Free Stuff! Who doesn't like free stuff?

December 10
1. Curriculum Services Canada
Every time I stumble on something like this I wonder how I could have never heard of it before. I don't know if you've heard of it, but if you haven't, you really should check it out. These folks are a non-profit organization and they work with all kinds of people across Canada (but mostly in Ontario) to make sure that quality curriculum-based resources are being produced. On the site, you'll find a whole bunch of activities, lists, lessons, et cetera. Go see!


2. Canada Post
A couple of lesson plans about mail and stamps are here as well as some games and activities for kids.


3. The City - Financial Life Skills program
If you teach CALM, you probably already know about this site. It's been developed by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada. It has a hands-on, interactive format and you can see exactly how their activities match up to the curriculum standards in your province. There are in-class modules and online modules, so you can choose how you want to share the information with students. *Warning: The registration process includes the request to create a very secure password which must contain at least one capital letter, one lower case letter, one number and one special character that is between 8 and 15 characters in length, so maybe you ought to write it down. :)


4. Insurance Institute
These are more resources for CALM class. The materials help you teach all about the world of insurance. To quote their website, "Bringing the Real World Into the Classroom - The Insurance Institute's Career and Curriculum Connections programs are aimed at improving the understanding of the property and casualty insurance industry, illustrating its role in society and highlighting the variety of skilled professions available."


5. Social Action Projects
Don't get excited, but this resource is not free. The Canadian Teachers' Federation has put together three booklets called 'Social Action Projects' to help teachers who want to involve their students in social action projects. With a booklet aimed at three levels (k - 4, 5 - 8 & 9 - 12), they're reaching every one of our students. They charge $7 per booklet. (They also have other resources with subjects such as 'virtual education, accountability & standardized testing' aimed at helping teachers understand the current research and practice.)


6. Parliament of Canada
When you're teaching about Canada and particularly Canadian Government, you might as well go right to the source for your resources.


December 6
1. Project Caribou
Project Caribou is all about caribou. If you or your students want to know anything about the wild caribou of North America, this is the place to go. The group who put this together have included all of the PDF pages of the document on their support webpage, or you can order a printed copy for $22. It offers 'an authoritative and concise publication about caribou'. There are also several different activities which the site claims are for K-12.


2. Canada's Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living
Of course, you already know that the government is a great source of free material for your classroom. There are several different resources available on this page including those aimed specifically at ages 6 - 9, 10 - 14 and older adults.


3. Oracle Think Quest (Education Foundation)
Oracle is a huge technology company. They're into both hardware and software. And, like a lot of corporations, they try to cultivate their philanthropic side. Think Quest is essentially a place where teachers can create online projects for their students. The projects can be shared with other classes and student work can be posted in the 'Library'.


4. The Prime Minister of Canada
Everything you've ever wanted to know about the Prime Minister of Canada, both past and present is here on this page. There are also a few games to play in the 'Interactive Zone', such as Capital Scramble in which you first have to put the right provincial name on a map of the provinces, then spell the capital city names.


5. Teachers' Domain
Teachers' Domain features resources from those amazing PBS programs like Nova, Nature, Nova Science Now, Cyberchase, Between the Lions, Frontline, wideangle, et cetera. Since they're based in the US, their resources are labeled to match up with US curriculum, so it does sometimes take a little longer to locate some of the items. Basically, they have five categories of K-12 subjects, Arts, English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. They also have a professional development section with online courses and teaching strategies. Amazing.


6. Chess Federation of Canada
Would you like to start a school chess club? Want to check the official tournament rules for Canada? Need some beginners help? It's all here.


7. Computers in Education for Talented & Gifted Students
Written in 2006, this free ebook promises, among other things, to lay out several projects for TAG students.

8. Heritage Fairs
"The Heritage Fairs program encourages students to explore Canadian heritage in a dynamic, hands-on learning environment. Students use the medium of their choice to tell stories of Canadian heroes, legends, milestones, and achievements - and present the results of their research at a public exhibition." How cool is that? In addition to displaying some of the previous projects created by students, the 'Resources' page includes all of the materials you'd need to plan a Heritage Fair at your school.


9. Canada's History Lesson Plans
You may be familiar with the magazine. Did you know that their website has lesson plans? Now you do.


10. Practical Money Skills from Visa
The lesson plans here are aimed more at middle school and high school, and they're pretty awesome.


11. Hudson's Bay Company
HBC offers several different things to educators and if you teach Canadian history, you'll probably want at least some of them. There's the 'Tales from the Bay' a comic-book style telling of three stories from the history of the Hudson's Bay Company, 'Adventurers' commissioned by HBC from noted Canadian historian Christopher Moore, is an overview of HBC's history from fur trade to retail, 'Lords & Proprietors', a modern 'translation' of the Hudson's Bay Company Royal Charter - all free and in class-set quantities, plus the HBC School Hamper containing items that would have been carried by an HBC trader, which can be rented for one month for a cost of $100 and the genuine HBC Capote - the handmade wrap coat made from an authentic HBC point blanket which can be rented for one month for a cost of $40.


The HBC site has other treasures to offer. Here you can learn about the history of the HBC point blanket, see a timeline of HBC's development, short videos about HBC history and much more.

