There are many wonderful resources on the Internet for elementary education. Even though budgets are currently tight for many school systems, some of the best resources require a subscription fee and deservedly so. The good news is that due to the tough economy, it may be possible to get discounts on these subscriptions making them affordable for many schools that might not have considered them previously.
#1 Educational Videos and Lessons with Discovery Education
The first of three subscription websites that will benefit elementary schools is Discovery Education. This service was previously called United Streaming and offers schools the ability to either download or stream high quality educational programs from the Discovery Channel and others. All videos are organized by grade level and topic and usually even by state curriculum standards. One very nice feature of Discovery Education is that all the videos are broken up into segments so that you can download and show only the portion of the show or documentary that you want your students to see. One final benefit to Discovery Education is that most of the videos come with lesson plans and even manipulatives to provide you with a complete lesson for your K-12 classroom. If you are looking for a video on demand service for your school or district, Discovery Education is one of the best services that you could choose.
#2 Teach Vital Skills with Education City
The second of three subscription websites that will benefit elementary schools is Education City. Education City is a skill building website that can be customized to the specific needs of a student. Using the My City feature teachers can pick skills that the student needs to work on and then receive detailed reports as the student uses Education City. Education City is highly animated and students seem eager to use it whenever given the chance. Education city is divided into grade levels and then subjects offering Language Arts, Math, and Science modules. They even offer the modules in Spanish if your school has a high ESL population. The activities are varied and the animation never gets in the way of actual learning with a good ratio of work vs. animated reward. If you go to EducationCity.com you can request a free 22 day trial for your school and give it a shot. Education City has had several great discounts lately so if you are looking for skill building and review software for your school there may not be a better time to obtain this valuable resource.
#3 Professional Development with PD360
The third and final of three subscription websites that will benefit elementary schools is PD360. PD360 is a professional development service combined with a quasi social networking platform for teachers. With PD360 your school gains access to a wealth of professional development videos from some of the top names in Education. These videos are broken up into segments and include reflection questions for both after the video has been watched and for several days later when you have digested the information. The second part of PD360 is a professional social network for teachers across the United States to ask questions, compare strategies, and share lesson plans and other resources. If your district needs an economical platform for staff development that doesn't require substitutes and travel then PD360 might be what you are looking for.
In these times of economical turmoil it can be difficult for school systems to justify spending money on subscription services. However, if the resources are available these websites offer materials and activities that can substantially enhance the elementary curriculum. Finally, if you are looking for free software alternatives that might enhance your elementary school then take a look at my guide on free alternatives to expensive software.