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Pixton - Goodinson Design Inc.

Grades
4 to 12
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Create comics quickly and easily with this free site! Choose starting scenes, add new frames, change characters and add text. At this site, students can create, share, and "remix" comics....more
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Create comics quickly and easily with this free site! Choose starting scenes, add new frames, change characters and add text. At this site, students can create, share, and "remix" comics. The "remix" link allows students to add their own twist to ready-made comics. Students can read comics created by others and also make comments on them. Other highlights of the site include a featured author and blog. The free version of Pixton is open to the public. There is also a fee-based version for schools (with teacher and student registration levels and safety tools) with a 30-day free trial period available. Be aware: the Pixton for Schools (if continued after 30-days) will cost $1 per student. See an example created by the TeachersFirst Edge team.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), graphic novels (7), novels (24)

In the Classroom

Simply login and click create. Choose a scene you wish to start with. Change your characters from a variety of option. When the comic loads, your chosen character may not show immediately but will appear as you edit each frame. Change sizes of caption bubbles, fonts sizes and types with easy to use sliders. New characters can be added in each frame as well as a variety of additional props such as sports equipment and furniture. Change the background set to a variety of indoor, outdoor city, and outdoor country landscapes. Change background colors easily too. Comics can be saved, scenes can be deleted, and changes made can be reverted to the previous idea easily with on screen controls. Below the comic, buttons for "Save for later" and "Publish Now" quickly save or publish works. If the scene is not ready for publishing, Pixton requests further edits to complete the process.

Consider creating a class account that students can use. Track comics made by students by placing initials in a small caption bubble to identify created comics to a specific student. There are some safeguards in place to be sure students use appropriate language and actions. It would be wise to preview whatever you wish to share with your students, however, since the general public can create comics with their own ideas. Students should submit their work without identifiable names and location, according to your school policy. You will also want written parent permission before allowing students to create comics that can be seen online.

Capture and use your students creativity in storytelling using this exciting tool! Using small amounts of texts to frame a story or to deliver information creatively allows students the opportunity to work deeply with information and use a creative outlet for a variety of projects. Use for students to provide information learned with personal thoughts on subjects ranging from historical events, environmental issues, discussion about plants, animals, and ecosystems, as well as other topics in Art, Math, English, Health, and others. Use in Foreign language classes for short stories created in the language and translated then by other students in the classroom. Use comics to write summaries of current events, responses to reading assignments, expressions of teen problems, and creative works of humor. With younger students, use an interactive whiteboard or projector to create a class comic on a current topic of study, such as the life cycle of the frog or ways to conserve energy. Use this site to integrate an art and writing lesson. Why not have students create comics to demonstrate a concept in science or social studies, rather than a traditional paper/pencil quiz? World language teachers and ESL/ELL teachers will love the chance for students to demonstrate written language skills in the "context" of their comic situations.

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Interactive Drama - Skotos & individual authors

Grades
9 to 12
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This is an interesting set of scenarios, mostly written in murder mystery format, by ESL and ELL students in Taiwan. Very little editing was done to the scenarios, so you ...more
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This is an interesting set of scenarios, mostly written in murder mystery format, by ESL and ELL students in Taiwan. Very little editing was done to the scenarios, so you may notice some grammatical and spelling errors. Be sure to preview whichever of these scenarios you want to use to be sure they are appropriate for your students (although most of them are fine). Most of the scenarios are available in either WORD or PDF versions. If you need Adobe Acrobat, you can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

In the Classroom

The murder mystery set-up is always a hit with students and provides both acting practice as well as revision skills since some of the writing needs work due to the nature of being written by ESL and ELL students. Have students prepare and perform the scenarios for each other, having the rest of the class act as the audience, guessing the answer to the mystery.

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Spoken English - Active Audiences

Grades
5 to 12
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This ESL and ELL site offers grammar review of over 50 topics, available with a quick glance at the opening page. Although the lessons are not visually interactive, audio is ...more
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This ESL and ELL site offers grammar review of over 50 topics, available with a quick glance at the opening page. Although the lessons are not visually interactive, audio is provided. The site is a good source for reviewing weaknesses and getting some extra practice. Many of the lessons have the title of the lesson in four other languages so the students will know quickly what they are studying.

