Ideas and resources for parents of ESL/ELL students

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

 

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PicLits - PicLits.com

Grades
K to 12
15 Favorites 0  Comments
    
The title says it all: "Inspired Picture Writing!" Use this free drag and drop literacy tool to create great sentences inspired by beautiful pictures. Alternatively, add inspirational...more
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The title says it all: "Inspired Picture Writing!" Use this free drag and drop literacy tool to create great sentences inspired by beautiful pictures. Alternatively, add inspirational or humorous captions to pictures. "Lesson Plans" provides learning opportunities and examples for creating captions, compound sentences, or paragraphs. Video tutorials can be found under the FAQs tab. "Explore the Gallery" to see already-created PicLits as well as comments and ratings. After selecting a picture (or using the one they provide) and dragging a word onto the screen, choose different forms of the word by using the drop-down menu next to the word. Move your words anywhere on the screen for creative writing. You can also click "freestyle" instead to type in your own words instead of choosing from their list. Word lists change, depending on the image selected. Here is an example from one of the TeachersFirst reviewers: Come to the Edge. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view them at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as ClipGrab, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube. NOTE: Our editors regret that PicLits occasionally allows advertising on their home page to include images that are not classroom-friendly. Teachers should preview to determine whether or not your students can ignore the ads.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (169), digital storytelling (154), images (283), sentences (49)

In the Classroom

Users of PicLits must be able to navigate tabs on sites, manage logins, and use URLs and embed codes to share results on websites and blogs. Play to learn the tools before or after joining. The FAQs tab also provides a short-and-sweet text explanation of the tools. Find these under the Video Tutorials.

Registering for a PicLits account requires the use of an email address. PicLits can be used without an account but users are unable to save or blog about their creation without an account. A class account can be created instead of individual student accounts. However, it does not show which work is attributable to which student. You may want to require that students initial their contributions in order to get credit. All work on the site can be seen without a login. All projects are public.

You may want to create a word doc, Favorites folder, or other "collection" of the URLS to all your students' projects in one place for easy work at grading time. Some teachers use a class wiki or blog with links to all projects from there. A simpler alternative would be to use a bookmarking tool such as Buttons, reviewed here. You may allow students to self-register, but be sure to keep a written record of their passwords for when they "forget." It may be worth your time to do advanced registration for your younger students or simply use a whole-class account.

Share a PicLit on your interactive whiteboard or with a projector at the start of a grammar or writing lesson to discuss word choice, figures of speech, or vocabulary. Use the visual picture prompt for journal or blog writing, allowing each student to compose a unique poem or haiku. Even science classes can write about concepts illustrated in the many nature photos. Emotional support teachers will love the chance to discuss feelings and how to describe facial expressions in the pictures. Make a collection of PicLits using a tool like 3 x 3 Links, reviewed here, for a curriculum topic. Create or challenge students to create an online literary magazine using a tool such as Zinepal, reviewed here. ESL students can create PicLits to learn new vocabulary. Have students create PicLits for special occasions and special people (mom, dad, grandparents, school nurse, or others). Use the embed code to place your creations on many other sites, including your class wiki or blogs. Share your PicLit by using a URL or code for an embedded widget.

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Fingerplays for Young Children - Songs for Teaching

Grades
K to 3
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This subsection of the Songs for Teaching site has excellent chants and other childhood favorite songs which get children moving, speaking, and rhyming. Words to the fingerplays and...more
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This subsection of the Songs for Teaching site has excellent chants and other childhood favorite songs which get children moving, speaking, and rhyming. Words to the fingerplays and songs are copyable, and many contain Quicktime sound excerpt files as well (enough to get you going with the song, though not the complete song). A few even have pictures of someone going through the motions of the song or rhyme. A link to Songs for Early Childhood allows you to see even more action songs. There are even songs to go with class content, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Your kinesthetic learners will retain the concepts in these songs. ESL, ELL, and speech/language students will respond to the music; it aids with articulation, accent development, and memory. This site requires Quicktime. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): plays (32), preK (284), rhymes (30), songs (53)

In the Classroom

Share this link on your teacher web page and/or in a parent newsletter so that parents can use it at home too! Don't forget to turn up your speakers if you are using the music in class. If your class responds very well to using songs, you might try writing lyrics together about something you are studying -- using one of these familiar tunes.

