TeachersFirst's Vocabulary Development Resources

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This collection of reviewed tools and resources from TeachersFirst promotes vocabulary development and skills for students to improve and master daily vocabulary, subject matter terms, speech/language vocabulary, and ESL/ELL language. Some are tools for study and practice of terms in any class--including world languages, while others focus specifically on written and spoken English. Be sure to check "In the classroom" for ways each resource might help in your teaching area. Share your favorites on a free TeachersFirst public page for students and parents to use for vocabulary practice outside of class.

 

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Read Ahead - Full Tilt Ahead, LLC

Grades
3 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Transform any text into a guided reading activity presentation using vocabulary, keywords, and phrases with Read Ahead. Create a presentation highlighting critical components of a text...more
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Transform any text into a guided reading activity presentation using vocabulary, keywords, and phrases with Read Ahead. Create a presentation highlighting critical components of a text passage by choosing keywords or phrases, add your vocabulary list, or use the Smart Skimmer to select items automatically. When complete, your presentation shares featured words and terms with readers before beginning to read the text. Share with students using the created link or through social media links.

tag(s): literacy (84), reading comprehension (123), vocabulary (231), vocabulary development (86)

In the Classroom

Include Read Ahead with your other resources for teaching vocabulary. Read Ahead is perfect for introducing any reading passage to struggling readers, special education students, and ESL/ELL learners. Create presentations for articles found in science or social studies materials to prepare students for difficult vocabulary and phrases. Take advantage of this site to use reading material with your students that might otherwise be above their reading level. Instead of asking students to use vocabulary in sentences to demonstrate understanding, ask them to use the words to create digital stories using an online tool like Book Creator, reviewed here. Book Creator can be used for a variety of assignments in any classroom that is integrating technology as an enhancement, modification, or transformation.

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Academic Word Finder - Achieve the Core

Grades
4 to 12
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The Academic Word Finder identifies academic vocabulary (tier 2) words found in any text. Register using email to create an account before beginning. Copy and paste any text you want...more
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The Academic Word Finder identifies academic vocabulary (tier 2) words found in any text. Register using email to create an account before beginning. Copy and paste any text you want to analyze, (the site recommends starting with two to three paragraphs) and select your grade level. The Word Finder identifies the vocabulary found in the text and provides additional context with grade range, part of speech, meaning, and an example sentence. Email or print the results using links found on the site. Each entry is automatically saved to your Achieve the Core account for future reference.

tag(s): parts of speech (42), vocabulary (231), vocabulary development (86)

In the Classroom

Use the Academic Word Finder to introduce difficult portions of text before reading. Display the results on your interactive whiteboard or with a projector to review with students. This site is perfect for use with special needs or ENL/ESL students to break down difficult content into smaller, understandable portions. Use this site to identify vocabulary words then create online games for student practice. Bamboozle, reviewed here, offers several options for creating games for two teams. Use the Word Finder to choose vocabulary to include when creating interactive lessons for students. Vizia, reviewed here, includes tools for creating interactive video lessons with embedded documents and quizzes.

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Root Word and Prefix Study Pages - myvocabulary.com

Grades
2 to 12
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As part of their extensive vocabulary site, MyVocabulary.com includes over 90 word puzzles practicing Greek and Latin root words. This site includes alignment of activities to Common...more
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As part of their extensive vocabulary site, MyVocabulary.com includes over 90 word puzzles practicing Greek and Latin root words. This site includes alignment of activities to Common Core Standards. Find 90 additional prefix studies on page 2 here.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): grammar (138), grammar review (29), prefixes (9), root words (9), spelling (86), vocabulary (231)

In the Classroom

Include these activities as part of any lessons on prefixes. Use words found on this site as a starting point, then challenge students to find additional words with the same prefixes.

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TextProject - TextProject, Inc

Grades
K to 9
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TextProject offers strategies, tools, and texts to bring beginning readers and struggling readers to high literacy levels. Download materials for teaching reading, such as vocabulary...more
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TextProject offers strategies, tools, and texts to bring beginning readers and struggling readers to high literacy levels. Download materials for teaching reading, such as vocabulary lessons, word pictures, literacy lists, and reading passages. Browse the TextProject Library to find book collections, professional articles, and videos available on their YouTube Channel. Be sure to find time to explore the Classroom Materials part of the site with many printables and Teacher's Guides for use with all reading levels. If your district blocks YouTube, then the videos may not be viewable.

tag(s): commoncore (78), independent reading (105), literacy (84), reading comprehension (123), reading lists (72), reading strategies (56), vocabulary (231), vocabulary development (86)

