My Top 5 Free Clip Art Sites for Teachers

Everybody has their own favorite clip art sites, and today I’d like to share mine. They aren’t necessarily the greatest, but they work for me. So, without further ado…

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1. The Noun Project

The classroom potential of The Noun Project should be apparent to anyone with eyes. I mean how can you  not be awestruck by a million-plus supply of free icons and symbols beautifully crafted by professional artists. For the minimalists of the world, they come exclusively in black and white and are the definition of elegant design. But if you feel so inclined, you can pay the membership fee to get them in any color you like.

Check out their work here:

2. My Cute Graphics

Laura Strickland’s artwork is widely used by primary school teachers. Her free clipart is available at My Cute Graphics, and includes hundreds of adorable images which I liberally use in my teaching materials for young English learners.

Whimsy Clips is her premium site if you’re looking for specialized art and you’ve got money to burn. These are probably most useful to teachers making their own products to sell online.

3. Unsplash

Need something beautiful but not so cutesy? Unsplash has some seriously spectacular photography that they are literally giving away. Thousands upon thousands of high quality photos from a talented community of photographers for anyone to download and do with what they like. I’ve become so taken by this site that it has become my sole source for images of real things.

You’ve already unknowingly seen much of their work. This picture for example is hilarious but oddly familiar.

That’s because it is part of an advertisement at my neighborhood subway station.

4. Teachers Pay Teachers

Teachers Pay Teachers is better known as a place to source non-corporate teaching materials, but it is also a first class library of high quality and varied clip art. Most of it must be paid for, but quite a bit is free. Many creators do very well supplying clip art to other sellers to make their own products with. When I needed a new set of alphabet letters, I needed look no farther than Graphics from the Pond.

5. Open Clipart

Openclipart is the polar opposite of sites like Unsplash. What quality standards may exist are near impossible to discern, and searching for a specific picture on the site can often feel like digging through a teenage boy’s bedroom looking for a lost sock. And yet, it contains what feels like an untapped well of interesting images that just aren’t to be found on other sites, like this Parisian bar, which I quite like.


Anyway, those are my favorites. If you have any other suggestions, please leave a comment below.


A Christmas Journal for Young Learners


With Christmas nearly upon us, it can be hard for teachers to keep young students on task. Most kids are focused on what Santa Claus (or Santa Mom and Santa Dad) is going to bring them, assuming they haven’t already made the naughty list. To fill those low productivity periods in the day I’ve been working on a series of themed journals for really young kids.

They couldn’t be simpler to use. Kids cut out the words at the bottom of each page, and glue them in order at the top of the page. They then write the sentence once or twice and draw a picture about it. These kind of exercises reinforce essential sentence patterns and get the kids talking about Christmas.

Here in South Korea I use them almost every day to get my young English learners writing and drawing as either a warm-up or alternatively as part of my wind-down routine. In some cases I assign it as a work-at-your-own-pace homework booklet. Some of my parents really like having something Englishy for the kids to do at home that doesn’t feel like they’re asking the kids to get their teeth pulled.

On a side note, kids here in South Korea have an unimaginable, out-of-this -world homework burden that would make those amazing Finnish teachers drop dead in shock. Teachers perpetually feel pressured to assign more by parents, and parents feel pressured to ask for more in this ultra-competitive society. For anyone trying to fight this stark educational reality, it can feel like trying to hold back the tide. Tbe best teachers like me can do is to assign fun little extras where we can

Anyway, you can check out this Christmas journal here.

Teaching Night of the Ninjas to Korean Kids

Seeing how excited children get watching Ninjago is proof enough for me that Magic Tree House #5 Night of the Ninjas should definitely be included on your list of Must-Teach-It-Before-I-Die books. And what’s not to like about a chapter book where children are magically whisked away from their home and plopped smack down in the middle of a ferocious civil war between ninjas and samurai warriors and made to fend for themselves? There are life lessons in a book like that.

I grant my older students a little flexibility when I decide which novels to teach. They can choose from among a shortlist of preselected novels and if we can achieve more or less unanimity, I try to go with their choice. The children feel they have more control over what they are reading which allows me to hold their attention a little better. In a recent vote, the choice was between this book, Freckle Juice, and Nate the Great San Francisco Detective. After just a quick look at the covers a consensus was achieved in about three seconds.

Them: The ninja book!

Me: Fair enough. But don’t you want to hear about the other…

Them: No! We want ninjas! Blood! Blood!! Blood!!!

As always, the novel study from English Republic has a complete set of teaching tools for each chapter, most of what you’d need for your classes. It’s available for students whose first language is either Korean or Japanese, and the Arabic version is almost done. The first chapter is free, so just visit the product page and try it out.



Nate the Great and the Crunchy Christmas, a Novel Study for Kids Learning to Read English

With Thanksgiving soon upon us, it is time to start thinking about what to read with your young learners this coming December. You can get never go wrong with the world’s greatest child detective. In Nate the Great and the Crunchy Christmas, our hero must once again come to the aid of Fang, the pet and companion of his friend Annie, who is growing worried that he will be having a blue Christmas.

I’ve taught the book several times to children here is South Korea and it is always one of their favorites. The Nate books are always funny and enjoyable to read with children, but I suppose what I like the best about the later books in the series is the art. It just makes me want to savor every page.

English Republic has a novel study for teaching the book that comes with all the regular goodies: comprehension questions, writing prompts, vocabulary exercises, quizzes, and puzzles. It is available in four versions, for children whose first language is either Arabic, Spanish, Korean, or Japanese. As always the first section is free, and even if you’ve already purchased it, you should re-download the latest version which because I’ve spent some time updating it.

And if you like the coming attraction style movie above (or if it at least doesn’t annoy you), please click the like button or leave a comment. I’m experimenting these days with the RawShorts video making site and I’m keen to know what anyone think. It’s a lot of fun and you can try it for free.


A Halloween-Themed Journal for Young Learners

Halloween is just around the corner and that means that all useful classroom study comes to a halt and your young learners turn into candy-crazed maniacs with no intention of paying attention to you or your lessons, right? Well, that doesn’t have to be the case. You can even get them to do a little useful writing and coloring, and they may even enjoy themselves.

At this time of year, I give each of my young learners one of these drawing journal booklets and we spend a little time each day constructing sentences and drawing pictures about Halloween.  It’s pretty simple stuff but the kids get a kick out of it and it lets you drag out discussion of Halloween for a few weeks.

You can check it out here.