Resources that Support Distance Learning

It is important that LEAs leverage their existing distance learning technology platforms as they transition to distance learning environments for the coming weeks and months. This will speed the transition time for both educators and students to be able to engage virtually. If these systems are already in use, administrators and teachers should communicate directly with families to articulate the ways the existing system(s) will support distance learning. If these or similar resources are not in use already, the list of available resources below will provide educators with options for creating a foundation for communication, sharing, and digital learning. Below is a table of contents to navigate these resources effectively.

  1. Online Engagement Systems and Platforms
  2. State, County Office of Education, and District Resources
  3. Teaching Tools: Presentation and Content Supports
  4. Supporting Students with Disabilities in Distance Learning
  5. Articles to Navigate Distance Learning
  6. Digital Resources by Content Area
    1. English Language Arts
    2. Mathematics
    3. Writing
    4. Science
    5. Physical Education
    6. History and Social Science
    7. Electives: The Arts, Music, and Language
  7. Pre-K Learning, Games and Activities
  8. English Language Development Learning, Games, and Activities
  9. Multilingual Resources
  10. Current Events and News Outlets for Students
  11. Free Educational Resources for Distance Learning
  12. Online Learning Resources and Tools

1. Online Engagement Systems and Platforms

A curated list of resources that will support educators and students transition to digital spaces to communicate with students, develop content, and manage student progress

2. State, County Office of Education, and District Resources

A list of resources for administrators and teachers that were created and curated by other California educational agencies for broader use.

3. Teaching Tools: Presentation and Content Supports

A list of resources for teachers to communicate directly with students to share lessons and/or content. The list includes resources that utilize different means of communication (email, video, direct messaging, audio, etc.).

  • Share My Lesson allows teachers to post and share lessons they have developed.
  • Remind is an app to connect students and parents with the classroom. Users can share files, links, and other instructional resources from personal devices as attachments, or through a previously-established cloud sharing system such as Google Classroom, Google Drive, Office 365, etc.
  • Screencastify is a browser plugin allowing teachers to add video and share with students. The plugin allows students to make their voices heard and their thinking visible with fun, interactive videos. A free plan is available but is limited to five minutes.
  • Socrative is a free online collaboration and assessment tool. There is a free limited option as well as subscription options for educators.
  • NearPod is an interactive slideshow tool designed to engage students and promote collaboration. Teachers can use Nearpod to give students opportunities for interaction and immediate feedback by having them draw on a map or diagram, respond to a poll question, post a note or image to a collaboration board, or take a multiple-choice quiz. Teachers can also help students review key learning concepts by watching videos, reviewing notes, or taking their own notes. Teachers can also incorporate social and emotional learning (SEL) and digital citizenship skills with pre-created lessons on empathy, cyberbullying, or Internet safety.
  • Spiral is a digital collaboration and assessment tool reviewed here by Common Sense Media. It is most appropriate for upper elementary and secondary students.
  • BookBub features limited-time offers for free books in over twenty genres. These free ebooks are available on all devices, including Kindle, Nook, iPad, and Android.
  • Edmodo is a digital collaboration and assessment tool. Edmodo has launched a Distance Learning Toolkit
  • Edulastic is a digital assessment tool with a focus on tracking assessment data.
  • Flipgrid uses interactive slideshows to help teachers create digital assessments and foster student collaboration. The review and setup guide by Common Sense Media can be found here:
  • Open Textbook Library provides a growing catalog of free, peer-reviewed, and openly-licensed textbooks.
  • Pear Deck is a digital assessment and instructional tool reviewed by Common Sense Media here:
  • Project Gutenberg is a library of over 60,000 free eBooks. Choose among free epub and Kindle eBooks, download them or read them online.
  • Tes Teach Online Lesson Builder and Assessment Tool The digital tools in Tes Teach allow teachers to create interactive lessons, projects, presentations, assessments and more.
  • LiveBinders Collaboration and Assessment Tool is an online tool for organizing educational resources. It can be used to create classroom textbooks, eportfolios, and more.
  • Orange County Department of Education “Developing a Course on Canvas” Guide offers tips and resources for educators and families on continuing learning online in the event of a school closure. Resources are provided for school leaders, including lists of short- and long-term providers of access to WiFi internet hotspots. Resources are also curated for grade spans PK–2, 3–5/6, Middle School, and High School.

4. Supporting Students with Disabilities in Distance Learning

Resources to help support students with disabilities complete tasks and assignments and adjust to new routines in the transition to distance learning.