In the Classroom

If you teach reading or are an ENL/ESL or resource teacher for students with special needs, you will want to bookmark this site! Take advantage of all of the free downloads on the site, including forms, checklists, lessons, and reading passages. Share this site with parents to help them understand the process of learning to read and finding materials for their student. Share this site during professional development sessions when discussing reading instruction and alignment to Common Core Standards. Be sure to sign up for TextProject's monthly newsletter to stay up to date with all new additions to the site.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Newswordy - Josh Smith

Grades
K to 12
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We hear new buzzwords all of the time, but what do they really mean? Newswordy provides those answers. Each day Newswordy features a buzzword, definition, and its uses in articles ...more
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We hear new buzzwords all of the time, but what do they really mean? Newswordy provides those answers. Each day Newswordy features a buzzword, definition, and its uses in articles and tweets from trending topics. Find the previous day's buzzword by clicking the link on the bottom of the page or click the three bars on the top-right hand side of the page for a list of previous words. Click the title to go to the source and read the entire article.

tag(s): media literacy (89), news (236), vocabulary (231)

In the Classroom

Newswordy is perfect for use on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Display the word of the day as students arrive in class as a great warm up for current events lessons. Share a link to the site on your class webpage. Tweak your students' interest in what is happening in the world by reading the excerpts of the articles and tweets at Newswordy. Have students bring in examples they find on the Internet or when watching T.V. Next, students can create a word cloud of the important terms they learn from this site using a tool such as WordItOut, reviewed here.

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Learner's Dictionary - Merriam Webster

Grades
3 to 12
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This American English online dictionary supports ESL/ELL students and people preparing for the TOEFL Test, the standardized test given to non-English speakers for admittance to universities....more
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This American English online dictionary supports ESL/ELL students and people preparing for the TOEFL Test, the standardized test given to non-English speakers for admittance to universities. The top 3000 words in the English language are featured with perfect pronunciation exercises. Use the Word of the Day to increase your vocabulary. The Ask the Editor feature is especially valuable for getting answers about things like "What does high tech mean?" or "What is the difference between beside and besides?" With a free registration, you can save your mastered words for periodic reviews. Test your vocabulary periodically, to continually challenge yourself. Get your free Kindle download or iPhone, iPad, and Android app.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (166), pronunciation (35), vocabulary (231), vocabulary development (86)

In the Classroom

Provide daily support and growth for your ESL/ELL students by increasing vocabulary and reviewing with quizzes. Have students use their own dictionary to collect all the words they are using. This tool can be used by ANY student preparing for testing (SAT or ACT). Struggling readers can get extra support with pronunciation and save mastered words. During content area subjects, collect words for a quarter, semester, or even year. For Advanced Placement classes, collect vocabulary for continual review.

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Games to Learn English - Owen Dwyer

Grades
K to 8
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Games to Learn English is a collection of games for ESL/ELL students or any student learning the basics of English and/or reading. Created for students of English language learners,...more
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Games to Learn English is a collection of games for ESL/ELL students or any student learning the basics of English and/or reading. Created for students of English language learners, the many activities focus on developing vocabulary, comprehension, grammar, word order, and spelling skills. Choose from interactives such as Fast Hands and Concentration to begin. Each activity includes directions for play and scoring explanations, and most have playing speed options.
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tag(s): game based learning (158), preK (231), sentences (24), sequencing (15), spelling (86), vocabulary (231), vocabulary development (86)

In the Classroom

Although created for English language learners, this is an excellent site to develop vocabulary (and computer skills) for younger students. It also helps with speech/language vocabulary development and grammar reinforcement for special ed. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Complete the activities as a class with a student operating the board. Create a link on classroom computers and challenge students to increase their speed in completing games.

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TV411 - Vocabulary - Education Development Center, Inc.

Grades
4 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Find entertaining videos, web lessons, and downloads to support learning about dictionaries, thesaurus, and "How Words Work." Each video includes a short description of content and...more
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Find entertaining videos, web lessons, and downloads to support learning about dictionaries, thesaurus, and "How Words Work." Each video includes a short description of content and the skills addressed. Most videos are approximately three minutes long and include links to related web lessons and print downloads. This site was originally created for adult basic literacy students. However, many of these lessons could be useful with younger students learning the basics of vocabulary. Preview the video for appropriateness before sharing with younger students.

tag(s): antonyms (14), dictionaries (49), prefixes (9), reading comprehension (123), root words (9), spelling (86), suffixes (9), synonyms (17), thesaurus (21), vocabulary (231), vocabulary development (86), word study (53)

In the Classroom

Any vocabulary development unit needs to include lessons about how dictionaries and thesaurus' work. View videos on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) as part of your dictionary/word-study unit. Use on an as-needed basis to address classroom deficiencies in particular areas. Have students complete the web lessons on their own during computer center time. Create links to particular videos on your class website or blog for students to view at home. Check out the Teachers portion of the site to find activities for specific skills along with ideas for using the videos in the classroom. Challenge students to create a talking avatar using a photo or other image (legally permitted to be reproduced). The avatars can be used to provide suggestions on improving vocabulary and writing skills. Use a site such as Blabberize, reviewed here, to added audio and annotate the image.