Although this site was created for ESL and ELL students, much of the information would be useful in any classroom learning about pronouns, tenses, irregular verbs, and other grammar rules. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): grammar (217), grammar review (37), pronunciation (43), spelling (169), verbs (41)

In the Classroom

Save this site in your favorites for ESL and ELL students to use when they ask for grammar help or need a follow up on something in class. They will also find it useful when preparing for TOEFL and similar college entry tests. Special ed teachers may want to use this auditory approach to help their students with grammar, as well.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Adolescent Literacy - adlit.org

Grades
4 to 12
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The focus of this site is to encourage better literacy and reading enjoyment among pre-teens and adolescents. A sister site to Reading Rockets and Colorin'Colorado, Adlit...more
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The focus of this site is to encourage better literacy and reading enjoyment among pre-teens and adolescents. A sister site to Reading Rockets and Colorin'Colorado, Adlit offers summer reading strategies, book lists, book clubs, classroom technique hints which encourage development of reading attack skills, and a special section on authors and their best books. For a Spanish language version of the main topics available as an A to Z list, click on the left side of the screen ( En Espanol ). This site has everything you already know about teaching reading in easy-to-use formats. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. Get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): authors (120), independent reading (129), reading strategies (46)

In the Classroom

If you need ideas to get students reading for fun and to help develop their confidence, try this site. Highlight this on your class website so parents can try the activities with their older students. When doing author biographies, share this site with your class using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to check out the "Classroom Strategies" link for even more literacy ideas.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Better At English - betteratenglish.com

Grades
3 to 12
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This site features podcasts on subject areas of interest to ESL and ELL students and their instructors. Since August 2007, all material is also available as videos. The material presented...more
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This site features podcasts on subject areas of interest to ESL and ELL students and their instructors. Since August 2007, all material is also available as videos. The material presented features teaching techniques, information on new available technologies that assist students with schoolwork and language learning, and grammar and other communication techniques. Although this site was created for ESL/ELL students, it would also be useful for any students learning grammar.. All podcasts include text of the spoken or video materials. The focus for these lessons is on acquiring more vocabulary and improving oral and reading comprehension. Some of the videos come from YouTube. If your school blocks YouTube, consider accessing this site and choosing videos at home, using a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube and bring them in for class use.

This site does have several appropriate advertisements. There are also a few questionable links on the site (for example, "Uncensored English"), so be sure to supervise WELL.

tag(s): idioms (44), listening (90), slang (15), vocabulary (323)

In the Classroom

You will need headphones or speakers if you choose to assign students to listen to the podcasts individually. This site is excellent for enrichment or special topics. Include it on your teacher web page (with a disclaimer regarding content) for students to access both in and out of class. Use this site with intermediate and advanced level ELL and ESL students to help them improve their knowledge of English slang and idioms. If you are into video, consider creating your own student vodcasts about idioms and sharing them via TeacherTube ( reviewed here) and on your class wiki.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Better at English Videos - betteratenglish.com

Grades
2 to 12
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You Tube videos at this site are organized by English learning subject categories like fruits and vegetables, cars, culture, and also by level of English. Levels go from beginning elementary...more
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You Tube videos at this site are organized by English learning subject categories like fruits and vegetables, cars, culture, and also by level of English. Levels go from beginning elementary up through advanced. The opening page features several videos with a humorous twist (such as interviewing Japanese celebrities about the difference between "like" and "hate"). A section for teachers includes suggestions of how to use specific videos and also teacher training videos. Many of the featured videos are products of professional ESL/EFL services, so this site does a good job compiling and organizing them. Although this site was created as an ESL/ELL site, much of the material would be useful for any students learning grammar.

