Student Tools

Homework Help
If students have homework problems, need some quick facts, or are desperate for some insightful information on a country that they have never heard of, then you might want to share this site with them.

Here they can find country listings, all kinds of data covering such areas as wealth, education, mortality, population, etc.  With such data, students can create all sorts of graphs that will lead easily into analysis questions which in turn lead to essays!

Students can also impress their teachers by taking online quizzes and having the results emailed to their teachers.

The student tools offered here are excellent tools.  Students will need guidance in using them though.  I highly recommend Google Docs.  I use it to have students do collaborative writing assignments and kids love it.

Reverse Dictionary
OneLook’s reverse dictionary lets a student describe a concept and get back a list of words and phrases related to that concept. Your description can be a few words, a sentence, a question, or even just a single word. Just type it into the box above and hit the “Find words” button. Keep it short to get the best results. In most cases you’ll get back a list of related terms with the best matches shown first.  I tried it and was impressed with the assistance this tool provided.  Your ELLs especially will like it since it will give them a clearer idea of what teachers are asking for in assignments.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary
This site just keeps getting better!  You input the word and it will pronounce it for you.  However, 3 more dictionary resources have been added:

  1. WordCentral for Kids »
  2. Learner’s ESL Dictionary »
  3. Visual Dictionary »

Any student, ELL or not, would find this information highly beneficial as they do their homework, reading, or web-surfing.

Information Please
This site offers just what its name says—INFO of all types.  This type of site would be extremely helpful for students who need a little background on a subject before they do a required assignment.  It even includes an encyclopedia!  Students can also take quizzes to see if they understand the material they reviewed.  Incorrect choices are explained.

Typing Games
Do you have students who don’t know how to type very well?  If yes, this is a site you need to send them to so they can increase their speed and accuracy.  I give my students typing practice for the last five minutes of their computer lab time.  There are many free typing sites on the internet, but this one is a favorite of my students.  In fact, they enthusiastically recommended it!

Beginners studying English will love this site. They will be able to use different tools to explore the language that include flashcards, fill-in-the-blanks, word scramble, stinky spelling, and straight recall.  When ELLs are exposed to new words in a variety of scenarios, they are more likely to remember them.  Foreign language teachers might like this site also since French, German, Italian, and Spanish are represented there as well.  With Back-to-School Night coming up, this might be a good site to share with the parents of your beginners.

Phonics Site
This is a phonics site run by the BBC.  Though aimed at young children, I intend to use it with my high school students with major gaps in formal education.  The activities are fun and are not over repetitive.  Such a site would give my weaker students “computer work” along with the other students.  The only difference would be in the complexity of the website.  It is a win-win for everyone.

Do you have students who want to hear more English?  Then give them this one to hear native speakers talk about every day topics.  The written script is available if the student doesn’t exactly understand what he is hearing.  Students can also quiz themselves to see if they understood the bulk of the conversation.

Interactive Math Site
This interactive math site covers algebra, discrete, geometry, modeling, number and operations, probability, statistics, and other.  For students who struggle with math, there are many fun activities which may help clarify key concepts.  There are many assessments that could help prepare students for examinations.  Again, as with everything in this newsletter and on our site, it is free!

Stop watch for Timed Activities
Need a stop watch for timed class activities?  Look no more!  Here it is for FREE!  The directions are easy to follow and the alarm (signaling “time’s up”) is loud enough to grab everyone’s attention. Grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 will benefit from this site.

Ivy’s Search Engine for Kids
Kids search engine links, guides to searching the web for kids and specialized searches on selected topics.

Yahoo Kids
With a brightly colored, heavily graphic page, this revised version of Yahooligans allows kids to search for school work, family things (like e-cards for Mother’s and Father’s Days) or just for the fun of it.

Web search for kids by librarians, featuring over 600 topics indexed alphabetically or by categories. The alternate view shows the world of information as organized by the Dewey Decimal System.