Vocabulary Development Resources from TeachersFirst

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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Buggy Alphabetics - Cynthia Reeg

Grades
1 to 3
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Children's author Cynthia Reeg offers a poem whose lines follow alphabetical order. The first word of the first line begins with "a," the next with "b," and so on. Imaginative ...more
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Children's author Cynthia Reeg offers a poem whose lines follow alphabetical order. The first word of the first line begins with "a," the next with "b," and so on. Imaginative illustrations change as the student clicks on the forward button to see the next lines.

tag(s): alphabet (86), alphabetical order (19), poetry (221), vocabulary (319), vocabulary development (122)

In the Classroom

Use this poem to introduce your children to writing poetry by sharing the poem on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Students studying alphabetical order will also be intrigued by writing within restrictions of this order. Work together on your interactive whiteboard or projector. To begin, ask your students to think of a similar word that begins with the same letter, and change just one line. When they get the idea, give them a series of 6 - 8 letters and ask them to write their own list of adjectives or lines of poetry. Work as a class or have them work in groups to complete a poem using the entire alphabet. ESL and ELL students will enjoy looking for new words t to express their ideas in the poems.

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On-Line ESL News - VOA

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

tag(s): listening (85), news (260), vocabulary (319), vocabulary development (122)

In the Classroom

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

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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 (91), german (66), germany (27), italian (36), spanish (111), vocabulary (319), vocabulary development (122)

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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ESL Gold Picture Dictionary - ESL Gold

Grades
1 to 6
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ESL Gold's "Words and Phrases" page is a listing of vocabulary, grouped in categories ideal for learning a new language. The categories are divided by levels from Low Beginning to ...more
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ESL Gold's "Words and Phrases" page is a listing of vocabulary, grouped in categories ideal for learning a new language. The categories are divided by levels from Low Beginning to Advanced. Many of the categories provide a picture dictionary of all items. Some of the more advanced levels do not include pictures. All levels have audio pronunciation. The higher levels contain vocabulary in context, word phrases, and other vocabulary development activities without definitions. This site requires Windows Media Player or Quicktime to play the audio. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): vocabulary (319), vocabulary development (122)

In the Classroom

Use this site to share vocabulary by category, using pictures, audio, and written words with your ESL/ELL students, primary students, special ed students, or speech/language students. Include this link in a newsletter that goes home with ESL/ELL students. Mark it as a Favorite on your classroom computer. Demonstrate how to use this website on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students work alone (or with a partner) at their current speaking level. This website could also be used in a regular education class with emerging readers. The five difficulty levels allow teachers the flexibility to differentiate the instruction. Note: small type fonts and some advertising may make this site difficult for some younger students to use. Preview and decide what your class can handle.

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Language Menu Activities - Learnwell Oy

Grades
6 to 12
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Choose from Vocabulary or Picture Vocabulary for many topics. There are currently 36 languages to choose from. (From matching games to picture recognition to translation practice,...more
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Choose from Vocabulary or Picture Vocabulary for many topics. There are currently 36 languages to choose from. (From matching games to picture recognition to translation practice, the site offers fairly sophisticated word practice. A flag-country matching game is of general interest to all students, not just language learners. There are many advantages in using this site for ESL or ELL students. The main advantage is the capability to choose a different language for questions and answers, thus assuring specific understanding of specific words with the definitions in their first language.

tag(s): capitals (24), flags (22), vocabulary (319), vocabulary development (122)

In the Classroom

Mark this site in Favorites on your classroom computers for ESL and ELL students.. Provide information about this site to foreign language teachers in your school. This is a wonderful site to list in your class newsletter (if applicable) or on your class website.

