online teacher
Lesson materials for beginner online teachers

Hey knowmad!

You might know how to use skype or zoom, you’ve probably found your first students. You are ready and want to start teaching online but you have no idea which lesson materials to use?

You may be wondering: Can I use the same materials that I’m using face-to-face? How can I use books? Which online tools and resources are best? What activities should I create and how?

Do you relate to any of these? Then, keep reading because this post is for you.

Te aim of this post is to provide you with some tips and ideas about online lesson materials in order for you to start giving entertaining and interactive online lessons.


1. Don’t panic

Teaching online is easier than it may seem at first. If you are starting, I’d advice you to keep things simple and advance little by little. Don’t worry, you don’t need lots of materials or resources to give a great class.

2. Connect with other teachers

You should do this from the start. Learning from each other is key to improving. Besides, working at home and on your own can be a bit lonely sometimes. You can connect with other teachers online, for instance, on Facebook groups, but also face-to-face in events, meet ups and so on.

3. Go to events

Not only will you connect with others but you will also learn and improve as a teacher. If you wish to read about interesting events for online teachers click HERE

4. Be organised

Save everything you use in class. Organise all your material in folders on your computer. It should be easy to find whenever you need to use it again.

5. Adapt

Almost everything you use in face-to-face lessons can be adapted to online classes. Use your imagination to make the necessary adjustments and changes.

online teacher


1. Books

Sure you can continue using the same books you were using face-to-face. What’s more, I’d strongly recommend you to do it if you are starting. There are so many things to learn and do in your first months as an online teacher that you really want to save as much time as possible. So just keep doing what you were doing in previous classes. You’ll have to adapt it, of course.

You have a few options:

-Both you and the student can buy a book and have it on paper. This is the same as being in a normal classroom! You just have to guide your student so that he can follow your explanations.

-You can also scan the parts you want to use and share your screen in the class. It’s like making photocopies. I like this option because it’s easier for the student to follow and they are more focused since they have to look at the screen all the time.

-You can also use a book as some guidance to create your own materials.

2. Create your own materials

My favourite options are:

-Google docs: I love how simple and useful this is. You can create activities in a google doc just as if you were doing it in a word document, then you click on ‘share’, get the ‘shareable link’, copy it and paste it on the chat of skype or zoom so that your student can access it and both of you can edit the document at the same time. It’s great!

Canva: this is a wonderful application if you want to create beautiful PDFs, powerpoint presentations, flashcards and much more. It’s free, intuitive and allows you to create professional and stylish materials.

3. Websites.

There are a lot of websites out there filled with exercises for your students to practice. You can send them the link and ask them to share their screen so that you can see how they complete the exercises.

One of my favourite ones is Lyrics Training. A website and also a phone application to practice with songs.

4. Blogs

Look for interesting blogs. You can use articles to start a lesson, introduce some vocabulary, grammar, a debate or a conversation…etc.

5. Pictures

You can use your own pictures to talk about you, your family or your trips. Ask your students to share their photos as well so that they can also talk about themselves.

You can also use other pictures for them to practice describing, thinking of what’s happening or giving their opinion on something.

You can also use Google images to quickly illustrate something you are explaining.

6. Banners, advertisement, graffiti

Take pictures on the street or wherever you go and use them in class to talk about culture, to correct spelling mistakes, to describe, to teach vocabulary and so on.

7. Menus

Take a picture of a restaurant menu to talk about your country’s food, teach the vocabulary and ask your student about their food habits and preferences.

8. Youtube

You can find so many interesting videos in Youtube for your students. Lessons, short films, interviews, the list is endless.

9. Recipes

Teach your students how to cook a typical dish of your country. You can share the recipe from a book, a blog or a Youtube video.

10. Games

There are so many games you can play with your students. There is a lot of info online and books about it. You can use your imagination and try to adapt the games you were using in a physical classroom to your online lessons.

lesson material

As far as I’m concerned, I like to use books because I save a lot of time. You just have to find a great book which is up-to-date with the most communicative approaches. I usually scan the parts that I use for the class, adapting what I need and sometimes I get ideas to create my own exercises.

I like to use a variety of activities in every class, always taking into account the student’s interests, needs and learning preferences. So, in addition to the book, I always try to find songs, videos, articles or pictures related to the unit we are working on. This makes the classes more fun and engaging.

As I said earlier, it’s really important to keep learning and improving constantly so I really recommend you once again to attend events and connect with other teachers.

I hope all these ideas are useful for you. Would you like to add anything to this list? You can share your experience and ideas leaving a comment below.

Finally, if you’ve found this post helpful, now you can help me reach more teachers sharing this content on your social media. I’ll really appreciate it. Thank you!

I've been teaching Spanish and English since 2010. I moved online in 2016 and since then I enjoy my job much more because I have more control of how I live and work. Now I want to share all my knowledge and experience to help others follow the same path so that they can become independent digital entrepreneurs.

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