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My Heritage - MyHeritage Ltd.

Grades
3 to 12
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This tool helps you create an interactive family tree. Once you are registered, the family tree is easy to create. You are able to include family members' birth-dates, death-dates,...more
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This tool helps you create an interactive family tree. Once you are registered, the family tree is easy to create. You are able to include family members' birth-dates, death-dates, email addresses, pictures, marital status, and more. The site also includes some really neat features: Celebrity Morph, look-a-like meter (for children and parents), "smart matches" for your family tree, the ability to print family trees, and other features. The family tree and some of the other activities require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): family (59), genetics (90), immigration (58), migration (59)

In the Classroom

Navigation of the site is rather simple. Once you put in your own name, there are buttons on the bottom right and left side of your "name box" to "add" an additional family member or "edit" the current name. Once you click to "add" a member, you are able to put in their name, birth date, death date, marital status, and email address (see safety concerns). One tip: to scroll UP use the DOWN arrow, to scroll DOWN use the UP arrow.

This site allows users to set-up their family tree as PRIVATE. It allows you to control who can and can't view your profile, family tree, and other information. For more information about this feature, visit the Privacy link (on the bottom bar). Before you plan your family tree project, be sure to get parental permission. You may want to use this tool with first names and last initials and keep email addresses out of it for safety's sake.

Use this site to create family tree projects in elementary or middle school classes. Have high school students create family trees as part of a unit studying immigration patterns in social studies classes. In science class, have students create fictitious "people" as they study genetics. With younger students, create a class "family" sharing important dates for individuals (i.e. birthdays) or to teach vocabulary and spelling of family terms, such as "grandmother" and "uncle." Have students share their family trees on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to "advertise" this project on your class website (and newsletter, if applicable) so students have time to gather names, birthdates, and other information about family members. In world language classes, have students create a family tree using the correct vocabulary for relatives and talk about it (in their new language!) as they share it on the interactive whiteboard. When researching famous people, reading biographies, or even reading literature, have students create a family tree illustrating their discoveries about their famous person, writer, artist, musician, explorer, literary character, etc.

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Google Trends - Google

Grades
6 to 12
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Want a concrete indicator of public curiosity and concerns from the source they use most? Try Google Trends (formerly known as Google Zeitgeist). This simple tool tells what people...more
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Want a concrete indicator of public curiosity and concerns from the source they use most? Try Google Trends (formerly known as Google Zeitgeist). This simple tool tells what people are searching most on Google (country by country), correlating it to the news and other major dates. Click on the year trends to view all of them and click on those of interest to you. Or scroll down the landing page instead to see the big headline makers of the year. For example, use the 2008 summary to see the spikes in certain Google searches connected with events during the 2008 U.S. political campaigns. Get a quick snapshot of popular culture "hot topics" or personal concerns during tough economic times, simple by seeing what people are searching on Google. If you are trying to build world-awareness and 21st century learners in your classroom, keep Google Trends handy to spark discussion and curiosity.

tag(s): consumers (21), politics (99)

In the Classroom

Teachers of gifted will want to share this as a must-read site, but all students would benefit from hypothesizing about the world trends that generate Google searches. Share this resource on your teacher web page or classroom computer for handy access. As you discuss current events, government, politics, of even consumer behavior, use Zeitgeist to ask questions: Why are people searching this now? What did people in other countries search while Americans were focused on Sarah Palin or bank bailouts? Show a Trends listing on your projector or interactive whiteboard and simply ask the question: Why? Challenge students to discuss possible reasons for what they see in small groups or in blog posts. Use a Trends finding as a prompt for a debate or essay in English class. Use the trends as indicators of consumer behavior for discussions in business or FCS classes. Use search wordings from other countries in your world language classes to sharpen awareness of cultural differences and similarities.

Just ask WHY? and watch your students leap to higher level thinking as you challenge them to prove it with other findings from the web or research.

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Modern Languages - Learning Space Open University

Grades
8 to 12
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This site offers free courses with a great deal of depth on topics featuring modern European languages and English. It is a not a site for beginning language learners or ...more
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This site offers free courses with a great deal of depth on topics featuring modern European languages and English. It is a not a site for beginning language learners or low-level ESL and ELL students. Courses explore language topics, mostly with textual readings. Some of the featured units follow language textbooks. In addition to language topics, there are several offerings in business English. Students can choose what to study in a variety of ways: by topic, time of course, and course number or code.

