As social distancing and school closures continue, we know that many parents are wondering what to do next. There are hundreds of wonderful educational pages online, but it can be a job in itself to sift through them all. We’re here to help you get started.
The ONFE team has gone through hundreds of web pages of educational materials for students from K-12, and we’ve chosen the most easily accessible and interactive pages for you. Where possible, we’ve chosen Canadian content, and sometimes even Ottawa-specific content.
We’ll be releasing several blogs in the coming days, presenting these resources by age group. If you missed the first one, dedicated to the K-7s out there, access it here. In this blog we’re focusing on resources for students in grades 8-12.
Do you have educational platforms or pages you love to use at home with your kids? Share in the comments below!
While we have done our best to compile reliable resources, none of the listed resources (except where indicated) are official ONFE partners, and ONFE does not have any control over the content available through any link. We recommend that all online content be reviewed by parents before being accessed by students.
Where to Start:
The first place to begin is the Province of Ontario’s Learn At Home page. Check back on this website as more updates are added.
If you’re concerned about screen time, check out this recommendation from MediaSmarts, Canada’s Centre for Digital and Media Literacy: “Social Media & Screen Time During a Pandemic.“
The Khan Academy is offering free resources for parents during school closures. There are lessons in math, science, and humanities, for kindergartners to early college students. There is also a “Homeroom” live stream on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter for students and parents at 3pm EST every weekday.
Don’t forget about the extensive selection of online resources on the Ottawa Public Library website, available all year long! Have your library card handy to access e-books, magazines, newspapers, and lots of fun things to keep kids occupied in both official languages.
Access videos, worksheets, science challenges, and webinars on a wide range of topics provided by Aurora, an enthusiastic educator with twenty years of experience teaching children, teens, and young adults. Super Charged School!
Structure your kids’ days around a live online class. There is a wide-range of classes for students from K-12, which are accessible once parents create a free account. The courses are not on-demand, so be sure to check out the schedule in advance and enroll your kids in a cool course or two.
Think Indigenous is a Facebook page with content for all age groups provided by Indigenous educators – check it out!
Mental Health & Mindfulness:
Find six strategies for teens to deal with the stress and constraints of our temporary, new reality.
Guided body scan from Jon Kabat Zinn, Professor of Medicine Emeritus and creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Inspiration & Conversation:
Best-selling author and general expert on life, Alain de Botton, started the School of Life to offer resources to help us cope in this wild world! Watch videos and discuss topics such as “Why Comedy Matters”, “The History of Manners”, “How to Manage your Moods” and “Should you play it cool when you like someone?”
For students in grade 8 and older, have a look at these prompts from the Learning Network by the New York Times for writing or discussion activities. Encourage your kids to reflect on these questions around the dinner table or virtually, with their peers or extended family.
In need of some hope for our future in these uncertain times? Get the family together to watch these amazing TED Talks from the new generation.
While you’re all together on the couch, look at some of these other TED Talks curated for watching with kids. Consider hosting a watch party for your kids with their friends using a video chat service to encourage conversation and debate!
Create projects, participate in tutorials, collaborate, and learn to code at no cost, while schools are closed.
Check out Scratch, an online community associated with MIT Media Lab that offers a taste of coding specifically designed for kids 8-16. Learn how to program and share interactive media like stories, games and animation.
Take a look at the extensive, ever-growing schedule of livestreamed music, storytelling, art, plays, and much more on the Social Distancing Festival website. There’s a ton of Canadian content and you can tune in as the events happen or after the fact because most productions post the recordings on YouTube – there’s something for everyone!
Beloved actor Patrick Stewart will re-ignite your passion for Shakespeare with his lively recitation of one sonnet per day. Consider discussing the themes of each piece with your friends on social media, maybe comparing the themes to those in your favourite contemporary songs. Or try writing a sonnet of your own!
Satisfy your need for culture by viewing the Copenhagen Ballet’s production of Napoli.
Start in Ontario, and then take on the world! Find interpretation and make connections to other relevant works using Google’s exploration of Arts and Culture, and view thousands of the world’s most famous paintings, sculptures, and artifacts on the virtual tours of the Musee Dorsay in Paris, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. – and anywhere else you want to go.
Innerbody allows you to explore 11 bodily systems in great detail! View interactive models and detailed explanations to learn more about the internal mechanics of the amazing human body!
Check out the Science Spot for games and challenges, ideas for activities students can complete offline, worksheets for all grades, and many links to other resources.
Visit ChemMatters for a huge selection of informative and entertaining articles, career profiles, videos, and more that demonstrate the role chemistry plays in so many aspects of our daily lives.
ChemMatters articles by subject matter are listed here.
Here, budding biologists will find lots of cool resources about many aspects of biology. Read blog posts, download worksheets, and discover simulations and virtual labs to pique your interest!
Learn how not to be one of those adults whose head is buried in the sand when it comes to personal finances! Access free lesson plans and case studies from Next Generation Personal Finance to get you thinking about your money situation. Some of the content is specific to Americans, but there is a lot of helpful general advice.
Explore hundreds of articles about history and culture on a wide range of topics through the Smithsonian website (you could get lost for days here). Use the exhibits to inspire some in-depth research about topics like Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers, Kermit the Frog, or the Art and Science of Monkeys.
If you’re starting to go stir-crazy, check out the following links for ideas to blow off steam and get some endorphins flowing (no equipment required):
Follow Barrys’ (gym/physical fitness centre) instagram to access many at-home workouts lead by charismatic instructors. Most of the videos are between 20-25 minutes – share a zoom screen with a bunch of your friends and sweat it out together!
Tune in every Saturday at 11 EDT for a new workout with Nike Master Trainer, Kirsty Godso.
Have a look at these simple exercises you can do at home with no equipment. Set up a circuit and get your whole family in on the session!