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Word Hippo - Wordhippo.com

Grades
2 to 12
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Word Hippo is a word study tool for synonyms, antonyms, and more. Look for rhyming words, opposites, translations to a variety of languages, plurals, definitions and uses for the word,...more
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Word Hippo is a word study tool for synonyms, antonyms, and more. Look for rhyming words, opposites, translations to a variety of languages, plurals, definitions and uses for the word, etc. The site also makes suggestions for other words in case you might have made a typo or do not know the spelling. As with any other reference, students should be cautioned to be sure these are accurate definitions needed for the context in which they are studying the words. You will want to spell out consequences and/or supervise to be sure students are not searching for inappropriate words, but the most egregious words of bad taste do not appear to be available for search at this site.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): antonyms (14), dictionaries (49), spelling (86), synonyms (17), vocabulary (231), vocabulary development (86), word study (53)

In the Classroom

Use this site for vocabulary development and word study assignments, such as writing sentences, paragraphs, or essays using new words. Since the site permits translation, this would be a valuable tool in world language classes, ESL/ELL classes, and more. Introduce this site on an interactive whiteboard and elicit examples to show the class how quickly it works. Have students create their own word walls with synonyms, antonyms, sentences, and more for their latest vocabulary words. Try a tool such as Padlet, reviewed here, for each student to create an online "wall" with words aligned to color coded stickies for synonyms. antonyms, etc. Alternatively, have students create class challenges for their peers with color coded matching activities for the interactive whiteboard matching words to synonyms, antonyms, and an appropriate fill in the blank sentence. Share this as a favorite on your teacher public page for handy reference any time students encounter an unknown word. Even subject area teachers such as science and social studies will find this tool handy for students with weaker vocabulary levels.

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Vocabulary.com - Vocabulary.com

Grades
7 to 12
3 Favorites 1  Comments
  
Vocabulary.com is an individualized vocabulary development program. Your students will select definitions for several vocabulary words. Based on their answers, the program will predict...more
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Vocabulary.com is an individualized vocabulary development program. Your students will select definitions for several vocabulary words. Based on their answers, the program will predict which vocabulary words they don't know and instruct them from there. You can also type in a word to learn the definition. With more than 40,000 questions to help your students learn new vocabulary, time will not be wasted here. The vocabulary is chosen based on words that need to be mastered for success in an academic or business environment. The program will analyze student achievement and review words that the students originally missed to make sure they are retaining the words. Vocabulary.com is for students from elementary school through graduate school. You can register with an email address or via your Facebook account. Note: as with any dictionary tool, there is content that is intended for more mature users, including matter of fact definitions of swear words. Teachers will want to manage this tool as any adult dictionary and have logical consequences for those who look up words so they can giggle, etc.

tag(s): game based learning (158), vocabulary (231), vocabulary development (86), word study (53)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station for students who finish their work early. Be sure to mark the site on classroom computers, making it easier for students to navigate there. Or, if you have access to multiple classroom computers, you may want to start your language arts lessons with five to ten minutes of work on Vocabulary.com. Once students have learned this program they can be totally independent. This is one to list on your class website for students/parents to access at home for additional practice.

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david, TX, Grades: 9 - 12

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Knoword - Trevor Blades

Grades
5 to 12
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This "wordy" site offers word definitions with a challenge! You see the first letter of a word and its definition. You must quickly type in a word you think fits ...more
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This "wordy" site offers word definitions with a challenge! You see the first letter of a word and its definition. You must quickly type in a word you think fits the definition. The site allows you to pass if you do not know the word, but the definition of the word appears anyway (along with the answer). Once the correct word is entered, the definition changes quickly so you can accrue as many points as possible in a limited time. The site also keeps a list of words used at any interaction, so you can see the words correct and missed. Some definitions offer easier hints in their wording.

tag(s): game based learning (158), vocabulary (231), vocabulary development (86), word study (53)

In the Classroom

Try this activity at the start of class on your interactive whiteboard or projector; it's perfect for vocabulary development with a lively twist! Offer this site to your students who are trying to assess and/or improve their vocabulary for standardized tests such as the ACT or SAT. ESL/ELL students may also enjoy the challenges and additions to their vocabulary. Share this site on your class webpage or blog for students to access (and practice) at home.