You can put this in your RSS reader. Some of the activities require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): business (58)

In the Classroom

Introduce your AP language and world culture students to the materials on this site. Gifted students or those seeking independent language study could also use these courses.Older ESL and ELL students interested in business careers may also find it useful.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Internet Polyglot - Internet Polyglot

Grades
7 to 12
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Internet Polyglot offers language lessons for many languages, available both with the translation from English and also from Spanish. The English lessons also include items for "regular"...more
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Internet Polyglot offers language lessons for many languages, available both with the translation from English and also from Spanish. The English lessons also include items for "regular" English classes, such as SAT words. A "widget" to embed lessons in your web site or wiki is also available. You can even share many of the lessons on mobile devices, such as cell phones. Some of the languages include Spanish, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, German, Italian, Arabic, Chinese, French, Latin, Russian, Dutch, Portuguese, and numerous others. You can choose lessons to translate to and from any language (for example, Hebrew to Dutch or Japanese to Russian). Everything on the site is free, and there are many lessons for each language, categorized by usage. Most of the lessons start by having students learn vocabulary words: seeing them frequently on online-style pictorial flash cards, hearing them spoken, and then completing review activities using them. In addition to traditional language categories, students can also collect and create their own lessons, modifying lessons of others, and sharing what their friends are using. The site offers a free registration and log in which allows you to keep score results and create and modify your own materials. This site does have some unobtrusive advertisements.

tag(s): arab (18), arabic (20), chinese (48), french (88), german (64), greek (41), hebrew (14), italian (33), japan (61), japanese (42), latin (22), spanish (108), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Spanish speaking ESL or ELL and foreign language students will find this site useful as the language lessons proceed from a Spanish language base. Foreign language teachers can offer this site to their students as a way to review and learn new vocabulary on certain topics. This is a great site for ESL and ELL students to collect vocabulary that they need to remember, with registration. Check school policies on site memberships for students before allowing them to join. If you or your students are adventurous, you can create and embed activities on your class wiki or web page.

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Foreign Languages and Literature - MIT Open Courseware

Grades
8 to 12
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This site offers free comprehensive, interactive language and literature courses developed by MIT staff as part of their open course ware program. All courses include a regular syllabus...more
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This site offers free comprehensive, interactive language and literature courses developed by MIT staff as part of their open course ware program. All courses include a regular syllabus that features assignments, interactive activities, and other resources such as videos and slideshows. There is a wide range of language offerings; the cultural courses complement the language instruction and include topics such as popular culture, history, economics, media , and thinking skills. There are courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. This site requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): chinese (48), french (88), german (64), india (36), japan (61), japanese (42), latin (22), spanish (108)

In the Classroom

AP history, language, and economics students may find MIT's online course materials useful. MIT has committed to putting its entire curriculum on the web, and these early offerings include syllabi, reading materials, and a variety of subject-specific class notes. Before using these pages, students and parents should all be aware of what Open Courseware is and is not. Teachers at smaller schools may welcome the availability of language alternatives. Teachers of gifted who are looking for acceleration options will also find these courses valuable, though you will need to develop a means of doing assessment if your students are to earn credit for them.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Ethnologue - SIL International

Grades
6 to 12
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This site is an index to languages of the world, including lesser known ones. There is also some reference information provided for most locations. Teachers and students can click on...more
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This site is an index to languages of the world, including lesser known ones. There is also some reference information provided for most locations. Teachers and students can click on a map of the world to come up with a list of continents and then a list of countries. Each country, no matter how obscure, displays a list of its languages and dialects and a short description of the location where the language is spoken. For example, the tiny West African country of Liberia lists over 30 languages and dialects, many of which are spoken in no locations outside this country.

In the Classroom

Use this site when social studies students are doing reports on world cultures. Check out your own state (or country) and see what you can learn. ESL and ELL students may enjoy sharing the information displayed here about their individual countries and languages with American students who might have no idea of the cultural differences among members of the same country. Use this map as a discussion starter I your world cultures class about migration patterns and the power of a common language to encourage cross-cultural pollination.