5. Articles to Navigate Distance Learning

These articles that provide guidance on developing distance learning lessons and units as well as advice specifically related to moving to online instruction as a result of the coronavirus

6. Digital Resources by Content Area

English Language Arts

Online resources to support remote English Language Arts/literacy and reading instruction, including lesson ideas and mobile apps for students and teachers.

  • Curriculum Associates Free Downloadable Reading Packets Printable at-home activity packs that are designed to provide students with valuable self-directed exercises and practice during extended absences from school. Each pack is designed to reinforce key concepts for a given grade. i-Ready’s engaging online lessons can support at-home learning.
  • Myon a student-centered, personalized literacy environment that gives students access to more than 6,000 enhanced digital books.
  • Starfall Reading a free public service to teach children to read. It includes language arts and mathematics for preschool, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and third grade. Starfall emphasizes phonemic awareness, systematic sequential phonics, and common sight words in conjunction with audiovisual interactivity.
  • StoryKit is a simple storybook creation app, with a private online sharing tool. It caters to students in grades 1-4 and above, and allows them opportunities to create stories, add pictures, and infuse recordings of their own voices.
  • Core Knowledge provides open access to an exemplary curriculum for preschool through eighth grade.
  • Open Culture allows visitors to download hundreds of free audio books, mostly classics, to your MP3 player or computer. Below, you’ll find great works of fiction (, poetry (, and non-fiction (, by such authors as Twain, Tolstoy, Hemingway, Orwell, Vonnegut, Nietzsche, Austen, Shakespeare, Asimov, HG Wells & more.
  • Librivox – Free Public Domain Audiobooks features recordings of books in the public domain ( read by volunteers from around the world.
  • CommonLit – Free reading passages in all literacy and nonfiction genres for grades 3-12.
  • ReadWriteThink Free Mobile Apps helps students engage in literacy learning using tablet devices. No internet connection is required once the apps are downloaded. Offers resources for grade levels K-12.
  • ReadWorks, driven by cognitive science research, ReadWorks aims to create world-class content, teacher guidance, and integrated tools that improve teacher effectiveness and student achievement. They leverage cognitive-science research to create high-impact instructional materials and tools that are designed for immediate use within the practical realities of current U.S. classrooms.


Online and digital resources for math instruction, assessment, and independent practice, including tutorials and videos.


Online and digital resources to promote student engagement though creative writing and writing prompts. This list also includes resources for students working on sustained academic writing, including research.

  • Scholastic Story Starters is a creative writing prompt generator for children in grades K-6.
  • Independent Reading Response Ideas is a 2-page document with Independent Reading Response Questions.
  • The Learning Network (New York Times) Each week the Learning Network offers new ways for students to practice reading, writing, and thinking using Times journalism – at no charge. Daily writing prompts for students to respond to are provided, as well as other activities for students, as well as resources for teachers.
  • StoryBird is a storytelling platform to help students develop their writing.
  • Purdue Online Writing Lab provides guidance for students writing academic papers, including guides for formatting, citations, analysis, and revising work.


Online and digital resources for science instruction, including tutorials, videos, and online labs.

  • PhET Simulations support math and science learning.
  • Legends of Learning provides educational games for grades 3–8. These resources have been made available for free due to school closures.
  • National Science Teaching Association contains resources from NSTA to help you support your child’s learning in science at home and at school.
  • California Science Teachers Association Resources is a collection of resources for educators curated by CSTA.
  • MysteryScience has made their resources free in response to the Coronavirus.
  • NASA Education Resources (searchable by topic) provides informative educational materials that engage student interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
  • Teach Engineering – This collection aligns with state and/or national science, mathematics and technology educational standards, and uses engineering as the vehicle to integrate science and mathematics concepts for K-12 students.
  • US Department of Energy Education Resources is a partnership between the US Department of Energy partnered with the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED) to create free energy education resources for classroom and educational use.
  • The Physics Classroom is a collection of online tutorials, concept builders, and interactive lessons for students.
  • Edutopia: Ten Websites for Science Teachers offers summaries and links to ten websites covering topics such as the process of science, field research journals, evolution, PhET simulations, Earth exploration, EdHead interactives, plants, chemistry, scientists, and more.
  • California Academy of Sciences Educator Resources provides lesson plans, science videos, and distance learning programs.
  • Bill Nye The Science Guy offers a collection of episode guides and videos as well as directions for home demos that can be found under the “Learn” section and cover topics such as life science, physical science, and planetary science.
  • Discovery Education is an online K-12 learning platform. It provides multimedia, virtual activities and hands-on labs with model lessons in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
  • Switcheroo Zoo helps kids learn about animals by playing games.

