Thursday, June 24, 2010

Interactive ELL Practice: Great for Vocab on the Promethean Board!

Learning Chocolate is a wonderful resource for teachers who teach English as a Second Language Learners or any of the primary grades and want to reinforce basic vocabulary. If you have a Promethean board or an ActivSlate in your room, even better. These activites work well on the board AND you do not have to make anything! First, choose a category of basic vocabulary words. I chose "Animals 2" for the example below. Then you have a chance to review the vocabulary words: view a photos of the words, see them written out, and hear them pronounced (click on sound icon).

Then move on to matching. Click and drag the vocabulary word from the bank below and drag it into the box next to the matching photo. The best part?? The site is SELF-CHECKING! Just click the "complete" button and it will mark your work with red Xs or green check marks.

Next, another matching activity appears. But this time you click the sound icon from the bottom of the page, listen to the word, and drag it to the matching picture. Click "complete" to check your work.

Then students have a chance to type in the vocabulary word into the matching field under the photo. Click "complete" to check your work.

Next is the dictation section. Click the sound icon. Listen to the word pronounced. Then type the word into the field. Click "complete" to check your work.

There are many different categories of words on the site for teachers to use immediately in their classes. Don't reinvent the wheel. Check Learning Chocolate first!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Do we need textbooks anymore?

Word Magnets: Great for Promethean Board Vocab Activities!

Word Magnets is a free resource where you can type in words and then move them around the page against different background templates. You can use this idea to create phonics activities, vocabulary and sight word practice, timelines, Venn Diagrams and more! When you get to the home page, click the big arrow at the bottom that says, "Use the resource". On the next screen where it advertises the upgrading to Word Magnets 2, wiggle your mouse and another arrow will appear that says, "Next". Finally, you will arrive at a text box where you can type or paste in a list of words that you want to move around the screen. Then click "next". In the example below, you can see I made a simple sorting activity with long vowel words and short vowel words.

Here I made a sorting activity that would be appropriate for ELL or primary kids learning sight words. If you click on a color before you choose a word, the word will change to that color. Now you can visually differentiate words as well. There are several different template backgrounds to choose from: Venn Diagram, Webs, Timelines, Ordering, etc. Check it out!

Chemistry Education Digital Library

The Chemistry Educational Digital Library is a wonderful resource to Chemistry teachers and students! There are 3 main areas on the site. First, there is a video archive of science videos where you can investigate what you are seeing and why it happens. Practice being a scientist! Then there is an interactive periodic table (see below.) While this is not my favorite interactive table that I have seen online, it's still another resource that may appeal to learners.
Finally, there is an area where you can view animated models of different common molecules.

At the top of the page, click on Collections and Community for additional links and resources.

Related Post: - Perfect for ELL Classrooms

Here is another great resource for ELL or ESL teachers. As anyone might know, conjugating verbs can be difficult when learning languages, especially in the English language. is a website that will conjugate verbs in English for ELL learners. Type in your verb, and press "Conjugate". You will see a screen similar to the one below. Notice the tabs along the top of the screen. You can see the affirmative, negative, interrogative, definition, and examples of the verb.

For the tech geeks out there, you can also embed into your teacher website or blog so you can have this feature built into your site! Cool! Thanks,!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sepia: Comparing Photos of Places from Then and Now

Sepia Town is a website that allows you to compare historical photographs from selected major cities (see below).
Basically, you click on a city. Then you zoom in to see thumbnails of the photographs. Once you choose a photograph, click "Then/Now" button to see a side by side comparison of the present day photo to the historical one. In addition, users can upload their own historical photos to the site. While there are limited cities right now, I would imagine this site would grow over time so check back often.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Quick Translator Helpful for ELL Teachers

Quick Translation is a site that teachers with ELL students will find helpful, I'm sure. Copy and paste (or type) in the words that you want translated and then simply pull down the window to choose what language to auto detect. For example, if you wanted to paste in Spanish text, choose to have the site auto detect "Auto Detect Spanish to English". The site will then translate for you and check it against Google and Microsoft Translator. Two heads are better than one!

