Some great maps to use with English language learners

A key component to increasing communication in the language classroom is using content that students want to talk about. Given the global nature of ESL classrooms, these maps are great tools for facilitating discussion:

The Best Job Markets for College Grads Now

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 Where are the hardest places to live in the US?

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The World of 7 Billion: Where and How We Live

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40 Maps they didn’t teach you in school

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Like these? Check out more on my Pinterest Board.

A Twitter worksheet for engaging language practice

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 10.13.49 AMClassroom activities using social media platforms engage today’s tech savvy students. I use this Twitter worksheet in class as a tool to help students practice the language we’ve been practicing in class. I’ve intentionally left this copy blank so that it can be used in an language classroom.

I just recently used this worksheet as a follow-up activity to the Pixar short La Luna and had students write tweets from the people in the boat. They were really creative and had a lot of fun with it!

A few instructions to accompany the worksheet:

  • Students draw profile pictures in the boxes of the people delivering each tweet
  • Students write short sentences (<140 characters) summarizing a reading or other topic studied in class.
  • Students include a hashtag related to the tweet.

Click here to download a full sized version: Twitter WS

Enjoyed this activity? Click here for more social media worksheets.

 

Beyond Rosetta Stone: Online websites for language learning

While Rosetta Stone holds the biggest market share and name recognition, I’ve never enjoyed using it.  I actually find it a bit boring to tell the truth.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I located a whole bunch of other great programs out there!  There’s no reason to pay hundreds of dollars for Rosetta Stone when there are programs of higher quality available for free (or at least much less!).

Here are a few of my favorites:

Mango Languages

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Mango is often available free through your public library (you can check if your library has it here) and offers courses in ESL and 15 other languages.

LiveMocha

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Livemocha is an interactive language learning site that rewards users helping each other in the language learning process.  Rosetta Stone owns LiveMocha, and this site shares a lot of similar features to Rosetta Stone’s software.  It’s free, and is available in 8 languages.

USA Learns (for English only)

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USA Learns is a government supported site designed specifically for adult English language learners.  It includes a full curriculum for students to work through.  Since it doesn’t start with the very basics, students should have know English in order to use this program.

Memrise

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Memrise offers courses in a wide variety of languages as well as subjects like arts, maths, and geography.  It’s very easy to navigate and uses a points system that gives users access to exercises.

If you’re looking for language learning program, be sure to check out this article reviewing language learning software as well.  (It ranks Rosetta Stone as #9!)

Online dictionaries for language learning

While dictionaries have always been crucial in the process of language learning, online dictionaries are introducing a whole new world of accesible information!  Complete with forums, idioms, thesauri, and even encyclopedias in a variety of languages, these sites are a one-stop shop!

Here are a couple of my favorite that are particularly useful for English language learners:

The Free Dictionary

My favorite feature of The Free Dictionary is it’s industry specific dictionaries – it has medical, legal, and financial dictionaries.

Word Reference

Don’t let it’s plainness fool you – this is a powerful tool!  With dictionaries in 15 languages, this is great for a multilingual class.  It’s language forums are also very useful in dialogging about word meanings with native speakers.