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Teach Children ESL: Games - Teach Children ESL

Grades
K to 3
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This site has many games available for downloading including card games, board games, and Valentine's Day bingo. Children learn vocabulary and have fun while manipulating the various...more
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This site has many games available for downloading including card games, board games, and Valentine's Day bingo. Children learn vocabulary and have fun while manipulating the various versions of memory cards, Go Fish, and other traditional children's past times. Downloads include colorfully illustrated cards and game parts as well as instructions. Links include more goodies: worksheets, songs, and flashcards. At certain times of the day this site can be slow in loading. This site requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (125)

In the Classroom

Download the games and laminate the materials or send them home for parents and children to do together. Speech and language teachers as well as ESL/ELL teachers will love the free games-to-go!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Mrs. P.com - Mrs. P Enterprises, LLC

Grades
K to 9
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
You almost want to toast marshmallows on the open fire as you cyber-curl under Mrs. P's feet by the fireplace. No need to bring a book; she has quite a ...more
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You almost want to toast marshmallows on the open fire as you cyber-curl under Mrs. P's feet by the fireplace. No need to bring a book; she has quite a selection. This interactive site will thrill your eager readers for hours. Actress Kathy Kinney tells delightful intro stories and expertly reads the books. Best of all, it's a breeze to navigate. Access the different areas on the site from the menu at the top, or click on Mrs. P to find links to her YouTube videos for the books, the teacher area, and activities and games. Play the Title game as an amusing way to listen to one-liners about the stories at this site. Also, check out Mrs. P's annual writing contest from the home page. If your district blocks YouTube, you may not be able to view them.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): independent reading (127)

In the Classroom

Teachers, check out the link for the writing contest. Submit student stories and Mrs. P. may choose to read them on this site. Be sure to get parental consent before submitting any stories.

What a valuable tool for ESL/ELL students and teachers of emergent readers as students follow the words on the screen as Mrs. P. reads a story. Create a corner in your room to read stories the way Mrs. P. does! Use your first initial, let your imagination run wild, change your accent of course, and you can become another Mrs. P.

Be sure to share this treasure on your teacher web page for students (and parents) to access outside of class. You may find students become interested in some of those "old books" in the library!
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Fable Library - Fable Vision

Grades
2 to 6
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This site includes online stories, short downloadable books, a story for older children, and even a spot for young writers to create their own fables. One story, The Adventures of ...more
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This site includes online stories, short downloadable books, a story for older children, and even a spot for young writers to create their own fables. One story, The Adventures of Sticky Burr, is a comic, with continually updated, new episodes. Readers can see fables that other children have contributed by clicking on "Create Your Own." ESL, ELL, and emergent readers may find reading the short illustrated segments offered at this site less of a challenge than reading a textbook or hard copy book. NOTE: the actual fonts used in some of the books may be difficult for some younger children to read. Preview with this thought in mind before assigning a fable to a student to read alone. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): comics and cartoons (62), folktales (50)

In the Classroom

Offer young readers the option of doing "outside" reading online to encourage them to read in a variety of formats, including both the fables and downloadable books. Look at one of the fables with your class on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students take turns reading the story aloud to the class. Share models of the "student created" stories and then challenge your students to write their own fable (either to share with the class or submit to the site). Be sure to be aware of your school's Acceptable Use Policy on sharing or submitting what the students have written to the website. Obtain parental permission before submitting any work.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Prompts - Creativity-Portal.com

Grades
2 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
This site offers writing prompts of many types, from written prompts to line drawings, to photographs, from story starters to articles on the imagination. With plenty of prompts available...more
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This site offers writing prompts of many types, from written prompts to line drawings, to photographs, from story starters to articles on the imagination. With plenty of prompts available at your fingertips, teachers will find inspirational starters in a form which will appeal to all types of students.

There is a submission option at this site. You are able to submit articles or projects, suggest websites with FREE learning content, creativity journey blogs, or inspiring success stories. Before you submit any students' work, be sure to check with your school's Acceptable Use Policy and always get parental permission.

tag(s): drawing (79), journals (21), writing (363), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Use these writing prompts with your ESL or ELL students to get them to incorporate new vocabulary into a written piece. Share the on your teacher web page for all students to use as starters for blog writing or journaling. Have students share their own ideas of writing prompts, drawings, and photos that they feel may help others start writing. Submit students' work and ideas, after the proper precautions have been taken.

