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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 (363)

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 (33), 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 (44), sound (103), 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 (215), vocabulary (325)

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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Hello World - Hello World Publications

Grades
1 to 8
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This site offers beginning level language lessons in eight languages: Spanish, English, French, Russian, Indonesian, German, Chinese, and Italian. Students can start by learning to...more
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This site offers beginning level language lessons in eight languages: Spanish, English, French, Russian, Indonesian, German, Chinese, and Italian. Students can start by learning to pronounce the alphabet in the target language. Other activities include dialogs which range from very simple to those using more complex grammatical construction. Students can hear the sentences in the dialogs line by line and repeat them as many times as they like; the pronunciation is very clear. In addition to the dialogs, there are delightful songs in all the languages as well as other language games like Memory and Bingo. Clicking on the letters of the alphabet opens the corresponding page of a picture dictionary with pronunciation. Complete verb forms, vocabulary with articles, and works by major writers are just some of the features of the picture dictionary. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): alphabet (91), chinese (49), french (88), german (64), italian (32), russia (38), russian (27), spanish (108)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to review beginning language lessons, to provide extra practice, and to offer an online picture dictionary/reference. This site is especially useful in world language classes. Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to share the language with your students, and then pair the students up with a partner to explore the site on their own. Include this site on your teacher web page for students and parents to access as a reference.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Mike's Math Club - Milken Family Foundation

Grades
K to 7
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This website presents math activities in a clever format. Although this math link is mainly PDF files that are printable, many of the activities could be projected on a screen ...more
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This website presents math activities in a clever format. Although this math link is mainly PDF files that are printable, many of the activities could be projected on a screen or interactive whiteboard while students work independently at their seats. This website offers "ready to print," motivating practice pages in vibrant color. Activities are also available in Spanish. Topics include addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, algebra, coding, puzzles, fractions, factors, and many more. This site requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): addition (238), division (167), factors (41), fractions (235), multiplication (221), puzzles (206), subtraction (198), vision (86)

In the Classroom

Project the activity on an interactive whiteboard or projector while students work independently (or in pairs) at their seats. There is also a Teachers Corner with many lesson ideas - check it out!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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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 (92), podcasts (54), stars (64), vocabulary (325), 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 (20), chinese (49), french (88), german (64), greek (41), hebrew (13), italian (32)

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 (215), listening (92), pronunciation (44), reading comprehension (115), short stories (25), vocabulary (325)

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.
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English Listening Practice - English the International Language

Grades
5 to 8
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This site contains six short recorded clips students can listen to (see the short list near the TOP of the page). Following listening, there are comprehension questions to answer. Students...more
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This site contains six short recorded clips students can listen to (see the short list near the TOP of the page). Following listening, there are comprehension questions to answer. Students can select "text" to see the full text. Students can select answers to the questions while they are listening. They also have the choice of familiarizing themselves with the questions before listening. Getting immediate feedback on their answers is a useful feature. Although the speaker uses British English with a British accent, the recordings are clear. Most of the subjects relate to life in Britain. Students can download the stories to a computer or an MP3 player. If the stories are downloaded onto a computer, Flash is required. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): listening (92)

In the Classroom

Encourage students to build vocabulary by listening to these short pieces. Share the stories with groups on an interactive whiteboard or projector (turn up the speakers). Students could also write and record their own similar talks on closely related subjects or on similar occurrences in other locations. Learning support teachers will find the option of offering a written text along with audio a good option for comprehension practice with weaker readers.
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English as a Second Language Podcast - Center for Educational Development

Grades
6 to 12
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These up to date podcasts of high interest differ from other podcast sites: the language used and the speed of delivery are simpler and slower. ESL and ELL students will ...more
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These up to date podcasts of high interest differ from other podcast sites: the language used and the speed of delivery are simpler and slower. ESL and ELL students will readily comprehend the podcasts and learn new vocabulary in context. Difficult vocabulary is explained. Summaries of each podcast on the opening webpage provide the main content and pedagogical focus. The podcasts on this site are free; students can listen to them directly from the web, download to a local computer, or place on an MP3 player. Each podcast does contain a brief advertisement for other purchasable features, including Learning Guides, complete transcripts, cultural information, and vocabulary assistance. Be sure to preview the podcasts before sharing them with your students to ensure age appropriateness. Topics are generally for older students or adults. If you download the podcasts to the computer, you will need Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): listening (92), podcasts (54), vocabulary (325), vocabulary development (125)

In the Classroom

Have your ESL and ELL students listen and write their own summaries in groups or independently. Or ask them to write comprehension questions and answers to check their own understanding and challenge classmates. Have them compare information from the podcast to information on the same subject from other sources. Challenge students to present a one-minute summary. Have them prepare their own podcasts using the same format on subjects of their choice.
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Phil Shapiro Websequiturs - Phil Shapiro

