Voices Vol 41 No 2


Favorite Websites

By Marilyn Pongracz

Classtools.net hosts a wide variety of templates for activities for classes or individual students.  Most are either games or organizers that can enhance lessons and aid in learning by making it more visual and fun.  These activities are all free and can be embedded in any blog, wiki, or website.  There are suggested uses for all of them, and some also provide detailed sample lessons.  Samples and suggestions can be searched by the type of activity or by the subject.  With creative guidance from the teacher, most of the activities would be appropriate for ELLs at any level who can read and write.

Fakebook, although similar in appearance and name, is not related to the social networking site.  This tool is for educational purposes only.  Teachers can have students create profile pages for characters in a book or historical figures.  Students can add related “friends” pictures, videos, and comments.  See Romeo Montague.

QRCode.jpgQR Treasure Hunt Generator is a new application that turns questions into QR codes, which when scanned, revert back into text questions.  The suggested activity is that these can be hidden around a room or school, and small groups of students search for them.  The questions could be simple for beginning ELLs to practice asking and answering questions of their classmates, such as, “Who has a big dog?” to a higher level activity like the one in the example on the website of a “History Mystery” research quest.

Arcade Game Generator is good for reviewing concepts or vocabulary in question and answer format.  The teacher can choose to produce flashcards, matching pairs (like the Memory game), Wordshoot (like space invaders), Manic Miner, or CannonBall Fun.

Jigsaw diagram is useful for sorting or matching to either learn vocabulary, create a review, write notes for summarizing, or to brainstorm ideas and then group them by color or by putting the puzzle pieces together.  It could also help students apply concepts such as “The Water Cycle.” Dustbin Game is another application for reviewing concepts that need to be grouped, such as the characteristics of the 13 colonies.  The class or individual students can make their own and then use it to review.  (See the 13 Colonies.)  Post-it aids students in brainstorming and categorizing and also has the option of allowing them to label a picture.  Timeline is a visual tool to guide students to focus on key events in a historical period or a story, with the option of categorizing through color coding, and finalizing the project by choosing a background picture.

Some of the templates have more specific uses such as the Random Name/ Word Pickerto choose students at random to answer questions or to play a game with vocabulary, such as giving definitions of words or word associations.  Fishbone is a graphic organizer for more advanced students. Source Analyzer provides a diagram and hints to help students distinguish between useful and reliable sources and those that are not, and the Burger Diagram is made for outlining a five-paragraph essay.

While not every tool may be useful, the site is well-organized and has a good collection of options for the creative teacher. 

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