I can’t take credit for researching all these sites! This is a compilation of online resources found and annotated by members of the Fall/Winter 2007/08 ESL Part 1 AQ course at OISE.
Online Resources for Beginning Language Learners
Description of Site: ReadWriteThink offers a wide array of lesson plans that integrate Internet content into the teaching and learning experience. Lessons can be selected according to grade and area of literacy practice. Many of the lessons includes a detailed instructional plan. The lessons include student resources materials such as worksheets, interactives, and reviewed Web resources. These interactives are primarily intended to assist students with a reading or writing activity, however, they can also be used with other subjects. Resources include concept maps creators, storyboard creators (students can actually create and print a comic they create), grammar lessons, timeline creators, poem creators, and many more features
Rationale: This site can be used with beginning language learners to help them learn because it is very visually appealing. Also, it makes heavy language-based tasks easier by giving them a variety of tools such as a pictures, word banks, graphic organizers, etc. It allows students to process through the steps of learning language (students listen to it and use it with others in their everyday lives), learning about language (focus lessons on how language works and its functionality- eg. Grammar, spelling ,sentence structre), and learning through (student use language to learn about something else or to produce something)
This resource is helpful for newcomers because it allows student to work at their own pace. It provides web resources that incorporate many of the strategies mentioned in Coelho’s book such as functional language, visual support, and language based stories. Even with limited language skills, students can make use of the website in his/her own way. It is also something they can use at home if they have a computer with internet connection. Therefore, it is something students can easily share with their family and/or practice at home. Students having trouble with writing letters many find typing the letters a faster. Many of the lessons focus on interactive reading, process writing, word recognition, and fluency that will benefit newcomers. The lessons are mostly free of cultural references that student may not understand.
Website: the main page: http://www.edhelper.com/
foreign language words:
Description of Site: A site used by primarily by primary teachers, however, this site can be used for beginning level students. It has a dolch list which are the most used words in the english language. It is great because it has pre-made lessons that are ready-to-go!
Rationale: Intended for beginning language learners and used by many professionals! A great resource for pre-made lessons for teachers who are teaching basic skills. It is great because the visuals look nice and the activities are very simple
and well laid out. The site itself is very user-friendly! One downfall is that you will have to subscribe to get some lessons!
Website : http://a4esl.org/
Description of Site: This site can be used with beginning language learners to help them learn various aspects of the English language (e.g. grammar, vocabulary, punctuation marks, sentence structures, etc.). The site is organized in such a way that learners take mini quizzes that match their level. They could also challenge themselves by taking on the more difficult levels, be it in grammar, vocabulary or culture. One of the neat features about the website is a section called Bilingual where students are able to look up the English terms of certain words from their original language.
Rationale: This resource is helpful for newcomers because it enables them to practice learning proper English by taking the different quizzes. They are able to work at their own pace because there is no set time in which they have to complete the task. Moreover, there are so many quizzes / tasks set up for them on this site alone that they almost never have to take the same quiz twice. This is definitely a positive thing because they are faced with different questions every time they
log on. Finally, I believe that one of the best features of the site is the wide range of topics they provide, ranging from food to culture to language to animals and the list goes on.
Description of site: This site has an elementary user interface. The printable material is suitable for any age group for beginners to learn English. It has conversation games, worksheets (ready and printable for class use) and other ready-to-go teacher tested activities. The site is compiled by other ESL teachers. Great for worksheets or last minute conversation game ideas.
Rationale: This site is particularly good for teachers of beginning English language learners because it provides a wide variety of different activites to practice conversation. The worksheets focus on everyday functional language. Some ideas also help teachers to introduce some of the Canadian festivities, such as Halloween. There are different hands-on activites for different age group. For busy teachers, we all need something that is ready to go for the last 5 minutes before class. This site is it. Great teacher sites, just the user interface is a little towards the elemenatry school side but the content is good for beginner English learners at the high school age group.
Description of Site: This site is mainly focused on listening for ELLs. It provides audio dialogues and monologues (some with script) with questions to quiz the students. The quizzes are divided into; easy, medium and hard and it is up to the teacher to decide what is best for the students. The site also includes vocabulary lessons, language learning and life tips. Rationale: This site can be used with beginning language learners to help them develop their listening skills and speech. They can listen to dialogue and follow along with the written scripts (if provided) and answer the questions after. Students can build vocabulary and have further opportunity to listen to English dialogue. Teachers can use this as a mini listening lesson in their ESL classes as well. This resource is helpful for newcomers because it allows them to listen to English conversations at a regular speed and tone and self-test themselves to see how they are doing. They can expand their vocabulary and repeat the conversations if they missed something where they cannot do in real-life.
Description of Site: Jan Brett is a children’s book illustrator. She has compiled this site of basic teaching ideas and games. I find her games particularly useful. For example, she offers flashcards of 220 of the most commonly used English words and she provides printable PDFs of the words. Flashcards may not be the most revolutionary of tools, but a list of commonly used English words on the walls of an ELL classroom, especially one for newcomers, seems particularly useful. Or how about an appealingly illustrated High Frequency Word List with the most common words in English, ranked in frequency order? The first 25 make up about a third of all printed material. The first 100 make up about half of all written material.
This site can be used with beginning language learners to help them develop a basic vocabulary. This resource is helpful for newcomers because it offers a comprehensive view of the foundation of colloquial speech.
“Dave’s ESL Cafe”
Description of site: This site links ESL teachers worldwide. If you go to “Stuff for Teachers” and then to “Idea Cookbook”, you’ll find listings of topics for ESL teachers. (Icebreakers, Reading, Games etc.) Each topic has countless submissions from teachers from both public and private institutions.
