Grades4 to 12
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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.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomTeachers, make sure your librarian and even parents know about this wonderful web tool. This could be set up as the homepage for several computers in the library, so students can plug in their levels, their interests, and then enjoy the book recommendations. Librarians, use Scholastic's online library evaluator tool to evaluate your current collection. Teachers, take the Book Wizard Tour for an easy explanation of this helpful service.
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!
Grades3 to 12
This site requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..
In the ClassroomUse this as a supplement to beginning language lessons or a marvelous enrichment when studying other cultures and countries. Share the link on your teacher web page for students to use as extra practice or study for tests. If yous school does not provide or permit student email accounts, a teacher can set up a class account using his/her "extra" email address and allow students to use that one account.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomAsk students to find three proverbs unknown to them and explain them visually on a PowerPoint slide (can easily be printed into a big book or poster). Feature a proverb a week in your classroom or on a bulletin board to build analogous thinking, cultural literacy, and inferencing skills as you ask students to explain what it means. This will gently ease your concrete thinkers into broader understanding.
Grades1 to 10
In the ClassroomAll classroom teachers who have ELL/ESL students should consider this a primary source of information about how to teach and help second language learners. Share this link on your teacher web page and/or in a parent newsletter for those who are concerned with the challenges of the increasing number of ELL/ESL students.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomTeach figure drawing (head and face) by exploring this tool on laptops or an interactive whiteboard. If you teach anatomy or even athletic training/physiology, the detail of the anatomical illustration is amazing. Creative writers can use the emotion descriptors at the right to learn how to SHOW characters' emotions in their writing by explaining what their faces do instead of TELLING readers how the characters feel. Spanish teachers and ESL teachers may want to use the facial expressions to teach words that describe emotions. Other teachers-- even those who teach emotional or autistic support-- could use the facial expression of emotions to help students who have poor social skills recognize what someone else is feeling or build vocabulary of "feeling words." Speech clinicians interested in showing students how to form sounds (for articulation) will love this site, as will their students!
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse the small blue buttons to find your subject(s). This site is great for finding/sharing an interactive whiteboard activity or projected lesson. Since the PowerPoint shoes are editable, you may want to customize the shows you find. The grade equivalents are listed in the British system: KS1=ages 5-7; KS2=ages 7-11;KS3= ages 11-14;KS4= ages 14-16, A Level=ages 16-18.
GradesK to 1
In the ClassroomShare the puzzles on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students work with a partner to try out the puzzles on their own. Have students (or groups) create their own word puzzles to share as a class challenge as a student-run interactive whiteboard activity or share them on a class wiki.
GradesK to 12
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