These 11 online teaching tools for upper elementary teachers engage students and bring teaching and learning to life!
Have little tech experience or know-how?
These online tools are easy to prep and produce bountiful results!
You know, I’m super excited to write this post!
Throughout the year, I keep a list of useful websites that help me improve the teaching and learning process.
Every now and then, I revise and edit that list thinking about how well each website has maintained its quality and usefulness for students.
Year after year, I see a pattern of which sites remain on my list. Those are obviously the winners!
I’m going to share this fabulous list with you so keep reading to find out…
- Where to find these awesome online teaching tools.
- How to use them to reinforce learning objectives.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m writing a lesson plan, I’m always trying to figure out how I can make the lesson more engaging and interactive for students.
Kids love technology, but I don’t like to use technology in the classroom just for the sake of saying I use it. It has to be meaningful in some way.
Plus, technological tools that are a chore to set-up, understand, and use just aren’t for me!
What I want out of online teaching tools is simple. I desire tools that…
- require relatively easy prep.
- meet and/or reinforce teaching objectives.
- have a minimal or not-too-great learning curve.
- engage kiddos!
- produce bountiful results!
If you’ve got one or more computers/electronic devices accessible to you at school, a projector screen, and Internet in your teaching environment, then you’re all set!
So let’s get into it!
The Best Online Teaching Tools for Upper Elementary Teachers
Most of these online teaching tools are free to use or offer some of their features for free. However, a few do require payment.
Hopefully your school district has access to the paid resources or is willing to get access.
Additionally, if the price isn’t too much, you may want to consider having your own subscription.
You’ve probably heard of Kahoot!
It’s a BIG hit with elementary students.
Kahoot is one of the best game-based online teaching tools where you can create quizzes, surveys, and discussions.
What do you need?
Well, you need a main computer, each student or group of students needs a device (it could even be a cell phone, just as long as there’s an Internet connection), and that’s it!
To use, create multiple-choice questions and project them on the projector screen. Keep in mind that questions have a character limit, and you can have up to four answer choices.
You then just follow the onscreen instructions to set up the rest of the questions.
The great thing about Kahoot is that it saves your games so that you can refer to them at a later time!
Also, you can choose from games and/or templates already made and use those instead of starting from scratch.
Now that’s low prep!
You do have to create an account (it’s FREE!), and students login using a pin that’s generated once they try to access the quiz, survey, or discussion that you’ve created.
Individuals or student groups will create a username which will display as the game is played and viola! They’re all ready to start!
Once the game has started, individually or in small groups, students answer the questions on their devices.
It’s as simple as that!
Kahoot is a hoot and oh so much fun!
Use Kahoot to practice with students before an exam, review unit concepts, access prior knowledge of a subject, whatever!
We’re educators! We know how to use our creative juices to get the most out of online teaching tools!
2. Learn Zillion
I stumbled upon Learn Zillion one day as I was looking for online teaching tools to support the Common Core standards.
Arriving to its homepage (which has changed a bit since its earlier days) can be a bit overwhelming.
But this link will take you straight to their free curriculum resources.
At the top of the page, choose between math or English language arts resources.
What I love about Learn Zillion is that the videos are short and sweet.
Furthermore, the videos are created and narrated by educators and include a good variety of additional materials such as notes and implementation guides though you must register and/or pay to access these items.
Learn Zillion is one of the awesome online teaching tools that has been on my list the longest!
3. Khan Academy
I haven’t always been the biggest fan of Khan Academy, but I can’t deny it’s usefulness in explaining concepts visually and in simple terms.
Khan Academy is a video-based online teaching tool that categorizes videos based on learning objective.
Though it’s main focus is math, it does have some language arts components that primarily center around grammar concepts.
Khan Academy is free!
Simply find a video that meets your learning objective and play it on the projector for students to see.
If students have their own devices, they can watch videos without registering. SCORE!
These allows for some great differentiation opportunities!
4. Jeopardy Labs
Like Kahoot, Jeopardy Labs is one of several digital game-based online teaching tools.
Just about anyone of a certain age knows about Jeopardy. The online game pretty much follows the same format.
You customize the games according to the material that you want students to learn or review. There are templates and/or games already made that you can use also.
If you want to save your game, you must register, but it’s free!
I have students play Jeopardy in groups.
You decide which group goes first, how points are accumulated or taken away, and how groups will signal that they’d like to answer (The real game has a buzzer. You may want to do this differently).
The game of Jeopardy has ALWAYS been a hit with my students! There is some prep work up front, BUT you can use the game over and over again, editing it as needed.
5. Study Jams
We all know Scholastic is a big name in education.
It has fabulous resources and continuously produces quality content for educators decade after decade.
One of Scholastic’s little-known secrets is Study Jams, a collection of over 200 interactive math and science videos that can be used within a range of grade levels.
I absolutely LOVE these quality video cartoons because they are kid-centric, authentic, engaging, and get to the point sooner rather than later.
Some of the videos even come with karaoke-style songs for kids!
Though the videos only focus on math and science, I could not bring myself to write this post without mentioning Study Jams!
Study Jams is free, and you don’t even have to register to access the videos and the questions that accompany them!
Simply find a video that meets your teaching objective, play it, and that’s it!
These videos are great for mini-lessons, reviewing content, closing a lesson, etc.
Cater to students’ musical intelligence with Flocabulary!
Flocabulary uses educational rap and hip-hop songs/videos to teach students in all grade levels various skills and strategies within a wide range of subject areas.
