VirtuEL is a free online professional development event for teachers of ELLs that took place last Saturday (I have a session, too). You can learn all about it here, including watching the video presentations at your leisure.
A questionnaire on Language Ego by Douglas H Brown that I intend to adpat for my students to start a conversation for learning with them on their self-perceptions, attitudes and preferences. pic.twitter.com/fKxcSm4kT4
I’ve previously posted about E-Learning For Kids. They’ve added many additions online activities for math, English, Science and other subjects since that time.
EduTeach has lots of excellent video stories with closed captions.
These next two have a zillion animated stories perfect for ELLs. And they’ve been awhile for a while. However, I’ve been somewhat reluctant to share or have my students use them because I know that similar sites have hosted the same stories after having stolen them. Most of those sites that I know about have shut down, and these two have stayed around for many years. I don’t know if that’s because they host the stories lawfully, or because they may be hosted in China, which sometimes does not enforce intellectual property rights very forcefully.So. I’m adding them now, though will remove them if I learn they are stealing the stories from elsewhere. Let me know if you have any information: News 060s and E-Yep English Stories
ESSA & English Language Learners is the headline of one of my Education Week Teacher columns. In it, Margo Gottlieb, Sarah Said, Catherine Beck, Heidi Pace, Heather Wolpert-Gawron, Tabitha Dell’Angelo, and Lindsey Moses share their thoughts about how The Every Student Succeeds Act will affect English Language Learners.
I’m not sure how long they’ve had it, but the Al Jazeera news site has a very impressive tool for providing audio support for text – perfect for English Language Learners. It’s called “Read To Me,” and can be found at the top left of many, if not all, of its news stories. What makes it even more impressive is that each word is highlighted when its spoken, which makes it even more valuable. Yes, I know there are some concerns about Al Jazeera’s objectivity. However, I’ve never seen any issues with the articles I’ve used and shared. Teaching students how to be a savvy news consumer, of course, is another skill we have to teach (see The Best Tools & Lessons For Teaching Information Literacy – Help Me Find More). I’m adding it to The Best News/Current Events Websites For English Language Learners.
The question of how to best support Long-Term English Language Learners is one that many schools are considering, including ours….I’ve previously collected a number of related resources at The Best Resources On Supporting Long-Term English Language Learners,and we’re exploring those resources. We’re discussing lots of options, including creating a special classes that LTELL’s could take along with their regular mainstream English class, which appears to be a common recommendation. What does your school do to support Long-Term ELLs? Do you have special support classes? If so, what is your curriculum?
Earlier this year I sang the praises of the iSL Collective (iSLCollective Appears To Be A Jackpot For ELL Student Hand-Outs & Interactive Videos). I’ve continued to use the site as a wonderful resource for student hand-outs. However, for some reason, I didn’t really “bother” with their interactive videos. Then, I read about them again at Michelle Henry’s site, and explored them further. Boy, what a goldmine! Yes, you can create your own, and I’ll get around to doing that. But, for now, there are an amazing number of engaging, short videos that teachers can project and, as I do, have student with mini-whiteboards respond to questions when the video stops. The videos are searchable by lots of criteria, and there are already four hundred alone at the Beginner Level! Registration is free, but you don’t even have to sign-in to be able to use the videos (you do in order to create ones). Between their hand-outs and their videos, I’ve decided to move the site to an elite level – in my eyes. So I’m adding them to The Best Three Sites On The Web For ESL/EFL/ELL/ELT Teachers (which now makes four).
Less complex versions of our nonfiction and literary Articles [that are]Lovingly handwritten by our authors, who preserve all of the important knowledge of the original article, as well as the key academic vocabulary, rich syntax, word count, and beauty of writing.
Thanks to Nik Peachey, I learned about an excellent free site called Apps 4 EFL. The site has a huge variety of ready-to-use interactives and games for English Language Learners. In addition, teachers can use the site’s tools to create their own. Even better, teachers can create free virtual classrooms where students can enroll. You can read more about it in Nik’s post. I’m adding this info to:
Internet Polyglot is a simple site that is very good for Beginning English Language Learners. It teaches vocabulary in many different languages. It’s particularly helpful for the many Farsi-speaking refugees coming into my classes – Duolingo doesn’t have a Farsi course, and the Voice of American shut-down the excellent Farsi/English online site they used to have… I’m adding it to The Best Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced English Language Learner Sites.
Gianfranco Conti, one of the sharpest minds around in the language teaching world (I’ve previously shared many of his posts) has just begun a Facebook group called Global Innovative Language Teachers that includes teachers of all languages, including ELL/ESL/ELT educators. He was kind enough to write this description:
Global Innovative Language Teachers is a support group whose mission is to bring together language teachers from all over the world in the hope to go beyond insular views of language teaching pedagogy created by national curricula, imposed methods and theories and individual school policies and micro-cultures.
Ana Cristina wrote a post about an intriguing site called Word Booster. Paste in the url address of any online article and it will immediately provide you with several free PDFs of the article that has been displayed in a reader-friendly way, a word list, and a vocabulary test. I’m generally skeptical of sites that automatically create learner materials. I’ve got to say, though, that my experiments with Word Booster have resulted in some decent sheets. I still wouldn’t generally use them in my lessons. However, I think I will try it out next year by having students pick any article of their choice online and create their own sheets to complete. It might be interesting to see how it goes. I’m adding this info to The Best Sites Where ELL’s Can Learn Vocabulary.
Thanks to Carol Salva, I learned about a NY Times column headlined What Is America to Me? In it, writer Margaret Renkl tells about her experience working in an ELL classroom in Nashville, and the challenges facing students – especially after the election of President Trump.
Wordsmyth seems like an exceptional online dictionary that lets you create several different types of vocabulary quizzes. Teachers can get accounts for free. The site has many other features, as well. I’m adding it to The Best Ways To Create Online Tests. However, Bob Parks (its creator) tells me that they “are developing new functionality for teachers, including a full vocabulary study system.” When that happens, I might also add it to The Best Sites Where ELL’s Can Learn Vocabulary.
I’m a big fan of StoryCorps and have written about them many times. They’ve recently begun producing a “weekly broadcast” described as “Stories from Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs.” These are short and simple videos with images and the transcript appearing as the words are spoken. You can see all of them at this YouTube playlist.
I’ll start off with the big news that Katie Hull and I have “completed” the 120,000 word manuscript for our next book on teaching ELLs. We have to clean it up and go over it again before we actually send it to the publisher in a couple of weeks, but it’s looking good! It will be out next March and will be published by Jossey-Bass. I’ll obviously be sharing more about it in the coming months.