Teachers will need to set up videos to be used in class (and supervise WELL) to control student viewing. There are some questionable links on this site including "Uncensored English" and "Sick Videos." There are also advertisements on the top and right side of the website. This site is slow to load at times, so opening the site before you are ready to use it in class may save you some time. If your school blocks YouTube, consider accessing this site and choosing videos at home , using a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): business (58), grammar (217)

In the Classroom

Use specially previewed and selected videos to make vocabulary lessons come alive. Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to share with the entire class. Be sure to preview and have the video before the class sees it. Encourage your students to make their own videos or vodcasts of items you are studying in class. If teachers are unsure of how to use the videos, check the for teachers section. Check this site frequently to see what's new. List this site on your class website (with a disclaimer regarding content), for ESL and ELL families to explore together at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Up and Down Words - Merriam Webster

Grades
3 to 10
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In this activity, students learn word combinations and idioms. In a ladder sequence, students find the second half of a word combo by reading its definition and adding the second ...more
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In this activity, students learn word combinations and idioms. In a ladder sequence, students find the second half of a word combo by reading its definition and adding the second word.That, in turn, becomes the first part of the next answer. The goal is to get to the 7th word combo whose second half started the game. Clickable hints assist students with the first letter missing word. You are able to click on the clues (to get more letters) as often as needed to solve the puzzle. There are new puzzles every weekday and archived puzzles from previous dates. There are two difficulty levels. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): grammar (217), idioms (44), puzzles (209), spelling (169)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this site for vocabulary enhancement and understanding of idioms. Speech and language teachers may want to use it to teach word combinations, as well. Students can easily play this game in pairs. Since teachers can also print the blank activity, you can use it for a desk activity or homework assignment. After students get used to this idea, have them make their own word ladders on the interactive whiteboard, as a sequence of animated PowerPoint slides, or collaboratively as a graphic organizer using an online tool such as Gliffy or Mindomo.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Visual Geography - Boris Kester and Nana Bj?rnlund

Grades
5 to 12
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This site offers rich geographical information visually: through photographs. Students select a continent to investigate. (Note: all continents except Antarctica are included.) After...more
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This site offers rich geographical information visually: through photographs. Students select a continent to investigate. (Note: all continents except Antarctica are included.) After viewing pictures of one country on that continent, they can click for a more in-depth examination and more pictures, listen to the native language of that area, click on another country to make a comparison, and take a quiz on that information. They can also select certain categories to learn more about transportation, education, religion, people, etc.

tag(s): climate (92), continents (49), countries (76)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a world cultures or geography unit or lesson on an interactive whiteboard or projector. This site offers a visual approach to studying and comparing other countries and interesting research information to use for independent projects. This site is also excellent for enrichment. Include it on your teacher web page for students to access both in and out of class. Use this site to introduce the countries your ESL and ELL students represent. Have your ESL and ELL students guide the interactive picture tour for the class. World language teachers can use this site as part of their cultural studies.

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KidsWWrite - Kalamalka Institute for Working Writers

Grades
1 to 10
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This e-magazine features work by children from ages 5 - 16 from all around the world. The student writings are divided into three age levels (5-8, 9-12, and 13-16). The ...more
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This e-magazine features work by children from ages 5 - 16 from all around the world. The student writings are divided into three age levels (5-8, 9-12, and 13-16). The writing includes both poetry and stories. Students can also submit book reviews of favorite works and also art. The book reviews are anecdotal and personal and also include a drawing or copy of the book cover. If students wish to search for stories on a certain topic, a search box and archives are available.

tag(s): creative writing (166), writing (361)

In the Classroom

Share samples of students' writing on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to preview for content inappropriate for your classroom. Have your students create cover art and write stories, book reviews, or poetry to submit to this site. Of course you will want written parent permission before submitting student work to this online magazine. Students should submit their work without identifiable names and location, according to your school policy.If your school prohibits using blogs to post student writing, this is a middle ground alternative to get their works in front of a wider audience.