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NS Teens: Making Safer Online Choices - National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Grades
5 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
If you teach teens, then you need to remind them continually of internet safety and protocol. This cool, upbeat site is fully loaded with teen-friendly music, videos, comic strips,...more
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If you teach teens, then you need to remind them continually of internet safety and protocol. This cool, upbeat site is fully loaded with teen-friendly music, videos, comic strips, and more, all communicating the need for internet responsibility. If you want general internet safety information, visit the sister site to NSTeens, NetSmartz Workshop: (reviewed here). ESL and ELL teachers will love the Spanish version of this site (including Spanish downloads). This site requires Flash.

tag(s): bullying (51), cyberbullying (45), internet safety (116), safety (91), social networking (108), spanish (108)

In the Classroom

Teachers, you will find plenty of resources for teaching net safety to teens when you click on 'teaching materials' at the bottom left of the homepage (this takes you to the sister site - NetSmartz Workshop). Videos, fact sheets, lesson plans and activities await you there.

Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to share the video clips or comics. Have students create their own internet safety videos and share them using a tool such as YouTube or TeacherTube (explained here). List this site on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom. You will also want to share it with parents.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Animalia - PBS Kids GO!

Grades
K to 5
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Join your child guides, Zoe and Alex, as they travel to Animalia (an interesting world of talking animals). This CGI-animated series is based on the best-selling children's book by...more
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Join your child guides, Zoe and Alex, as they travel to Animalia (an interesting world of talking animals). This CGI-animated series is based on the best-selling children's book by Graeme Base. At the Parents and Teachers link the site explains that Animalia teaches creativity, cooperation, persistence, world cultures, and language arts. Take a tour of Animalia, go to the Games and Activities link to find writing activities, art fun, creativity builders, and even mystery codes. There are also links to watch video clips! This interactive site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): creativity (119), literature (267)

In the Classroom

Use this site to spruce up language arts class! Take a tour of Animalia together on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students work on individual computer to watch video clips and try the interactives. Have students write the story or "crack the code" at the Games and Activities link. Save this site in your favorites on your classroom computers so students can visit during language arts class or when work is complete. Use this site to help your ESL and ELL students further familiarize themselves with the English language. Gifted student respond well to this book. Consider extending your study of animals or writing by creating your own books modeled on Animalia.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Field Trip - HUD

Grades
1 to 3
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Students can take an interactive tour (or quick picture tour) of three community sites: a park, a library, and city hall. Each location allows students to "click around" to learn ...more
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Students can take an interactive tour (or quick picture tour) of three community sites: a park, a library, and city hall. Each location allows students to "click around" to learn more about the location. For example at the library, students learn what non-fiction, fiction, periodicals, and other library terms mean. There are also links on the bottom of the page for People, Places, and Things. The People link teaches students about volunteering, the homeless, and various careers. The Places link features safe places to play, field trip links, and more. Go to the Things link to Build a Community, go on a Scavenger Hunt, or play other interactive games. Much of this site requires Flash. Get Flash from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): communities (38)

In the Classroom

Use this during your unit about neighborhoods and community. Share the site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Then either set up a social studies computer station or have students explore on individual computers. If you plan to visit the library or town hall, preview it with a visit to this site. Have your students draw other community buildings and explain their functions by using a map or go floor by floor, as in the library visit. You could even create a class wiki "tour" using digital pictures. You might want to list this site in your class newsletter or on your class website for parents to share with their students.

ESL and ELL students learning names for community locations will appreciate this site for helping things come alive. Use this site to increase and strengthen vocabulary. Ask students to compare these locations with parallel offerings in their home communities.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Word World - PBS Kid

Grades
K to 2
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This language-rich website offers countless language arts activities for young elementary students. Based on the PBS show, Word World, this website highlights animals and objects in...more
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This language-rich website offers countless language arts activities for young elementary students. Based on the PBS show, Word World, this website highlights animals and objects in the environment. The animals and objects are all shapes AND words, everything has a label. Some examples of language activities include spelling, letter sounds, rhyming, upper case and lower case letters, and many others. Click on any of the animals to start your class's language learning adventures. There is also a link for parents and teachers that provides additional information about the TV show, website activities, and lesson ideas. This site is adaptable to use in the regular classroom, ESL and ELL classrooms, and special education students. This website requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): alphabet (85), phonics (69), preK (284), sound (105), sounds (68), spelling (166), writing (363)

