“This is going to be the best year ever!”
“I’m going to do better this year.”
School is back in full swing, and almost everyone is optimistic about how the semester and school year are going to go. Students are doing a great job of staying on task so far. A few of them even have some kind of plan, which is great.
As teachers, parents, and caregivers, how can you help? In addition to my posts on Tips to Help with Reading and Writing and Tips to Help with Math, there are many other resources to help students catch up or get ahead in their subjects. Here are some of my online recommendations for practice or inspiration…
As stated in Tips To Help with Math, Bright Hub Education has plenty of math help lessons. They also have other subjects, but I like their math sections best. There’s also some great information at Free Math Help. And since multiplication is still my most requested subject, also check out Multiplication.com for fun ways to hone multiplication skills.
Did you know that YouTube also has educational videos? A lot of people don’t. There are some great educational channels that can help students get started or refreshed in any subject. In Math, we have Vi Hart’s YouTube channel. Ms. Hart does a great job of making math interesting by telling stories about the concepts. She doesn’t have videos about every math topic, but what she does have is fun. You or your student may have seen her video about hexaflexagons, which went viral last year.
From Biology to Chemistry to Physics and more, there are many topics to get confused about in Science.
For Biology, one of my favorite sites is The Biology Corner. There are explanations to all the usual lessons and lab experiments you can think of, along with worksheets and sample problems, because this site is a resource for teachers also. The Biology Corner covers all levels of topics from Intro Science to AP Biology.
Physics can be tough, but the Physics Classroom has great explanations, sometimes with funny or cute examples. The language is easy to understand… at least, as easy as physics gets.
As mentioned before, Google has an annual online science fair that I highly recommend. Although this year’s competition is coming to a close (the Finalist Event is Sept 23rd), that means this is the perfect time to start on the project for next year’s competition! For science project ideas, check out Science Project or Science Buddies.
If your student isn’t quite so interested in science, show them rapper GZA supporting Science Genius, an educational science program introduced to some inner-city New York schools earlier this year. It’s not just some hack celebrity tie-in either: GZA has always been interested in science, weaving science concepts into his lyrics, most prominently highlighted in his new album Dark Matter.
Alex Dainis runs the YouTube channel Bite Sci-zed where she talks about science-y things that she finds interesting. For other random interesting science ideas, check out the TED Talks YouTube channel TED Ed.
For English Literature, nothing beats reading the book. I know that a lot of students use Cliffs Notes or Spark Notes, and while I don’t recommend them–not by themselves–they can help students understand the material better.
I recommend Shmoop for English. Shmoop.com, like some others on here, has information videos about almost every subject, but I think their material for English/Language Arts is most useful.
Lastly, many people have heard of Khan Academy and their YouTube channel. Khan Academy is an excellent virtual tutor for any of the above subjects. “Doesn’t that take away from your job?” a student asked. Ah haha, no. While Khan Academy and others on this list are incredibly informative and useful for some students, most students still need a live tutor like me. So I will always recommend education sites. My job is to give students as many tools as possible to help them learn. The more resources, the better!
When it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter what your background is. Everyone can use these resources to understand school subjects better. Even if there’s been difficulty in particular subjects in the past, by integrating these helpful resources into your lives, your students (and everyone!) can have a better understanding of the things around them.
Good luck and happy learning!