Posts Tagged 'ESL'

WebQuests: Take your students to far off lands with the click of a few buttons

WebQuests are a wonderful way to build your students’ critical background knowledge, reading and technology literacy skills. As stated by Wikipedia, “A WebQuest is a learning activity used by educators. During this activity learners read, analyze, and synthesize information using the World Wide Web”.

To learn more about finding, creating and sharing WebQuests, I highly recommend that you visit If you are interested in the research that supports using WebQuests in the classroom, click here.

Using the “Find a WebQuest” feature on, I found these WebQuests about my favorite topics:

If you find other WebQuests of note, please feel free to share them here!

Happy Questing!


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Web English Teacher… More Great Teaching Resources!

This post is a big shout out to Carla Beard, founder of Web English Teacher. I almost fell out of my desk chair with excitement when I happened upon this site two days ago! What a resource! Carla explains:

When I started teaching in 1975, “cutting-edge technology” in the classroom meant opaque projectors, 8-millimeter loop movies, and ditto masters in green and red as well as purple. Today it includes wireless networks, streaming media, white boards, and e-books. Fortunately, it also includes the Internet and its most popular component, the World Wide Web.

In the spring of 2000, my student teacher spent hours online trying to find information and ideas to help her in the classroom. “Someone,” I thought, “should put ideas teachers can use in one place online. It would save a lot of time searching.”

That June, “someone” became me.

At Web English Teacher educators can take advantage of online technology to share ideas and to benefit from the work of others. Beginning teachers can find guidance; experienced teachers can find inspiration. Think of it as the faculty library and faculty workroom on a global scale.

Because the most important part of teaching isn’t the technology.

This week Carla has shared a number of ideas on “Book Reports in a Digital Age.” For example:

  • Take a look at the link a Bookish Proposal, where students and teachers make plans to sell books in uncommon venues.
  • Trying to motivate reluctant or striving readers? Why not work with your students to create Digital Book Trailers?
  • I’m a huge fan of Twitter and I suspect your students are too! How about having your students do a Twitter Book Report?

Book reports aside, Carla’s Children’s Literature Resource Page is not to be missed. Her ENL/ESL Page is abundant with resources as well.

Thanks Carla!


P.S. For you Twitter fans, feel free to say hello to me here, I also sometimes tweet here. I’d love to follow you as well!

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Livemocha: Free online language courses

Learning to speak, read and write in Japan was a humbling experience! As an English and literacy teacher during the day, I had the luxury of speaking my native language, but the second I stepped out of school, my language (and charades) skills were instantly put to the test. I remember writing an email to my father early on during my experience abroad stating, “I feel like I’ve lost one of my vital senses. I am surrounded by symbols and have no clue what they mean.”

Looking back on my time in Japan, I am so thankful for the experience it provided me of having to learn a new language. I am also eternally grateful for the patience my Japanese teachers afforded me as I hacked through short passages written in hiragana, katakana and kanji. Now, when I watch a young child learn to read letters and symbols for the first time, I have a whole new appreciation for the seemingly difficult, yet ultimately rewarding challenges involved in this complex task.

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try learning a second language? Or, perhaps you want to remember what it feels like to learn how to read again? Today, I discovered a free website that allows you to do just that!

Livemocha is a website that contains free courses in Spanish, German, English, Hindi, French and Mandarin! Check it out and remember what it is like to learn how to read again!


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