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Vocabulary Word Lists for Academic Vocabulary - Gerry Luton

Grades
8 to 12
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As an addendum to the Academic Vocabulary site, this site is invaluable for testing students interactively with the word lists created. As a general vocabulary checker, it is a great...more
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As an addendum to the Academic Vocabulary site, this site is invaluable for testing students interactively with the word lists created. As a general vocabulary checker, it is a great pre-testing tool as well. Check out the link The Exercises to find the free word lists.

tag(s): vocabulary (323)

In the Classroom

The interactive nature of this site makes it good way to involved students in their own learning. While it offers a purchase of the software used to create the list, you can use the exercises offered on the website for free. This is possible only if you use the list of words available on the site as sublists. Having students check their own work (the sentences offered are upper level, 8-12) frees you to work with individual students and allows all students to work at their own pace. You could also use selected lists (with credit, of course) as the basis for a student-generated class vocabulary wiki. Ask students to "define" the words creatively on the wiki and see what happens!

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Constructing the Paragraph - Dr. Elizabeth Hanson-Smith

Grades
7 to 10
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For students learning or struggling with creating effective paragraphs, this site is helpful, since it allows students to self-test and then go through the steps themselves. It includes...more
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For students learning or struggling with creating effective paragraphs, this site is helpful, since it allows students to self-test and then go through the steps themselves. It includes topic sentences, topics and comments, support statements, transitions, and organization. It is appropriate for any level of student who still needs help with the basic principle of writing a paragraph. The presentation is "plain vanilla" but effective.

tag(s): paragraph writing (17), writing (361)

In the Classroom

Perfect for middle school students who can work ahead independently or for high school students who are still struggling a bit, this site gives you the option of having students practice on their own, particularly through the self-testing stage. This would be great as a learning station on writing for students.

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YourDictionary - LoveToKnow Corporation

Grades
K to 12
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A definitive authority on words, this free site gives you definitions, thesaurus entries, spellings, pronunciations, and etymology results. Add to that list an audio pronunciation system...more
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A definitive authority on words, this free site gives you definitions, thesaurus entries, spellings, pronunciations, and etymology results. Add to that list an audio pronunciation system that allows you to hear the word as well. YourDictionary also provides resources to help you find foreign language translation sites. It even directs you to medical, computer, or electricians' dictionaries, and many more. Haven't you always wanted to say a tongue-twister in the Asante language? Words have never so much fun. This site does include some advertisements.

tag(s): thesaurus (24)

In the Classroom

Send students to this site to look up those difficult words. ESL and ELL students can use this site to practice the pronunciation of new words. Be sure to mark this site as a favorite or share on your teacher web page for easy access.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Older Readers - Johnnie's Story Page - Johnnie Wilson

Grades
4 to 12
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This website offers a compilation of links to interactive stories designed for older students (and adults). The site was created by Johnnie Wilson, a mentor math coach and former 5th...more
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This website offers a compilation of links to interactive stories designed for older students (and adults). The site was created by Johnnie Wilson, a mentor math coach and former 5th grade teacher. He has found the "best of the best" interactive stories for older students. Some of the stories include Pulp Fiction, Nightmare Tales, American Folklore, and several others. The color coded descriptors let you know if the story includes text, pictures, sounds, animations, and videos. The reading levels vary, so preview the story before sharing it with your students.

Be aware, there are minor unobtrusive advertisements at this website. Nearly all of the interactive stories require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): folktales (65), interactive stories (32), mysteries (25)

In the Classroom

There are many ways to use this site in your classroom. Share the stories on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Or have students investigate the sites on their own (using headsets). Save this site as a favorite and list this site on your class web page. earning support and ESL/ELL teachers will love the variety of options for aural stories, as well.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Spoken Skills - InSpot Development

Grades
3 to 10
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At this site, ESL and ELL (or speech/language) students can listen to spoken English, record their voices, and compare the two. Topics include basic vowel and consonant sounds, idioms...more
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At this site, ESL and ELL (or speech/language) students can listen to spoken English, record their voices, and compare the two. Topics include basic vowel and consonant sounds, idioms and other fun topics, and variations on English for Special Purposes. An interesting component is the section on Oscar nominations and winners: students view videos of what other students have to say about movies. Students can then record their own videos and add to the site. Of course, you should have written permission to load video of students online, and make sure you are within your school policies! As of this review, the Oscars area is free.