In the Classroom

Treat your students to an "animal of the week." Each animal adventure challenges students with new language skills. Use an interactive whiteboard or projection screen to share this website with your class. Then make the site a center in your classroom. Provide this link in your class newsletter or on your class website so students can practice language skills at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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English Interactive - A. Gil and H. Massingham

Grades
2 to 10
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
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 (210), vocabulary (314)

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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The Monticello Classroom - Thomas Jefferson Foundation

Grades
4 to 12
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Invite your students to step into Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and experience colonial life. This educational website is beautifully designed for both students and teachers to use...more
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Invite your students to step into Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and experience colonial life. This educational website is beautifully designed for both students and teachers to use the extensive resources to learn about Jefferson, Monticello, and daily life. The Monticello Classroom provides a student portal with fact and resource sheets, an image gallery, online activities, and a saved favorites section. Web pages offer information by reading levels: elementary, middle, and high school. The image gallery contains a slide show builder for students to create a presentation using the images and copies of primary source documents. The presentations can be saved, printed, or emailed. Students can register for an account to save favorites and other resources. Registration requires a user name, password, first name and last name. Check your school's policies before allowing student accounts, especially with full names! See more hints below.
Teachers can register for a teacher area to create assignments for classes, review the available lesson plans, or build your own, and save your favorites on your personal Monticello Classroom web page. Each class has its own log-in and password and students are able to submit their completed activities to the teacher for review.

tag(s): black history (58), jefferson (20)

In the Classroom

This site can serve a a hub for your unit on colonial life, Jefferson, or even inventors. If you wish your students to register for accounts, be sure to check the students' acceptable use policies or get parent permission in writing. Instead of students using their real first and last names, have students create their own colonial names for registration. Be sure to keep a list of these names to be able to review and assess student work. Give a class introduction to the Monticello Classroom using an interactive whiteboard or projector. 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 on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Highlight the vocabulary words in the text as you come to them. Search the lesson plans, and teachers will find a few that will be particularly helpful for Black History month!

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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 (86), podcasts (57), stars (69), vocabulary (314), vocabulary development (119)

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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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 (48)

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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Owly Comics - Andy Runton

Grades
K to 4
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This cartoon/graphic novel site offers free previews of many wordless comic books and short graphic novels. You can select the regular length or mini-books. Some examples of the stories...more
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This cartoon/graphic novel site offers free previews of many wordless comic books and short graphic novels. You can select the regular length or mini-books. Some examples of the stories include The Way Home, A Time to Be Brave, Bee Nice, and several others. There are twelve lesson plans available for free download at the Teaching link. Pre-readers, ESL and ELL students, and those learning foreign languages will delight in making up the words to go along with the very expressive pictures here. The lesson plans at this website require Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): comics and cartoons (62), graphic novels (5), novels (23), vocabulary (314)

In the Classroom

Ask students to dictate captions for these stories, write the captions on strips, and put them with the printed pictures. For students able to write, have them write their own captions. Have a caption-writing contest among pairs of students in the classroom. Have ESL and ELL students write simple captions and learn the words for items in the pictures at the same time. Students in foreign language classes can generate desciptions or dialog to go with the stories. Special ed teachers will appreciate the opportunity for students to "narrate" the comics -- and possibly place pages in sequence -- to develop vocabulary. Use printable versions for take-home work with parents, as well. Challenge students to create their own wordless books. Don't forget to check out the twelve lesson plans available at the
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Reading A to Z - learninga-z.com

Grades
K to 6
1 Favorites 0  Comments
This site has downloadable, leveled reading books for sale, but there are plenty of free stories with illustrations. Along with the stories are worksheets to test reading comprehension,...more
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This site has downloadable, leveled reading books for sale, but there are plenty of free stories with illustrations. Along with the stories are worksheets to test reading comprehension, focus on grammar from the stories, and review what took place in the story. The stories are organized by reading level, from A to Z. New free offerings appear frequently. Schools can apply for a free trial to check out the full offerings. Some stories are available in Spanish. The site offers other genres for free download including poetry, comics, pocket books, alphabet books, and wordless books. Phonics books complete the offerings.

