Pushing students to make connections beyond the classroom is a goal for many educators. From folding music into a lesson plan to showing a short video re-enactment, teachers are constantly looking for ways to not only engage their students, but to show them that the content they are learning is applicable beyond the textbook.
Below are some awesome websites and resources that teachers can use as supplements for their curriculum. Each one can be adjusted to match curriculum needs while providing a real-world foundation for how learning can be applied outside of the classroom.
An interactive timeline replete with supplemental lessons and texts, the Knotted Line looks at historical examples of human confinement and freedom from 1495-2025. While the site was originally intended to look at the modern Prison Industrial Complex, it has grown into a far greater project. The site's wealth of knowledge and expanding account of history make it a prime tool for the study and questioning of various impactful and painful moments in our nation's history. From Columbus and the Tainos to Japanese Internment Camps to the War on Drugs, the site's plethora of videos, texts, and images will push your students and their critical thinking on what it means to be free.
Sean Covey refashions his father's celebrated book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, to be both applicable and meaningful for kids. The curriculum has fun Q&A surveys and engaging games for students to interact with as they learn Covey's seven important habits for effective and successful teenagers. From 'thinking win-win' to staying proactive instead of reactive, the lessons can have a meaningful impact on classroom culture — and, if implemented campus-wide, school culture. This is a great resource for building the foundations of the classroom at the start of the school year, or an awesome choice for teachers struggling with behavior management and wanting to "start over" mid year.
Subject: English Language Arts
Created by a 2010 Teach for America corps member, the Poet Warriors Project is a traveling initiative that teaches a one-week poetry unit in schools across America. Poet Warriors not visiting your school? Have no fear — their awesome curriculum is available online for free. Everything from the curriculum to the guided notes is available. The resource is awesome for any ELA teacher hoping to push their students' understanding and creation of poetry. Each day, students dig into a new theme, ranging from identity to community, while studying poetry greats and creating their own work at the same time.
Created by Evan Bissell, the same artist behind The Knotted Line, Freedom's Rings is an interactive site helping students dissect Martin Luther King, Jr.'s rhetorical masterpiece, the "I Have A Dream" speech. Using beautiful and engaging visuals, outside links, and supplemental speeches from other prominent activists, the site gives students an opportunity to dig deeper into a speech widely regarded as the most important of the 20th Century.