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TESL/TEFL/TESOL/ESL/EFL/ESOL Links - ITESLJ

Grades
1 to 12
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This compilation of sites is a standard source for ESL and ELL teachers and contains links to whatever type of vocabulary enrichment activity you might be looking for. Although this...more
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This compilation of sites is a standard source for ESL and ELL teachers and contains links to whatever type of vocabulary enrichment activity you might be looking for. Although this site is "plain vanilla" and not high-tech, it has been around for a long time and offers a comprehensive list of sites to use with ESL and ELL students. English/language arts teachers will also find the vocabulary development options helpful for any student, especially those who may need extra learning support.

Be sure to check out "What's New" for recent additions. Go to "Main Page" and try the search box; it's a good place to try to find the links you remember from awhile back but have lost track of.

tag(s): holidays (147), idioms (44), sight words (37), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Provide this link on your class website. Use this site for vocabulary ideas with your ESL and ELL students AND in your world language classes or mainstream language arts classes. The variety at this site offers something for every classroom learning English or another language.

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Beeline TV - Beeline Software Express

Grades
1 to 12
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This online TV resource offers instant streaming of TV news, sports, music, and cultural programs from up to 400 different countries in many languages. With a Windows Media Player or...more
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This online TV resource offers instant streaming of TV news, sports, music, and cultural programs from up to 400 different countries in many languages. With a Windows Media Player or other player (downloading directions given at the site), teachers can have television on classroom computers instantly. Foreign language teachers can show programs featuring their language group. English language TV comes from the U.S. and the U.K. Some examples of "TV" places include Dubai, France, Jordan, Kuwait, Japan, Korea, China, Poland, Denmark, Russia, and countless others.

Be sure to preview stations and programs to be certain the offerings are appropriate for your classrooms and student ages. International students will enjoy the opportunity to check out news and other events from their original countries. Some of the European TV sites offer bilingual programming; English language summaries often accompany the news in many languages.

tag(s): news (261), sports (96)

In the Classroom

Add interest to a foreign language class by checking out the news in your target language using this site. Supplement language study with cultural opportunities by using the music sites. During major world events, compare news coverage from different English-speaking sites to see the different angles provided from different cultures. As you read stories or study customs from other lands, use this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to share a taste of the world with your elementary students. If your school has a student handbook or special supplement for international students, recommend this site as a way to check the news and cultural happenings from their first countries. All students will enjoy coverage of international sporting events.

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Wonder How To - Wonder How To, Inc.

Grades
6 to 12
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This creative site offers "how to" videos on a WIDE variety of topics. Anyone is able to view the videos, but you must be a member (which is free) to ...more
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This creative site offers "how to" videos on a WIDE variety of topics. Anyone is able to view the videos, but you must be a member (which is free) to comment on the videos, grade the videos, or submit your own "how to" video. Topics vary; some are appropriate for the classroom - others are definitely NOT appropriate. Some of the general topics that may be useful in the middle school or high school classroom include: alcohol, autos, motorcycles, and planes, business and money, computers and programming, diet and health, education (which features a variety of science experiments and more), film and theater, language (English, Chinese, Hungarian, Russian, Finnish, sign language, Polish, and countless others), music and instruments, travel, and several other topics. Within each of these general topics, there are thousands of specific "how to" videos.

Membership is free and has many perks. You are able to comment and/or grade the video clips or even submit your own video. Registration does require some personal information: a username, password, email address, and date of birth. ALL USERS MUST BE OVER 13-years of age! Check with your administrator about allowing the students to register for this site using fictitious names. You may wish to set up a class registration instead of entering true data into the registration site. Another option is to create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.

Warning: not all videos are suitable for the classroom. Be sure to preview what you wish to share. If you choose to allow your older students to navigate this site on their own (for research or a class project), be sure to set boundaries on which videos to watch, consequences for going elsewhere, and WATCH CAREFULLY! Some videos explain "how to" do things that are unsafe or inappropriate for school-ages audiences. Wonder How To does include unobtrusive advertisements. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): aircraft (24), business (58), money (193), russian (26), sign language (8)

In the Classroom

Use these fabulous "how to" videos for informative writing projects in speech, science, or even with your gifted students. The site does provide excellent research. You may want to link directly to the specific videos you want students to see in order to avoid other, less-desirable options. Share the "how to" videos on an interactive whiteboard or projector as an anticipatory set for a new lesson. For a final project, have students create and submit their own "how to" video using YouTube or using a tool such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).

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Geni - Everyone's Related - Geni, Inc.

