Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site is fairly simple to use. Join the site (free) and log in. Navigation of the site is simple. Click on Tree to start your family tree (or Timeline to use that free resource. For the family tree, arrows are provided to add family members. The arrows pointing up indicate a parent, arrows to the left or right are used to add a wife/husband or brother/sister, and arrows pointing down are used to add a son or daughter.
This site allows users to set-up their family tree or timeline as PRIVATE. It allows you to control who can and can't view your profile, family tree, and other information. For more information about this feature, visit the Settings link (on the top right corner). Before you plan your family tree project, be sure to get parental permission.
Possible Uses: Use this site to create family tree projects in elementary or middle school classes. Have high school students create family trees as part of an immigration unit studying patterns in social studies classes. In science class, have students create fictitious "people" as they study genetics. With younger students, create a class timeline sharing important dates for individuals (i.e. birthdays) and class dates (field trips, tests, or other special events). Have students share their family trees on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to "advertise" this project on your class website (and newsletter, if applicable) so students have time to gather names, birthdates, and other information about family members. In world language classes, have student create a family tree using the correct vocabulary for relatives and talk about it as they share it on the interactive whiteboard. When researching famous people, reading biographies, or even reading literature have students create a family tree illustrating their discoveries about their famous person, writer, artist, musician, explorer, literary character, etc.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this in reading classes studying English idioms and figures of speech or in middle level French and Spanish classes to help students remember idioms in those languages by aligning them with similar expressions in English. Include the site in your class web page for easy access from computer labs or home.
Challenge your class to create an illustrated idiom wiki in English or the language you are studying, adding digital pictures to "illustrate" the idiom literally and in its figurative meaning: Ex. "feeling blue" with a photo of a person shaded blue, then one of a SAD person. Be sure to include the text and a link to the page on this site for visitors to hear the clip, as well.
Grades8 to 12
Because this is a site for the general public, there may be some books with content not desirable for your classroom. Avoid sending students directly to the home page to see "Featured" books without previewing the page that day and/or announcing a policy about which books they are allowed to investigate.
RSS feed to a classroom RSS reader account such as Google Reader might be the safest way to control the content that "arrives" without safety/policy concerns. If you want students to receive emails from this site, check with your school's Acceptable Use Policy AND be sure to check with the parents! You may want to consider creating a Gmail account (rather than your personal or work email). 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 that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.
tag(s): literature (272)
In the ClassroomSuggest this site to advanced high school students who want to increase their knowledge of classical literature. Set up an RSS feed of a foreign language book to appear on your class web page or blog or even go to student cell phones: a new episode each day without ANY work by you! Use this also when teaching classic children's titles. Be sure to check with your principal and parents first to be sure receiving this type of email is OK with everyone. Have the pages sent to your RSS reader, personal or professional email address and share the pages with your students on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students create a class wiki to discuss the current class book being read or make comments on the class blog about the episode that day. In world language classes, this is an easy way to "prompt" a writing lesson IN the language for grammar and writing practice.
Grades6 to 12
tag(s): spelling (168)
In the ClassroomCheck school policies about establishing a "class" log in with an official email address instead of having the students use their own. 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 that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.
Refer students to improve their oral comprehension or applied spelling skills at this site. Teacers can also create or assign recordings for required listening and dictation, differentiating for each student's level. There are some French recordings that could be used in a world language class, as well. Why not have your students create their own recordings to challenge their classmates?
Grades1 to 12
This site requires registration (with an email address and user name). The registration page says that the site is available "by invitation only," however our reviewers found that we were able to register. This site requires Windows Media Player. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomUse this site to tape read-alongs for reluctant readers, ESL, or ELL students. This site is especially useful for ESL, ELL, speech, world language, and special education classrooms. Have your students use initials or assign logical pseudonyms (Ex. MsGper2-12, MsGper2-13, etc.) for their user names. Keep your own record of their user names and passwords for accountability in case there are any problems. Make this site available on classroom computers with ear phones for any time students want to hear something read.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomClassroom applications abound. Imagine your class chatting with pen pals in Crete or Amsterdam, and asking them current events questions. Imagine practicing foreign language skills using this tool. Send messages to experts in other countries as your class researches their culture. Travel around the world virtually, through discussions with other classrooms in foreign countries. Use two laptops and you and your ESL or ELL student can chat while learning each other's language, since all translations are on screen. Caution: As with all instant messaging, you would want to only talk with pre-approved people. This is not a program you would want your students to use unsupervised. There are forums, a blog, and chats already set up (look in your "room drawer" after you log in). Preview these to select the best venue for your class' purposes. Since the site requires a membership, you will most likely want to use a single class account so you can monitor how it is being used and avoid inappropriate contacts. If you do use student accounts, check your school policies on using student email to register and make sure classroom use is within approved school policy. This beta is constantly adding new features. Check the blog for the latest.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomEstablishing membership requires an email account. Check your school policies about accessing/sharing student email on school computers. 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 that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. You will want to join and explore the site before assigning students to use it so you know how to navigate.
Assign specific "lessons" for your ESL or world language students, but be aware that the free version does not permit you to monitor progress on student accounts.Therefore you will want to use this as a practice site more than a formal assessment tool. Demonstrate the navigation on your projector or interactive whiteboard before assigning students to work independently. If you have mp3 players available, you can load a listening assignment for students to "take out." Be sure to include this site on your teacher web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further practice. Refer your ESL students to this page if they are impatient to become fluent quickly.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomSearch the multitude of webquests that are "ready to go" at this site. If you are looking for a more personal touch, you can create your own webquest for each class, tailored to what you want to cover or want students to research. This site also provides a place to post a personal portfolio of your work (if you choose to include any student work, you must have written permission to do so from the student and his or her parent). You might also want students to create webquests as final products of group research projects. Be sure to provide a meaningful rubric for the essential features.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomUse 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.