Rationale: This site can be used with beginning language learners to help their teachers find doable games and activities for language-learning. The listing for “Vocabulary” is especially useful for newcomers.
Website: The website is ‘Learn to Read at Starfall‘ www.starfall.com
Description of Site This is a voice activated interactive site for beginners of English. It begins with single letter visuals and sound, progressing through syllables, words, sentences, to stories. The programme provides opportunities for reinforcement through individual activities.
Rationale The site is very friendly. Voice activation promotes pronunciation.It is graded so students may begin where they are comfortable. The use of pictures help in word recognition. It is interactive.
Description of Site: This web site provides A Math Dictionary for Kids, created by Jenny Eather.
Rationale: This site can be used with beginning language learners to help them learn about math vocabularies. This resource is helpful for newcomers because it help students to understand the math concepts visually in building their math vocabularies. It also has examples about the word in an interactive way, ie. Students can actually input numbers in examples to see how it works. Then there is section where new learners can practice and feedback is also given to tell how well kids are doing.
Description of site: This is a great site for a variety of activities. Math, English, Language, and many other activities can be found here. Now there is even a Christmas trivia activity. Students and teachers can acquire many grade level resources here. Teachers can get teamwork activities as well. As an added attraction, teachers can pick up quick sayings in other languages to assist them in communicating with ESLAOs.
Rationale: Everyone can use this site. Students and teachers alike. This is a great site for Literacy pre-planned lessons, quick quizzes, web lessons to students and the visuals and motivational, there is even an on-line dictionary service for ESL
students and the feedback is super. As activities range from weakest to more advanced, it allows students to work at their own knowledge level and pace. Parents can relax as it is user-friendly! However, as always, students need to be supervised with any computer usage.
Website: Wacky Web
Description of Site: This website focusses on parts of speech, helping students better understand how to understand and use nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs and exclamation marks in sentences. This specific assignment is very similar to
MadLibs (anyone remember those?). Students fill out a list of nouns (plural/singular), adjectives, verbs, adverbs and exclamation marks. The words chosen are then put into a story which is very comedic and students seem to really enjoy them. I usually do one as a class and have them do one individually and if any students want to read them out, they are welcome to.
Rationale: This site can be used with beginning language learners to help them learn parts of speech, sentence structure and build reading and writing skills. This resource is helpful for newcomers because it is engaging, interactive, fun and gives
them a sense of accomplishment in creating their very own story.
Description of Site: You can create and print custom bingo cards.
Rationale: This site can be used with beginning language learners to help them learn to recognize individual words.
Vocabulary can be cut-and-pasted from your word processor or any list of words. This resource is helpful for newcomers because it doesn’t matter if they miss a word. Cards can be printed with the specific vocabulary being studied.
Description of Site: Create custom crossword puzzles.
Rationale: This site can be used with beginning language learners to help them learn vocabulary and phrases. This
resource is helpful for newcomers because it is a fun way to practice.
Description of Site: Print playing cards onto pre-perforated card stock, that you can then press out and play your own games with. You can also just write on them directly.
Rationale: This site can be used with beginning language learners to help them learn specific words and phrases. For
instance, common questions could be written on half of the cards, with appropriate answers on the other half. Students read the questions in turn and respond if they have the appropriate answer. This resource is helpful for newcomers because it provides both a game and a manipulative. The cards can be pinned on the board as a reference when they’re
not being used.
Description of Site: This resource has many printable worksheets that can be used for any ELL. There is even an option for you to create your own worksheets (for example printing worksheets, you can type your own sentences that relate to your curriculum and students).
Rationale: This site can be used with beginning language learners to help them learn how to write Roman letters,
use flash cards to learn how to pronounce, spell and label objects. The site also has math worksheets. This resource
is helpful for newcomers because it can be used to create your own worksheets that connect to the newcomer rather than using generic sheets that are not relevant to the ELL. This will gives a personal element to the work that is being provided.
Description of Site: Templates for the various times on the clock.
Rationale: This site can be used with beginning language learners to help them learn how to tell time. This resource is helpful for newcomers because it gives them the practice that they need in their daily life.
Description of Site: Graphic organizers
Rationale: This site can be used with beginning language learners to help them learn how to organize their ideas for a certain topic or to expand their vocabulary. This resource is helpful for newcomers because it is simple, not descriptive, and they can expand their ideas without having to write lengthy sentences.
Description of Site: This site is great because it provides resources for both teacher and student. For the teacher there are ample printable lesson plans, handouts, quizzes, articles, forums and so on. And for the students there is an abundant amount of information including useful summaries regarding idioms, phrasal verbs, irregular verbs and so on. English
language forums are also available to students.
Rationale: This site can be used with beginning language learners to help them learn English grammar and practice their writing skills using the forum. The summary of English grammar appealed to me most because sometimes language learners feel overwhelmed with ‘exceptions’ to grammar rules and I’ve noticed that they feel more at ease when they have a comprehensive list. This resource is helpful for newcomers because it provides colloquial expressions, study tips, English learning tips and a forum for ELLs to communicate and share among each other.
Description of Site: This website contains resources for teaching ESL students (from school-age to adults) about subjects such as science and English.
Rationale: This site can be used with beginning language learners to help them learn about science and the English language along with many other topics. The website is complete with printable lessons and worksheets for the students from school-age to adult. The information sheets contain images to help students with their English “labelling” and activities require that the students practice their oral communication skills by retelling. This resource is especially helpful for newcomers because there are many activities which deal with communicating in day to day situations (such as giving directions).