Monday, December 19, 2005

Harvard University/Collaborative Curriculum Design Tool

The CCDT (Collaborative Curriculum Design Tool) is an online tool which suports the production of curricula which foster student learning through the application of the principles of Teaching for Understanding. There are tutorials which cover a single topic such as 'Starting with Designs' and consist of movies containing actual CCDT screen shots.
Using this tool, you can work an a collaborative curriculum with people from across the campus to a across the world. A wonderful tool for learning and curriculum design.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

ABE/GED: Math Skills: SOS Math

Browse our more than 2,500 Math pages filled with short and easy-to-understand explanations - from simplifying fractions to the cubic formula, from the quadratic equation to Fourier series, from the sine function to systems of differential equations - this is the one stop site for your math needs.
You want more? Check out our
CyberExams to prepare for a test, or ask a question on our popular CyberBoard!

Lots of math, presented in lots of ways. I didn't see any Spanish translations, but the actual skills are presented well.

Spanish GED: Practioner's Viewpoint: NCSALL

A discussion on the Spanish GED, problems and ideas for success. This is a site for instructors, and not students, but can help focus your program. Short and well written.

Changing Approaches to Math: A discussion of how to teach math skills to low reading level students and students working towards a GED.

GED/Spanish GED: Videos for Purchase

KET has a series of 43 videos, some print materials and Handy Math Formulas, both in Spanish and English. There are also workbooks that can be purchased.

General: All Curricula: Internet 101

Internet 101 is a simple to read instruction manual for using the Internet. Course areas include:
About The Internet About The Web About Email About Browsers About Viruses About Chatting About File Sharing About Online Shopping About Searching
Great forLiteracy and ESL students, and it offers a good foundation for learning all of the basic concepts of the Internet. This is just enough knowledge to get you started without having to deal with all the details that many courses include.

General ESL/VESL: Online Multilingual Dictionaries

Dictionaries in many languages, and also many disciplines. This is THE site for finding dictionaries and thesauri online. There are also some obscure dicitionaries You never know when you might need:
1,000,000 Scrabble Links (huge 320K HTML file)
The Cliché Finder
Dictionary of Difficult Words (12,700 words in all fields)
A Little Etymology
A Glossary of Place Names of Indian Origin in Florida
Measurement Converters
Read the Bible in 55 Different Languages
Short Word Lists (the Words for 1-10) in 300+ Native American Languages
Spell Web See how popular your spelling is on the Web
Yak-Yak On-line Danish-English-Norwegian-Swedish Word Finder (Spellchecker)
but for other languages, these are good online dictionaries, including:
DICTSEARCH All-in-one Dictionary Search: Bulgarian, Catalan, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish which translate from 69 source languages into 73 target languages.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Adv. ESL/IEI: Great Speeches: Structuring a Great Speech

Stephen E. Lucas is Evjue-Bascom Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 1999, he surveyed his peers to compile a list of the top 100 American speeches of the twentieth century. The list, co-compiled with Prof. Martin Medhurst of Texas A&M University, reflects the opinions of 137 leading scholars of American public address.
Lucas is also the author of The Quotable George Washington and a textbook, The Art of Public Speaking. Here he discusses good speechmaking, and the speaking skills of William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow.
This is good, basic information for students, and can help them organize their thoughts more coherently. For example:
"One basic structure for a speech falls into three parts: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Each part is designed to do something different. You need to have an introduction that gets the audience's attention and lets people know about the importance of the subject, why it's important for them to listen. It makes a first impression. In journalism they call it a "hook": something that's going to pull your audience in to your speech. The introduction should also reveal the speech's topic and give the audience some idea of the main points to be discussed.
The body of the speech is where the speaker develops his or her main points -- the big ideas of the speech. You should probably limit yourself to 4 or 5 main points in a speech, whether it's a 10-minute or a 60-minute speech. That will give you time to develop the points you're making. If you have too many main points, the audience will have trouble sorting them out and you may find that you aren't able to develop them in enough depth to be clear and convincing."

