Online professional learning resources are designed to be engaging and practical across a variety of contexts and roles. You deserve a differentiated experience just as much as your students do.
RESOURCES FOR VIRTUAL INSTRUCTION AND ONLINE LEARNING
Online learning and instruction offer their own particular benefits and challenges at any time—here we suggest some resources and activities that may help those suddenly faced with teaching online.
Click on each item to jump directly to the resource described or scroll to browse.
NCTE BLOG POSTS
NCTE JOURNAL ARTICLES
ReadWriteThink.org ACTIVITIES K–12
FROM OTHER EDUCATION ORGANIZATIONS
Writing Together: Ten Weeks Teaching and Studenting in an Online Writing Course
This book narrates the experience of an asynchronous online writing course (OWC) through the dual perspective of the teacher, Scott, and a student, Diana Gasiewski, who participated in that OWC. Both teacher and student describe their strategies, activities, approaches, thoughts, and responses as they move week by week through the experience of teaching and taking an OWC.
You’ve probably heard that audiobooks serve as a useful resource for struggling readers. Classroom teachers sometimes use audiobooks to help students gain access to material that’s too difficult for them to read independently. Audiobooks help novice readers build vocabulary, boost pronunciation skills, and develop fluency. What you might not have considered is what audiobooks offer proficient readers.
Book-to-film adaptations provide great ways for children to explore their favorite books in new ways.
Read on to see how you can use comics and cartoons with children and students.
Children and students need to feel that they own their space and the learning that takes place in it.
Encourage family relationship building by participating in family activities during breaks from school.
The following resources from NCTE and ReadWriteThink.org provide more ideas for fostering family literacy.
Nothing tests your knowledge like a crossword puzzle! But did you know the format of a crossword puzzle can be an effective learning tool, too?
If you are spending time with friends and family, in person or virtually, work together on these activities!
Since a majority of our students are engaging with social media outside the classroom, it makes good sense to integrate it into learning.
Breaks from school offer wonderful opportunities for families, caregivers, and out-of-school educators to help improve reading and writing. ReadWriteThink.org‘s Parent & Afterschool Resources and NCTE provide many resources, activities, and tools.
Reading and writing texts online are basic skills that students need to be literate citizens in today’s world. Teaching with blogs provides the opportunity to engage students in both of these literacy activities, and the strategy has the additional benefit of enabling students to publish their writing easily and to share their writing with an authentic audience.
Take a few minutes and send someone a handwritten letter. Then, invite your students to write letters using these resources from ReadWriteThink.org.
Zines are small-circulation, self-published works of original or appropriated texts and images. Here are some resources from NCTE and ReadWriteThink.org to get you started.
Voices from the Middle
Lesson plans with specific digital tools mentioned to complete projects/tasks.
The authors examine photovoice projects created by students and teacher candidates who explored issues of gender in response to a young adult novel and co-researched that process.
This article describes blogging implementation in ninth-grade pre-advanced placement language arts classes to support strong writing practices. The author found that blogging empowered high school authors to craft worlds of digital expression where they pushed each other to become stronger writers.
Voices from the Middle
Recommendations of digital classroom tools from The Nerdy Book Club.
Voices from the Middle
This article describes how a middle school teacher uses technology, within an otherwise traditional writing workshop, to facilitate differentiated mini-lessons, confer with writers, and offer writers opportunity for peer response. In the end, she balances ways of streamlining workflow digitally, while maintaining the integrity of writing workshop and offering greater differentiation to meet the needs of writers in her middle school classroom.
English Leadership Quarterly
In this interview, Chris Bronke, teacher and CEL member, discusses useful digital tools for conferring.
Voices from the Middle
This article offers a model for organizing collaborative learning outside of classroom time. It describes affordances and constraints of the digital space and the process used. It also offers insight to how teaching in online spaces looks different from face-to-face instruction and how to support students. Includes screenshots that show very specific ways to set up a class module along with discussions of what to consider as you construct this.
The authors worked with preservice teachers and youth in a juvenile detention center to pilot a curriculum focused on critical engagement with online text. Discussion of a specific lesson plan that involves analyzing Instagram posts.
The setting and characters of To Kill a Mockingbird came to life in new ways when eighth graders in Georgia explored virtual reality apps as they studied the novel.
Voices from the Middle
While this specific lesson was classroom-focused, it could easily be adapted to digital work, especially related to current events.
As an alternative to the traditional research paper for an English class, a digital narrative assignment positioned students as multimedia storytellers.
English Leadership Quarterly
Discussion of a specific lesson plan and digital tools for sharing peer responses to writing.
This Perspectives on Practice column focuses on using student audio recordings to help them craft their writing. Students use audio recorders of their own choice (like a smartphone or other kind of device) to record their own thoughts as they draft projects.
- ReadWriteThink’s mission is to provide educators, parents, and after-school professionals with access to the highest quality practices in reading and language arts instruction by offering the very best in free materials.
- Parent & Afterschool Resources
So just how are you supposed to read aloud? Or help kids write? Get quick and useful suggestions from the experts.