Physical Education

Resources to promote and maintain physical education curricula in distance-learning environments. Many of these resources are designed for students who are homeschooled but could be used or adapted for use in a distance-learning environment.

History and Social Science

Digital and online resources for teachers to develop lessons, locate primary and secondary source materials, and connect students with resources for research and inquiry-based lessons.

  • Teaching Tolerance provides free resources to educators—teachers, administrators, counselors and other practitioners—who work with children from kindergarten through high school. Educators use our materials to supplement the curriculum, to inform their practices, and to create civil and inclusive school communities where children are respected, valued and welcome participants.
  • The Library of Congress offers classroom materials and professional development to help teachers effectively use primary sources from the Library’s vast digital collections in their teaching.
  • The Stanford History Education Group is an award-winning research and development group that seeks to improve education by conducting research, working with school districts, and reaching directly into classrooms with free materials for teachers and students. Their current work focuses on how young people evaluate online content. Their Civic Online Reasoning curriculum to help students develop the skills needed to navigate our current digital landscape.
  • The Smithsonian
  • Many museums, cultural sites, and historical sites offer virtual tours and livestreaming. Here are a few, but an internet search will reveal many others:
  • The Zinn Education Project promotes and supports the teaching of people’s history in classrooms across the country. They aim to equip students with the analytical tools to make sense of and improve the world today. Their website offers free, downloadable lessons and articles organized by theme (, time period (, and grade level. The teaching materials emphasize the role of working people, women, people of color, and organized social movements in shaping history:
  • World History For Us All is a national collaboration of K-12 teachers, collegiate instructors, and educational technology specialists. This is a great site for middle and high school teachers to locate powerful, innovative model curriculum. World History for Us All helps students understand the past by connecting specific subject matter to larger historical patterns, and draws on up-to-date historical research.
  • Teaching California offers free online instructional materials to support the California History-Social Science Framework, with an emphasis on primary sources.
  • The Content, Literacy, Inquiry, and Citizenship (CLIC) Project offers resources for educators to take an inquiry-based approach to learning about various topics including Armenian Genocide, the Bracero Program, Environmental Literacy, and approaches to civic learning (Check with regional leads for additional resources available for online learning).
  • California History-Social Science Project provides professional learning and free resources such as The History Blueprint and The Source. See links to regional sites for additional information and support.
  • BBC Bitesize History Bitesize is the BBC’s free online study support resource for school-age students in the United Kingdom. It is designed to aid students in both schoolwork and, for older students, exams.
  • The Stanford History Education Group provides free History and Civic materials including lessons, curriculum, and assessments accessible to teachers and students.
  • CrashCourse History Channel on YouTube Crash Course believes that high quality educational videos should be available to everyone for free. The Crash Course team has produced more than 15 courses to date, and these videos accompany high school and college level classes ranging from the humanities to the sciences. Crash Course transforms the traditional textbook model by presenting information in a fast-paced format, enhancing the learning experience. With hundreds of millions of views on our YouTube channel, Crash Course has a worldwide audience in and out of classrooms. While the show is an immensely helpful tool for students and teachers, it also has a large viewership of casual learners who seek out online educational content independently. It has changed attitudes towards education by creating a community of learners who are looking for more than just help passing a test.
  • Oyez is a resource for teaching Supreme Court Cases that includes the case history, relevant precedent, arguments, and the Supreme Court Decision and applicable dissents.
  • The National Archives features a website that is easy to navigate and includes lots of teacher resources. They feature a daily historical document relating to an event from that day in history. The online catalog can be searched using keywords, and 100 “milestone” documents are identified as significant to American history.
  • National Archives: Elementary School Distance Learning Programs Free, interactive programs that feature primary sources from the Distance Learning Programs. Each program aligns with National Social Studies Standards and Common Core State Standards. It also provides teacher guides with pre- and post-program lessons.
  • DocsTeach is full of activities for educators. The documents are organized by different periods in American history. If you’re teaching “Civil War and Reconstruction” or “Revolution and the New Nation,” just click on the topic to find hundreds of primary source documents. DocsTeach provides audio, video, charts, graphs, maps and more.
  • Spartacus Educational is a resource for global history. It contains free encyclopedia entries that directly connect to primary source documents, making it a useful tool for educators looking to give students a starting point in their research.
  • Fordham University is another resource for global history. It organizes primary sources into periods of American history, from the “Reformation” to “Post-World War II Religious Thought.” Teachers can find full texts available from Fordham or similar institutions appropriate for the middle school and high school classroom.
  • Broken down by time period then listed in alphabetical order, the Avalon Project at Yale University offers primary sources for global history teachers. This database starts with ancient and medieval documents and moves into present times. In addition to categories that address specific historical periods, the Avalon Project includes links to human rights documents as part of Project Diana.
  • Free Online Textbooks provides high school courses for students, teachers, home-schoolers, and history lovers.
  • Google and Life Magazine have a search engine that lets users search millions of images from the Life Magazine Photo Archive. Users can type in key terms to guide their searches, look through images organized by decade (1860s through 1970s), or significant people, places, events or sports topics.

