I always love experimenting with new ideas and that’s why I get so easily excited when it comes to trying out new tools/sites/activities etc. As as result, my bookmarks are always filled with sites which I save for later use and which I use passionately for a while, then forget about and then rediscover. I always make an effort to tidy up and organize my digital folders during or soon after the Christmas break and I love the thrill I feel (and the aha moments that accompany it) when I’m reminded of tools I’ve used and have forgotten about. Here’s Part 1 of these latest rediscoveries:
- Flippity: Love all their templates and activities, but the one I rediscovered and remembered I had used the most for a while is their Randomizer which is amazing for story writing, controlled and freer grammar practice and extended Speaking practice.
- Oxplore: Similar to Wonderopolis which is perfect for younger learners, Oxplore is ideal if you want to hone higher-level students’ critical thinking skills and introduce them to Big Questions on a wide range of topics. Each topic is followed by mini quizzes /additional questions, presentation of the arguments for/against each question, videos and additional resources to explore for each question. There’s also a Teachers’ Resource section with useful printables and guides.
- Tate Kids: I’d saved the site for their Tate Paint Game which is great to teach facial features and colours, but there are lots of other amazing quizzes and games available as well.
- Tell Me Your Story: I only used this storytelling app twice, but it’s amazing for storytelling sessions, especially if you love using story dice in your writing classes. It has four levels to choose from and a timer which makes it ideal for Speaking practice as well.
- FunBrain: I used it for its “Diary of the Wimpy Kid” links in the Reading section of the site, but I’d like to explore its games and educational resources more, particularly its quiz-based games as they have lots of interesting topic-based vocabulary.
- Visuwords: One of my favourite online dictionaries which I’ve used a lot (but not as much as I’d like to this year). It’s an online visual dictionary and thesaurus which presents words, their meanings as well as their synonyms/ antonyms and collocates as a diagram of interrelated concepts, similar to what its creators call “a neural network”. It’s an amazing tool, especially for higher-level learners who often struggle to see how the use of near synonymous words differentiates based on context.
- Readable: Not a site, but an app which I have yet to explore fully. It was actually suggested to me by one of my students and it’s a great Reading tool that offers lots of different types of stories and news articles grouped by level along with audio and incorporated vocabulary quizzes.
- Plot Generator: Possibly the one I’ve used the most, it’s a treasure trove of a generator for story writing as well as vocabulary building and making learners more aware of different parts of speech and their function. I love using it, especially with the short blurbs, by asking learners to experiment with the texts created by the generator by altering the beginning or end, finding synonyms for several of the words in the text or changing the genre of the story (turning it from a horror story to a fairy tale one etc.). I also like the Comments section following each generated blurb which can make students more aware of comments commonly found in reviews.
Not checked yet, but looks promising: Smash Boom Best: A podcast for kids which is mainly a debate show in which two popular items/concepts/ideas are compared and listeners are asked to vote on the one they like best.