I’m always on the look-out for usable web resources, preferably free, that can be used during the school year to enhance ELL/ESL instruction. So, whether you are planning for the next school year, or are currently in the middle of summer school, here is a short list of nifty links that may be just what you were looking for. Most of these connect to genres such as folktales, fables, and myth. There is research to suggest that tales from various cultures, such as fables and creation stories, help ELLs connect with their own and others’ cultures more readily, making language learning more accessible.
Blogs and Writing:
Kids Across the World: A really great site for multicultural awareness education and writing ideas. The photography is beautiful, and a great way to connect students to other cultures (perhaps even their own)! Find it here.
Want to build a class webpage for you and your students, to do some blogging, safely and for free? Try edublogs. Same creators of WordPress (Provided by WPMU DEV). You do of course have the option to upgrade later.
I have used BBC Learning before, but have never come across this tool until today: Recordings that can be listened to of Aesop’s Fables, along with downloadable transcripts for students to follow along, along with teacher’s notes and lesson suggestions. There are podcasts, too. Click on “Aesop’s” to check it out.
Another resource that is fun, but may be better for older children and teens, is The Big Myth . These are streaming stories and myths from various continents around the world, which you can click on and listen to before beginning a unit on myths, or during a lesson.What really makes this tool awesome are the teaching resources and suggestions for cooperative learning on the Teachers’ Section tab. Click here for a printable .pdf for collaborative learning practices for use on The Big Myth. Be advised, some of the tales can be a bit “graphic”, so please be sure to review them prior to use in the classroom!
Video/Digital Storytelling Links:
Resources and commentary from Digital Is, from the National Writing Project. Gives great perspectives on educating ELL/ESLs in a digital and assessment-focused society, while encouraging authentic learning opportunities.
Another useful tool, especially for refugee populations just settling in the United States, is Videos for Learning About Refugee Youth. A New Day and Be Yourself are short videos that focus on refugee families and youth issues. Both videos are available for online viewing in English, Farsi, Nepali, and Somali. See more here (click).
As I come across more tools to assist you and support ESL instruction, I will add to this article, and update readers during the summer months. If you, the reader, locate anything you’d like to share, feel free to put a link in the “comments” section, and I will credit it back to you, or your blog!
In the meantime, have a super cool summer, wherever you are.