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Learn English Vocabulary - LEO

Grades
3 to 8
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This site, originally developed for German students learning English, offers an impressive number of vocabulary lists, grouped by subject category. When students see the lists, they...more
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This site, originally developed for German students learning English, offers an impressive number of vocabulary lists, grouped by subject category. When students see the lists, they can click on the sound icon to hear the word pronounced. The site also offers phrasal verbs, idioms, grammar, and song lists. Some of the comments and spellings are British, so may be confusing to U.S. students. However, the pronunciation of individual words and phrases is clear and helpful, even to those learning American English. This website requires Real Player. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): pronunciation (43), vocabulary (319), vocabulary development (122)

In the Classroom

Be sure to include this link on your teacher web page and newsletter - so the students can easily access this site as an online dictionary and pronunciation reference.

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100 Free Short Stories for ESL - Rong-Chang Li & Bill Bailey

Grades
6 to 12
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This website provides a large collection of short stories selected for beginning and advanced beginning ESL students. The subject matter of many stories is not appropriate for younger...more
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This website provides a large collection of short stories selected for beginning and advanced beginning ESL students. The subject matter of many stories is not appropriate for younger students. Some include topics you would find in newspaper articles, and some deal with dating. Preview! The website allows you to read the story yourself or click on the speaker icon to hear the story read aloud. The site could also be used to provide extra reading and reading/listening for struggling readers. There are also an online dictionary, numerous follow-up activities to check comprehension, and crossword puzzles. The questions and other review activities provide immediate feedback. This website requires RealPlayer or Windows Media Player. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): puzzles (204), reading comprehension (126), vocabulary (319), vocabulary development (122)

In the Classroom

Share these activities with individual students as an assignment or independent practice on your classroom computer and as a link from your web site. The reading and activities are easy to work on independently because of the listening feature and the available dictionary. Don't forget to provide headphones. Provide this link for the families of ESL/ELL students to read (or listen) to the stories together.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Picture Prompt Story Starters - Story-It

Grades
K to 4
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This page offers a series of illustrated, printable story prompts. Printing in portrait or landscape for larger spaces between the lines. Another option includes a black and ...more
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This page offers a series of illustrated, printable story prompts. Printing in portrait or landscape for larger spaces between the lines. Another option includes a black and white drawing that the children can color before or after writing the story. The pages also contain a box to write a word list for help spelling more difficult words. The story topics include many seasonal and holiday offerings, as well. Some of this site requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): vocabulary (319), vocabulary development (122), writing (366)

In the Classroom

Use this site with beginning readers, beginning writers, and ESL students to reinforce the skill you are teaching and to show connections between reading and writing. Make it available for your active writers to choose their own prompts, too, or for parents to use at home during breaks. Special ed teachers will appreciate these prompts as a way to promote language development. Use the pictures to record students' vocabulary on the lines below as they "tell you about the picture."
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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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 (319), vocabulary development (122)

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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Visual ESL - Learn English Vocabulary Visually

Grades
1 to 8
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Visual ESL has created quite a selection of engaging drag and drop vocabulary lessons and quizzes. For example, the "Basic Verb" lesson uses stick figures jumping, punching, running...more
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Visual ESL has created quite a selection of engaging drag and drop vocabulary lessons and quizzes. For example, the "Basic Verb" lesson uses stick figures jumping, punching, running etc to illustrate the verbs. Users drag the correct label to a box beneath the figure. The offerings in the drag and drop section are much more interesting than the grammar section which is text only. There is a wide range of game selections. They include fill ins and grammar illustrated with cartoons. There are advertisements on the site (text links).

tag(s): grammar (210), quiz (84), quizzes (104), vocabulary (319)

In the Classroom

This is a good site for ESL students who are more visual learners to practice concepts. Special Ed teachers may find some games helpful for vocabulary development and basic grammar, as well. Many of the drag and drops would work well on an interactive whiteboard or as a learning center on a single classroom computer.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Language Guide - Language Guide

