With COVID-19 still running rampant across the country, it’s safe to say that the 2020–2021 school year will be filled with uncertainty. As local districts begin to strategize safe back-to-school plans for their campuses, it’s more important than ever for teachers to prepare themselves. 

Whether you’ll be teaching in a classroom, online, or in a hybrid format this year, we’ve compiled a list of free supplies, resources, and tools that will make your job easier. Click the links below to jump to a specific section, then check out our visual guide to making distance learning more engaging for your students. 

Table of contents

Free Stuff for Teachers by Mail 

With stores closed around the country, ordering supplies online is more important than ever. Use these resources to request free stuff by mail for your classroom, whether you’re teaching at school or at home.  

  • American Electric Power safety kits: Teachers of grades K–4 in any of American Electric Power’s serviced communities can request free safety booklets or kits for their classrooms. 
  • Colgate classroom kit: Use your school email address to get a kit of Colgate classroom supplies delivered to you. This includes classroom materials, toothpaste samples, and toothbrushes for 25 students. 
  • Free Hand Sanitizer: Order free hand sanitizers and dispensers for your classroom (or even your whole school) from School Health. 
  • Free rulers: Get a set of six-inch wooden rulers for your classroom, with as many rulers as you need for each student to have their own. 
  • NSCW Supplies: Raise awareness about the importance of education with free supplies like stickers, scarves, and signs from the National School Choice Week organization.
  • Pearls in School: Perfect for science classes, these kits will teach your students about pearl culturing and the oyster life cycle. These kits are in high demand, so be sure to order yours before prices go up!
  • Rentacalc pencils: Get a free box of #2 HB Dixon Ticonderoga Pencils with free shipping for teachers!
  • School Mate: Sign up for the free catalog from School Mate to get a free gift: your choice of a planner, folder, or wall calendar! 
  • SitSpot: Get a free sample of circular padding to be used as a floor sitting area for students. These pads are perfect for young students during reading time! Order a free sample by filling out this form
  • ZooZingo: Use your school email address to get a free set of animal cards from ZooZingo. You must be a school administrator at an elementary school with over 150 students.

Free Posters for Teachers 

If you’ll be back in the classroom this fall, make sure it looks its best! Order free posters from these sites to dress up your room and make it fun for the students! 

  • National Gallery of Art Posters: Download free posters that are perfect for art and creative writing classes. Posters currently available are “The Farm (La masía)” by Joan Miró, “Shaw Memorial” by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and “The Railway” by Edouard Manet.
  • Pass It On: Promote values like kindness and compassion with free posters and DVDs from Pass It On. 
  • Think CERCA: Teach persuasive and argumentative writing with this free poster from CERCA. Just fill out a form with your school and position. 

Free DVDs and Videos

Movies and videos are great ways to boost engagement and get your students excited about learning! The following resources offer free DVDs and videos to use in your lessons.  

  • C-Span Resources: C-Span offers videos for social studies teachers – with everything from current politics to American history. Just search for a topic and play the video!
  • Human Rights info kit: Get a free DVD and instructional booklet on human rights issues, perfect for high school and college education.
  • Izzit DVDs: Get access to free DVDs on a range of subjects, along with quizzes, vocabulary words, and discussion questions. 
  • Stossel free DVDs: Order a free 115-minute DVD with segments on economics, journalism, environmental issues, and more! This DVD is perfect for high school classes.  
  • Teaching Tolerance: These films are free to order for K–12 schools. Topics include the civil rights movement, bullying, the Holocaust, and more.

Downloadable Teachers’ Freebies 

From worksheets to posters, use these downloadable teachers’ freebies to supplement your lessons and help your students learn! 

  • Bully Free Toolkit: Get a free downloadable kit with educational resources to stop bullying in schools. 
  • Curriki free curriculum: Access thousands of free activities and lessons from Curriki, on topics like calculus, social studies, language arts, and more. 
  • Maplesoft: Get free downloadable math and engineering posters and desktop backgrounds – these posters have stunning visuals that will improve any classroom or home learning environment! 
  • Teachers Pay Teachers: Get thousands of free, pre-made lesson plans and printables from pre-K through 12th grade. 

Free Mental Health Resources for Teachers 

This past year has been incredibly stressful and challenging for our country’s educators. Take care of your mental health and your students’ with these free resources and services. 

  • Breathe 4 Change: This website offers resources the entire class can use to practice mindfulness in a distance learning setting. 
  • Shine: Utilize free toolkits, guided meditations, breathing exercises, and expert advice – the team at Shine has put together these resources specifically for the current uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Songs of Comfort: Famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma has been publishing daily “Songs of Comfort” via Facebook to soothe anxious minds. 
  • Spotify: NPR created a Spotify playlist with relaxing songs that promote peacefulness. 
  • Support groups: The Anxiety and Depression Association of America offers free online support groups for individuals dealing with mental health problems.

Free Software and Apps for Teachers 

Tools like Flipgrid and Google Classroom are quickly becoming staples of distance learning. Check them out below. 

  • Baamboozle: This game hub offers hundreds of free games and activities, perfect for students of all ages! 
  • Basecamp: Use Basecamp to organize projects, activities, and schedules for your classroom. As long as you agree to use it for your classroom, you’re eligible for a free account! 
  • Flipgrid: This free tool lets students record short videos – use it for reading, presentations, speaking, and more! 
  • Gimkit: This app gamifies the learning process for students through points and rewards, making learning fun. 
  • Google Classroom: Part of the Google suite, this software allows teachers to digitally organize class rosters, assignments, grading, and more in one place. 
  • Kred App: With a focus on positive reinforcement, this app can be used by parents and teachers to reward students for setting and achieving goals. 
  • Microsoft: Educators get free software from Microsoft Office, including Excel and Word. You can even get access to Minecraft! You just need a valid Office 365 account.
  • Pear Deck: This Google Slides integration allows for interactive content in your presentation. 
  • Vooks: This app offers animated illustrations, read-along text features, and narrated stories for young children! Right now, teachers and homeschool educators can get a year of free Vooks.

Distance Learning Tips and Tricks for Teachers

Distance learning relies on digital and internet-based instruction for students and teachers who are not in the same location. 

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools across the country were forced to adopt last-minute distance learning policies to prioritize the health of their students and staff. With the pandemic still in full force, it’s possible that distance learning will still be on the table for thousands of schools in the United States. 

We created this infographic to help teachers and parents make distance learning more effective for their students in the 2020–2021 school year. From free apps and software to specific engagement strategies, these tips will streamline the distance learning process and keep kids learning, no matter what school looks like this year! 

Whether you’re back in the classroom this school year or teaching online, we hope these resources help you teach to the best of your ability. Be sure to check out our guide to educator’s discounts for even more free stuff for teachers

Sources

Education Data | World Population Review | Economic Policy Institute | UNESCO | We Forum | University of South Florida | Pear Deck | Online Schools Report | Inside Highered | Baamboozle | WBT Systems | University Business | Casel | ScienceDirect | University of Toronto | EdutopiaOverly Honest Teacher | Simply Working Mama | Kred | Game Cows

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