Google Maps: Use "Earth View" for 3D Maps

Most people are familiar with Google Earth, but it seems as if the Google team has now integrated Google Earth features into Google Maps. When you click on Google Maps, you now have the option to click on "Earth View" to fly to different 3D maps. Once you click on "Earth View" a random list of 3D places will appear for you to fly to! Here I have flown to Reichstage, Germany. Notice the building is being viewed from the side, and I can see buildings behind it.

Google Maps: Use Street View for a Virtual Tour

Are you on a budget? Can't afford to travel to places with your class? Consider using Street View in Google Maps to virtually explore areas you can't otherwise visit. While this feature is not yet available everywhere, I was surprised to see it offered as many places as it is. Street View allows you to move the little "Google Man" from the compass rose directly onto the map to get a view from street level. Real photographs are strung together to create a "walking tour". Look around the photograph, turn around, walk forward, or walk backward within this view. How do you do this? Navigate to Google Maps. Zoom in to the city of the area that you are interested in. (If you don't zoom in close enough, this won't work.) Click the Google Man and drag him onto the map. If the street you choose is not available in Street View, it will tell you.

If the street is available, you will see a preview of the street above the Google Man's head. Drop him in place! When you are finished, click the little "X" in the upper right hand corner to exit this view.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 All the World's Words - Pronounced! is a great resource for foreign language and ELL teachers. Choose your language. Type in the word you want to hear pronounced, and the site will read it to you. I'm not talking about one of those robotic voices that doesn't sound anything like a human either. has realistic, human voices! Think of how this can be beneficial to ELL students as they try to learn pronunciation!

See and Spell: Practice Vocab or Spelling!

Remember the old See and Say toy from years ago? Now there is a website called Spin and Spell based on the same idea, but this time children practice their vocuabulary or their spelling online! (There is no string or cord to pull to make this work! Ha!)

Basically, you start off by choosing a category of words: animals, transportation, food, clothing, and home. The virtual board will populate with pictures. Students click the picture to make their choice, and then "spell" the word they chose clicking the letters on the see and spell wheel. When they are finished, they can check their work.

If you're students are not ready to spell yet, use it to teach vocabulary! Click the picture, and then instead of spelling it, choose 'Show me the word". The picture will appear with the corresponding vocabulary word.

This is a wonderful site to use with ELL students or primary students, depending on what your focus is. Enjoy!

8 Wonders of the Solar System

I stumbled upon a new site called "8 Wonders of the Solar System". It has breath-taking artwork from artist Ron Miller. and is structured to read like a tour guide if you were to visit these places. Some of the stops on this virtual field trip: the rings of Saturn, Jupiter's Red Spot, Valles Marineris - Mars, Geysers of Enceladus, Geysers of Triton, and a few more for you to discover!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Multiplication Fact Practice on Interactive Whiteboard!

Learn Your Tables is a website from the UK that works well with interactive whiteboards or Promethean ActivSlates. There are 3 different ways to practice multiplication facts: Drag and Drop, Enter the Answer, or Assessment. If you choose Drag and Drop, your screen will populate with multiplication facts on the left and the answers on the right. Use the Promethean board to have students drag and drop the multiplication fact onto the corresponding answer. (See below)

If you choose to "enter the answer", you will presented with one fact at a time, and a keypad in which to enter the answer. This view also works well with the Promethean board. (See below)

Vimeo: Video Hosting Site

As you may have read in an earlier post, I have been piloting with an 8th grade English class. The teacher wanted the students to interview each other as a historical literary character and post the videos to their blogs in Kidblog. However, we were finding that we were quickly tapping out our 100M of space allotted by Kidblog. Even if the site manager increased our space, we still would not be able to host all of the videos on the kidblog platform. At the suggestion of the Kidblog site manager, we decided to try hosting our videos on so that we do not take up our blogging space and we can then embed our videos directly into the post. We were pleasantly surprised to find Vimeo very easy to use. In addition, they grant you 500M of space a week! If you decide to upgrade to a paid account, you can get as much as 5G of space a week. One of the features that appealed to us the most was that the teacher could choose to make the videos private so that only select Vimeo members can view them. Another option was to make the video password protected so a user would have to enter the password in order to view the video. This feature works well with Kidblog since the students have to login to Kidblog to view the student posts anyway, and then they can enter a password to view the embedded video. This helps with keeping the video secure. If you choose to make your video password protected, the embedded video player will no longer have the "share" button enabled so others cannot embed the video into other sites. Very nice!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Safe Student Blogging at

