Susan Riley | January 2016

25 Creative Resources for the Classroom

2016 is going to be the year that creativity finally gets its due in education.  We are seeing the perfect confluence of creativity, connectivity and communication in our schools.  But with this powerful shift comes a serious question: what creative resources should we be investigating that will help us to bring creativity back to our classrooms?  Today, we’re sharing 25 Creative Resources you can start using today with (and for) your students!

Psst… love this list? Check out our Winter ONLINE Arts Integration and STEAM Conference. It’s jam-packed with strategies, lessons and creative resources like these!


The Teaching Channel’s Dance Integration Video Series

Dance can be a challenge for many educators to integrate in their classrooms.  This video series from the Teaching Channel breaks down the elements of dance, how others are integrating it at elementary, middle and high school and best of all – it’s free.

Portfolium for Educators

So many people ask me all the time for easy tools to help manage and use portfolios in the classroom. I have a variety that I enjoy, but check out Portfolium. Simple to use, and students have the ability to upload their own work.

E is for Explore 

We ran across this blog in our Pinterest feed and couldn’t be more excited!  There are tons of lessons, samples, templates and ideas for integrating the arts across content areas in a hands-on way.

Strathmore FREE Online Workshops

Looking for some high-quality professional development?  Now you can enjoy some arts-focused PD for FREE with these highly-regarded online workshops.  I’m really enjoying this series!

Art and Science Journal

This website provides so many vivid examples of how art and science naturally intersect.  We love their blog which provides prompts to get you thinking about how to use art to explore science and vice versa.

Arts@theCore Website

This free website offers so many great ideas for integrating visual art, theater, math and literacy. There are units your can download for visual storytelling, space, artistic risk, color theory and tech theater.  Truly a treasure trove of creative resources!

Kahoot! Game-based blended learning

This free site allows you to have students work through thought-provoking questions in a game-based way. You (or your students) can create the questions for a quiz, lesson prompt or review, and then as students answer them, they play against each other while you facilitate conversation surrounding their responses.  There is so much potential for a system like this!

Visualizing Painters Lives

So this site is a little different than what we normally showcase, but it was just too intriguing to pass up.  This website provides a visual timeline of 10 painters and their most famous works, to help build compelling stories.  You could easily use it in either a visual art or general classroom and the example of how to lay out data in a visual way is incredible.  Have fun with this one!

Nova Labs – Virtual Lab Environment

This site, produced through PBS, allows students to explore the convergence of art and science in a virtual lab experience.  NOVA Labs participants can take part in real-world investigations by visualizing, analyzing, and sharing the same data that scientists use.  This amazing free site would be a great addition to any inquiry-based lesson.

7 Tenets of Creative Thinking

If you’re looking for a “boost”, try this fantastic graphic and accompanying article on the 7 Tenets of Creative Thinking.  It will help you work through your own creative process, and help you respond when students ask “Is this good?”

Babble DabbleDo

Looking for some new STEAM project ideas to use with your students?  Check out this website that features some fresh new projects for tying it all together.  Lots of creative resources here for Science, Art, Design and Engineering projects as well – so if you’re looking for integrated or distinct lesson ideas, this site has a variety.

Drama Tuneup Series

For so many arts integration lessons, drama and theater can be a really natural and less-threatening way to begin.  Even so, we want to make sure we understand the terms of the art form and figure out how we can use it well in our own classrooms.  This free podcast series offers some wonderful tips, strategies, and suggestions for exploring through drama in any classroom.

Artsy for Education

Have you discovered Artsy yet?  This fantastic website of over 40,000 artists helps to connect art and artistic genres with world-connections.  They have a specific section dedicated to education that contains lesson plans, creative resources, and compositions you can use in your classroom (review ahead of time though!).  Browse through this great gem!

Hstry – Create Free Interactive Timelines

This incredible website enables you and your students to bring history to life in pictures, videos, audio and websites on an interactive timeline.  This is totally free and adds a completely new dimension to making history come alive.


David Wiesner’s SPOT App

This app features acclaimed author and illustrator David Wiesner’s work in 5 separate “worlds” students can explore, including a storyteller adventure where they can share what happens next in the story!

Wixie App

This app is an online authoring platform for students that allows them to share what they know through their writing, their voice and their art.  It’s so easy to use, and even has a “creative teaching planning tool” available to educators.

TinkerBox App

If you can imagine it, you can create it.  This STEAM-focused app allows you to dream up an idea, play with creating it on the app and then share it with others.  Wouldn’t it be fun to use this as a prototype and then actually build the creation? Great app that is FREE to download.

Art Authority App

Our good friends at Buncee introduced us to this app and we couldn’t be more impressed! If you’re looking for a curation of artwork that you can use for your arts integration and STEAM lessons, we’d suggest taking a look at the Art Authority App.  There are over 65,000 paintings and sculptures to browse from ancient to modern eras.


ARTintegration Book

This book features 30 of art teacher Deborah Holland’s best lesson plans that integrate art with math, science, social studies and language arts. Another great resource from Crystal Productions for integrating across the curriculum.

The Creative Habit

All it takes to make creativity a part of your life is the willingness to make it a habit. It is the product of preparation and effort, and is within reach of everyone. This is a book for anyone who wants to put their creativity to use. The Creative Habit provides you with thirty-two practical exercises based on the lessons Twyla Tharp has learned in her remarkable thirty-five-year career.

The Talent Code

What is the secret of talent?  How do we unlock it?  In The Talent Code, Daniel Coyle share the tools we can all use to maximize potential in ourselves and our students.  Filled with terrific anecdotes, along with some fascinating research, I am really enjoying re-thinking about the talents that come into our classrooms every day. 

Overwhelmed: How to Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time

I picked up this book while waiting at the airport and have not been able to put it down.  If you feel like you are trying to juggle being both an “ideal worker” and an “ideal parent/friend/child,etc” this is a MUST-READ.  Brigid Schulte unearths why we all feel like we can never get enough done and what to do about it.

Teaching through the ARTS: Writing!

This latest book by Mary Palmer and Susan Merrill Rosoff is an absolute gem.  Practical in nature, it contains beautiful full-color lesson plans, strategies and assessments for arts-integrated writing and storytelling.  If you attended the winter online STEAM conference, you’ll remember Mary and Susan from their presentation on using Soundscapes in the classroom.  That was just a small taste compared to this book.  Highly recommended!


This book from bestselling author Robert Greene analyzes the lives of masters like Albert Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci, as well as contemporary masters Paul Graham and Temple Grandin to debunk the myths about genius.  He guides you through how to unlock your own passion and become a master yourself.  Great read for the upcoming summer break!

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

If you’d like more ideas on clearing out the clutter (of our minds, closets and more), this is a great book to get you started.  There is a difference between essentialism and minimalism and this book really helps to bring you back to what matters for YOU.

Sound off: what are YOUR favorite creative resources?  Any that we missed? 

About the Author

Susan Riley is the founder and CEO of The Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, STEAM, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and STEAM education. Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter. Email Susan