Monday, November 21, 2005

ESL/ABE/GED/IEI: Confusing Words

Confusing Words is a collection of 3210 words that are troublesome to readers and writers. Words are grouped according to the way they are most often confused or misused.
Some of these words are homonyms (words that sound alike but are spelled differently) and some are just commonly confused. There is a search engine to find specific words.

GED: History: A Century of Great African American Speeches
Say it Plain: A Century of Great African American Speeches
(also see review on AELC Constitution Blog
of the speech by Clarence Thomas from this site, posted on 11/22/05)

From Booker T. Washington and Marcus Garvey to Clarence Thomas and Barack Obama, a history of great African American speeches. There is a historical context, the transcript of the speech, and a Real Player rendition of the actual speech.

"The transcripts on this Web site were drawn from the accompanying recordings. In some cases, we were able to start with existing transcripts in the public domain and check them against the recordings. In other instances, we produced the transcripts ourselves with the help of dedicated colleagues.
On some occasions, the available text of a speech differed from the recording. Speakers commonly diverge from their written texts, which are sometimes speeches they give repeatedly, but no one takes the time to document the extemporaneous remarks. Each transcript here has been checked against the recordings by at least two sets of ears. But occasionally, words in some of the recordings can be difficult to hear. We've used our best judgment to make the most faithful transcripts we can."

There is a book available, and also an hour long documentary is available via podcast on site. Sponsored by American RadioWorks and American Public Media. This would be a wonderful tool for Black History Month.

GED/ Others: Geography: National Geographic Lessons and Interactive Museum

Xpeditions is a series of lesson plans by National Geographic on geographical subjects, laid out by grade level. There are also activities, an atlas, and an interesting interactive geographical museum called Xpedition Hall (an interactive “museum” that takes you on geography journeys. Here you’ll climb a mountain, hover over the Earth, speed across Europe, visit an archeological dig, and even order sushi–plus games, animations, and more!). For example, the room titled Human Systems includes Rail Traffic Controller : Traces railroad cargoes and destinations on a rail traffic control board. By tracking imports and exports, visitors can understand how countries become related through mutual dependence on raw materials and finished goods.

This is one of those sites that takes time to explore, and can be used in many ways. ESL students might use some of the Xpedition Hall sites at lower reading levels. ABE students can find reading level appropriate materials as well. GED students might study thind in context by exploring 'Culture Goggles' and seeing one city, Jerusulem, through the eyes of a Christian, a Muslim and a Jew. The videos and graphics are clear and easy to understand, and the reading levels are very helpful. Add your usage ideas to the comments.

GED/Adv. ESL: History/Online Videos

National Geographic and Windows XP present the following video profiles of people and societies who "started something" that had a significant impact on the development of modern civilization. Interesting videos from the Ancient Sumerians to more modern historical figures such as Thomas Edison, Wright Brothers, Marie Curie, and Alexander Graham Bell. Latest version of Windows Media Player and high-speed connection required. Clear pronunciation and easy to understand language within context. Can be used for Advanced ESL students for listening practice.

Hearing Impaired: US Department of Education site
The mission of the Captioned Media Program (CMP) is to provide all persons who are deaf or hard of hearing awareness of and equal access to communication and learning through the use of captioned educational media and supportive collateral materials. The CMP also acts as a captioning information and training center. The ultimate goal of the CMP is to permit media to be an integral part in the lifelong learning process for all stakeholders in the deaf and hard of hearing community: adults, students, parents, and educators.

The CMP provides a free-loan media program of over 4,000 open-captioned titles (videos, CD-ROM, and DVD). Deaf and hard of hearing persons, teachers, parents, and others may borrow materials. There are no rental, registration, or postage fees. Several hundred titles are also streamed on the CMP web site.

