Thursday, January 31, 2008

5 Must-Have Tools on your ESL Class Blog!

Blogs are wonderful free tools teachers can design to meet the needs of their particula syllabus, curriculum, students' learning styles and personal teaching philosophies. My students like our ESL class blog because it incorporates a variety of tools they are using EVERY day in and outside class. This is a list of 5 "must-have" tools I put together and recommend to any ESL teacher who wants to use blogs as a tool rather than as a simply instructional media:
1. Online Dictionaries
(with visual and audio/pronunciation features, also with ESL learner features)
Merriam-Webster online dictionary, http://www.m-w.com/ , VisuWords, http://www.visuwords.com/ and Thefreedictionary: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/lookup.htm

2. Grammar Girl: wonderful free podcasts for anyone interested in improving writing skills in English:
http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/default.aspx
3. Online Essay Map: great tool for students who can not organise ideas in paragraphs or don't know how to write a topic sentence:
http://www.readwritethink.org/student_mat/student_material.asp?id=63
4. Free online Puzzle and crossword makers, great fun tools to improve students' spelling and vocabulary: http://www.puzzlemaker.com/ (a Web-based service, with a variety of puzzles to choose from (Letter Tiles, Crosswords, Fallen Phrases).
Kelly's Multiple Choice HTML Quiz Generator, http://a4esl.org/q/h/help/write-mc.html (which may be used to generate interactive self-study quizzes, where the sample questions are replaced with one's own.).
5. Media Sharing Tools:
Slideshare - the world's largest community for sharing power point presentations on the web
http://www.slideshare.net/
TeacherTube – an online community for sharing instructional videos
http://www.teachertube.com/
Just demonstrate the students how to use them and then they will take over the classroom! How about your list of must-have blogging tools for teachers and students?

7 comments:

Carla Raguseo said...

Wow Daniela!

We posted our b4echallanges at the same time. I found you through Technorati. ;)

Thanks for sharing this great tools with us. I decided to blog about 5 things participants don't know about me.

Anyway the challenge is on! Let's spread the word. :)

Hugs,
Carla R.

joseantoniook said...

Hi Daniela,
What a nice blog. I love this Frank Sinatra song. My 5 must have tools. 1.slideshow apllication 2. Podcasting application. 3. An online dictionary. 4. a tagging application 4. a clock widget 5. Rss feed.
I gues that is it. I might change my mind later, but the ones I listed are really important.
Thanks for creating this post and sharing with us.
Jose Antonio

Angela said...

Hello Danila,

As I am new at this blogging thing, I don't know what the best tools are. However, I must thank you a lot for posting your ideas. I'll sure be using them when I create a blog for my students.
Thanks a lot.
hugs,

Angela

Mary Ziller said...

Wow what an impressive example of what a blog can mean in education. I am following your example.

webgina said...

WOW... I've added you to my blogroll ... for inspiration! i'm still getting my feet wet in the blogosphere and love what you have done!
Gina
http://webgina.edublogs.org/

marydimonaco said...

Wow Daniela! Very thorough list. You've given me lots of ideas. I particularly like teachertube.
Anyway, now that at BaW we're experimenting with voice tools, I'd add voicethreads and chinswing to your list.
Congratulations and thanks for the ideas!

Dennis said...

Salut, Daniela.

Wow! You've been busy! Very impressive work!

Your strategies for moving from teacher-directed to participative use of online tools are methodologically sound, and the high level of energy in your spoken comments suggests that your classes are constantly moving and never dull. How fortunate your students are!

Here are two additional resources you might want to consider:

OneLook Dictionary Search

I like the above because it includes specialized dictionaries (for idioms and phrasal verbs, for example) in addition to "classic" dictionaries (M-W, American Heritage, Oxford, etc.), both for advanced and less-than-advanced students.

The late Dr. Charles Darling's Guide to Grammar and Writing

I find the grammatical information very useful here, and I also think the multi-tiered approach to developing writing skills (word & sentence level, paragraph level, essay & research paper level) and the variety of support materials are outstanding.

What you've created is a great source of ideas for anyone who's interested in online TESL. Thank you!

I say again that your students are fortunate indeed. Kudos and best wishes!

Dennis in Phoenix