How to create Top 5 resource lists for students and families

Follow these quick steps for building and sharing resource collections for any curriculum topic
By: | March 27, 2020
(Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash)(Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash)
Monica Burns is educator, author and ed tech consultant, and she will be a featured speaker at FETC.

Monica Burns is educator, author and ed tech consultant, and she will be a featured speaker at FETC.

With school closures across the country, educators are working hard to locate resources to share with families. In some settings, this includes sharing assignments with students directly through a content management system. In other instances, educators are hand-picking resources that connect to curriculum goals and sharing them with families.

Let’s look at how educators can choose five resources for families and create a Google Doc (or even a mobile-friendly website) with information about each one. The idea behind this strategy is to create collections of high-quality and relevant resources on one topic.

(It is important to note that in addition to issues related to access to devices and connectivity, that many families are faced with challenges, including housing, childcare and finances. As a result, accessing resources for their children might not be at the top of their list of priorities in the short term.)


Read: District leader says let teachers innovate online


Getting started

First, choose a topic. It may be general like “podcasts for kids,” or more specific like “virtual reality tours of Europe.” With the topic in mind, search online for resources. This might include a blog post with ideas, a Pinterest board with links, a podcast on the topic, or a Google search. For example, you might listen to a podcast episode with online resources like this one, and then choose a few others to add to your Top 5 list.

If your students are working remotely for the remainder of the school year, this strategy can place “just right” resources into the hands of families.

Once you have your list of five links, you can include them all on a Google Doc, with a sentence or two about each. You might decide to share the link to the Google Doc in View Only mode, which will allow them to read about each link and explore. In addition to explaining the resource, you could include an action item or discussion prompt for families to use, too.

This may be sufficient, but if you want to take your resource list a step further, you can consider creating a website with pictures and a cleaner layout. I’m a fan of Spark tools and Ben Forta from Adobe, and I even wrote a book with classroom activities for using Spark with kids. This strategy takes a different approach—with the teacher as creator.


Read: Updated: 56 free K-12 resources during coronavirus pandemic


For a Top 5 list, you can add the title and description along with a header image at the top of the page. Then, you can add the content from your Google Doc with a simple copy and paste. You might also decide to add buttons for each link and place the paragraph with additional information or instructions right below it.

There are other website creation tools you can try out, too, including Google Sites. The idea here is that you are sharing one link with families so they can access the list of resources you’ve hand-picked for them.

If your students are working remotely for the remainder of the school year, this strategy can place “just right” resources into the hands of families.


Monica Burns is educator, author and ed tech consultant, and she will be a featured speaker at FETC.


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