Cambridge English has an intriguing site called the Chinese Zodiac Zone that’s designed to help English Language Learners become familiar with idioms.
It’s probably most accessible to Intermediate ELL’s. It’s a little too complicated to explain in a post, but it’s easier to play. It’s certainly one of the most creative ways I’ve seen to teach idioms.
College Grazing is site designed to both encourage and prepare high school students to consider attending college.
There are a number of interactive surveys students can complete, and a lot of good information. It’s probably only accessible to advanced English Language Learners, though. Students also have to register for the site.
I’ve placed the link with other college prep sites on my website under Careers.
How Red Light Cameras Work is an interactive from the Los Angeles Times. It shows how cameras on traffic lights work to take pictures of cars that “run” red lights.
There’s actually a lot of good information in the animation, and users can slow it down by clicking on a step-by-step button. Intermediate English Language Learners would find it accessible, and, at least for my students, learning anything about driving is a high-interest lesson…
Gimundo, which has the sub-heading “Good News…Served Daily,” provides only positive and upbeat news stories and videos. I wouldn’t make it the primary source of news for either my students or me, and, I have to admit, the idea of just sharing positive stories doesn’t feel right to me — I guess I prefer the real world.
However, I have to admit many of the stories are engaging, and are accessible to Intermediate English Language Learners.
I’ve placed the link on my website in the News section.
Word Vine is a fun game where you basically have to create compound words. It’s probably most accessible to Intermediate and Advanced English Language Learners.
Since it’s a Miniclip game, though, I don’t know how many School District content filters will actually allow it through, which is a problem with a number of other links on my website under Word and Video Games.
I’ve put asterisks next to the online video games that our District lets go through, but haven’t gotten around to doing that for the word games.
Common Mistakes is a good website designed for English Language Learners to practice “common mistakes” made in the English language. Exercises are divided into Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced levels.
Interactive Infographics are online representations of information or data that usually allow the user to “interact” with it and the data that is visualized. They’re generally created by newspapers for their websites, and often, though not always, are accessible to English Language Learners. In fact, they can be an exceptionally accessible way for ELL’s to learn complicated information that might ordinarily not be comprehensible.
I thought readers might find it useful to learn which sites I have found to be the best sources of good interactive infographics. In addition to listing them here, I’ll be adding a section on them to the Teacher’s Page of my website.
The links on this list will take you directly to the Interactive Infographics page of the named newspapers.
Here are my picks for The Best Sources For Interactive Infographics:
The Boston Globe
I’ve previously posted about many interactives and infographics from the BBC. Recently, I discovered that they have two pages where they collect them. You can visit their Interactive and Graphics page, which appears to be regularly updated. Their other site is called Interactive guides and graphics, and does not appear to be updated as frequently.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA has a site called JPL Infographics where you can find a bunch of great…infographics. But what’s even better is that it’s set up for people to create their own, too.
Visual.ly is an excellent source for interactive infographics. Perhaps they’ve had this option for awhile, but I’ve just noticed that they now have an option under each infographic on their site that says:
Click here to embed this graphic on your site
Click on it and you are provided the embed code. It’s a nice addition.
Visualizing.org is a real “find-of-the-week.” It’s a great source for infographics, and is similar to Visual.ly. Even though Visual.ly may have many more infographics, the ones on Visualizing.org are of a uniformly high quality.
ESL Bee is a teacher-designed site to assist Intermediate and Advanced English Language Learners in writing academic essays.
There’s a lot of material there. For me, though, the gold mine is in the examples of student essays (for example, these persuasive essays). It’s not easy to find good, short, accessible, and well-written examples of different types of academic essays that can be used with English Language Learners as models, but you’ll find a wealth of them here.
Whack Attack is a game from the BBC that tests knowledge on Math, English or Science. It’s probably accessible to Intermediate English Language Learners.
The questions are good, though the game is a little weird. You’re given three answer choices. Each answer is color-coded, and in order to choose an answer, you have to “whack” the correctly-colored figure that keeps popping up.
Here’s another activity from McDougal Littell — Interactive Vocabulary Practice Games. They’re connected to stories in their textbooks, but they’re engaging and accessible to English Language Learners even outside of that context.
The more I thought about it, though, the more I felt that a list of engaging (and even fun) sites to teach research skills and accessible citation resources would make a good combination.
Since a graduation requirement in our district is that seniors need to develop a “Senior Project,” I’ve spent some time finding these kinds of helpful sites that might be accessible to English Language Learners. I have to say, though, that these sites (except for the first one) would probably only be accessible to more advanced ELL’s.
Here are my choices for The Best Resources For Learning Research And Citation Skills:
LEARNING RESEARCH SKILLS:
Here’s the one resource that’s probably accessible to Intermediate English Language Learners. It’s called How To Do Research, and its from the Kentucky Virtual Library. It’s designed to look like an interactive board game.
The Information Literacy Game comes from the University of North Carolina. It’s an online game designed to help students develop research and citation skills.
Students learn some Internet research skills through playing The Gold Rush Game. The group that created this game, 21st Century Information Fluency, has also developed quite a few other interactives designed to help students learn about using the Web for research. All of these are accessible to Intermediate ELL’s.
Boolify is a search engine designed for elementary and middle school students that is accessible to English Language Learners. I think there are others that are more accessible, but this is a good one to help teach basic search strategies. It’s on The Best Search Engines For ESL/EFL Learners — 2008 list.
The Rutgers Research Information Online Tutorial is an excellent interactive tool to help students learn research schools. Closed-captioning is also provided, which helps English Language Learners. It’s still a bit advanced, but is worth a look.
“Searching With Success” is an engaging tutorial on searching the web. It’s from Acadia University, and is accessible to high Intermediate English Language Learners.
Plagiarism, I think, can be a tricky concept to help students understand. I can understand how an English Language Learner in an academic setting might be tempted to copy-and-paste someone else’s work.
This is a very short “The Best…” list sharing online resources that my students have found engaging and, I believe, helpful to them “getting it.” (Also, for my purposes, I’ve found the Plagiarism Detector to be a helpful tool to confirm that students are using their own words. Plagium is a similar too).
Here are my choices for The Best Online Resources To Teach About Plagiarism (and that are accessible to English Language Learners). They are not in any order of preference:
Plagiarism is from Acadia University, and should be accessible to Intermediate English Language Learners. It’s an animated slideshow reviewing the problem.
The Monash University Library has an accessible quiz where users have to choose if examples show plagiarism or not. It’s not flashy, but I think it’s exceptionally effective.
Breaking News English features an article and exercises about plagiarism that’s specifically geared towards English Language Learners.
Mt. Hood Community College also has a simple and accessible Avoiding Plagiarism interactive slideshow.
Academic Integrity is from Ryerson University. It’s very well put together, and is basically a series of animated stories with text and audio support. The language, though, might only be accessible to advanced English Language Learners.
What Is Plagiarism? is a series of entertaining videos from Rutgers University. It, too, is probably only accessible to advanced English Language Learners.