Grades
1 to 12
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This site allows you to learn words and hear pronunciations in 11 languages (English - Fran?ais - Espa?ol - Deutsch - Portugu?s - Russian - Italiano - Polska ...more
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This site allows you to learn words and hear pronunciations in 11 languages (English - Fran?ais - Espa?ol - Deutsch - Portugu?s - Russian - Italiano - Polska - Greek). Select your native language and a language you wish to study. Choose a category, such as fruits, and roll your mouse over pictures to hear the word, pronounced by a native speakers. There are also sections for grammar topics, such as verb conjugation. Site extras include sound effects to accompany some pictures (hear the bark, breathing sound, and growl of the dog)! This site avoids the problems of different alphabets by working from picture to sound, though the spellings do display as little text boxes as you roll your mouse.

tag(s): grammar (210), pronunciation (43), vocabulary (319)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a pronunciation backup when you do not have a native speaker teaching foreign language. If you have access to a lab or individual laptops, assign students to practice pronunciation as they learn new vocabulary. Be sure to share the link from your teach web page in your world language class. As you study world cultures or geography, some students may want to learn simple language selections, as well. Gifted students --especially younger ones curious about languages -- will enjoy trying to learn independently. ESL students may also use this site to hear authentic pronunciation. Speech and language and special ed teachers working on vocabulary development will want to use this site with students, as well.

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Out of Place - BBC

Grades
K to 1
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This simple web activity (no reading required, but turn up the sound)challenges students to determine the differences between two locations and the items found there. Students simply...more
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This simple web activity (no reading required, but turn up the sound)challenges students to determine the differences between two locations and the items found there. Students simply click and drag the items to the correct picture. The pictures are both related to travel and geography. The observing, thinking, and categorizing build higher order thinking skills. The entire activity requires Flash, get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.. Be sure to visit the Teachers/Parents link to view general standards for this interactive game.

tag(s): matching (24), sorting (11)

In the Classroom

Save this website to your favorites, and then use it as a learning center. Ask children to explain why things go where they have placed them. Speech and language teachers can use this activity as part of vocabulary development, as well.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Magic 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 (204), vocabulary (319)

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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Soaring High With Kites - everythingesl.net

Grades
1 to 6
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This multi-level lesson plan for ESL students offers opportunities for vocabulary development, reading, writing, and cultural sharing by responding to stories and books about kites....more
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This multi-level lesson plan for ESL students offers opportunities for vocabulary development, reading, writing, and cultural sharing by responding to stories and books about kites. Primary grade tecahers could also use it in a unit on weather or as an interdisciplinary science/language arts activity. Because of its high interest level, it motivates students to participate in understanding new words and in expressing their ideas about the books they read and the techniques and history of kite flying in their countries. Students also read and talk about kite safety rules and examine websites about kites. Writing opportunities include writing rules,original stories, cultural histories haiku, and diamante poems. Students also get to design, make, decorate and fly their own kites.

tag(s): poetry (221), vocabulary (319)

In the Classroom

Plan a kite day in the fall or spring and use all or part of these plans to learn new words, build kites, and even fly them before you write about them. This would be a terrific activity to include parents at school year's end.

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Mythology - Myvocabulary.com

Grades
5 to 12
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Explore vocabulary and word activities related to Mythology on this extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more. Find interactive vocabulary activities the same list of using Mythology...more
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Explore vocabulary and word activities related to Mythology on this extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more. Find interactive vocabulary activities the same list of using Mythology vocabulary words. There are printable crosswords, fill in the blanks and more, all using the same theme words. This and other "themes" available on the site will make vocabulary development fun.

tag(s): greek (41)

In the Classroom

Use this site to reinforce and support vocabulary as you study Mythology. Share the word puzzles on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students create their own word activities from the same vocabulary list, such as matching or ranking challenges for their peers to try on the interactive whiteboard.