Check this out! I ran across this site through my Twitter account yesterday. Kidblog is a site that looks to be a solution to classroom teachers who want their students to have their own individual blog, but don't want to have to deal with the student email addresses tied to the accounts, especially in elementary and middle schools. It's FREE and it allows teachers to create an account (with an email address), add classes and students. When a student is added, the child has access to their own private blog that is accessible though a username and password assigned by the teacher. No email addresses or private information is needed! The student blogs can be completely locked down so that class members can login and view the posts and comments on them, but the posts will remain hidden to the public. Teachers have the option to approve comments AND posts before they are added to the student blogs. Also, teachers can comment on student blog posts and make it private so that only the author of the post can read it. This is perfect for teachers who want to leave feedback on the writing process directly on the blog! There are more things that this site can do, but these are my favorite features!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Create Jeopardy Games Fast and Easy!

Jeopardy Labs is a website that has an amazing Jeopardy game builder. It was built by Matt Johnson, an undergraduate students at Washington State University. His website allows you to build interactive Jeopardy games without PowerPoint and it is MUCH easier than PowerPoint. You do not even need to create an account in order to build your game. As Matt explains on his website: "When you save your template, you are given a URL to play the template. Something like You are also given a URL to edit the template, something like Just type that into your browser when you want to edit."

Creating a game is super easy. Simply click on a category and type in the word to describe your category. Then click on a question with a point value. You will be given a screen where you can enter the question and the answer. Jeopardy labs puts it together to make it pretty. When you are ready to play the game, you can enter in the points of each team manually into the site before proceeding to the next question. Easy! I don't usually recommend Jeopardy because of the time it takes to create within PowerPoint, but this site takes care of that!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Quickly Post Student Work with!

I was skimming over Larry Ferlazzo's blog when I came across his post mentioning for posting student content online. This immediately grabbed my attention since it is a question I receive a lot from teachers. Here are the highlights of
  1. No registration or account is required. asks you to verify who you are through other popular accounts such as Google, Twitter, Wordpress, etc.
  2. Upload a document and receive an embeddable widget code to embed into your website or blog
  3. The widget allows you to scroll to see the document, zoom in, or see it full screen.
  4. You can choose to add annotations over your document before you create your widget
  5. There are privacy settings: choose whether you want the document to be downloaded, saved, or printed
  6. Finally, has built in analytics! Track to see how many people have viewed, saved, or printed your document and where they are from.

This is definitely a website that educators will find helpful as they build websites!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Children's Audio Books Online

Check out the "Stories" section of the AOL Kid's website! They have famous children's books for kids to listen to online. Each word highlights as the narrator reads the story. They have some of the Arthur book series, famous fairy tales, and rhyming books. This would make a great learning center for teachers who still have a computer station in their classrooms. Plug in a headset, listen to the story, and complete a follow-up activity.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Ruler, a Protractor, and a Compass, Oh My!

I found s great interactive ruler, protractor, and compass online the other day. The site appears to come from the UK, and has basic tools that would work well on the Promethean board. Click the Compass tool, adjust the size, and draw a circle on the screen. Click the Protractor to measure angles, and the Ruler to measure lines. Use Pencil tool will let you draw straight lines on the workspace while the pen will let you write free form. I like that the ruler actually portrays the 1/2 line accurately. As Promethean users might already know, these tools are also located within ActivInspire, but many teachers have issues with the way the ruler looks in Inspire. It is not the same ruler they expect kids to use in math class, but the ruler on this site provides a good alternative.