocks out the ads but if ads are a problem, use the Google Chrome browser with the AdBlocker extension to view.


Pinterest is a source for all things interesting. Ideas are represented as 'pins' containing a picture, short description and often a link to more information. Pins are 'pinned' onto boards for categorizing, storing and searching. Fellow 'pinners' are followed in the same was as twitter and it is a steady source for new ideas.


Access: Free. Log in required only to start your own boards and collections of pins.




instead of http://sqworl.com 

Embedding links

Many applications have ways to create links to websites (Word, PPT, SMARTBoard, wikis, websites) and they all pretty much work the same way.  Select the item you want to link and right-mouse-click it.  From the menu that pops up choose "link" or "hyperlink". 


Access:   When you share links this way, you have to provide a clickable copy as the paper copy won't include the actual link.

RSS Feeds:  Feedly and many others

This group of tools is useful keeping track of the blogs, podcasts, and news feeds you like to follow.  Instead of you having to go to each site, these tools collect all the new articles in one place.  When Google Reader disappeared, I started using Feedly which is available on my computer and also as an app.  Basically, you just input a url and Feedly starts collecting articles and lets you know the number of unread articles. 


RSS Feeds in Plain English video by Common Craft.


Access:  free but requires log-in.  You can use your existing Google account to log-in.  Also an app.

Websites:  Weebly, Weebly, and Weebly

Creating a free website on Weebly is astoundingly simple.  Basically, you select a pre-made template and then just drag title, text, photo, slideshow and other objects onto the page.  If you can type in a Word document and know how to upload a photo, you can create a website at Weebly.  You drag your pages into place on an outline and Weebly even creates cascading menus.  You can also Blog at Weebly.  My colleague Maureen has created a Weebly with some of her favourite curriculum links. 




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