Voices Vol 41 No 1

Technology

Favorite Websites: Learning Chocolate

By Marilyn Pongracz

L earning Chocolate, a vocabulary learning website, rivals the best picture dictionary software available.  It includes a wide variety of topics and has sound and ample reinforcement exercises as well.  Middle school, high school, and adult learners would benefit the most from this site.

Topics can be accessed by categories at the top of the home page or by alphabetical listing.  However, unlike other such lists, which only give the first letters of each category, the topics are depicted through thumbnail images.  Topics range from the expected basic ones such as animals and rooms in a house to those that may be of special interest to adults such as beef cuts found in a grocery store.  Facial expressions are delightfully animated.  The site also includes more complex vocabulary such as character traits, and although the pictures portray the terms as much as possible, this may not be adequate for students to fully comprehend the word, and they would likely have to use a dictionary. 

Learning Chocolate has alternative language options such as English to Spanish, Mandarin, or Japanese or the reverse, which means that the topics list is in the first language and the activities are in the second.  All of the activities are in English and about a third have the alternative language counterparts.

Activities for each topic of about ten words start with review, so students can view the picture, see the word, and hear it pronounced.  Match up 1 requires students to click on the audio of the words and match each one to its spelling.  For Match up 2, students have to match the words and the pictures.  The third match up is audio and pictures.  For fill in, students have to type each word under its picture, and in dictation they have to type the word they hear.  Feedback on correct and incorrect answers is given at the end of each activity. 

Advertising supports the site, and although there are banner ads on the left of the page, they are appropriate and absolutely no cause for concern if children access the site.  The content and practice afforded by Learning Chocolate make the site a valuable resource for English language learners.

Marilyn Pongracz is the Technology Coordinator for NJTESOL/NJBE and the English Language Resource Center Supervisor at Bergen Community College.