Author Archives: Lebanon Library

Common Sense Education


Common Sense® has been providing valuable digital learning resources and information to families, educators, and students for the last 15 years. With the increase in distance learning, these resources have become even more valuable. In the Common Sense Education® section of their website, you can find a compiled list of 18 of the best tools for virtual and distance learning chosen by Common Sense®. The list includes apps and websites that will help teachers and at-home educators with lesson planning, virtual classroom creation, digital slideshows and video lessons, and more. Common Sense® provides a thorough review of each of the tools that includes the recommended grade levels, ratings, subjects, pros, and cons. It also describes how it could be used effectively and why it is good for learning.

Also on the list are two recommended apps for communication between teachers and parents. With so much uncertainty and the rapidly changing information we have been faced with over the past several months, clear communication is essential. The Remind App allows teachers to send mass messages to families to keep them updated and to stay connected. Similarly, Talking Points allows teachers and parents to stay in touch, but includes a translation feature to more effectively communicate with families who speak another language.


This page also links to the learning resources on Wide Open School, which is powered by Common Sense®. This page lists several resources on self-care, tips for families learning remotely, professional development and webinars, and many more helpful distance learning tips and tricks.


To access the Best Tools for Virtual and Distance Learning page, click this link:

To access Wide Open School, click this link:

Smithsonian Distance Learning

Smithsonian Learning Lab offers educators an organized list of education guides for all grade levels and core subjects on Google Sheets. The Google Sheets document is organized into tabs by topic. For the core subjects of English language arts, social studies/history, and science, each lesson plan provides the target grade band, topic, the name of the Smithsonian resource, the URL, and a description of the lesson. Additionally, each grade level K-8 has an individual tab that is organized into core curriculum topics studied in the fall, spring, and winter quarters in DC Public Schools. Each topic contains links to lesson plans from Smithsonian’s Learning Lab.

Spanish-speaking families can benefit from this Google Sheets document as well. Structured in a similar manner as the previously mentioned lesson plans and resources, the Spanish tab of this document is also categorized into subjects, which is then further broken down into grade band, topic, and link.

There is also a tab for tweens and teens to explore core subjects in addition to current events, maker activities, careers, and more. Caregivers of children in Pre-K-5th grade can access similar age-appropriate resources in the next tab.

This document is not just for school-age students. There is a tab for lifelong learners that lists resources for adults on current events, podcasts, and free online courses.

To access this document, visit this link:

Click any of the links to the grade levels.
This will bring up the entire Google Sheets document.

For even more educational resources, click on the link to the full listing of Smithsonian resources or Smithsonian’s Affiliations’ network.

Education Reimagined

Many families have been faced with the challenge of distance learning since the start of the pandemic. Fortunately, Education Reimagined has an abundance of resources available in their “Distance Learning Resource Center” to help ease some of that school-related stress. This resource center contains a compiled list of online resources that families have found helpful during their distance learning journey.

For user convenience, the resources are organized by topic.

The resource center is straight forward and easy to navigate. Resources include tips for distance learning for families and teachers, information about coronavirus, tools for students with special needs, virtual museums, STEM activities, and so much more.

If you have found an online resource that has helped your family through this difficult time, the website allows you to submit your own entries to the list.

To access the list, visit this website:


Newspapers in Education

With modern technology, physical newspapers are becoming obsolete in education. The value of the news in education, however, should not be obsolete. With Newspapers in Education, students can learn all of the valuable information from the news on a medium that is relevant to their modern technology needs. This website is completely free and is an excellent resource for students, teachers, and homeschool families in middle and upper grade levels.

To access the educational content on the Newspapers in Education website, visit and click on the gray box for lessons by grade-level.

On this page, you will see news-related lessons and activities in the core subjects, like an interactive map in Headline Geography, a leveled vocabulary lesson in Word in the News (which includes an elementary level), and a science webcast in Pulse of the Planet. The interactive activities, videos, and visuals appeal to students of all learning styles.

You can also choose to view a specific online newspaper that is managed by NIEonline. On the main page, sort through the references. For example, you may want to show students newspapers specific to Ohio, so you could choose Ohio Newspapers.

This will give students access to the news-related activities and lessons, but also to ePapers, like the Dayton Daily NewsSpringfield News-Sun, and Journal-News.

This website not only exposes students to the news and helps them comprehend the highlights, but can also be used to get them thinking critically and formulating opinions. This is the perfect way for students to understand what’s going on in their world!