Caution: although you are able to use many of these items for free, most downloads ask that you input your email address. You can bypass this by clicking submit without inputting your email address. This website requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page. .

tag(s): poetry (221), worksheets (62)

In the Classroom

The books can be projected on an interactive whiteboard for students to highlight new vocabulary, signal words, etc. with their fingers then read independently. Tell your students' parents about this site to encourage them to read or download and print more stories for their children. Include the link in your class newsletter or on your website. Beginning readers, ELL, and ESL students will enjoy the wordless books whose stories they can tell themselves or tell in their own languages. Students may want to make up their own wordless picture books after seeing some of these examples.
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Open English World - David Rogers and Michael Huskins,

Grades
8 to 12
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This site's free offerings include useful weekly idioms, business expressions to improve vocabulary, and listening activities on current topics. Translations of the listening sentences...more
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This site's free offerings include useful weekly idioms, business expressions to improve vocabulary, and listening activities on current topics. Translations of the listening sentences into the student's first language are optional and include French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, Korean and simplified Chinese. Spoken utterances are always in English. Be aware there are some advertisements on this page, but nothing too distracting. Students can complete a free registration at this site, but it is not required. There is a Forum for discussion. See TeachersFirst's safety and use tips for using this site in class under Classroom Use. The listening activities require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): business (58), chinese (49), french (88), idioms (42), japan (60), japanese (45), korea (18), listening (86), spanish (108)

In the Classroom

Mark 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.
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Telephoning English - English Portal.com

Grades
2 to 8
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Students learn appropriate language to use when telephoning and also begin to understand voice mail messages at this site designed for ESL and ELL students. Since using the telephone...more
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Students learn appropriate language to use when telephoning and also begin to understand voice mail messages at this site designed for ESL and ELL students. Since using the telephone is a big challenge when learning a new language, this site will be extremely helpful for newcomers. There are three levels of difficulty available.

tag(s): listening (86)

In the Classroom

Have your students practice the language on this site in a simulated telephone conversation. Have them record the voice mail messages and then play them for other students to respond to. Share this site on your class website or in your class newsletter so ESL parents can benefit from understanding telephone conversation better, too. Teachers of world languages may wish to use this site as a model to create similar information for their students of French, German, Spanish, and other world languages. Special ed teachers working on life skills will find these phone skills helpful, as well.

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Inspired Beginners Spanish Podcast - Ben Curtis and Marina Diez

Grades
5 to 12
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This language-rich website features podcasts spoken using British English. The podcasts review the previous episode, explain new English vocabulary, discuss the subject in English,...more
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This language-rich website features podcasts spoken using British English. The podcasts review the previous episode, explain new English vocabulary, discuss the subject in English, and then present the Spanish language podcast. Be aware that clicking to play a podcast will start a long pause as the podcast downloads to your computer, and it may appear that noting is happening! The subjects are of high interest for students. The name is somewhat of a misnomer, though, since people with no knowledge of Spanish might be a bit overwhelmed by the language used. Unfortunately, accompanying worksheets with complete transcripts are not free, and there is no text available elsewhere. There are a few other free worksheets available under the About link (see resources). Listening options include listening on your computer, iPod, or mp3 player as podcasts.

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.

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tag(s): podcasts (57), spanish (108), vocabulary (314)

In the Classroom

This 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.
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The Story Connection - Dianne de las Casas

Grades
2 to 6
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This website offers printable (retold) stories by Dianne de las Casas. She offers quite a collection, and adds new stories each month. The stories come from all around the world. ...more
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This website offers printable (retold) stories by Dianne de las Casas. She offers quite a collection, and adds new stories each month. The stories come from all around the world. Other offerings on the site include holiday stories, fingerplays, play scripts, activities to do with stories, and puzzles. Don't forget to check out the extensive suggestions under Resources such as Story telling games. These help teachers and parents know what to do after they've all read a story together. Teachers, school librarians, and even parents can sign up for a free monthly newsletter about using stories in education; The Story Connection Express. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

In the Classroom

Use the activities in class after reading one of her stories from a country you have represented among your ESL or ELL students. Have your students write their own story activity suggestions after you have used a few of Dianne's. Be sure to include this link on your class website and in your letter home to parents. Suggest that they read just one short story and find accompanying activities for the family to do.
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