Category Archives: Free Resources

A Second Chance

As a few minutes ago, my first book is no longer free. It was free for a long weekend but that opportunity is now officially over. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a chance to get a free book from this site. As of now, you can get my second book, just published this weekend, and the following site:

Grab your copy now. I don’t know how long this promotion will last, so download it know while you have the chance.

A Year in the Classroom

Leave a comment

Posted by on June 10, 2013 in Free Resources


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Published at Last!

Book Cover

Book Cover

I finally did it! After months of research and planning and many weeks of writing and editing, I have finally published my first book: The Substitute Teacher‘s Toolkit. In it I tell my story of woe. Well, I tell about a disastrous week I had at the middle school level shortly after I got started. I went into that week full of confidence that I knew how to handle kids, and came out thinking I had a great deal to learn.

My wife, a professor of nursing, has a real passion for middle school kids. You can’t help but feel sorry for the little rapscallions as they struggle with the vagaries of puberty while trying to look cool in the process. She begged me not to abandon them entirely as good role models were in very short supply. I took her advice, though I did lay low, mostly at the elementary school level, for a couple of months as I worked on developing the skills I needed to manage a classroom.

What I learned was astonishing. There are a ton of resources out their for teachers and subs alike. There are a lot of people who understand the challenges of teaching and they offer a vast variety of tools to assist. Corporations, too, understand the importance of a well educated workforce and they frequently offer great resources as well. And the best news is that a great many of these resources are offered free of charge.

It is now possible to gather the training and resources you need to be a very successful substitute, online and at a very reasonable price. Unlike me, you can enter the classroom looking like a professional who knows what they are doing. You can avoid many of the mistakes I made and make a great impression on the kids you teach as well as the administrators you serve. If you are hoping to work full time as a teacher, this is essential. If you just want to be a better sub, this will point you to many thousands of resources that are available to help you do your job with style. Please, check it out at the Amazon store here.

1 Comment

Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Free Resources


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

10 Of The Best Free Curriculum Resources For Teachers

(reblogged from

Although most teachers are given loose parameters for their curriculum, including certain areas that must be mastered in time for testing, there is some leeway within these criteria for educators to create their own, unique lesson plans. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to come up with creative lessons and activities that are both fun and educational. Luckily there are many free resources available to help teachers create or supplement  curriculum. So, in addition to non-traditional content resources like YouTube or learnist, as well as for-pay sites like, below are 10 excellent resources for you and your classroom.

1. Jump Start
This is a good all-around educational tool that offers fun classroom activities and worksheets based on both subject and grade (for Kindergarten through elementary). So whether you’re teaching second-grade math or fifth-grade science you should be able to find a few lesson-worthy ideas on this website.

2. Soft Schools

The lessons offered on this site range from pre-Kindergarten through middle school, and include every subject. With extras like phonics, online calculators, holiday themes, and quizzes, every teacher will find something to love from this online resource.

3. Scholastic

Getting kids interested in reading and writing is not always easy, but the earlier they develop a love of language and literature, the better they’re likely to perform in all subjects as they advance through school. Scholastic provides resources that help teachers to plan a reading curriculum as well as a slew of writing prompts in their Story Starters section.

4. TEN – Teacher Education Network

This program from non-profit group Discovery Science Center offers not only lesson plans and classroom activities related to science, but also an online community of educators to interact with.

5. Best of History Websites

This is a pretty incredible resource for anyone who teaches history or social studies. In addition to providing links to more than 1,200 history websites that can supplement your lesson plans, it also offers links to hundreds of lesson plans, activities, games, quizzes, and more (for K-12 history classes) from a contributing community of teachers like yourself.

6. Free Math Worksheets

As you may have expected from the name of this website, you’ll find plenty of free math worksheets here (estimated in the tens of thousands by their own count). Lessons range from simple addition and subtraction to money, fractions, and statistics. There are also flash cards and games like Sudoku to help kids learn in a fun way.

7. PE Central

Physical education is about more than playing volleyball or soccer; it’s about ensuring the health of our youth. And that entails not only fun physical activity, but also lessons in health and hygiene. This website asks members to contribute lessons and ideas for activities for the benefit of all. So sign up to partake and participate.

8. HippoCampus

While there are all kinds of websites geared towards creating (or supplementing) lesson plans for younger kids, finding help for high school classrooms can be a bit more difficult. But HippoCampus has got you covered with lessons for advanced mathematics (algebra, geometry, calculus, and more), as well as sciences, social studies, and even humanities. What teachers will likely enjoy even more, however, is the fact that they can create lesson “playlists” and customize them to correlate with content from a textbook.

9. Khan Academy

This website for the short-attention-span generation squeezes every lesson into bite-size segments (roughly 10-minute videos). The math, science, test prep, and other lessons are geared towards the high school and college crowd, but teachers can definitely use the videos provided to illustrate a point in class or as a resource for students that need extra help.

10. Common Sense Media

Not all lessons are of the academic variety. Whether students are planning to go to Harvard or peruse the options on or another website, they must first learn not only reading, writing, and arithmetic, but also how to behave in a safe and responsible manner both inside the classroom and in the outside world. This site offers lessons on pressing concerns like cyberbullying and internet safety that every teacher should probably address.

Leon Harris is a contributing writer for Harris lives in Southern California, and enjoys eating healthy and exercising with his two Golden Retrievers; image attribution Grant Wiggins

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 1, 2013 in Free Resources