Electives: The Arts, Music, and Language

Online resources to support remote instruction for electives and enrichment.

7. Pre-K Learning, Games, and Activities

Free and open-source resources and guidance for fostering early childhood/pre-k learning at home.

8. English Language Development Learning, Games, and Activities

Online resources to support remote English Language Development instruction, including lesson ideas and mobile apps for students and teachers.

  • BrainPOP ELL is BrainPOP’s English language instruction site for English Language Learners of all ages. The curriculum is comprised of short, animated movies as well as games, quizzes and interactive features. Users practice the four principle language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
  • Colorín Colorado offers resources for families that can be used for distance learning with English learners. They also appear to be growing their collecting of resources in response to the COVID-19 school closures, so more resources for distance learning may be available in the future.
  • CommonLit is a collection of reading passages in all literary and nonfiction genres for grades 3–12. Reading passages are available in Spanish.
  • Duolingo is a free language acquisition tool that is extremely similar to Rosetta Stone.
  • features digital resources, tools, and learning materials are developed by educational experts to incorporate leading pedagogical practices. They are useful in any type of teaching moment. They offer differentiated resources that can meet a wide range of educational needs and raise kids’ confidence in learning.
  • English Media Lab offers free English Exercises Online—English as a Second Language (ESL) Interactive Learning.
  • Insert Leaning is a great way to annotate and scaffold content on webpages.
  • International Children’s Digital Library offers a library for the world’s children.
  • Khan Academy En Español offers Khan Academy’s repository of video resources in Spanish.
  • Learning English is Voice of America’s multimedia source of news and information for millions of English learners worldwide.
  • Listen and Write is a dictation and cloze creator.
  • Literacy Network is dedicated to designing exceptional education experiences for young children.
  • My Writing Coach offers writing lessons aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) task types. Writing will cover main idea, inference, theme, full write opinion, as well as all eight ELPAC task types.  There are video lessons and “write along lessons” where students write along with the instructor.
  • National Geographic Kids is a children’s magazine that provides reading, games, videos and more.
  • National Geographic Young Explorer offers science listen and read articles with highlighted text.
  • Newsela allows teachers to assign articles related to social studies, science, or English language arts. Texts can be customized to fit the student’s reading level. Teachers can embed additional scaffolds to meet the needs of English learners. Aligned to the Common Core State Standards.
  • Read Works allows teachers to assign articles related to social studies, science, or English language arts. Texts can be customized to fit the student’s reading level. Teachers can embed additional scaffolds to meet the needs of English learners.
  • Scholastic Learn at Home offers day-by-day projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing. Every day includes four separate learning experiences, each built around a thrilling, meaningful story or video. Kids can do them on their own, with their families, or with their teachers. Just find your grade level and let the learning begin!
  • Starfall emphasizes exploration, play, and positive reinforcement—encouraging children to become confident and intrinsically motivated. Starfall is an educational alternative to other entertainment choices for children and is especially effective for special education, homeschooling, and English language development (ELD), English Language Learners, and English as a Second Language. It is widely used in schools that serve children with special needs and learning difficulties.
  • Storynory offers free audio stories. They are a podcast and a website with audio streaming.
  • Tween Tribune is a collection of nonfiction articles and current events for kids, grades K–12.
  • Tween Tribune Español is a collection of nonfiction articles and current events in Spanish for kids in grades K–12.
  • USA Learns for Teachers offers video lessons and thousands of activities focusing on English speaking, listening, vocabulary, pronunciation, reading, writing and grammar. Teachers can register to save their lessons and scores.

