This list focuses on sites that ELL students would use directly. Of course, many other sites on my other lists can also be used effectively with ELL’s.
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Here are my choices for The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students In 2011:
Without a doubt, the best resource for ELL’s this year — that I’ve posted about this year — is, in my humble opinion, The Best Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced English Language Learner Sites. It reflects my nine years of using technology to help teach ELL’s.
One of my most popular “The Best…” lists shares The Best Websites To Help Beginning Readers. I realized this year that in that post I shared a general link to my website, but don’t provide a direct link to the literally thousands of “talking stories” that I have collected there. I have to admit that I’ve been lax over the past year or two about cleaning-out dead links on that website for students, but I’m pretty confident that the “talking stories” section is relatively up-to-date.
For fiction, go to the “Stories” section.
For non-fiction go to the…Non-Fiction section.
About a year ago I posted about a new site for beginning readers created by a North Carolina-based organization called GCF Learn Free. They also are responsible for Everyday Life, an extraordinary interactive site for ELL’s sponsored by a North Carolina-based organization called GCF Learn Free. It’s on several of my “The Best…” lists. I had concerns then about the confusing navigation on the site. However, it appears they have made it considerably clearer. It’s still very unusual — different from just about any other similar application out there. But that “unusualness” might very well make it attractive to beginning English Language Learners. You can find it at this link, and then click on “Reading.”
Faces of Learning is a new website where, among other things, anybody (including students) can share a short response to the question “What was your most powerful personal experience in a learning community – regardless of whether that experience took place inside or outside of school?” After registering, students can both write their response and make an audio recording of it.
English Grammar Lessons has tons of engaging activities. Click on the grammar lesson you want on the left side of the page and, then, when you get there, click on any of the exercises that will be on the right side.
You might find my two new class blogs helpful:
Mary Ann Zehr, formerly a reporter with Education Week and now a high school ESL teacher in Washington, D.C., sent a tweet recommending something called SAS Curriculum Pathways for history resources. Since I have always respected Mary Ann’s judgement, I immediately checked it out. And I’m impressed. It has a huge amount of interactives in all subjects. In many of them, students complete the activity online, and then send their work electronically to their teacher (it can also be printed out). I should also mention that it’s free… The teacher signs-up and is give a log-in name for all the students in a school. It doesn’t appear that students need their own individual log-in because they have to type in their name before beginning any activity. Let me tell you, that makes using this site immeasurably easy — students don’t have to remember — or forget — individual passwords!
Since I’m teaching US History this year, I mainly focus on those sites, and they looked pretty good and accessible to ELL’s with audio support for the text. The site, though, has resources for all subjects. The US History sites, at least, all appeared engaging, though primarily geared to lower-levels of thinking, primarily comprehension and recall. But since I use the Web generally as a reinforcement tool, that works fine for me.
Reading Bear is a new free interactive site for teaching beginning readers through the use of phonics in a relatively engaging way. It doesn’t appear that registration is necessary, and they say it will remain free. It’s from Watch Know Learn, the well-respected and well-known educational video site.
These are two very encompassing English-learning sites from South Korea. I’m not going to add them to The Best Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced English Language Learner Sites because the initial navigation can be a bit confusing to someone who doesn’t speak Korean, and links to non-English games could be too seductive for learners. The biggest reason, though, for not including them is that a number of the animations, I think, portray the physical appearance of African-Americans (and/or Africans) in a somewhat insulting way. Nevertheless, they both have a huge number of useful resources, and teachers might want to link directly to certain resources on the site that don’t include those animations:
Feedback is welcome.
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You might also want to explore the 800 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.