Grades
4 to 12
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This tool allows you to create an interactive family tree. Once you are registered, you can easily create a family tree. You are able to include family member's birth-dates, death-dates,...more
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This tool allows you to create an interactive family tree. Once you are registered, you can easily create a family tree. You are able to include family member's birth-dates, death-dates, email addresses, pictures, video clips, and more. This site also has the capacity to create timelines for births, deaths, weddings, divorces, education, occupation, and other important events and information.

tag(s): family (59), genetics (90), immigration (58), migration (59)

In the Classroom

This site is fairly simple to use. Join the site (free) and log in. Navigation of the site is simple. Click on Tree to start your family tree (or Timeline to use that free resource. For the family tree, arrows are provided to add family members. The arrows pointing up indicate a parent, arrows to the left or right are used to add a wife/husband or brother/sister, and arrows pointing down are used to add a son or daughter.

This site allows users to set-up their family tree or timeline as PRIVATE. It allows you to control who can and can't view your profile, family tree, and other information. For more information about this feature, visit the Settings link (on the top right corner). Before you plan your family tree project, be sure to get parental permission.

Possible Uses: Use this site to create family tree projects in elementary or middle school classes. Have high school students create family trees as part of an immigration unit studying patterns in social studies classes. In science class, have students create fictitious "people" as they study genetics. With younger students, create a class timeline sharing important dates for individuals (i.e. birthdays) and class dates (field trips, tests, or other special events). Have students share their family trees on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to "advertise" this project on your class website (and newsletter, if applicable) so students have time to gather names, birthdates, and other information about family members. In world language classes, have student create a family tree using the correct vocabulary for relatives and talk about it as they share it on the interactive whiteboard. When researching famous people, reading biographies, or even reading literature have students create a family tree illustrating their discoveries about their famous person, writer, artist, musician, explorer, literary character, etc.

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1000 Images on the Tip of my Tongue - Centre collegial de developpement de materiel didactique

Grades
5 to 12
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This tri-lingual site: English, French, and Spanish, presents idioms organized in categories. After choosing a category, students see a list of matching expressions. They can hear...more
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This tri-lingual site: English, French, and Spanish, presents idioms organized in categories. After choosing a category, students see a list of matching expressions. They can hear the idioms pronounced and used in sentences. This site offers a new and different feature than most idiom sites: a link to an equivalent idiom in French or Spanish! The only idioms here are idioms with similar expressions in the three languages, though they are not directly translated. By clicking on Activities, students can see selected idioms in animated cartoons with sound; there is also the text of the utterance available at another click. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): idioms (44), speech (92)

In the Classroom

Use this in reading classes studying English idioms and figures of speech or in middle level French and Spanish classes to help students remember idioms in those languages by aligning them with similar expressions in English. Include the site in your class web page for easy access from computer labs or home.

Challenge your class to create an illustrated idiom wiki in English or the language you are studying, adding digital pictures to "illustrate" the idiom literally and in its figurative meaning: Ex. "feeling blue" with a photo of a person shaded blue, then one of a SAD person. Be sure to include the text and a link to the page on this site for visitors to hear the clip, as well.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Daily Lit - Daily Lit. LLC

Grades
8 to 12
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Daily Lit offers short clips of literature sent to you daily by email or by RSS feed. You can receive the episodes on a Blackberry, RSS reader, email, web-enabled cell ...more
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Daily Lit offers short clips of literature sent to you daily by email or by RSS feed. You can receive the episodes on a Blackberry, RSS reader, email, web-enabled cell phone, or any "connected" device. You students would find it "cool" to read their daily lit excerpt on the cell phones! Most offerings are classics and in the public domain, but some recent selections are available for free due to Creative Commons licenses. Most books are free but some have a charge. Since only a few pages arrive in your email at intervals you select, it takes quite a while to read a complete book. You do have the option of receiving another section when you finish your daily reading. Students can browse for books by category or search by title, author, etc. Currently hot titles are displayed on the home page. There is a Children's book category, as well, so you can have a daily reading "arrive" on your desktop RSS reader without using email, thrilling your young readers! There are also books written in various world languages.

Because this is a site for the general public, there may be some books with content not desirable for your classroom. Avoid sending students directly to the home page to see "Featured" books without previewing the page that day and/or announcing a policy about which books they are allowed to investigate.