9. Multilingual Resources

  • Biblioteca Virtual Infantil offers e-books in Spanish.
  • BrainPop en Español  The curriculum is comprised of short, animated movies as well as games, quizzes and interactive features in Spanish. Users practice the four principle language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
  • Colorín Colorado offers resources for families that can be used for distance learning with English learners. They also appear to be growing their collecting of resources in response to the COVID-19 school closures, so more resources for distance learning may be available in the future.
  • CommonLit is a collection of reading passages in all literary and nonfiction genres for grades 3–12. Reading passages are available in Spanish.
  • Duolingo is a free language acquisition tool that is extremely similar to Rosetta Stone.
  • Khan Academy En Español offers Khan Academy’s repository of video resources in Spanish.
  • Nasa Ciencias en Español offers solar system exploration (visuals, videos, graphics, simple text) in Spanish.
  • Newsela en Español offers news in Spanish and includes different reading levels.
  • Tween Tribune Español is a collection of nonfiction articles and current events in Spanish for kids in grades K–12.

10. Current Events and News Outlets for Students

Digital and online resources that provide student-friendly access to current events. Some of these resources also provide reading guides, quizzes, and activities to support student learning.

  • Newsela has made access to their full suite of products free for teachers through the end of this year to assist with their learning continuity plans.They are also offering frequent professional learning resources to help them develop their mastery of distance learning techniques. Newsela has also created this guide for planning for remote instruction.
  • Edutopia: 6 Lesson Plans for Teaching Women’s History Month (article with digital resources) George Lucas Educational Foundation offers free and easy-to-implement classroom resources to celebrate Women’s History Month in March.
  • Common Sense Media: Best News Websites for Kids is great website for kids. The editors have made it easy with their hand-picked lists of fun, age-appropriate kids’ sites and online games. It’s a big world on the web, but with lists like theirs, it can be a worthwhile one for your kids.
  • Edutopia suggests six online resources for primary sources which allow students to read closely, make inferences, cite evidence, analyze arguments and interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text.

11. Free Educational Resources for Distance Learning

Below is a non-comprehensive list of publishers offering free distance learning resources. At the URL listed, users can learn about the specific resources available as publishers continue to expand their offerings. In this list below, educators and parents/guardians may discover the individual resources they want for a particular need.

Access resources for using Amplify programs remotely.

Applied Educational Systems
Interactive lessons, ready to use projects, and automatically graded assessments.

Big Ideas Learning
Big Ideas Mathprogram

Capstone Publishing
Resources available during school closures; user Name = Engaged; Password = Learning

Carnegie Learning
Math Resources

Carolina Biological
Science resources for learning at home.

Center for Math and Teaching
Math Resources.

Instantly communicate and engage with all families and students.

Classroom Champions
Health, safety & curriculum information.

Core Knowledge
Online Core Knowledge Foundation Resources.

Math Resources

Davis Art
Access to digital resources.

Discovery Education
Access to Discovery Education Experience.

Energize Schools
Virtual distance learning resources

Explore Learning
Access and information about all three of our online resources.

Great Minds
Recorded daily lessons of Eureka Math, Wit & Wisdom, and PhD Science.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Information and resources to help continue teaching and learning during school closures.

Impact Science
Lessons During School Closures.

Kendall Hunt
Open Educational Resources for Illustrative Mathematics and OpenSciEd.

Science Curricula.

Lincoln Learning
Videos, games, and samples.

Mastery Education/Measuring Up MyQuest
Adaptive standards-based practice.

Support for remote learning.

Mystery Science
K-5 NGSS science resources.

Opus You
Cinematic broadcast of musical works, lesson plans, and interactive online courses.

Pearson Education
Readiness Resources.

Online solutions to assist learning remotely.

Digital solutions to assist students and families learning from home

20 days’ worth of exciting learning journeys.

Singapore Math
Instructional lesson videos for students to access at home.

Social Studies School Services
Digital platforms through the end of the school year.

Start Me
Gettingstudents organized with access to all their educational resources.

Studies Weekly
This online platform includes all student editions, Teacher Editions, lesson plans, ELA integrations, and assessments.

Teacher Created Materials
Resources for at-home learning.

Resources for teachers to provide distance learning.

Twig Education
Students can access thousands of videos (in English/Spanish), lessons, activities, and visuals wherever they are.

Vista Higher Learning
Resources for K-12

Wayside Publishing
Language Learning Programs.

Wilson Language Training
Recommendations for Fundations®, Just Words®, and Wilson Reading System® use.

12. Online Learning Resources and Tools

A list of open source resources to support remote teaching and learning.

Questions:   California Department of Education | 916-319-0800

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