Be aware: only the activities listed on the reviewed page are free. If you come to a link that requires a log in, this activity will require you to pay a fee. Although the student recordings of their own voices are not saved with the free part of the page, students can record voices and listen after they have heard the native speaker's pronunciation. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): business (58), idioms (44), pronunciation (43), sound (101), sounds (68)

In the Classroom

Share this website on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students listen to the words and phrases and repeat them together. Or allow students to do these activities on individual computers or with a partner, each student making suggestions for the other student's pronunciation improvement. Perhaps you want to create your own class podcast with an Oscar-type pronunciation game!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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English Interactive - A. Gil and H. Massingham

Grades
2 to 10
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This wonderful, highly interactive ESL site includes survival topics, grammar, culture, and vocabulary at three levels for English learners. The BIG caveat is that the explanation for...more
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This wonderful, highly interactive ESL site includes survival topics, grammar, culture, and vocabulary at three levels for English learners. The BIG caveat is that the explanation for the teachers and students and a lot of the metalanguage is in Spanish. Click on menu, though, and all the topics come up in English. The intermediate and advanced levels are still under construction, but the highly interactive quality of the beginning sites offers a promise of continued excellent material. Click on the "P" on the left side of the interface to see printable reviews of many topics, especially grammar, all in English. The most in-depth portions are survival vocabulary and grammar.

Be sure to turn off your pop-up blocker so you can "see" all the site content. Although the pronunciation is in British English, this is a great, high-content site. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): grammar (217), vocabulary (323)

In the Classroom

Save this site to your favorites so you (and your students) can easily find this site. Include this site on your teacher web page for students and parents to access as a reference and for engaging extra practice.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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ESL Podcasts - Internet TESL Journal

Grades
5 to 12
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This site offers a continually updated variety of podcasts on news subjects at a level appropriate for ESL and ELL students. A short description tells the subject of the podcast ...more
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This site offers a continually updated variety of podcasts on news subjects at a level appropriate for ESL and ELL students. A short description tells the subject of the podcast as well as other extras like quizzes, speakers, and creators or originators. Students and teachers can listen from the Internet or download to an MP3 player or local computer. A "Read the Web Page" link takes viewers to the news article or other special feature mentioned in the broadcast. Be certain to preview the podcasts that you plan to use in your class. Some are not appropriate for elementary students and young adolescents. This website requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): listening (90), podcasts (52), stars (61), vocabulary (323), vocabulary development (125)

In the Classroom

Use this page to listen to current events news in simple English. Play them on your speakers for an entire class or provide headphones for individual listening. Have the students try to write the main points of the podcast they listen to and then check their listening against the webpage with the original article. Special education teachers may want to use this resource as an adapted way for students to read and submit weekly current events articles. Mark this site as a favorite on your classroom computer so students can use it during their free time with headphones. Share the link on your teacher web pages for parents and students to access quickly from home, but be sure to suggest that parents of younger students monitor the topics for appropriateness.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Digital Dialects - Craig Gibson

Grades
2 to 12
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Want to learn just a little or a lot of a new language? This is a great place to start learning vocabulary and basic phrases. The reviews and games are ...more
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Want to learn just a little or a lot of a new language? This is a great place to start learning vocabulary and basic phrases. The reviews and games are in cute interfaces, but there aren't many sound files. Since the description says the developer is adding more to the site each day, hopefully there will be more pronunciation added. The scope of the site is amazing: 44 languages. The languages include Albanian, Bosnian, English, Filipino, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and MANY others. The sound files, few as they are, feature native speakers pronouncing the basics. The games allow the student learner to guess and practice as much as possible by presenting the same words several times. The advanced feature provides more advanced vocabulary and the geography features the geography of the language group. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): arab (18), arabic (19), chinese (48), french (86), german (62), greek (41), hebrew (13), italian (31)

In the Classroom

Try a few words in another language with your class as you study world geography and history! This site is especially useful in ESL, ELL, and world language classrooms. Have your students plan a pretend vacation and study a few words of the target language before they go. Ask students to go beyond the games by guessing the answers before they appear on the screen.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Look Way Up Dictionary/Thesaurus - RES Inc.