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Learning Chocolate - learningchocolate.com

Grades
K to 12
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This ESL/ELL vocabulary site has words and related pictures organized into over 100 categories. Example categories include animals, body, birds, Christmas, camping, phonic, days of...more
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This ESL/ELL vocabulary site has words and related pictures organized into over 100 categories. Example categories include animals, body, birds, Christmas, camping, phonic, days of the week, Europe, Fruit, Work Site Problems, Medical Jobs, and much more! Click on a category and you get common vocabulary as well as five review games for that category. Each word has sound, and many of the review activities are based on hearing the word to complete the required work. An added benefit to the site is that it is easy to switch the target language from English to three other languages: Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, and Spanish.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): chinese (41), japan (54), japanese (44), spanish (94), vocabulary (231)

In the Classroom

Save/bookmark this site on your classroom computers to serve as a vocabulary resource for ESL/ELL and also world language students. Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Share this site with Chinese, Japanese and Spanish teachers as well as with special needs professionals for help with vocabulary development and articulation. You could also have students create their own narrations of photos (similar to this site) using a site such as Thinklink reviewed here.

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WordSift - Stanford University

Grades
4 to 12
10 Favorites 0  Comments
 
WordSift helps anyone easily sift through texts -- just copy and paste any text into WordSift and you can engage in a verbal quick-capture! The program helps to quickly identify ...more
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WordSift helps anyone easily sift through texts -- just copy and paste any text into WordSift and you can engage in a verbal quick-capture! The program helps to quickly identify important words that appear in the text. After entering text several items will appear, first a word cloud will display the 50 most frequently used words in the text. The most frequently used word will display as a word web in a visual thesaurus. Google image and video search results are also shown. One interesting feature is the ability to click on any of the words in the word cloud to display it in the thesaurus and Google image and video searches. A great way to understand the WordSift tool is to try one of the sample texts offered, such as Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Be sure to check out the "About" link to discover many ideas for use in the classroom. Tips and videos are also available as guides. If you type in a shorter sentence, the site still creates a word cloud using their own related words (not in your original text). Be aware of the advertisements that appear with the word clouds. Advise students not to click on the ads.
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tag(s): dictionaries (49), reading comprehension (123), reading strategies (56), thesaurus (21), vocabulary (231), vocabulary development (86), word clouds (13), word study (53)

In the Classroom

This is a classic tool to promote "before reading" strategies and vocabulary development. Use WordSift to preview text to be used in class and define vocabulary before reading to increase reading comprehension. Have students use WordSift with different portions of text to identify key words and vocabulary for class presentations. Use WordSift to discuss different meanings of words using images presented through the site. This site isn't only for English teachers, share with Science and Social Studies teachers to use in their classrooms with reading texts in their content areas. ESL/ELL and learning support teachers will want to share this as a support for any reading assigned in regular classes. Be sure to show students how to copy/paste to WordSift texts from informational web pages and news stories on the web, as well. Share this link as a Favorite on your public page so students can use it anytime.

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Select and Speak - Google Chrome

Grades
1 to 12
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Select and Speak (formerly (Speakit) is an easy to install, free program that converts written text on web pages into spoken words within the Chrome web browser. At the time ...more
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Select and Speak (formerly (Speakit) is an easy to install, free program that converts written text on web pages into spoken words within the Chrome web browser. At the time of this review, it works exclusively on Google Chrome. You can use this extension in many different languages. All you do is highlight the text, and it reads it aloud. The tool works only on website text, not documents, etc. This extension uses text to speech service and might not be accessible to those whose computers prevent download/installation of software. There are some errors in the program they are still fixing.

tag(s): listening (70), text to speech (16)

In the Classroom

Use Select and Speak as your teacher's helper. Be sure to test it out on classroom computers and devices before using it with students. During research or computer explorations, allow students to use this read aloud feature. Honor the students who heavily rely on hearing as their preferred form of comprehending material. In lower grades, research on computers now becomes an easier task. This extension is perfect for ESL/ELL or learning support students to help with vocabulary development, comprehension, fluency, and repetitions.

