May 23, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
I’ve written a lot about the “summer slide” (see The Best Resources On The “Summer Slide”) and how I try to combat it by creating virtual online classrooms that students use during vacation time (our district used to have money for summer school, but that time is far in the past).
Even though I’m a big believer in intrinsic motivation, I am not above both offering extra credit for the following year’s classes (either in my classes if they are having me again, or in other classes where I make arrangements with their teachers) and by telling them that they will function as “teaching assistants” in next year’s classes if they complete all the assignments.
Here are the updated sites I’ll be having my students use over the summer (we always spend a couple of classes at the end of the school year familiarizing them with the sites):
My Beginning/Intermediate ELL English Class Students
Of course, Duolingo is number one and is free. It’s very easy to set-up a virtual classroom to monitor student progress.
Raz-Kids costs $110 a year for a class, but I’ve always thought it was worth it, and have used it for many years. It has lots of “talking books” and interactives.
USA Learns is for Beginners, Low-Intermediate and Intermediate ELL’s, and has reading, speaking and listening activities. Teachers set up the class, and students enroll themselves after you set up the class.
My ELL Geography Students Who Will Be Taking World History Next Year
I’m creating free virtual World History classrooms on these sites:
Think Circa – you can read my previous post about the site here.
Power My Learning
Hstry – you can read my previous post about the site here (I haven’t yet decided for sure about it, though).
OpenEd – you can read my previous post about this site here.
My ELL World History Students Who Will Be Taking U.S. History Next Year
Zoom-In – you can read my previous post about this site here. You can create a free virtual classroom.
In the subscription I have for Brainpop, only three log-ins can be used at any one time.
Though I have fifteen students who will be entering U.S. History next year, unfortunately, I think only about six or seven of them will actually do online work over the summer. Part of that small number is due to the fact that some are going to Mexico over the summer and don’t expect to have Internet access.
Because I have such a small number who I think will use the summer sites, however, it means that just having three log-ins to Brainpop should be workable. I’m having them view all the U.S. History videos there and complete the quizzes. They will print-out each quiz they complete and give me a packet at the beginning of next year (I also gave them the option of taking pictures of the quizzes to send me, but they all seem more interesting in the print-out versions).
So that’s my list, and I’d love to hear more suggestions!
(FYI, my Beginner and Intermediate ELL students will also be taking my Geography class next year. If they do anything over the summer, though, I want them to work on their English through Duolingo and USA Learns. If I wanted them to get a head-start on Geography, though, I’d pay $100 for a classroom in IKnowThat.)