Showing posts with label english lessons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label english lessons. Show all posts

Friday, December 11, 2015

CommonLit - Search for Thematic Discussion Questions Paired With Interesting Texts

Almost one year ago I wrote about a new organization called CommonLit that was developing a database of short fiction and nonfiction texts paired with discussion questions. At the time you could only find texts by browsing through the database. Now you can actually search through CommonLit on their search page. Enter a word or term on the search page to find texts with paired questions related to your term. You can then filter your results by grade level, theme, and genre.

The discussion questions on CommonLit aren't your typical "how does the author use foreshadowing?" kind of questions. Rather the discussion questions deal with larger themes like "how do we define the roles of men and women?" and "why do people follow the crowd?"

Applications for Education
Commonlit's thematic questions could be quite helpful in getting students interested in reading. I've always found that if I can get students engrossed in a conversation around a big question, I then have a much easier time getting them to read materials related to the conversation. My students tend to want to read so that they can find more ideas to bring into their arguments in the classroom conversation.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Collaboratively Create Multimedia Books on Widbook

This month Widbook became a financial supporter of Free Technology for Teachers. I've written about the service before, but as a service to them and to readers who haven't seen it before like to highlight some of Widbook's features again.

Widbook is a platform designed to help people collaboratively create multimedia books. The service is part multimedia book authoring tool and part social network. Mashable called it "the YouTube of books." On Widbook you can create a digital book that contains text, images, and videos. Widbook is collaborative because you can invite others to make contributions to your books. To use Widbook you have to create a profile on the service. The books that you create become a part of your profile. If you allow it, other Widbook users can add content and or comments to your books. Likewise, you can search for others' books and make contributions to their books.

Widbook - Write, read and share! from Widbook on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
Widbook could be used by a class of students to collaborate on a creative writing project in a kind of "fan fiction" style. You could also use Widbook to create multimedia reference books for your students. Or have your students create their own multimedia reference books. Another possible use for Widbook is to have students create digital portfolios of their best multimedia works.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

ESOL Courses - Free Online English Lesson Activities

ESOL Courses is a good source of free online activities for English language learners. ESOL Courses provides activities for everyone from beginners just learning the alphabet to advanced students preparing to speak in English at a job interview. In all there are fifteen categories of learning activities and each category has half a dozen or more activities. The activities range from simple matching exercises to listening comprehension activities. In fact, there is an entire category devoted just to listening comprehension.
Applications for Education
I don't think that the activities on ESOL Courses should replace direct instruction from a teacher. That said, these activities could be good to use as supplemental practice activities. Most activities provide some type of instant feedback to students.

I learned about ESOL Courses on Twitter from its creator Sue Lyon-Jones.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010 Conjugates any Verb

Conjugating verbs can be a challenge for people learning the English language. aims to help those people learning English. Type a verb into the engine generates a list of ways that verb can be conjugated. also provides examples of your chosen verb being used in a sentence. provides a widget that you can embed into your blog or website for visitors to use. To install the widget click the on your site link, copy the code provided, and paste it into your blog's template.

Applications for Education could be useful for ESL/ELL students as well as native speakers of English who struggle with verb conjugation. If you have students contributing to a group blog, the widget could be a good asset to add to the group blog.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Collaborate on Translations in Translator Toolkit
Three Good Resources for ESL/ELL Teachers
Pronunciation Animations