Top Free Teachers Pay Teachers Downloads of 2021

This month I’ve been reflecting on 2021, looking at data to see what went well and what didn’t as far as my blog and shared teaching materials are concerned. I’ve already shared with you the Top 10 Blog Posts of 2021 and the Underdog Blog Posts of 2021. This week and next week I’m turning my attention to something near and dear to every teacher’s heart: free resources! One data point I examined was which of the 60+ free resources on Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT) were downloaded the most in 2021, and I’m going to share that list with you today. One thing to note: TPT does not track the number of “downloads” of free Google Drive products, so I was only able to determine the most popular non-digital free products. If there is a digital version available, I’ll put a link to that as well.

Escape! The Irregular Verb Grid: Paper

10. Escape! The Irregular Verb Grid

This game was featured in an October blog post bearing it’s name: Escape! The Irregular Verb Grid. It’s a fun game for 2-4 students to practice forming irregular past tense verbs. It’s simple to make, simple to play, and has become a favorite among my students. You can check that blog post for all of the details. There’s a digital version as well!

Cause & Effect Pictures: PDF

9. Cause and Effect Pictures

I spend a lot of time teaching cause and effect and this activity is a popular one with my students. I prefer to use the Google Slides version and vary assigning it as homework and doing it in class as group work. You can read all of the details in the January blog post, Cause & Effect, Part 1. If you’re still looking for ideas (and things for more advanced students) don’t forget to check out part 2!

CER & CRAAP News Discernment Investigation

8. CER & CRAAP News Discernment Investigation: Is It Real or Fake News?

This graphic organizer prompts students to choose a news story and then evaluate its claim, evidence, and reasoning. They then continue their investigation to consider the article’s currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, and purpose. The goal is to help students think more critically about the things they hear and read. The activity is one of the four reading activities on my English Skillology Level 4 choice board (also free, but Google Slides so not tracked by TPT) that you can read about in this September blog post.

Operations with Integers Foldable Notes

7. Operations with Integers Foldable Notes

While my main focus is ESL and grammar, I have had to teach more than one math class in the past. These foldable notes have long been a favorite on TPT and once again made the top ten. Once completed, the foldable provides a quick reference sheet for the rules governing adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing integers. While I’ve never blogged about this activity in particular, you can find a description of a fun game we play to practice adding integers (and you can make yourself), in Integer Fishing.

Vocabulary Word Circle Graphic Organizer

6. Vocabulary Word Circle Graphic Organizer

I prefer to avoid teaching vocabulary out of context, but sometimes you just need to really dig into all the different parts of a word. I discussed this last September in Adding to Our Lexicons. The post describes how and when I use this graphic organizer, along with the more detailed Master the Term organizer (also free), to help students get a fuller picture of more crucial vocabulary terms.

Compound Word Guessing Activity

5. Compound Word Guessing Activity

Is there any such thing as too many compound word activities? Not when they are free! This PowerPoint guessing activity is a fun introduction or review to compound words. More activity ideas can be found in the May Compound Words blog post.

Solving Equations Poster/Anchor Chart

4. Solving Equations Poster / Anchor Chart

Another resource from my days as a math teacher, this poster/anchor chart was featured in two different blog posts: Decorations With a Purpose and St. Patrick’s Day Math. If you didn’t get a chance to grab it then, now’s your chance!

Pronoun Snow Person Craftivity

3. Pronoun Snow Person Craftivity

The blog post about this activity (Pronoun Fun) may have made my Underdog Blog Posts list, but the directions sheet / rubric for the activity was certainly a hit. This activity was originally born of a desperate attempt to get my snow crazed new arrivals to focus on something academic but quickly became a yearly favorite. Give it a try–even my middle schoolers like it!

Inside Lesson Plans

2. Inside Lesson Plans

The only thing that surprised me about this resource was the fact that it wasn’t number one (although that’s likely because they are two separate downloads–added together they would be number one). When I posted the lesson plans I used to teach National Geographic’s Inside curriculum back in August everyone responded very favorably (the post was #4 on the list of Top Ten Blog Posts). The plans for level A (blue book) and level B (green book) were downloaded hundreds of times each. If you’re teaching this curriculum, feel free to grab your own copy.

Reading & Writing for Academic Purposes Lesson Plans

1. Reading and Writing for Academic Purposes Lesson Plans

Although this one might technically be number 2 (depending on how you count downloads for the Inside plans), at 530 downloads in less than a year it was certainly popular. These are plans I used to help long-term ELs improve their scores on the reading and writing portions of the WIDA (details in this post). Fair warning: they involve books from LLI’s Teal System and Reading A-Z, so you might want to be sure you have those materials before using them–though the price is right to simply check them out for yourself.

If you missed any of these popular free resources, now is your chance to download them for yourself. While you’re in my TPT store, take a moment and check out all of the free resources available, there are over 60 of them thus far. Next week I’ll wrap up my reflection month by sharing with you the most popular free downloads from my blog. Until then, happy teaching, everyone!