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Basketball - Myvocabulary.com

Grades
6 to 12
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, MyVocabulary.com has added a themed area for basketball. Find interactive vocabulary activities using Basketball vocabulary...more
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, MyVocabulary.com has added a themed area for basketball. Find interactive vocabulary activities using Basketball vocabulary words. You will also find printable crosswords, fill in the blanks and more, all using the same theme words. This and other "themes" available on the site will make vocabulary development fun.

tag(s): vocabulary (319)

In the Classroom

Share 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.

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Materials 1 - Crick Web

Grades
K to 4
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This site has three parts (students move onto the next part by clicking "next"). The first activity challenges students to "click and drag" words to their appropriate label spot ...more
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This site has three parts (students move onto the next part by clicking "next"). The first activity challenges students to "click and drag" words to their appropriate label spot on a picture. The materials include glass, brick, tile, paper, plastic, wool, wood and metal. The second activity is a table that asks students to "drop" the correct word or picture onto the corresponding spot on the table. The topics on the table include the material name, picture example and property. The final activity is a writing challenge. Students are presented with two pictures. The students must answer three questions about the pictures. To type on the page, students simply click their mouse to where they want to insert their answers. Once students are finished with this activity, they may click to print. This site requires FLASH.

In the Classroom

Try an interactive whiteboard for the first two activities. If you choose to make the final activity a class activity, project the questions onto a screen or whiteboard and challenge the students to answer the three questions independently. Used as a simple drag and drop, this site can help with vocabulary development for children with speech/language deficits.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Labeling a Street Scene - Crick Web

Grades
1 to 5
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This unique animated sight challenges students to label a scene. There are two choices of scenery (playground or busy street). There are five annotation spaces for students to ...more
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This unique animated sight challenges students to label a scene. There are two choices of scenery (playground or busy street). There are five annotation spaces for students to fill in their own original thoughts. This is a highly creative activity. This site requires FLASH. If you see a blank screen, download the Flash plugin from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): creative writing (166), writing (366)

In the Classroom

This site could be used in a variety of ways in English and other subjects. Ask the younger children to simply fill in 1-2 word phrases, while the older students can be challenged to write more complex statements. Speech and language teachers can use it for vocabulary development, as well.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Takako's Great Adventure - Brian Rhodes

Grades
4 to 6
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A story in 10 serial units for ESL students leads a newcomer to Canada and the English-speaking world through the agonies of arrival, acculturation, education in a new setting, and...more
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A story in 10 serial units for ESL students leads a newcomer to Canada and the English-speaking world through the agonies of arrival, acculturation, education in a new setting, and making friends. Text offers vocabulary definition through hyperlinks; audio version is available with a Shockwave plugin. (Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.) Besides the story, vocabulary, and pronunciation, sets of comprehension questions include work on word meanings and online reviews and quizzes which make use of standard reading attack skills. The stories are available in PDF downloads as well as on screen at the left. Audio files are available for MP3 downloads also.

tag(s): listening (85), vocabulary (319)

In the Classroom

Use the stoies for ESl students to increase understanding or for your weak readers to develop reading strategies such as vocabulary development and comprehension. MP3 files offer the option of putting the stories on MP3 players for ESL students to listen to on the bus or at home.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Daily Buzz Word - Merriam Webster

Grades
6 to 12
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This is a just-for-fun site that actually helps to build vocabulary skills. Each day a new and challenging word is posted, along with information on what it means and how ...more
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This is a just-for-fun site that actually helps to build vocabulary skills. Each day a new and challenging word is posted, along with information on what it means and how to use it. You can even click on the "hear it" button to find out how it's pronounced. There's even a related "Word Whiz" quiz to test knowledge of etymology.

tag(s): vocabulary (319), word choice (28)

In the Classroom

Include this link on your teacher web page or share it on the your interactive whiteboard or screen as students enter class each day. During your unit on word roots and affixes, challenge students to find the root of today's word. Invite students to create their own personal vocabulary journal using this and other vocabulary tools found from TeachersFirst's vocabulary development listings. Maybe even create a class vocabulary wiki with individual or student group pages and allow students to creatively define and illustrate their new-found words.

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