Not your everyday calendar, here you can find important events in literary history, authors’ birthdays, and a variety of holidays, all with related activities and resources that make them more relevant to students. View by day, by week, or by month.
Want to help kids and teens with their reading and writing skills, but not sure where to begin? We’ve got engaging, step-by-step activities—just pick one and get started!
Kids and teens should read and write even when they are out of school. Why is this so important? Check out this flyer.
ReadWriteThink.org ACTIVITIES K–12
Act out a story after reading it. Work together to create a script and make costumes and props. Then invite others to watch and hear your story!
Choose favorite rhyming songs or nursery rhymes then replace the rhyming words with seasonal themes.
Help children use favorite photos to write a homemade memory book.
Boost vocabulary by taking an imaginary trip into space. After a lunar “landing,” children return to Earth with a galaxy of new words.
After reading If You Give a Moose a Muffin, have a “Muffin Party”! Children will write invitations, follow a recipe, and enjoy sharing their homemade muffins.
- Learn About Staying Safe (K–2)
Share a fun book about staying safe and then talk about real-life safety issues before writing a letter to someone in your community who can help.
Children will learn their address and phone number to help keep them safe.
The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and you’re surrounded by brilliant shades of green! Observe and collect sensory images from nature and use the sights, sounds, smells, and textures to create original nature poetry.
In this activity, children go on a hunt for places where they can read and enjoy books: on a family road trip, at the pool, at the doctor’s office.
- Let’s Play Bingo! (K–2)
Work together, create a bingo board that can be played while walking around town, going to the zoo or a museum, or traveling on a vacation.
In this activity, children write short everyday notes to remind, plan, request, or compliment others.
Find three fun online games that are designed to help children learn to recognize letters and how they sound.
- Reading Signs and Labels (K–2)
These activities will have children reading signs, logos, brand names, and other words all over their homes and communities.
- Rhyme Time with Madeline (K–2)
Children love books that rhyme and to create their own rhymes. It’s a fun way to learn how words sound similar to one another!
With a piece of paper and a pen, kids can learn anywhere! This activity gets kids writing, looking closely at letters, and learning some new words in any room of the house.
Encourage children to connect words and pictures by having them write their own captions for family or magazine photos.
- Watching a Garden Grow (K–2)
When you plant a garden, involve children in the process by writing down questions and observations on the garden’s growth in a garden journal.
From dishes to doors, find shapes all around you while strengthening important reading and math skills.
- Wild and Crazy Words (K–3)
Make learning how to spell words a little “wild and crazy” by ditching the pen and paper and using unique materials that will make your kids really smile while they’re having fun.
Children incorporate materials from outdoors with paints or crayons to create pieces of art to display on their clotheslines, fences, or porches for a neighborhood art show.
Want to visit a museum without leaving your computer? Virtually dig for famous historical artifacts from around the world found in the British Museum.
Get children excited about writing and descriptive language by creating yummy descriptions of their favorite candy.
- Write a Recipe (3–5)
Use recipes to help children practice reading and writing step-by-step instructions. Have them sample the results to see how they did.
- Write Theme Poems (3–5)
Use shape and theme poems—poems that look like the things they describe—as a fun way to introduce children to poetry.
- Can You Convince Me? (3–5)
Children learn how to make a convincing argument—an important skill in school and in life.
Have children make cards describing their favorite characters from the books they have read.
Using published comics and cartoons as examples, children can create their own while playing with images and language.
Children can interview family members and make an illustrated timeline of the most important family events and memories.
In this activity, children look closely at living things in their natural environments and then make books about what they see.
- Fairy Tales and You (3–5)
Children will draw on their knowledge of story structure and fairy tales to write their own.
- Go Wild with Webcams! (3–5)
Can’t make it to a zoo? After reading a book about apes, observe animal habits and habitats using one of the many webcams broadcasting from zoos and aquariums around the United States and the world.
- Let’s Play a Game (3–5)
Playing board games or card games can be a fun activity, so why not make your own?
- Mail Time! (3–5)
Sort through your junk mail and talk about what you find for a fun literacy activity before recycling it!
Children watch the nighttime sky come alive as they read a book about fascinating elements in the night and write a poem/story about the things they learn!
Let children explore an interesting subject—themselves. An online tool will teach them to summarize and organize information as they write.
While enjoying a book that features a journey, children write postcards from the perspective of the main character for each stop along the trip.
Shake up children’s reading by introducing them to new and fun formats for storytelling.
After reading about historical figures and other important people that have changed the world, children choose someone that they consider to be “amazing”—either someone they’ve heard about or someone they know—and create a book page that highlights this person.
Create a treasure hunt out of word-puzzle clues hidden around the home or yard.
Everyone loves getting a greeting card, especially if it’s handmade. Make a funny or thoughtful greeting card or invitation with pictures and a poem, a joke, or a riddle.
- Think Hink Pinks! (4–6)
Kids will love Hink Pinks—word puzzles that use two-word clues to lead to a rhyming solution. Try one and get hooked yourself: Obese feline? Fat cat!
Brainstorm popular expressions with friends and family, then explore their meanings through game play and writing/drawing/cut-and-paste activities.