Like other online teaching tools mentioned on this list, it is highly engaging, and I must say, the tunes are very catchy!
The quality of the songs/videos plus the wide variety of topics offered is just amazing! This site has ALWAYS been a hit with my students.
The videos are short and sweet and even come with lyrics.
Unfortunately, Flocabulary isn’t free, but they do offer some videos/songs for free and a 14-day trial.
Their free video tutorials and webinars walk you through the main features of the site, so you might want to check those out.
Do sign up, though, and try it out. It is totally worth it, and your lessons will definitely have a little more pizzazz!
The individual membership is only $8 per month, but you’ll only have access to the videos/songs and the lyrics. With the 14-day trial, you can try out much much more!
Although they come with a higher price tag, the school and district memberships include a number of great resources such as activities, reading passages, assessments, and student tracking.
‘Yo, You wanna engage your kids somehow? Then you gotta sign up for Flocabulary now! Word!
BrainPop and all of its accompanying websites (BrainPop Jr., BrainPop ELL, and BrainPop Español) are kind of, in my opinion, the “daddy” of all educational videos for kids.
The videos are high-quality, very engaging for kids, and come with a variety of extra resources such as worksheets, quizzes, and project ideas.
Videos cover a wide range of topics and subjects from grades K-12.
Just search for your topic, play the video, print some of the accompanying materials, and there you have it!
The big downside is that BrainPop costs some serious cash! Some videos are offered for free, but the majority of the content is through paid access.
Many school districts have an account, but if yours does not, see if it could be in the budget to purchase for at least one year.
There are also individual packages, so check out BrainPop’s subscription page to determine which plan would work best for your needs.
This online teaching tool is SO worth it!
8. Just Paste.It
Let’s step away a bit from video-based online teaching tools and into the world of research.
Just Paste.It can be used in many ways, but let me tell you how I engaged my kiddos with it.
As an upper elementary teacher, I required my students to complete various research projects throughout the school year.
As you are well aware, teaching elementary kids how to do research can be a pain. The process of teaching them how to choose relevant sources that are kid-appropriate is challenging.
Just Paste.It solved my problem!
Let’s suppose your kiddos will soon study the solar system.
First, search high and low to find a variety of online resources that students can use to conduct research.
Then take all of your findings and type them with links in the Just Paste.it editor box. Aim to have at least 10-15 good websites posted that students can explore.
After publishing, notice the new URL in the address bar of your browser.
When working individually or in groups, learners use that URL with their individual computers or devices to access the links that you complied for them.
From there, they do their individual or group research using those links. No real worries about them getting information from unreliable sites.
It’s works like a charm!
Be sure to remember the new URL address that students use to access the content because you’ll need it to edit the information whenever necessary.
Quizlet is a great interactive online teaching tool that lends itself to making vocabulary cards and reviewing information.
You must register, but it is free!
Use Quizlet to create word sorts, review science/social studies content, practice spelling words, or even as a word work activity station!
Additional resources from the website include flashcards, a matching game, a “gravity” game, spelling review, writing practice, and a variety of test questions.
As you can see, there is so much value here, so look around and see what tickles your fanny!
Quizlet makes reviewing content and practicing/learning new words interactive and fun!
One of the best things about it is that you can use their templates and/or pre-designed lessons if you don’t have the time to create your own.
Explore the site, and have fun imaging all the cool things you can do with it!
10. Google Documents (aka Google Docs)
Caution: Having students work with Google Docs can be a bit overwhelming, but have no fear! 😉
If your learners don’t have school email accounts that are gmail-based, then skip to the next online teaching tool.
If they do, yippee! Let’s move on.
I only use Google Docs for writing projects with upper elementary students.
During Writer’s Workshop, when students are ready to draft, I have them do so in a Google Document.
Upon creating a new document, they must immediately “share” it with me, allowing me “editing” privileges.
I then receive an email from each student that “shared” his/her document with me. That email has the link to the document.
From then on, I have direct access to the student document and can edit, write, comment, revise, etc.
The cool thing is that you and the student can conference about a piece of writing simultaneously using Google Docs.
It’s pretty awesome!
Once a week, I schedule a time in the computer lab so students can type.
During that computer time, I conference with a few students about their writing, and it’s all done through the Google Doc.
Also while at home or during planning time, I make comments in Google Docs about their writing. Students see my notes once they log back on. Doing this naturally leads to a virtual discussion during our conference time.
Do keep in mind that using Google Docs for writing is a process and best done over a period of time.
Check it out though!
It really is an awesome online learning tool.
Last but not least, Hoopla is a virtual library full of digital content~audio books, music, ebooks, movies, etc.
If you have a library card, you can access content via your local library’s website.
Hoopla works pretty much like its brick-and-mortar equivalent. You get to “check out” a set number of books each month.
Checking out means selecting ebooks (or whatever digital content you are seeking) from a menu of options (use the search feature to find what you’re looking for) and downloading your choices.
With my account, I can check out up to eight titles per month.
How can Hoopla be used as an online teaching tool?
Check out a few books that you may want to use as part of your teaching~maybe as a read aloud, shared reading, etc.
Project the book on the screen in your classroom, and viola!
Because you can only check out a few titles per month, plan ahead and be strategic in which books you download. You don’t want to waste any downloads.
Best of all, Hoopla is free! All you need is your library card to gain access.
Go to the Hoopla website, sign up, and that’s it!
Access to books doesn’t get any better or easier than this.
These online teaching tools are not only interactive and engaging for students but they help seal the learning process!
Happy online teaching and learning!