RSS feed to a classroom RSS reader account such as Google Reader might be the safest way to control the content that "arrives" without safety/policy concerns. If you want students to receive emails from this site, check with your school's Acceptable Use Policy AND be sure to check with the parents! You may want to consider creating a Gmail account (rather than your personal or work email). If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.

tag(s): literature (275)

In the Classroom

Suggest this site to advanced high school students who want to increase their knowledge of classical literature. Set up an RSS feed of a foreign language book to appear on your class web page or blog or even go to student cell phones: a new episode each day without ANY work by you! Use this also when teaching classic children's titles. Be sure to check with your principal and parents first to be sure receiving this type of email is OK with everyone. Have the pages sent to your RSS reader, personal or professional email address and share the pages with your students on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students create a class wiki to discuss the current class book being read or make comments on the class blog about the episode that day. In world language classes, this is an easy way to "prompt" a writing lesson IN the language for grammar and writing practice.

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mapdango

Grades
4 to 12
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This online mapping tool is really a "mash-up" (online technology combo) of many tools that allows you to see various cities and countries throughout the world. The site is powered...more
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This online mapping tool is really a "mash-up" (online technology combo) of many tools that allows you to see various cities and countries throughout the world. The site is powered by GoogleMaps, but clicking on Map opens up other content. There is a "place of the day" offered daily. In addition to showing the location on the map, there are photos, news stories, current weather conditions, articles about the location, events happening in the area, videos (powered by YouTube), and demographic information about the area. There is a link on the top of the page, Countries , as well as a search box to search by location name. Note that the "Social" link leads to many social tools possibly inappropriate for the classroom. Since much of the content is designed for the general public, it is s good idea to preview places you plan to "feature" in class.

Be aware: this site also has advertisements for books for sale. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): map skills (80)

In the Classroom

Navigating the site is fairly easy. Manipulate the map as you would on Google Maps (zoom, drag, etc). Simply click to read the articles, weather reports, and view the photos or video clips (teacher-previewed, of course). Use this fabulous site as an addition to your geography class or as a reference when looking up ANY world location from current events, literary settings, and more. Take your students virtually to a new location every day! Share the site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Challenge students to write a blog as a native from the highlighted country. In world language classes, have students plot a trip or write an imaginary story of their dream trip to Spain, Mexico, France, China (or whatever country/language they are studying). Take your students on a virtual trip to the native countries where the language is spoken. Have your ESL or ELL students take the class on a virtual tour of their home country.

For a more extensive project, have your students work on "building up" the Mapdango resources available for your area using the various tools that Mapdango draws upon. Of course, you will need to work within school policies to access these tools. Add more pictures to Panoramio, contribute more detailed articles to wikipedia, etc. Be sure to include the link to YOUR town's Mapdango entry on your class web page!

Safety/Security Concerns: Registration is required to use the social features, but they are not necessary for "exploring" a location. Make sure you have a clear class policy and consequences regarding the social features of the site. This site is so rich in information that it is a good one to use to teach ethical and safe use of web resources, especially how to avoid non-essential portions of a good site.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Listen and Write - listenandwrite.com

Grades
6 to 12
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Listen and Write is a listening/dictation site that allows ESL and ELL students to click on their choice of oral transmissions and then write the words they hear in ...more
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Listen and Write is a listening/dictation site that allows ESL and ELL students to click on their choice of oral transmissions and then write the words they hear in a box. Clicking the play button will repeat the sentence. There are also choices for hints or a version that provides a separate text box for each word, helping listeners to distinguish and separate the words they hear. When students write the correct sentence, a red "good" appears at the end of the line. Students can submit their own oral recordings as part of the bank of recorded items. Many of the items they can do dictation to come from VOA news. Students can also select other languages for dictation: Korean, Basque, Estonian, and Hebrew. Dictations are available at a total of 16 levels. Students must sign in and establish an account in order to save their scores, share and save audios, and collaborate with others on dictations or audio recordings.

tag(s): spelling (168)

In the Classroom

Check school policies about establishing a "class" log in with an official email address instead of having the students use their own. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.

Refer students to improve their oral comprehension or applied spelling skills at this site. Teacers can also create or assign recordings for required listening and dictation, differentiating for each student's level. There are some French recordings that could be used in a world language class, as well. Why not have your students create their own recordings to challenge their classmates?

