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April 13, 2020

Educational Resources for Teachers... and Parents!

"In this extraordinary national emergency, millions of students are unable to go to school, and teachers are stretched thin attending to students' learning needs, in many cases while home-schooling their own children." - Kim MarshallAt Pittsburgh FIT, we pride ourselves in developing the body AND the mind. Times like these create uncertainty and difficulty, especially for parents. It's difficult for schools to pivot quickly, and provide a quality product due to many factors: Legislation, Number of Students, Availability of Resources, Students Access to Technology, and the list goes on and on and on.One of our members, Marcus has connected us with this large, and ever-increasing library of resources for teachers and parents. Please feel free to point this article to teachers and parents who might be able to use this information!The original Author of this list is Kim Marshall.To learn more about Kim, CLICK HERE--

I'm sending along a variety of materials that might be helpful. First are some of my own classroom writings that are available free online. Then I've pasted in an excellent 2019 article by Nancy Flanagan from Knowledge Quest (summarized in Memo 802) with online links to free reading and instructional materials. I'm also attaching the list of online suggestions from the last item in this week's Memo.
Here's another idea. For teachers who are using Zoom with their homebound students, there's a feature that allows the teacher to have up to 250 people in the "room" (for example, a seventh-grade teacher could assemble all 125 students from her five sections), deliver a mini-lesson, and then ask Zoom to split them into 42 three-person breakout groups, give them ten minutes to discuss a question, and then call the whole group back together for sharing and discussion. During breakout sessions and whole-class instruction, it's possible for students to throw in ideas via the Chat function. Pretty neat!
One more idea. You might encourage colleagues to use this homebound time to explore the Marshall Memo archive, which has more than 8,000 article summaries from the last 16+ years. This might be for a study group, action research, or problem-solving in classrooms or teams. The powerful search engine at can find article summaries by topic, keyword, author, publication, and level (elementary, middle, high). Let me know if you need a reminder of your password so you can encourage maximum use of this resource.
I hope at least some of this will be helpful. And I hope you and yours are well and safe.
All the best,

--Writings by Kim Marshall:Reading Stories, Book 1: 92 high-interest stories with comprehension questions originally published by Educators Publishing Service, now open source Stories, Book 2: 94 high-interest stories with comprehension question, originally published by Educators Publishing Service, now open source 36 Cumulative Units in Grammar, Writing Skills, and Word Analysis, Book A, originally published by Educators Publishing Service, now open source 36 Cumulative Units in Grammar, Writing Skills, and Word Analysis, Book B, originally published by Educators Publishing Service, now open source 35 Cumulative Units in Concepts and Skills, Book A, originally published by Educators Publishing Service, now open source 35 Cumulative Units in Concepts and Skills, Book B, originally published by Educators Publishing Service, now open source guides to the English and Math workbooks are available at, click Kim Published Writing and scroll down to Curriculum Materials.)The Story of Life, from the Big Bang to You: Written for middle- and high-school students (with illustrations by Ingrid Johnson), this is a comprehensive history of the origins of the solar system, the Earth, and life on Earth (originally published by Holt, Rinehart, & Winston, the updated 2019 edition is open source) Guns, Germs, and Steel Summary: Written in consultation with author Jared Diamond, this 14-page summary (with maps and illustrations) of the Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the origins of worldwide wealth inequality is suitable for high-school students in world/global studies courses


In this article in Knowledge Quest, Nancy Flanagan Knapp (University of Georgia/Athens) suggests five areas in which teachers and school librarians can make effective use of technology, with free links in each:Making basic literacy skills practice effective and fun:- PBS Kids Reading Games: Education World, The Reading Machine: Scholastic Student Activities website: The Learning Company games:

Increasing the number and variety of texts available for readers at all levels:

- The International Childrens Digital Library: Unite for Literacy: Storyjumper: Project Gutenberg: Gismo Freeware: Amazon and Barnes and Noble: search Free Kindle books at or Free Ebooks at texts for struggling readers and writers of all ages:- Tech for Teachers: Supporting Struggling Readers with Speech-to-Text:

Personalizing and differentiating instruction for diverse readers:

- Newsela: current non-fiction articles at multiple Lexile levels: Simple English Wikipedia: Storyline Online: read-aloud, mostly for younger children: Fact Monster: fun facts, trivia games, and homework help for elementary students: Khan Academy: short online tutorials for all ages:

Bringing out the social in reading:

- Goodreads for students 13 and up; librarians can create private groups with restricted membership: Biblionasium, which allows users to share their reading preferences; for students age 6-13: Library Thing: lets students create a private but shareable personal bookshelf, for kids 13 and up: Poetry-Free-for-All: for poets of all ages: Teen Ink: Book Crossing: a forum for sharing actual print books in a unique way: Epals: A reputable global pen pal site that can encourage reading and writing: Technology to Foster Real Reading in the School Library and Beyond by Nancy Flanagan Knapp in Knowledge Quest, September/October 2019 (Vol. 48, #1, pp. 54-60); Knapp can be reached at, summarized in Marshall Memo 802


Free digital books are available at Bookshare - College Courses Harvard University - (We Recommend Science of Cooking!)Coursera Free Online Courses (Variety) - Courses (From a Variety of Sources) - Open Courseware - Learning Initiative - dot Com - - - in regularly! This will list will continue to grow!

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