Grades
3 to 10
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Readers will enjoy clicking on sequential phrases as they build sentences and paragraphs while reading parts of a story. Students pick one phrase and, when it's correct, it appears...more
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Readers will enjoy clicking on sequential phrases as they build sentences and paragraphs while reading parts of a story. Students pick one phrase and, when it's correct, it appears in a box below the three choices. As students make choice after choice, the box fills up with the complete story which they can reread by scrolling up and down. Lots of comprehension checking, context clues, grammar review, punctuation, use of transitions, and paragraph organization work are wrapped up in this activity, all while students are anxious to find the next phrase to "make sense." Fiction, non-fiction, and humorous excerpts are available.

tag(s): humor (15)

In the Classroom

High intermediate and advanced ESL and ELL students will enjoy the stories and review their grammar usage at the same time when using this site. Reading teachers looking for a way to practice with context clues will find this site a refreshing change. Use this site as a complement to reading stories using sentence strips. Have your students create their own story building activities following the format of this site.

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Center for Language Education and Research - Michigan State University

Grades
7 to 12
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Power up your foreign language classes with free Internet-based tools for foreign language students and teachers from the Center for Language Education and Research (CLEAR). The CLEAR...more
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Power up your foreign language classes with free Internet-based tools for foreign language students and teachers from the Center for Language Education and Research (CLEAR). The CLEAR project leverages the power of the Internet to provide a suite of tools that give students audio and video learning experiences while supplying teachers with smart effective tools for lesson design and assessment. Teachers who are comfortable with technology and those who are confident creators of multimedia content will find these tools easy to use and backed up with good documentation and video tutorials. The tools require no download or installation for use. The supported languages include, Chinese, German, Russian, Korean, Arabic, French, Vietnamese, and others.

Teacher registration is free and students don't need email accounts or registration to access the tools. Go to http://clear.msu.edu/teaching/online/ria/index.php to click on the link for Rich Internet Applications. The tools provide great ways to create interactive audio and video language prompts, record student responses, and collect them into audio dropboxes for teacher assessment.

The website also includes an extensive library of interactive multimedia modules for language learning, practice, and assessment. The modules are based on video clips that show native speakers and nonnative speakers interacting in natural, unscripted situations.

tag(s): arab (18), arabic (20), chinese (49), french (88), german (64)

In the Classroom

Language teachers can create a series of audio/video prompts for their students with the program "Conversations." Learners can access the questions in practice mode or real-time mode. Students' responses to the prompts are automatically saved so that teachers can monitor their work. SMILE is a collection of templates to create interactive language practice exercises that can be accessed from web pages. A record-keeping function allows learners to log their work for their teacher to view. Go beyond paper-based worksheets by adding interactive and multimedia elements such as drag-drop matching, instant feedback, and audio recording and playback with the worksheets tools. The "Broadcasts" program lets teachers record audio files and distribute them to students for playback on the computer or on their portable media devices. Viewpoint is an audio and video repository that lets teachers record audio/video online using a microphone or webcam, or upload existing media.
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Bunyips - National Library of Australia

Grades
2 to 8
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This entrancing graphic site portrays the cultural and literary history of the fictional Australian characters, the Bunyips. Students and teachers will enjoy learning about all the...more
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This entrancing graphic site portrays the cultural and literary history of the fictional Australian characters, the Bunyips. Students and teachers will enjoy learning about all the manifestations of its appearance on stamps, in books, and in folk lore. There are links for Education, Aboriginal Stories, Imagination, Evidence, and Fun & Games. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.. Although, a non-flash version is also available.

tag(s): australia (35), folktales (65)

In the Classroom

Use this when doing a unit on Australian history, folk lore, or creatures of fantasy like the Loch Ness monster or the Wisconsin hodag. To encourage children to read books about the bunyip, show them this site projected on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Ask ELL and ESL students in your class to share similar legendary characters from their cultures. Conclude your folklore unit by having students write their own tales of fantasy creatures that lurk in the corners of your school.
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Stories for Children Magazine - SFC Magazine

Grades
K to 7
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This delightful ezine offers many stories for children of a variety of ages, a monthly author feature, games, crafts, book reviews, and more. For those who prefer to print out ...more
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This delightful ezine offers many stories for children of a variety of ages, a monthly author feature, games, crafts, book reviews, and more. For those who prefer to print out the entire magazine, that option is available. The pictorial table of contents along the right border of the page entices children with attractive titles and graphics. Each story title indicates the target age for the story. Warning: most of this site is free, but there are items for purchase available. There are also some simple advertisements.

tag(s): authors (121), crafts (41), puzzles (206)

In the Classroom

Choose one story a week to give children the idea of supplementary reading or to use as reading comprehension practice with main idea or other skills. Be sure to help your weaker readers and ESL and ELL students by sharing the vocabulary words prior to reading, either on a handout or by projecting them on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have them highlight the vocabulary words in the text using the whiteboard tools as you come to them. Encourage students to write or verbally share their own stories after viewing this site's offerings. Some school filtering systems may block this site because it it hosted on the tripod (user-created site) domain. Be sure to check it at school to be sure it will work in your classroom, and request that it be unblocked if it falls into the "tripod trap."

