I thought I would put the number-one ranked sites from all thirteen of my Websites Of The Year into one list of their own. Links to each entire list are also included in this post.
Even though this is going to be my last list for this year, I’ve decided to try to prepare similar lists in new categories once each month during 2008. Since I have over 8,000 categorized links (and growing) on my website, I figure regularly reviewing them and their features would be beneficial to my students, other teachers, and me.
These new monthly lists, however, won’t displace another regular feature I post called Websites Of The Month. There, I point out my picks for the “Top Ten” new posts I’ve written during that month. I use that list primarily for the large number of readers who have requested a monthly newsletter instead of daily blog posts.
You can get all these lists, and my daily posts, by subscribing to this blog via email or RSS Reader.
Here, now, are the best of the best for 2007:
Tumblr — This “micro-blogging” site upgraded their service this year. It’s a great place for students to easily post a whole lot of their work. Students can have individual or group “Tumblrs.” A student can also share their password with a small number of students who can leave comments.
VoiceThread — You can upload pictures and create an audio narrative to go along with them. In addition, audio comments can be left by visitors. VoiceThread also provides a great deal to teachers by allowing them to get their premium services for free, including allowing them to create a zillion VoiceThreads for free. Happily, they’ve finally incorporated the feature of allowing you to include images off the web just by inserting its url. It’s that new feature that made me choose VoiceThread as number one.
Wordmaster — A great game from the BBC. In it, you’re shown a sentence with a word missing (indicated by a blank). Then you have to click on an on-screen keyboard to type the correct word “hangman” style. You can ask for clues, and you’re competing against the clock. You can also choose various levels of difficulty, and the game has thousands of words. And after you’ve either guessed the correct word or the timer is up, you can have the sentence read to you.
Henny Jellema’s Online TPR Exercises — You’ve got to see this site to believe it. I can’t imagine the amount of work that went into creating the exercises. However, as he cautions, it’s critical to combine using his online activities with physical TPR lessons.
Here, there was a tie.
One is HippoCampus. It has great (and complete) online and accessible textbooks for many subjects, including History and Government. Their resources include extraordinary multimedia presentations.
HippoCampus tied for first place with The Virtual Smithsonian. It’s a fantastic multimedia window into the artifacts, and their stories, held by the Smithsonian Institution.
Pagebull — When you enter a search term, the results that come back are not text. Visual images of the pages are actually shown on the screen. This can help students more quickly identify which sites might be accessible to them. (Unfortunately, it appears that Pagebull went out of business a few months after this list appeared. However, a new search engine called Exalead is very comparable).
California Science — It’s from MacMillan/McGraw Hill and has some great online activities. However, what makes this site stand-out (and my ESL/EFL bias is clear here) is that it contains translations in many languages (including Hmong!) of the science concepts taught in the textbooks.
It’s actually three sites, all from the extraordinary Learn Alberta organization. The three math sites are Math Under The Sea, Math 5 Live, and Spy Guys Math. Instead of explaining each one, I’m going to suggest that they’re definitely worth the time to just go and check out.
BBC Learning English – It was a tough choice between this and the Voice of America, but the BBC won out because its design is much more attractive and has images.
I’m ranking Richard Rothstein’s great article in the latest issue of The American Prospect as number one. It’s called Leaving “No Child Left Behind” Behind. The title says it all.
There are several winners from this list.
The Language Guide For Beginning English Language Learners.
Harcourt’s E-Glossary for students just entering the Intermediate stage.
Answers.com works best for Intermediate and Advanced English Language Learners. Once you type in the word you’re looking for, click “Word Tutor” and it will provide audio to a sentence using the word in context.
Visuwords is a unique, and fun, way to find synonyms in a visual display. It’s free, and it also functions as a dictionary.
Information On Countries & States:
It’s a three-way tie.
It’s a thirteen-way tie. Everyone on the list is great.
I hope this list, and the others, have been helpful. I’ll look forward to sharing more resources in the coming year.
More Best of the Best For 2008
I’ve continued to post new lists in the new year, and will try to (though I’m about thirty lists behind) periodically update this summary with more top-ranked sites:
BBC Bitesize Revision for Writing — Admittedly, it’s geared towards a younger audience (and perfect for English Language Learners), but their multiple activities are just great and deserve to be in first place.
Medline Plus’ Interactive Health Tutorials from the National Institutes of Health. These excellent slideshows provide images, text, and audio support in accessible English explaining scores of diseases, treatments, and prevention measures. Plus, they’re all available in Spanish, too.
It’s a tie for number one between US Citizenship, which provides a great online self-access course to prepare people for the Citizenship test; and EL Civics For ESL Students, which a wonderful site that provides preparation for the Citizenship test and an introduction to the U.S. and daily life.
Reading Skills Stories 1 and Reading Skills Stories 2 — Marshall Adult Education in Minnesota has many leveled, high-interest accessible stories on these sites, with several follow-up activities for each one. They also have a great Student Lessons section, too.
Into The Book — This is an absolutely incredible resource designed to help students learn reading strategies — visualize, predict, summarize, etc. For the past couple of years it had only been partially completed. In the course of examining sites for inclusion in this list, though, I found that all its exercises were finished. Users are led through the process of learning each reading strategy with interactive exercises.
The Sims On Stage — This wonderful site lets users easily record themselves singing karaoke and hosts the performances on-site. If students don’t want to sing, they can listen to countless others who have while the lyrics are streaming across the screen.