Grades4 to 12
This site includes advertising.
In the ClassroomTour Ancient Mexico as a whole class activity with an interactive whiteboard or projector. If students have access to computers, let groups delve into selected topics and create interactive travel posters and brochures using a tool such as Sway, reviewed here, as their research projects. Students can look at the cities in ruins, explore architectural styles and ceremonial uses of the buildings, and find contemporary examples.
Grades2 to 10
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..
In the ClassroomSave 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.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomTry 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.
Grades7 to 12
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.
In the ClassroomLanguage 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.
Grades2 to 12
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.
In the ClassroomWhen 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.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomMark this site as a Favorite on your classroom computer or on your teacher web page and assign ESL/ELL students to check it weekly for a new idiomatic expression. Newer ESL and ELL students may find the translation feature helpful. The foreign language options could be useful in a German, French, Spanish, or Chinese class. Check your school policies on allowing students to participate in the forum area, and obtain written parent permission before students log on. You may want to use the forum as a whole-class activity with a teacher account. Monitor the discussion boards for a week or two before deciding if they are appropriate for your school situation.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomTake your students on a journey around the world. Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to share specific video clips with your class. This website is also useful for individual research on numerous destinations throughout the world. Why not assign each student a different country to research. Provide time for the students to view the video clips relevant to their country. Have a class "World Day," and have students present multi-media presentations about their country. World language teachers will also love the rich options within this site.
Grades5 to 12
IMPORTANT NOTE: This site includes tools for blog users to interact (in English or Spanish). Any visitor can comment on the posts and podcasts or participate in Forums. There is also a link to a sister blog on Spanish culture. Check your school policies on students posting comments, etc. to the web and whether they are permitted to do so anonymously and/or with name or initials.
This site requires Quicktime. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..
In the ClassroomThis site is a treasure trove for Spanish teachers. It also provides a way for your ESL and ELL students to share their language and culture as the focus of a lesson, perhaps as you study other cultures. Have the ESL or ELL students and native English speakers work on understanding podcasts together. They can discuss what they understood and what they did not. You might have your Spanish speakers write out the dialogue and vocabulary selections, but be sure to have a knowledgeable adult check the Spanish before using it with your students.
To alleviate safety concerns, you might want to create a simple class policy (e.g. initials only) and obtain parent permission before inviting your class to participate in the blog, since you will not be able to monitor their submissions. The site does moderate to prevent "bad" comments from appearing online, but you do not control this moderation. ALL blog comments require an email address (kept hidden). If safety and school policy concerns limit student access, use the site as a whole-class activity and selectively choose portions for students to use. You can assign DIRECT links to podcasts by right-clicking the "Audio: download" link and copying the URL that shows in "Properties," ex. http://media.libsyn.com/media/learnrealspanish/nisbeginners20_el_kindle.mp3. Students can RIGHT-click >Save target as to download and load podcast files to their mp3 players or simply keep to listen over and over at a computer.
Grades2 to 10
In the ClassroomFind an art project to accompany your current unit or try the "Community Stories" link to reach out to communities you have learned about through the ESL students in your school or your world language studies.
Grades2 to 12
There are also immediate clicks to other languages, so a student could check the same word in Spanish and French very easily. In addition to the translation dictionaries, there are also "English Dictionaries" (non-interactive) available in Portuguese, Polish, Romanian, Czech, Turkish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Arabic (coming soon). Many of the foreign language dictionaries will increase in volume as the site developers add more vocabulary.
Be aware: this site does include minor advertisements. There is a link to Language Forums. It is probably best to advise students to stay away from the forums.
In the ClassroomSave this site in your favorites on your classroom computers for use by ESL/ELL and foreign language students or for use when studying derivations and word families in English (compare the same word across several languages to see how close they can be!). Students can take an active role in vocabulary preview work by using this site in prior to reading. Be sure to list this site on your class webpage so students can access this information both in and out of the classroom.
If you are introducing new vocabulary words to your foreign language class. Have them use this site to find the appropriate translations. Then have the students work in cooperative learning groups to create online vocabulary guide books using a tool such at Bookemon (reviewed here). Have the groups share the online books on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to keep the links for future students to use the guides, as well.
Grades4 to 12
One helpful document is the Chuala inventory which allows instructors to quiz ESL students on their pronunciation by having them pronounce 144 distinct items. They can then search the lessons for practice, recording, and making comparisons on these phonemes.
In the ClassroomSet ESL/ELL or speech/language students up with this site on a classroom computer cluster or in a lab to practice phonemes they can't hear or pronounce (see safety notice below). You MUST have a microphone or use a computer that has one built in. Use the inventory to make initial ESL/ELL evaluations as well as periodic progress checks. Students may like the site so much they'll want to practice at home.
This website could be very useful to French, Spanish, and German teachers (or teachers of other world languages). Use this site to learn new vocabulary and improve pronunciation of world languages.
Safety concern: This site requires FREE membership to use the audio tools and access content. Membership includes social networking tools, such as "friends" and "messages," and requires an email address. You may want to set up a single class account for in-school use, entering your "extra" email address to avoid unsafe use of the site by your adventurous students. If you KNOW how they are logging in (with your account), you can remove any friends or other unauthorized contacts. The problem with this approach is that you will not know which student has done what. If you do permit individual user accounts (according to your school's policies, of course), have parents and students sign an agreement that spells out permissible behavior and consequences -- and get your principal's OK!