Explore fairy tales told in both old and new ways and use an online tool to help children create their own “fractured” version of a fairy tale.
- Make a Mystery Puzzle (5–8)
Have children explore the different parts of mystery writing by making a puzzle about a favorite book. They can then invent and write their own mysteries using the online Mystery Cube tool.
- Make a Magnetic Poetry Set (5–10)
Let children practice using different types of words in a fill-in-the-blank-story game before making their own word list for a magnetic poetry set.
- Celebrate Heroes (6–8)
Encourage children to spend a little time thinking and writing about just what makes a hero and who their personal heroes might be.
Visit a museum or art gallery (either online or in person) with children and teens, helping them find inspiration for a story based on a piece of art that they particularly enjoy or relate to.
After reading a book or magazine, children and teens can choose a section and transform it into a “found poem.”
Before seeing a film based on a book, classic or contemporary, children can learn about filmmaking and create their own scenes based on their favorite moments from the book.
Invite young adults to write letters to classmates, postcards from travels, and emails to family and friends.
- Writing Fanfiction (6–10)
Writing stories that imitate a certain genre or type of fiction allows children to explore a book they love by imagining new twists for their favorite characters and plot lines.
- Create a Career Blog (7–12)
This activity invites children and teens to explore various careers and then write about what they might want to be when they grow up in a blog.
Kids learn about weather sayings throughout history while writing and illustrating a book for younger children.
Explore how music can have an emotional impact on a scene in a movie, then help teens write and film a scene of their own.
Invite teens to explore issues that are important to them and then write a script and film a video public service announcement.
Work with teens to learn about family members’ significant personal experiences by interviewing them and sharing their stories with the rest of the family.
Engage teens in this activity in which they use photographs to examine and write about courage on a blog.
- Children’s Book Project (9–12)
This activity can help teens create picture books that a teen caregiver can then share with children.
- Comic Book Show and Tell (9–12)
This activity will help pairs or groups of teens explore a hands-on approach that lets them become both comic book writers and comic book artists.
- Explore Your Reading Self (9–12)
In this activity teens are encouraged to explore their reading history as they remember books they liked reading as children and then revisit these old favorites.
Work with a teen to create a wiki with everything people should know about the teen’s top ten favorite songs—and your favorite songs as well! Then invite friends to add their favorite songs too.
- Recording Family Stories (9–12)
Teens can take part in the process of building family histories by recording the stories, or memoirs, of family members.
- Soundtrack for My Life (9–12)
In this project, teens create autobiographies, adding music selections to their life stories.
- Speak Up! Writing a Review (9–12)
This activity gives teens an opportunity to write reviews on the movies, television shows, music, restaurants, and books they love—and hate!
Using a variety of artifacts, mementos, and technologies, teens can create an electronic scrapbook of their most important moments in high school.
In this activity, you can discuss with teens how they can tell the “good” characters from the “bad” ones by watching for clues that the movie makers have left.
- Writing a First Résumé (9–12)
This activity will help teens create a professional résumé that effectively presents their skills and talents to future employers.
FROM OTHER EDUCATION ORGANIZATIONS
- 9 Remote Learning Strategies—Think CERCA
- Amazing (and Free) Resources from the Library of Congress—Knowledge Quest
- A Mini Clearinghouse on Coronavirus, Created by Two School Librarians—School Library Journal
- Calling Online Educators: How Can We Help Our Colleagues Whose Courses Have Already Gone or Might Soon Go Online?—Now Comment
- Connected Learning in Teaching Practice: Resources for Educators—Connected Learning Alliance
- Coronavirus Is Poised to Inflame Inequality In Schools—The Hechinger Report
- Coronavirus Resources: Teaching, Learning and Thinking Critically—The New York Times
- Education Companies Offering Free Subscriptions due to School Closings – Amazing Educational Resources
- Going Online: Nurturing Learning & Community During a Pandemic—Ethical ELA
- People Share Their Favorite Library Lifehacks—I Love Libraries
- Prepare to Move Online (In A Hurry)—Inside Higher Ed
- Resources for Teaching Online Due to School Closures—The Edublogger
- Students’ Readiness to Adopt Fully Online Learning—Educause
Looking for more online learning opportunities?
Browse our collection of on-demand resources in the NCTE Store.
Who Benefits from NCTE Online Learning?
Teachers, teacher leaders, literacy coaches, administrators, and staff development coordinators can all benefit from participation in NCTE’s online learning.
Using research findings on collaboration and standards implementation as our inspiration, we are pleased to offer a new way of thinking about professional learning. With NCTE’s online learning resources you may be accessing the resources online but that’s where the similarities stop!
- We offer individual, school and district pricing options—because we want to encourage collaboration and conversation without making the process more complicated.
- With shrinking budgets and time for collaboration, we draw resources from across our publishing library so your time spent together is anchored in conversations about teaching and student learning not finding resources.
- Literacy is not just the English teacher’s job anymore. Our resources highlight literacy practices from across the school day, making cross disciplinary conversations more likely.
- Professional activities are grounded in the promise of impacting practices not accountability and seat time.
- We’ve built choice into our activities, anticipating the many roles and needs in schools.