12. EcoVoyageurs
"In EcoVoyageurs, your students can learn how to measure the demands we make on our environment. This measure is called the Ecological Footprint." You can order a kit to help you cover this topic with grades 7, 8 & 9 students. There are also EcoVoyageur Junior lesson plans. One unit per grade from kindergarten to grade 5.


13. The Idea Book for Educators (A & E Television)
You can order an 'Idea Book' from A & E which will tell you what programs are being aired when along with supplemental information that will help you decide if this will help you to meet your objectives. There are also lesson plans to go along with some of the programs. (Did you know that they run commercial-free, two-year copyright permission programs from 4 am to 5 am EST?)


14. Statistics Canada
They say that you can make statistics say whatever you want them to. They do offer some interesting insights into our population, though. The StatCan website offers tonnes of resources, lesson plans and, of course, statistics. You can also order a 2011 Census Teacher's Kit. I asked for one and it has some really interesting material in it.


15. Canadian Olympic School Program
It's quite likely that you used this resource back in February during the Olympics in Vancouver. I just wanted to include it here to make sure that you don't forget about it.


16.Veterans' Week
Veterans' Week is over for 2010, but you can bet that Veterans Affairs Canada will have material available for 2011 before long.


17. Discover Canada's Capital
It's not likely that you'll be able to travel to Ottawa with your class every year, but you can use the teaching resources at the National Capital Commission's site to learn more about Social Studies & History in grades 5 to 8.


18. The Virtual Museum of Canada
"An endless source of discoveries, is a unique interactive space that brings together Canadian museum collections and riches in a variety of thought-provoking and instructive contents. It's your window on current museum news and your reference guide to plan your next outing. Enter your Canadian museum space." In order to access the Teachers' Centre, you'll need to complete a free registration, but it looks worth it. ;)


19. Canada's Forests
So much free stuff!!! The Canadian Forestry Association wants to give you eight different teaching kits to cover lessons from primary to high school. Explore.


20. EcoKids
Here too, you need to register to be able to access the teacher resources, but it's a pretty painless process. Once you're in, there are curriculum-linked lesson plans in French & English, activities, graphic organizers, puzzles, games & more. Your students will love it.


21. Teacher Created Resources
You're probably familiar with the name. You probably use some of their products. I'm only pointing them out because like a lot of companies that want you to use their products, they give away a couple of free things to tempt you. They say they have over 400 free lesson plans in addition to their $$ items. One of my favourite freebies on their site is the Table of Contents for their book called '101 Ways to Love a Book'. Just looking at the titles gives me great ideas for book sharing in my Language Arts class.


22. The ADHD / ADD e-book
The title pretty much says it all, but you may like to know that the author, Martin L. Kutscher, MD is the Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology at the New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York. (And his practice is limited to Pediatric Behavioral Neurology.)

23. Discovery Education - Puzzlemaker & Lesson Plan Library
If you've ever wanted to make a crossword puzzle to help your students practice vocabulary, Discovery's Puzzlemaker is for you. The site also has hundreds of lessons in its Lesson Plan Library.


24. New Teacher Survival Central
Okay, this is also at Discovery Education, but the number of links up there was starting to get crazy. This site offers buckets of resources for a new teacher (and some not so new teachers), with categories like Technology 101, Survival Took Kit, Homeroom HQ, & It's Elementary. It looks pretty cool.


25. The Weather Dude
It's part of the grade five Science curriculum, but you probably touch on weather a little before then, too. The Weather Dude's site makes me think he's kinda famous, so I hope he won't find out that I'd never heard of him before last week. Anyway, the site has lots of links and information for anyone who wants to know more about weather (and the Weather Dude).


26. RHL School
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know... They're promising worksheets. We all know that 'Worksheets don't grow dendrites." Forgive me, Marcia Tate, but every now and then I am going to plop a worksheet in front of my students. They have a useful purpose some days. Don't report me to the Brain Development Police, k?


27. The world of Jan Brett
Many authors have websites in support of their books. Many have activities and games. I don't believe I've ever seen such an extensive range, though, as Jan Brett's site. The claim is "4, 805 free coloring, video & activity pages". That's a swack!


28. Certificate Creator
Need to make a certificate? Don't have time to start from scratch? Here you go...


29. Basic Handwriting for Kids
From what I know, kids learn to print in kindergarten, then learn cursive in grade three. It's a good thing I know that, because when I see what comes off the end of some grade seven students' pencils would make me doubt they'd ever learned the skill anywhere. I don't think this particular site is one you would necessarily use in your classroom with your students, but it might be a good resource to share with parents who are willing to work with their kids to improve their 'handwriting'.


30. Explore the Big Cats e-book
A 65 page book from WikiJunior all about the big cats. Tigers, lions, cheetahs, leopards, pumas, lynx, panthers & cougars... What else could you ask for?


31. Incredible Art Department
I'm not going to say much about this site. Instead, read the excerpt below about how the Incredible Art Department got its start:


32. Literacy Basics
If you're interested in learning more about how you can help increase literacy in your community, you might be interested in this site from Ontario. It offers online training to become a 'literacy practitioner'.


33. Elections Canada
If you teach kindergarten to grade four, you might like the 'Choosing Our Mascot' election simulation package available from Elections Canada. It's free to order. See more information below: