Ideas and resources for parents of ESL/ELL students

These reviewed resources offer information so share with parents of ESL/ELL students. Some are resources parents can use at home with children to reinforce language skills. Others include suggested activities ESL/ELL learners can begin in school and share with parents. Be sure to read the "In the Classroom" suggestions for ways these reviewed resources can build language skills both at home and at school.

 

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ESL Bits - Skip Reske

Grades
5 to 12
3 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Don't let the title mislead you! Find listening and reading activities for any listener who enjoys audio stories at a teen and adult level, including the advanced English language learner....more
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Don't let the title mislead you! Find listening and reading activities for any listener who enjoys audio stories at a teen and adult level, including the advanced English language learner. There are short stories, books, radio scripts, and songs to listen to and read, as well as English idioms, sayings, and slang. You'll also find a Reading Comprehension and Test Preparation area with interactive activities to help students read and understand English and prepare for reading exams. Unlike many audio book sites, this one includes recent and popular selections for almost anyone, including teachers and parents! Don't miss classic radio shows perfect for discovering life in 20th century decades past.

tag(s): listening (91), radio (27), reading comprehension (116), short stories (25), test prep (96)

In the Classroom

Project a story or song on an interactive whiteboard or projector for group listening, reading along, and discussion. Literature teachers can use the site for a class novel, so lower readers can have audio support at home for listening and review. You could have small groups of students listen to different short stories, and make up Bloom's type questions for the next group of students to answer, or they could turn the story into a Reader's Theater piece and video tape it, or perform it live for the class. Share the videos using a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here. This is a terrific site to list on your class website for students to use for at-home practice or enjoyment. For elementary and middle school students, you will want to provide the specific url for the selection you want them to use so they are reading articles appropriate in content for their age group. If you supervise a study hall, keep this link handy as a listening option for students who "don't have any homework."

Comments

Excellent resource! alma grimaldi, , Grades: 7 - 9

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VoiceThread - VoiceThread

Grades
K to 12
19 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Voicethread allows you to upload images (from your digital camera, scanner, or even paint program). You can also upoad PowerPoint slides. Then students can record or write their own...more
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Voicethread allows you to upload images (from your digital camera, scanner, or even paint program). You can also upoad PowerPoint slides. Then students can record or write their own comments and/or narration about the images/slides. Other listeners can "comment" back, as well. Access to the ed.voicethread site (as opposed to www.voicethread) is restricted to grades K-12 students, educators, and administrators. VoiceThread explains how to set up a classroom account and has some ideas for classroom use, as well. Ideas from the TeachersFirst Edge review team are listed below, under "In the classroom."

Voicethread also offers a free iOS app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It is free through the iTunes app store. Projects work seamlessly on both computer and mobile iOS devices, so projects started on one machine can be edited and/or viewed on another. Your ed.Voicethread account works in both places.

tag(s): digital storytelling (142), speech (92)

In the Classroom

You will be logged into your account immediately after you fill in the registration form. You must "apply" to designate your account as an educator account once it is set up. Click on "browse" to see many examples, including tutorials. Watch the "One Minute Voicethread" to get a very quick overview of how easy it is to create a digital story. Set up student identities. Use first names only. You need to know how to locate and upload saved pictures or PowerPoint files. If you want to use audio, the COOL tool, you WILL need a microphone, either plugged into your computer or built in. Once you create a Voicethread, it can be shared by clicking "share" from the menu or at the end of viewing it and copying the URL to send via email or other means, inviting others to comment back. Ed voicethreads have comment moderation turned on by default and are private by default. As the teacher, you can change these settings.

Invite parents to share in the results (The VoiceThread classroom page tells you more about this). TeachersFirst does not recommend using actual, identifiable pictures of children. Let them draw a picture or take a digital picture of an object that somehow represents them (middle schoolers will love that idea!). If you allow others to "comment" on student Voicethreads, the experience can be both wonderful and a bit intimidating. Use this opportunity to promote ethical and kind interaction with other students and their projects.

Of course, you should be sure that you have the RIGHTS to any images you upload. Fair Use does not apply when you put an image on the web! Elementary classes can create or take pictures, then ask each child to talk about the images. Each child can comment on the SAME pictures, creating a collaborative collection of responses. After a field trip or special class event, you can assign groups of students to explain each of the digital pictures you took and how they relate to curriculum topics. In art class, students can critique works of their own or of fellow students. In language arts classes, students can scan and comment on writing pieces as part of a reflective phase of the writing process. Or post an image as a prewriting activity and allow students to respond orally in an idea-generating phase. In social studies, have students provide a picture of a grandparent then narrate what they learned about that grandparent from interviewing him/her. Have students create narrated pictures as gifts (for parents or other care givers) for special occasions, winter holidays, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, etc.. During a science experiment or demo, have a student take pictures of the steps. Then ask students to "narrate" them by commenting on what is happening. The narration assignment could even be a center activity or an assignment on a few classroom computers for students to rotate through. What a great way to review and apply key vocabulary! Be sure they identify their voices if you are using a single class account and want to be able to assess understanding. Other ideas: narrated local history projects (pictures of local sites), audio "museum tours" of artifacts (photos) or war veterans telling their stories along with images of their uniforms or old photos. Speech/language, ESL/ELL or early childhood teachers could use this tool to promote vocabulary development and oral expression.

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Storybooks - Where Did the River Go

Grades
K to 4
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create your own books for reading on the computer or printing, and test your reading skills with this interactive site. On the main screen are two different stories to choose ...more
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Create your own books for reading on the computer or printing, and test your reading skills with this interactive site. On the main screen are two different stories to choose from (The Journey To Darkest Somewhere or The House of Scary Words). Once you choose a story the fun begins! As each page turns, see options to personalize the characters and text. Click to drag new objects (pictures) into the story. Personalize the story with your own name. All of the red words/phrases can be changed. At the end of the story, choose to print the story or save to pdf. Along with the stories, there are other key components of the site, one of which is the section entitled "Scared of Words," tips for parents to help students with reading. There is a video skills quiz to help identify any weaknesses parents may have in reading skills, reasons for reading, hints and tips for helping children read, and links to online book resources. This site was developed in the United Kingdom, so you may notice a few spelling/vocabulary differences (for example, potato chips are referred to as "crisps.")

tag(s): book lists (126), literacy (103), reading comprehension (116), reading strategies (44)

In the Classroom

Share this site during Literacy nights at school as a resource parents can use at home when helping their students read. Share the site with ESL/ELL and Special Education teachers as a resource. Create a link on classroom computers, and have students create their own stories to print into a classroom book. Use this site to demonstrate how a passage will change through use of different verbs and nouns.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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My Immigration Story - R. Ramos Y Sanchez

Grades
8 to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This site shares real immigrants' personal tales of coming to America. It also shares helpful resources for immigrants. Read unique stories about the many immigrants. With a simple...more
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This site shares real immigrants' personal tales of coming to America. It also shares helpful resources for immigrants. Read unique stories about the many immigrants. With a simple click, a box opens to share a story in writing. Writers only need a name (even just a first name), address, and email address (optional) to register. Also included on the site is an NPR interview with the creator of the site, indicating the site is not political, just a vehicle for allowing immigrants to share their concerns and triumphs. Other features of the website include an interesting quote from Benjamin Franklin concerning the public view of immigrants of his time, and many compelling photos of immigrants from all around the world. This site does include some minor advertising.

tag(s): immigration (58), migration (59), writing (358)

In the Classroom

Have your ESL/ELL students share their stories here (with permission from parents) when doing a biography writing unit. Have all students search for stories of immigrants whose ethnic background resembles their own. Have each student choose one story to read about and share a quick multimedia project with the class, such as a simple online posters using PicLits (reviewed here). Use stories from this site as a writing prompt for a poem or essay about an aspect of immigrant life, asking students to put themselves in the immigrant's shoes.

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Activity of the Month - Dr. Jean

Grades
K to 1
0 Favorites 0  Comments
This site offers a list of monthly "newsletters" full of teaching ideas and parenting tips/suggestions. Each months activities reflect the seasons and their special holidays. Many...more
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This site offers a list of monthly "newsletters" full of teaching ideas and parenting tips/suggestions. Each months activities reflect the seasons and their special holidays. Many activities include letters, words, and book activities. Besides the basic activity, quite a few of the monthly offerings include downloadable books to print and use, original song lyrics, and links to other related websites. This site is great to use with young ESL/ELL students too who need lots of fun reinforcement with learning the alphabet and pre-reading skills. This site includes many math activities as well.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): crafts (40), literacy (103), poetry (227), preK (279), seasons (37), songs (52)

In the Classroom

This site is excellent for enrichment. Share this link on your teacher web page and/or in a parent newsletter for those who trying to encourage the habit of reading and handling books.

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Story Blocks - Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy

Grades
K to 1
2 Favorites 0  Comments
  
This early literacy site contains many video clips to assist parents and teachers in getting students ready to read. Rhymes and songs are modeled for use with younger children. ...more
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This early literacy site contains many video clips to assist parents and teachers in getting students ready to read. Rhymes and songs are modeled for use with younger children. Each aspect of literacy is explained before you hear the targeted text. Materials are available in both Spanish and English.

tag(s): literacy (103), poetry (227), rhymes (33), songs (52)

In the Classroom

Use the songs and chants on these videos to interest children in reading. Many songs and rhymes have actions that the children can do while saying the text. Have the children lead the class once they are familiar with offerings. Project the rhymes on your interactive whiteboard and follow along with the motions on the screen. Write down some of the words in the song and use them as sight words for the week. Have student helpers hold up the "sight word" as it is shared. Choose 3-5 new words from each rhyme. Share this site with ESL and learning support staff.

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TeachersFirst's Audio Books with Text Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
7 Favorites 0  Comments
These educator-reviewed resources from TeachersFirst offer audio books with accompanying text so all students, including emerging readers and ESL/ELL learners, can experience literature...more
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These educator-reviewed resources from TeachersFirst offer audio books with accompanying text so all students, including emerging readers and ESL/ELL learners, can experience literature and other reading selections in audio form as they reinforce and inspire literacy skills and enjoyment. Be sure to explore each site, as many include multiple types of activities, including the audio books and texts.

tag(s): audio books (32), preK (279)

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your professional favorites AND share it on a class web page for access by students and parents. The helpful reviews suggest ideas for ways to use the books in the classroom or outside of school to reinforce literacy skills, improve English skills, or study literature in new ways.

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TeachersFirst's Interactive Audio Books Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
6 Favorites 0  Comments
These educator-reviewed resources from TeachersFirst offer audio books in interactive form so all students, including emerging readers and ESL/ELL learners, can experience reading with...more
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These educator-reviewed resources from TeachersFirst offer audio books in interactive form so all students, including emerging readers and ESL/ELL learners, can experience reading with audio and visual prompts or interactivity to reinforce and inspire literacy skills and enjoyment as they read. Be sure to explore each site, as many include multiple types of activities, including the interactive books.

tag(s): audio books (32)

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your professional favorites AND share it on a class web page for access by students and parents. The helpful reviews suggest ideas for ways to use the audio books in the classroom or outside of school to reinforce literacy skills, improve English skills, or study literature in new ways.

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TeachersFirst's Audio Books Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
These educator-reviewed resources from TeachersFirst offer audio books so all students, including emerging readers and ESL/ELL learners, can experience literature and other reading...more
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These educator-reviewed resources from TeachersFirst offer audio books so all students, including emerging readers and ESL/ELL learners, can experience literature and other reading selections in audio form to reinforce and inspire literacy skills and enjoyment.

tag(s): audio books (32), listening (91), preK (279)

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your professional favorites AND share it on a class web page for access by students and parents. The helpful reviews suggest ideas for ways to use the audio books in the classroom or outside of school to reinforce literacy skills, improve English skills, or study literature in new ways.

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TV411 - Math - Adult Literacy Media Alliance

Grades
4 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
TV411 offers lessons and games covering math topics from calculating area to reading a pay stub. Each lesson is offered in a slide format beginning with an introduction to the ...more
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TV411 offers lessons and games covering math topics from calculating area to reading a pay stub. Each lesson is offered in a slide format beginning with an introduction to the activity, followed by questions to answer. Upon answering questions, feedback is provided. If the answer was incorrect, an explanation of the correct solution is provided. The site also provides several math games practicing fractions, ratio, data, and percent. Spanish and ESL/ELL teachers will want to note that there is a small sample of lessons available in Spanish on the site. Many of the topics are also applicable in Family and Consumer Science or business classes, as well.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), financial literacy (80)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector as practice or review of current math topics. Provide a link to games on classroom computers for student practice. Spanish teachers may want students to complete a lesson in Spanish to provide real-world language practice. Share this site with parents through your classroom website or blog to provide review materials at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Dolch Word - Dolch word.net/

Grades
K to 3
5 Favorites 0  Comments
 
The Dolch Word website offers a variety of activities, information, and tools for teaching and learning the Dolch Word list. The words are broken into the pre-primer, primer, first,...more
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The Dolch Word website offers a variety of activities, information, and tools for teaching and learning the Dolch Word list. The words are broken into the pre-primer, primer, first, second, and third grade categories. Within each category, you will find printable flashcards as well as word lists that can be used for student assessment. At each level, there are a variety of Dolch word games to choose from such as memory, matching, spelling, and jigsaw. Audio is used during some of the games as verbal cues. There are items for sale and advertisements, but you can ignore them.

tag(s): puzzles (208)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector to introduce new Dolch words or to familiarize students with the rules of the games prior to using them during centers. Be sure to show which areas are ads to avoid. Students can use this site during centers as a review or to differentiate instruction. Have students print out their own Dolch flashcards, cut them up and place them in a plastic bag for those times when they finish their work early. Do not forget to share this useful site with the school reading specialist and ELL/ESL teacher. Another idea: provide this link on your class website for students and parents to access both in and out of the classroom.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Symbaloo EDU - Symbaloo BV

Grades
K to 12
16 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create, find, and share visually appealing Webmixes (web based screens of link "tiles") to share web resources. Choose EDU Teachers site tour (a blue tile) to learn more about Symbaloo...more
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Create, find, and share visually appealing Webmixes (web based screens of link "tiles") to share web resources. Choose EDU Teachers site tour (a blue tile) to learn more about Symbaloo EDU or begin exploring color-coded links on your own. Choose the EDU Tools WebMix to find links to classroom resources for social networking, video and image tools, and much more. Other WebMixes designed specifically for educators include widgets for classroom use, educational headlines, and much more. Tailor web resources to your individual need by creating your own WebMixes. Add tiles to instantly connect students with the resources you choose. Accounts are free but require a password (and email verification). Click "Edit WebMix" to change the background, rename the webmix, and edit the tiles. Link tiles to website URL's or RSS feed links. Hover over a tile to bring up a simple menu. Click "edit" to paste the URL of the resource, enter a title, and change icons and colors. Select any name to be displayed on the tile. Be sure to click "Done editing" when finished, and then "Share" to choose publicly or privately with friends. Use the embed code to embed directly into your class website or blog. Download the free iPhone or Android apps for use on mobile phones or use Symbaloo in your tablet browser as it has been maximized for use on these devices.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): bookmarks (60), DAT device agnostic tool (196), gamification (65)

In the Classroom

Be sure to know the URL's of the resources you are planning to share or have them open in other tabs to copy/paste. To share you must be able to copy/paste URLs (web addresses). Have older students create their own webmixes, but this resource is best used as a teacher sharing tool for sharing links, RSS feeds, and other resources for students to use in specific projects or as general course links. If shared with the world, the webmix can be viewed by others and is public.

Create a webmix of the most used sites for your class and first demonstrate how the webmix works on a projector or interactive whiteboard if you have special instructions or color coding for its use. Some examples include links to copyright free images, online textbooks, or online tools such as Google Docss, ThingLink, Glogster, and more. Link to teacher web pages, webquests, resource sites for your subject, and any other resource that is helpful for students. Consider creating a login for the whole class to update with suggestions from class members. Use this AS your class website. Color code the tiles on a webmix for younger, non-reader, or ESL/ELL students. For example, color each subject differently from the others. Differentiate by color coding varying levels of skills practice at a classroom computer center or to distinguish homework practice sites from in-class sites. Differentiate difficulty levels using the various colors enabling you to list resources for both your learning support students and gifted students and all in between. Use color to organize tools for different projects or individual students. You may want to share this resource with parents at Back to School Night and the color-coding system for differentiation. This will help parents (and students) find what sites are ideal for their levels. Be sure to link or embed your webmix on a computer center in your room for easy access. Share a review site webmix for parents and students to access at home before tests, as well. Team up with other teachers in your subject/grade to create chapter by chapter webmixes for all your students.

Challenge you gifted students to curate and collaborate on their own webmixes as a curriculum extension activity on topics such as climate change or pros and cons of genetically engineered food. They can use color coding to sort sites by bias (or neutrality) as well as to group subtopics under the overall theme. Use the student-made webmixes with other students to raise the overall level of discussion in your class or as an extra credit challenge. If you embed the webmix in a class wiki, all students can respond with questions and comments for the gifted students to moderate and reply, creating a student-led community of learners.

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English Club - Englishclub.com

Grades
2 to 12
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English Club provides ESL and ELL resources and lessons for both students and teachers. There are also games, further resources, idioms, and even the "Learning English Video Project."...more
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English Club provides ESL and ELL resources and lessons for both students and teachers. There are also games, further resources, idioms, and even the "Learning English Video Project." Students can compare their English-learning experience with students from around the world; they can also create their own page to be hosted by the site. Lessons include the standard vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and reference tools. By providing both chat capability and an English question "hotline," the site would work for students learning in groups as well as individually. Games on the site are language based, educational, and designed to reinforce the language lessons. Other interactive features include a weekly news summary and activities and an opportunity to discuss via ESL forums. Free registration ensures students can take advantage of all the site offerings. Students may select their native language for website directions if needed; languages include standard European and Asian ones as well as Arabic.

tag(s): grammar (216), speaking (24)

In the Classroom

Check with administrators to be sure policy allows for students to create their own web pages attached to this site, to participate in chats with other students and teachers, and to be a member of a conversation forum. You should also obtain written parent permission. To fully register with the site you need a valid email address. Tip: rather than using your personal or work email, create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. If you have a number of ESL/ELL students, make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers or share it on your class web page to use it as a center. This site's activities would work well for individual or pairs of students in a lab or on laptops.

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Tar Heel Reader - University of North Caroline

Grades
K to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Find free on-line books perfect for emergent readers. The author of the site, the Center for Literacy and Disabilities studies at the University of North Carolina, wants to provide...more
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Find free on-line books perfect for emergent readers. The author of the site, the Center for Literacy and Disabilities studies at the University of North Carolina, wants to provide free resources to give everyone an opportunity to learn to read and write. All books are free and available for download as slideshows using PowerPoint, Impress, or Flash. Book topics include biographies, fairy tales, history, science, math, nursery rhymes, poetry, food, and more! All stories have speech enabling, can come in as many as fourteen different languages, and are compatible with touch screens. Since a wide range of age groups use this site, they have a rating system to suggest what is suitable for younger readers. Tar Heel Reader is also a great way to write books. Upload images from your computer or Flicker, add text, create, and share student stories with an authentic audience of readers. Tar Heel Reader is a great way to engage students with reading material, increase class participation, and create inclusive instruction for those with illiteracy or learning disabilities.

** This site does contain some materials NOT suitable for all classrooms. Be sure to read the "rating" system, and contribute your own opinions (as the ratings are only as reliable as the pool of contributing voters). Books rated 'E' are meant for everyone but a 'C' means to use caution as it may not be proper material for some. Determine what titles are suitable and save them to the favorites file for students to access.

tag(s): literacy (103)

In the Classroom

Increase your big book collection ten fold by projecting Tar Heel Readers onto an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use interactive shared reading lessons to strengthen student recognition of common sight words, concepts of print, decoding skills, and use syntax cues and unlock the meaning of text. Ask students to circle known sight words, count the number of words in a sentence, trace capital letters, or point to the first letter of a word during a choral read. Help ESL/ELL students by creating books out of photos from class field trips, events, or experiments. Integrate text that uses key vocabulary words and creates reading materials that are both relevant to grade level curricular standards and match your student's readability level. All books you publish on the web site are public domain and available to all other users. Be sure to get parent permission before publishing student books on-line. In order to create a book, users will need to register. Unfortunately, this requires users to email gb@cs.unc.edu to request of an invitation code. With this code, simply create a username, submit your name, and email address. Set up a single teacher account and have all the students use that login to avoid safety concerns. Be sure to include this site on your class web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further reading practice.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Story Maker - British Council

Grades
2 to 4
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Students can write their own stories online. First they select the genre (fairy, horror, sci fi) and then select characters to be in the story, places, favorite animals, colors, etc....more
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Students can write their own stories online. First they select the genre (fairy, horror, sci fi) and then select characters to be in the story, places, favorite animals, colors, etc. The story maker then creates the short story. Students can read it there or select the printing option. At the end of the story, you can click to create another story, A dictionary is available on site. This might be useful for ESL and ELL students.

In the Classroom

This activity would work well for individual or pairs of students in a lab or on laptops. Be sure to help your weaker readers and ESL/ELL students by sharing the vocabulary words (names of animals, pets, etc.) prior to using, either on a handout or by projecting on an interactive whiteboard and highlighting them in the text as you come to them. Teach parts of speech as students recognize how the story maker "plugs in" their word choices to create the stories mad-lib style. Share the printables with parents at open house or conferences. Have students record their stories on a podcast and share the podcasts using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here). Teach parts of speech as students recognize how the story maker "plugs in" their word choices to create the stories mad-lib style.
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Colors in Motion - Claudia Cortes

Grades
K to 12
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If you teach any aspect of color and design, this is a great site to introduce not only color theory but also the psychology of color. This interactive presentation explains ...more
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If you teach any aspect of color and design, this is a great site to introduce not only color theory but also the psychology of color. This interactive presentation explains the symbolism behind color and the psychological impact each has on our emotions. Animated characters representing each color, playfully describe their symbolism and lists words that describe the emotional sense of each color evokes. The rich word bank provides valuable adjectives useful for writing instruction. It is an excellent resource for writers learning how to be more elaborate, develop mood, tone, and enhance the use of description in their writing. This is the site's author, Claudia Cortes, master's thesis for a degree in Computer Graphic Design at the Rochester Institute of Technology. You can view the site in English or Spanish. Note: The pages actually launch in a pop-up window. Watch the top of your browser window for a pop-up alert and tell it to "allow pop ups from this site."

tag(s): creativity (109), design (84), elaboration (2), poetry (227)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Use it to introduce color names and primary and secondary colors with students as young as kindergarten or ESL/ELL students. It would also be a great resource to support a poetry unit or mini-lessons on elaboration. Two of the interactive activities give students an opportunity to create stories with colors. This site will help older students understand the evocative nature of color. This knowledge may help them create more engaging presentations or designs that are cognizant of mood and tone. There are several on-line interactive activities to use on an interactive whiteboard. All creations made on-line are printable. Include this site on your class web page for students and parents to access as a reference.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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LearnEnglish Kids - British Council

Grades
3 to 12
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Here you will find a plethora of ESL, ELL and English language activities, each of which in turn has a plethora of its own activities! For example, the short story ...more
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Here you will find a plethora of ESL, ELL and English language activities, each of which in turn has a plethora of its own activities! For example, the short story about the magic carpet ride is like a picture book with animated characters, is interactive, and the story is read out loud. There are activities to print to go with the story, there are online interactive activities, and, even before the story begins, there is an interactive picture/word matching activity. Last, at the end of the story, is a short writing prompt. Wow! That was just one short story!

The categories on the site include "Play a game," "Print some activities to do," "Listen to a song," "Read a story," "Practice your writing," and "Find lots more activities." AND, each one of these categories is multi-leveled.

tag(s): songs (52), writing (358)

In the Classroom

This extensive site will make the life of the ESL, ELL, or remedial reading teacher so much easier! Though intended for ESL/ELL teachers, this site can be used by any teacher who is teaching elementary reading and writing. It would also be good for remedial readers. In some parts, i.e. the interactives, you may want to pair up a proficient reader with the ESL/ELL student or remedial reader. The reading of the stories could be done with a projector or interactive whiteboard for a small group or the whole class, and then small groups of students could brainstorm the writing prompts at the end on an interactive white board. Share some of the activities with parents, as well, for at home practice with ESL/ELL students and their family members. Be sure to include this link on your class website.

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Free Magazines Online - James Hubbs

Grades
7 to 12
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This site has a number of current magazines available online including Forbes, Scientific American, Men's Health, and countless others, organized by category. Many could be used for...more
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This site has a number of current magazines available online including Forbes, Scientific American, Men's Health, and countless others, organized by category. Many could be used for educational purposes (see the Science & Learning section, for example). Other general topics include Arts, Business, Computers, News, Sports, and more. Besides regular magazines, there are a number of columns and blogs by famous people. A few magazines, such as Forbes and Scientific American, display feature article titles when you click on their names, but most open to the magazine home page in a new window.

tag(s): blogs (88), news (261), newspapers (94)

In the Classroom

For ESL/ELL students, use magazines at this site to teach vocabulary and American culture. For current events classes, display the latest news online on your projector or interactive whiteboard, finding it quickly with just a few clicks. Have groups explore current news headlines and compare coverage or create their own videos (news or infomercials) using a site such as Teachers.TV reviewed here. This may also be a link that you would want to list on your class website for both students and parents to use at home. If you require current events article summaries each week, your students can use this site to find the latest at no cost. Reading teachers can easily find passages to use for comprehension skills such as main idea, summarizing, inferencing and more, all from current articles and ready to project on your interactive whiteboard for underlining, highlighting and discussion.