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YAKiToMe - YAKiToMe

Grades
1 to 12
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This site converts text to speech. Students or teachers can choose which voice they'd like to hear read the text. As they listen to the oral version of whatever they've ...more
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This site converts text to speech. Students or teachers can choose which voice they'd like to hear read the text. As they listen to the oral version of whatever they've pasted into the box, keywords for the text appear in a box below the play button. Select to keep your new oral files private or make them public, using the podcast library option. Download files to an MP3 player or wav file. Students can also convert and listen to files in Spanish, French, and German, all with a variety of readers. Registration for the service is simple and free. A useful option for ESL and ELL students is the ability to control the speed of the speech being read.

This site requires registration (with an email address and user name). The registration page says that the site is available "by invitation only," however our reviewers found that we were able to register. This site requires Windows Media Player. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): french (88), german (64), listening (91), pronunciation (44), spanish (108), speech (92), text to speech (16)

In the Classroom

Use this site to tape read-alongs for reluctant readers, ESL, or ELL students. This site is especially useful for ESL, ELL, speech, world language, and special education classrooms. Have your students use initials or assign logical pseudonyms (Ex. MsGper2-12, MsGper2-13, etc.) for their user names. Keep your own record of their user names and passwords for accountability in case there are any problems. Make this site available on classroom computers with ear phones for any time students want to hear something read.

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MeGlobe - Telestic, Inc.

Grades
3 to 12
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IM or AIM on steroids? That is how MeGlobe describes itself. This site allows the user to instant message to people who speak many different languages. While they may be ...more
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IM or AIM on steroids? That is how MeGlobe describes itself. This site allows the user to instant message to people who speak many different languages. While they may be adding languages as the site builds, at the time of this review, Spanish, Dutch, Chinese, German and Greek are supported. This is a BETA site, so forgive a few wording problems as it refines the languages. Sign-up is quick and free. Once registered, you can invite people from all over the world to chat with you in nearly instant response time. The world definitely comes to your classroom via MeGlobe.

tag(s): chat (51), chinese (48), german (64), greek (41), spanish (108)

In the Classroom

Classroom applications abound. Imagine your class chatting with pen pals in Crete or Amsterdam, and asking them current events questions. Imagine practicing foreign language skills using this tool. Send messages to experts in other countries as your class researches their culture. Travel around the world virtually, through discussions with other classrooms in foreign countries. Use two laptops and you and your ESL or ELL student can chat while learning each other's language, since all translations are on screen. Caution: As with all instant messaging, you would want to only talk with pre-approved people. This is not a program you would want your students to use unsupervised. There are forums, a blog, and chats already set up (look in your "room drawer" after you log in). Preview these to select the best venue for your class' purposes. Since the site requires a membership, you will most likely want to use a single class account so you can monitor how it is being used and avoid inappropriate contacts. If you do use student accounts, check your school policies on using student email to register and make sure classroom use is within approved school policy. This beta is constantly adding new features. Check the blog for the latest.

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LingQ - LingQ

Grades
3 to 12
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LingQ assists students in developing language fluency in any of 9 target languages including German, Spanish, French, Italian, Swedish, Japanese, and Chinese, Russian, and Portuguese....more
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LingQ assists students in developing language fluency in any of 9 target languages including German, Spanish, French, Italian, Swedish, Japanese, and Chinese, Russian, and Portuguese. It tracks hours spent on listening and reading assignments, vocabulary development etc. An example lesson consists of listening to a text while reading through it, clicking on unknown words, seeing the definition in one's native language, saving the words in a list or as flashcards etc. Students can also download the audio files to an MP3 player. Students should have at least a beginning understanding of the language before attempting to use this site. They also need to be flexible learners since the learning/teaching style is based on immersion, not translation. Students may have up to 5 active "assignments" going to stay within the free level. Any completed work can be archived to make room for more assignments. There is a charge to have your work evaluated, graded, and critiqued. There is an option to save new vocabulary words in a list and print flashcards for these words. You will want to join and explore the site before assigning students to use it so you know how to navigate. The site requires a fast Internet connection to download large podcast (audio) files. The podcast files can be downloaded and played on your local computer or an mp3 player.

tag(s): podcasts (52), vocabulary (324), vocabulary development (126)

In the Classroom

Establishing membership requires an email account. Check your school policies about accessing/sharing student email on school computers. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.