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Lexipedia - Vantage Linguistics

Grades
2 to 12
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Lexipedia is "Where Words Have Meaning." Type in a word and see what happens! This site creates a web of related words. Each color represents a different part of speech ...more
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Lexipedia is "Where Words Have Meaning." Type in a word and see what happens! This site creates a web of related words. Each color represents a different part of speech or relationship to the original word - nouns, verbs, synonyms, antonyms and even fuzzynyms! Words become more than isolated strings of letters and part of a greater web of language.

tag(s): antonyms (14), dictionaries (49), mean (19), synonyms (17), vocabulary (231), vocabulary development (86)

In the Classroom

Explore this site on interactive whiteboard or projector to show students how to improve writing with descriptive words. Consider allowing students to share a favorite word of the day for 30 seconds on your interactive whiteboard at the start of class. Use this in a word study unit by covering up the original word.Students will then try to discover the word based on the word relationships found around the word. Build understanding of parts of speech through this tool every time you look up a word. Reinforce these concepts for visual learners continuously by using the same colors every time you highlight on your interactive whiteboard. World language teachers can also type in words to demonstrate and expand vocabulary in Spanish, French, German, Dutch, and Italian. Special ed teachers, especially those in speech/language will love this tool to help students SEE relationships between words. Encourage your language-delayed students to look up words and build "word sense" even when they are familiar with the word's meaning. Make this site available as a reference on classroom computers and on your class web page.

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TESL/TEFL/TESOL/ESL/EFL/ESOL Links - ITESLJ

Grades
1 to 12
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This compilation of sites is a standard source for ESL and ELL teachers and contains links to whatever type of vocabulary enrichment activity you might be looking for. Although this...more
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This compilation of sites is a standard source for ESL and ELL teachers and contains links to whatever type of vocabulary enrichment activity you might be looking for. Although this site is "plain vanilla" and not high-tech, it has been around for a long time and offers a comprehensive list of sites to use with ESL and ELL students. English/language arts teachers will also find the vocabulary development options helpful for any student, especially those who may need extra learning support.

Be sure to check out "What's New" for recent additions. Go to "Main Page" and try the search box; it's a good place to try to find the links you remember from awhile back but have lost track of.

tag(s): holidays (122), idioms (34), sight words (18), vocabulary (231)

In the Classroom

Provide this link on your class website. Use this site for vocabulary ideas with your ESL and ELL students AND in your world language classes or mainstream language arts classes. The variety at this site offers something for every classroom learning English or another language.

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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 (70), german (44), germany (25), italian (26), spanish (94), vocabulary (231), vocabulary development (86)

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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Vocabulary: Applying Knowledge of Context Clues - Scholastic

Grades
9 to 12
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This vocabulary lesson focuses on the work of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. By introducing the lesson with an entrancing poster that gives lots of info about Marquez very painlessly, students...more
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This vocabulary lesson focuses on the work of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. By introducing the lesson with an entrancing poster that gives lots of info about Marquez very painlessly, students are intrigued to go further. As they begin to read a selection from Living to Tell the Tale , Marquez' autobiography, difficult words appear in red. Along the sides of the pages appear more intriguing questions and important information about the writer. After reading a short selection, students are given an exercise which tests their ability to use context clues. This website requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): vocabulary (231), vocabulary development (86)

In the Classroom

This is a great way to get students interested in reading Marquez and also interested in reading biographies and autobiographies of great writers. Be sure to print out the poster and hang it where students can see it. Use your interactive whiteboard or projection screen to share this website with your students. Then, ask them to pick the quote from this short selection that means the most to them and have them explain why in a short writing exercise.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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English Exercises - Vocabulary - Viktor Gayol

Grades
K to 5
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This online tool and vocabulary site creates up to thirteen games, puzzles, and worksheets from a word list the teacher inputs on the home page. The working database contains about...more
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This online tool and vocabulary site creates up to thirteen games, puzzles, and worksheets from a word list the teacher inputs on the home page. The working database contains about 2000 English singular words, but doesn't include abstract nouns. There are some ready-made activities already done for you as examples: body parts, Christmas, family, feelings, foods, and more. Typical activities include findaword, matching, multiple choice quizzes, memory, word scrambles, and labeling. There is a charge for subscription to the services, but users who recommend someone to this site receive a one-year subscription free. One caution: set the speed to "tortoise" on the "STOP" game. Even adults can't click the mouse fast enough above that speed!page. This site requires QuickTime to hear the audio. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox. .

tag(s): puzzles (144), vocabulary (231)

In the Classroom

Use this for a center with vocabulary review activities in any primary classroom or with speech and language or special ed students for vocabulary development. Using it in ESL classes will also be great, even on an interactive whiteboard with a small group. Students can also use the games on their own to practice vocabulary outside of class, so be sure to include the link on your teacher web page.

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