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Blabberize - Mobouy Inc.

Grades
1 to 12
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Blabberize is a photo editing tool that creates talking animations from a photo or other image. Browse the ready-made blabbers or create new ones. There are some real treasures among...more
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Blabberize is a photo editing tool that creates talking animations from a photo or other image. Browse the ready-made blabbers or create new ones. There are some real treasures among the ready-mades. These will help you get ideas for ways to use a Blabber! Here is an example created by the TeachersFirst Edge team. Upload an image from your computer, select an area to become the talking "mouth," and record sound from the mike on your computer. Sound can also come from a sound file you upload. You will need to "allow" access to your computer's microphone. You have 30 seconds to narrate your photo. When you complete the blab, click SAVE. You will be prompted to create an account on the spot. You will also have the options to mark your blab "mature" or "private" (not shown on the "latest" pages and other public areas). Completed Blabs can be shared via email or embedded in another web page, blog, or wiki. Users unfamiliar with copy/pasting embed code can simple share by the URL of the blab's page.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animation (63), images (265), photography (160)

In the Classroom

If your students have never tried to make a Blabber, share the introduction blab on the home page (click the Blabberize logo to get there) on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Browse a few examples first to get ideas on how to make a mouth on your photo to move and "talk." Be sure to turn up your sound! Have a student demonstrate uploading an image from a safe and legal source. You may want to use a single, whole-class account you create with your "extra" email account. Be sure to spell out consequences of inappropriate use/content of blabs. Have students enter the site through the "Make" page link provided in this review to steer clear of the "latest" blabs. You may want your students to make their blabs "private" so they do not show on the public areas, depending on school policies.

Blab the homework directions on your teacher web page. Have your students use photos or digital drawings to "blab"! Have students draw in a paint program, save the file, and then make it "speak." Spice up research projects about historic figures or important scientists. Have literary characters tell about themselves. This tool is great for gifted students to go above and beyond the basics with an independent project. Create entire conversation sequences of blabs between people in world language or ESL/ELL classes (with students speaking in the language, of course), then embed them in a wiki. Have speech/language students make blabs to practice articulation and document progress over time. Promote oral reading fluency with student-read blabs. Create book "commercials." Have students blab what the author may have been thinking as he/she wrote a poem or literary selection or as an artist painted. Blab politicians' major platform planks during campaigns for current events. Blab the steps to math problem solving. Even primary students can make an animal blab about his habitat if you set up the blab as a center. Make visual vocabulary/terminology sentences with an appropriate character using the term in context (a beaker explaining how it is different from a flask?) Students could also take pictures of themselves doing a lab and then blab the pictures to explain the concepts. This would be a great first day project (introducing yourself and breaking the ice). Share the class blabs on your class web page or wiki! Give directions to your class (for when a substitute is there). Use at back to school night to grab parents' attention for important information.

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Hypercities Beta 2 - UCLA Academic Technology Svcs

Grades
4 to 12
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This beta site, created at UCLA and powered in part by Google, allows students, teachers, and parents to explore selected world cities. Users can also slide a timeline to view ...more
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This beta site, created at UCLA and powered in part by Google, allows students, teachers, and parents to explore selected world cities. Users can also slide a timeline to view images of that city in the past, compare its changes throughout the years, and study old and new maps. More cities will appear in the future. The site still has a few bugs, but it keeps improving. It sometimes loads slowly. Some web browsers do not work properly, so PREVIEW in your classroom. Internet Explorer 8 users will get a message: "HyperCities is optimized to work in Firefox or Safari. If you do not have Firefox installed, you can download it here" and will have to load an alternate browser to use this site.

tag(s): maps (288)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on the cities or on maps using on a projector. Have students create a map in the old style of a city they are studying today. ESL and ELL students and weaker readers can easily use this site since there are few words! Have your ESL students check to see if cities in their countries are available here; have them do an introduction to the city and comment on what is different about the cities now. Use the timeline views to explore the impacts of world trade, transportation, and changes in government on different parts of the world.

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