Assign specific "lessons" for your ESL or world language students, but be aware that the free version does not permit you to monitor progress on student accounts. You therefore will want to use this as a practice site more than a formal assessment tool. Demonstrate the navigation on your projector or interactive whiteboard before assigning students to work independently. If you have mp3 players available, you can load a listening assignment for students to "take out." Be sure to include this site on your teacher web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further practice. Refer your ESL students to this page if they are impatient to become fluent quickly.

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Zunal WebQuest Maker - FREE - Zafer Unal, PhD

Grades
2 to 12
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Have you been pining to include pertinent webquests in your curriculum? This site allows you to view already created webquests and/or use their online tool to create your own webquest...more
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Have you been pining to include pertinent webquests in your curriculum? This site allows you to view already created webquests and/or use their online tool to create your own webquest without HTML code or web editor software. This site walks you through a tutorial on creating your own webquest for the parameters YOU want. The tutorial includes planning, building, and getting your webquest published. Best of all-- it is free. This site also includes ready-made webquests in nearly every subject area (math, art, music, social studies, science, etc.) submitted by others like you. There are webquests for all grade level. The webquests are free to use and many include reviews by other educators. An easy to follow webquest matrix is available, with all of the subjects and grade levels. You are also able to do a webquest search for a specific topic. Nearly all of the webquests are in English, but a few are in other languages. Note: the quality of webquests is completely determined by others using the site to create webquests, so PREVIEW before using any webquest in class.

tag(s): calories (9), colors (79), money (193), presidents (130), pyramids (29)

In the Classroom

Search the multitude of webquests that are "ready to go" at this site. If you are looking for a more personal touch, you can create your own webquest for each class, tailored to what you want to cover or want students to research. This site also provides a place to post a personal portfolio of your work (if you choose to include any student work, you must have written permission to do so from the student and his or her parent). You might also want students to create webquests as final products of group research projects. Be sure to provide a meaningful rubric for the essential features.

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Visual Geography - Boris Kester and Nana Bj?rnlund

Grades
5 to 12
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This site offers rich geographical information visually: through photographs. Students select a continent to investigate. (Note: all continents except Antarctica are included.) After...more
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This site offers rich geographical information visually: through photographs. Students select a continent to investigate. (Note: all continents except Antarctica are included.) After viewing pictures of one country on that continent, they can click for a more in-depth examination and more pictures, listen to the native language of that area, click on another country to make a comparison, and take a quiz on that information. They can also select certain categories to learn more about transportation, education, religion, people, etc.

tag(s): climate (92), continents (50), countries (77)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a world cultures or geography unit or lesson on an interactive whiteboard or projector. This site offers a visual approach to studying and comparing other countries and interesting research information to use for independent projects. This site is also excellent for enrichment. Include it on your teacher web page for students to access both in and out of class. Use this site to introduce the countries your ESL and ELL students represent. Have your ESL and ELL students guide the interactive picture tour for the class. World language teachers can use this site as part of their cultural studies.

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Cepstral Text-to-Speech - Cepstral

Grades
1 to 12
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An exciting "text-to-speech" service offers voice readings of text you enter into the reader. In addition to having any text read, you can choose the type of voice you want ...more
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An exciting "text-to-speech" service offers voice readings of text you enter into the reader. In addition to having any text read, you can choose the type of voice you want (male or female) the language you want (American English, UK English, German, Spanish, French, etc..) and change its speed, tenor, and "effect." This great tool for ESL, ELL, special education, and limited-sight students does show some distortion if you choose the very lowest rate of speed, but the adjustments are helpful. New digital voices will be added, so be sure to check the selection frequently. Warning: much of this site is for a fee, including a software download that has a cost. The "free stuff" is in this Demos area. This site uses Quicktime. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): french (88), german (64), italian (33), listening (91), pronunciation (44), spanish (108), speech (92), text to speech (16)

In the Classroom

Type or paste what you'd like to be read into Cepstral's demo box. Listen to American and British English accents with your ESL and ELL students and ask them to note specific pronunciation differences. This site would also be useful in foreign language classrooms. If you teach Spanish, Italian, French, or German; why not display the demo on an interactive whiteboard or projector and turn up your speakers. Show students how to use the site, then share it as a link on your teacher web page for them to use when practicing at home or outside of class. Why not assign students to learn several "homework" phrases on their own each week, assuming they have access to computers at home or during study times at school. Speech and language teachers will like offering a new way for students to play and replay good speech "models." This tool will help your auditory learners and visual learners (being able to listen as they see the words).

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