Digital Pathfinder – Pay to Play and OERs

This pathfinder is created as a tool to direct and assist in resource finding and selection. This is third iteration of this document that was originally designed in response to multiple requests from teachers and librarians across the school district. All of these have bene chosen as they speak directly to Common Core, coding, math instruction, and language arts. These programs all speak all assist in bridging the intention-behavior gap that often occurs with learning by providing a goal and reward (levels, badges, and printed certificates) that has real world application. In the case of coding, the badges and certificates earned can actually be used as an addendum to a resume in the real world. Most of these sites are OER (Open Education Resources) so there are no costs for these – just sign up and use. OER sites are marked with OER. This list is not exhaustive.


Language Arts

No Red Ink: If you are looking for interactive grammar and reading assignments then this site offers what you are looking for. Teachers can review student work which has been specifically formatted to student needs, personality, and interests. Sign up for free or pay for the premium account.

Story Bird: Looking for creative ways to get kids writing? Story Bird offers prompts as well as the opportunity to create and publish their writings using graphics. This is also a good way for students to learn basic page layout and beginning publishing. Students can explore poetry as well as longer forms of writing. OER

Story Jumper: An easy way to explore writing and publishing. This site is excellent when your class has been working on a larger project of writing that can be used for fund raising. Signing up for free or pay for a premium account.


Mathwizz: This product offers personalized math tutoring for students. Layout for activities is similar to Lexia except with a focus on math. Accounts for this do cost money, so be certain to get a personalized quote.

Prodigy: This program allows student to use math in a role playing game similar to Final Fantasy with an entire world to explore. It allows teachers to monitor progress, assign a specific type of math to be used and repeated by students, as well as create progress reports. You can limit student access to just the classroom as well as expand to include worldwide play. Nonmember’s pay nothing. Members pay a monthly fee and gain full access.

Better Lesson: So Better Lesson covers a lot more than just math, but we’re going to focus on just the math lessons here. Similar to Teachers Pay Teachers but focused on lessons and free. Teachers have created the lessons for you and all lessons are under the Creative Commons Copyright so feel free to print them out and adjust for your classroom situations. You can see the standards being supported on each lesson as well. OER

Social Studies

Icivics: Supports issus concerning social studies. Specifically good for teaching lessons on The Constitution. This site is a creation of Sandra Day O’Conner. There are lesson plans for teachers, interactive projects and, for those who have moved away from the standard A-F grade system, badges to be earned. OER

Smithsonian Learning Lab: This Smithsonian created site brings the museum’s collection to people around the world and helps students create their own presentations. Teachers can also create their own virtual tours of items that include pictures, videos, and quizzes. This site is free but does require users to sign up for an account. OER

Digital Public Library of America: You keep looking for those images or tools that illustrate concepts for social studies, history, etc? The DPLA has it all in one nice place. Very user oriented, you can find a full exhibitions on a topic to run in the background while you talk about your topic. Timelines and apps are available as well. This site is amazing! OER

Coding A completely free site that offers a variety of coding lessons in a variety of coding languages. This is a great site for those people looking for support in languages like Ruby Rails, etc. OER

Code Combat: This is a gaming site that teaches the basics of html via gamification. It is appropriate for ages 9 to adult and provides a safe gaming environment. This game is similar to the old Zelda of the 80s and includes teacher’s resources. Access is free to a certain level of the game.

Hour of Code: Famous the world over for the hour of code event they hold, you can also access materials in class for teaching coding outside of the annual, established coding event. Coding lessons on this site are mostly focused on SNAP code which is widely used by places like MIT to teach coding. OER

Generalized Subject Areas

MobyMax: This site offers Common Core backed activities for students K-8 in a plethora of areas. You can purchase a classroom product where students can be enrolled as a class. Teacher can monitor student progress, manage student levels, assessments, etc. The professional level for this program have been quoted as costing around $60.00.

Live Homework Help Teachers get phone call and emails all the time about students needing help with their homework. Live Homework Help is a product paid for by the State Library of Alaska and free to all residents of Alaska. Tutors are actual people, paid to tutor in specific subject areas. These people are amazing and know how to keep users on task. They will stay with students on their homework for as long as necessary to complete the job. All free to Alaskan Residents.

Merlot II Sometimes teachers need to take some time to cover their own learning, asking advice or seeing what others are doing and thinking. Merlot II offer communities and materials in a number of subject areas. This site is supported by the California State University system. This is some of the cutting edge support educators are getting in California. Much of the material featured here is peer reviewed. OER

PBS Learning Media Everyone loves PBS for its children’s programming, but they also offer some great tools and discussion boards for teachers. Check out their productivity tools and professional development courses as well. You can access puzzle builders and teacher’s blogs. Site is browsable by standards, grades, and subject areas. OER

Gooru Gooru (Goo – roo) offers a full spectrum of subject areas with assessments and activities. This site allows teachers to perform real-time assessments and then augment student learning activities Many of the lesson collections have been created by nationally top ranked schools for large school districts. Students are also given feedback that they can use for navigation of their own learning journey. OER

Annenberg Learner The Annenberg Foundation presents a large collection of lessons and videos to help you augment your lessons and add interest. Additionally, Annenberg Learner has released copyright control for use in public education for K12 schools. You as a teacher can also benefit from their resources by taking graduate classes for credit. Costs for use in classroom is free, graduate credit course work ranges from $206 to $309 plus a technology fee.

Compiled by David Adkins-Brown

All links accessed 05-09-2017



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