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On-Line ESL News - VOA

Grades
5 to 12
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This site features news stories and articles of general interest in simpler language. Text scripts of the news features appear on the screen as students open the page. Most of ...more
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This site features news stories and articles of general interest in simpler language. Text scripts of the news features appear on the screen as students open the page. Most of these news articles offer streaming audio for listening as students follow the text.The general interest articles range in topic from science and technology to global culture to studying in America. There are minor advertisements at this website. The news is available using RealAudio. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): listening (92), news (261), vocabulary (325), vocabulary development (125)

In the Classroom

Ask intermediate to upper level ESL and ELL students to research, write, and record a podcast of similar news. Poll students to find out which words in the broadcast are difficult for them, and assign a few words to each student to look up and explain. Ask ESL and ELL students to share similar stories from their home cultures. Learning support teachers will want to share these easy-to-understand news stories for their students' weekly current events "articles."

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Kids' Vid - Mike Keating

Grades
3 to 8
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Leap into video production with help from the Kids' Vid site! Kids' Vid steps you and your students through the process with tips on scripting, storyboarding, shooting video, and editing...more
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Leap into video production with help from the Kids' Vid site! Kids' Vid steps you and your students through the process with tips on scripting, storyboarding, shooting video, and editing it into a visual masterpiece. The site has classroom ideas, short exercises for story writing and learning video shots, an online storyboard creator, and lots of useful help from experts and kids on how to make the whole process an exciting educational experience. Some of the activities require Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): tutorials (47)

In the Classroom

Start the activity by showing the student-produced videos on the web site. Use the resources on the site for a whole class jig-saw exercise. Assign small groups the task of learning one aspect of the process and then reporting and showing it to the rest of the class. Share the knowledge by creating working groups, which contain an expert from each aspect of the process. Use one of the many class ideas as practice activities for students to learn the finer points of video production before they start their masterpieces.

Video is a great tool for authentic assessment - especially for ESL, ELL, and Special Education students. Think about letting each of your students create a short video about what they know for their parent conference meeting or Open House. Explore the realm of possibilities by having students develop and ask peers a "Question of the Week" and document the responses on video. Let students produce a walking tour of the school and key personnel as an introduction for new students. Post this video on the school website, but check the district and students' Acceptable Use Policies before videoing any student faces. You may want to ask your school's funding sources to consider purchasing a few USB plug-in "flip" video cameras that cost about $100 each so students can do these projects with an "indestructible" tool.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Lingro - lingro.com

Grades
2 to 12
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This study tool and open content dictionary allows you to enter a web address (URL) and make all of the words on that page clickable for definitions and translation. A ...more
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This study tool and open content dictionary allows you to enter a web address (URL) and make all of the words on that page clickable for definitions and translation. A clicked word immediately displays its definition from the Lingro dictionary pages. The website looks visually the same within the Lingro window, but all words become clickable. You can also use Lingro to translate to and from English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Polish with more languages to be added. When students use the translation/definition tool, the site keeps a short-term record of their words and web pages, allowing them to study their own wordlists and to play games with these words. The wordlist and history feature only works short-term and at the SAME computer, unless you register, for free, to be able to take your personal history to any computer. With the translation capability, you can read websites in other languages. If you spell a word incorrectly, Lingro has a "best match" feature which finds likely definitions for your word of choice. There is also a tool to create electronic flash card type games from your saved wordlists.

Important technical note: Lingro cannot "see" words included in Flash interactives such as the "What's New" rotating content on the TeachersFirst home page. If you RIGHT click on an area of text and see "About Adobe Flash Player...," this means that the text is displayed in Flash and not "legible" to Lingro. Often pages offer a non-Flash version as an alternative.

tag(s): french (88), german (64), germany (28), italian (32), spanish (108), vocabulary (325), vocabulary development (125)

In the Classroom

When your ESL/ELL, learning support, or weaker readers do Internet research on sites above their independent reading level, have them open Lingro first and then enter the URL (web address) they wish to read. Use Lingro for vocabulary development in any subject. Mark this site as a favorite on your classroom computer or on your teacher web page so that ESL/ELL, world language students, or weaker readers can use the definition and translation feature and benefit from instantly-created word lists. If your school permits individual student accounts on web tools, this is a good one. If not, create a single teacher account to compile class word lists.

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