Grades
3 to 12
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This online dictionary claims to correct misspelled entries, so ESL and ELL students might want to try it. The spelling correction is a bit quirky, however, often suggesting an alternate...more
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This online dictionary claims to correct misspelled entries, so ESL and ELL students might want to try it. The spelling correction is a bit quirky, however, often suggesting an alternate word that is NOT the intended word. Students can download it to any web browser including those on cell phones. The dictionary itself is extensive; each item shows a series of definitions. Students can then click to see the word used in a sentence, synonyms, and related terms. There is also information on homonyms. Finally, definitions sometimes include a link to more information on the subject, including links to outside sources. The site can translate to and from German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Dutch. Note that there are Google ads on the page, so you will want to be sure that students know to avoid these. The necessary plug-ins for installation on other web browsers are included on the web page.

tag(s): homonyms (12), thesaurus (24)

In the Classroom

Mark his site as a favorite on your classroom computer for ESL and ELL students who have problems looking up words in the dictionary. Make a game with this site: have students deliberately misspell words and see what they come up with. Give prizes to those who can find the worst guesses in the dictionary. Have them calculate how many times the dictionary actually finds the words they were looking for. This will help students understand how important context clues and contextual "does this make sense" strategies are. Students can also opt to sign up for "word of the second."

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ESL Reading Lessons - 5 Minute English

Grades
4 to 10
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This teaching site has a variety of short readings at various levels that could be useful in an ESL, ELL, special education, or regular ed classroom. Some of the topics ...more
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This teaching site has a variety of short readings at various levels that could be useful in an ESL, ELL, special education, or regular ed classroom. Some of the topics include sentences with grammar errors, students must figure out what is wrong with each sentence. This is excellent practice for any student learning proper grammar. True/ false comprehension questions follow the reading in most cases. Most of the answers are provided at the bottom of the website - so don't scroll too quickly. Before the reading begins, students can study difficult vocabulary words presented in an attractive format. There are full units (with many mini-lessons): grammar, reading, vocabulary, listening, pronunciation, and writing. This site does have unobtrusive advertisements, but watch out for the audio announcements when you open the site. Some of the listening activities require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): grammar (217), listening (90), pronunciation (43), reading comprehension (114), short stories (25), vocabulary (323)

In the Classroom

Use this site if you want your students to do additional reading. Project the topic, story, and questions on an interactive whiteboard or projector for group discussion. Have your students make up their own questions to go with the site. Have your students write up a similar subject relevant to their own culture and present it, along with questions to check for comprehension. This is a fabulous site to list on your class website for students to use for at-home practice.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Word Power - English Portal

Grades
8 to 12
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This is a great site to use for in-context vocabulary acquisition for ELL and ESL students. The site has over twenty general topics with banks of words and examples of ...more
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This is a great site to use for in-context vocabulary acquisition for ELL and ESL students. The site has over twenty general topics with banks of words and examples of how they are used in different situations, phrases, and idioms. Some of the topics include Cars and Driving, Family and Relationships, Soccer, Personal Finance, The Body, Shopping, Air Travel, and several others. Definitions and pronunciation of some expressions as well as their definitions precede examples of the expressions in a variety of sentences. After taking a look at the definition/pronunciation page, students can select a variety of checkups, including drag and drop, true/false, and fill in the blank. This site requires Media Player. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): idioms (44), phrases (6), vocabulary (323)

In the Classroom

Check this page to see if any of the general topics has relevance to your lessons. Students can work on their own to increase their vocabulary knowledge of specific expressions used containing the topic focus word.

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