You will need to register with the site and verify that you have students who qualify for the program. There is a titles list on the site, and the service, including postage for mailing the captioned videos, CD's and DVD's to your program, is provided free of charge by the Department of Education. There are also some titles and information for Spanish speakers.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Commentary: Sotir

There have been a lot of articles recently on the issue of connecting with the current generation of students. Whether you call them 'Digital Natives' or 'NextGen Students' or 'Millennial Students', these students form the fabric of future educational needs. They are used to multi-tasking, multi-media and multi-sensory approaches to learning. Because technology is pervasive, this style of learning, while championed by the young, is applicable to all ages. Seniors as well as teens use cell phones, text messaging, instant messaging and chat rooms, with varying degrees of proficiency. Ours is a media driven society that functions on instantaneous information. If you want to know how long a trip will be, message signs over highways let you know the approximate times to various end points. GPS systems guide you to the destination. Web-enabled cell phones can give you the current weather conditions and warnings.

As an academic institution, we need to embrace these societal changes and carry them into the classroom. Interconnectivity and communication tools are important to students as well as instructors. Students need to not only have information, but they need to know where additional information can be sought. While most institutions boast a website, the best of them have interactive sites that not only give general information but act as portals to other sources of information and learning opportunities. We have become a society of gatherers who 'Google' information when it is needed. It is imperative that we develop the tools our students need to learn. We should not limit our instructional methodologies to those that were effective in the past, but rather explore how new developments can be used in conjunction with the old to enhance the educational environment. Change should be the only constant.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Commentary: Sotir: What is VESL?

VESL stands for Vocational English as a Second Language. As the workplace diversity increase, so does the need to improve the ability of workers to communicate in English. Whether it is English training on the job site, or sponsoring a workers' educational program offsite, many companies are realizing the need to expand the skill base of their employees. VESL courses use similar lessons to a regular ESL class, but substitute work-based vocabulary and examples, or emphasize the skills necessary to complete certain job related activities (an example would be using math skills for estimation of amount of paint needed to paint a room). On this blog, a 'VESL' indication shows websites that address learning in this format.

ABE/GED: Science First Science. com
Interesting science articles, videos, photos (from sources such as Hubble), science games and quizzes. Also a fact file and science links for even more information. There are also 22 interesting web cams that can be viewed from this site.

GED: Science and Math Science World and Math World: Eric Weisstein

A huge site with a lot to explore, but specifically for advanced GED students . There are sections on Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, as well as a section on Math from Algebra and higher. Would be too complicated for any but your best students who want more to explore.

Basic Math Areas:
Axioms (39)
Category Theory (47)
Logic (6)
Mathematical Problems (5)
Set Theory (11)
Theorem Proving (2)
Point-Set Topology@

ABE/GED/VESL: Algebra: Translating Word Problems Translating Word Problems: Purple Math

One of the most difficult skills for students is translating word problems into the correct formulas. This is a good site to walk them through the process.

ABE,GED: Introduction to Algebra Introduction to Algebra:

Variables Expressions Equations Solution of an equation Simplifying equations Combining like terms Simplifying with addition and subtraction Simplifying by multiplication Simplifying by division Word problems as equations Sequences

ABE/GED: Everyday Math everyday Math,

Numbers, Ratios and Proportions, Factoring, all with unit quizzes, and also some calculators for:
Everyday Calculators · 5 functions · Basic · Air Distance · Driving Distance · File Download · Miles-Per-Gallon · Percent · Taxes · Payment · Mortgage

VESL/ABE/GED: Construction Math Math to Build On, Construction Math: A good review for students in the construction industry, or those looking for jobs in that field.

ABE/GED: Geometry Geometry Flashcards...these are basic, but would be a good review or start up point for geometry study.

GED: Algebra Practical Algebra Lessons from Purple Math: Basic, Intermediate, Advanced and Word Problems are all a part of this website.

ABE/GED/ESL/Literacy: Daily Math Skills Recipes, home decor, money facts...these are some of the daily math skills taught on these pages.

ABE/GED: Math: Roman Numerals A quick guide to Roman Numerals.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Business: Advanced Students International Business Culture, Business Etiquette, Customs and Protocol

Over 60 countries are represented on this site, with factual information on business culture and etiquette from each. This is a highly advanced course of study, but would be useful in an Intensive English program or high level ESL/VESL program.
There is also a section where you can post questions to the experts on intercultural business, share your experiences, or post comments on the site.



Try the above sites for resume writing.

ABE/GED/ESL/VESL: TV 411: Tune in to Learning

"Welcome to TV411, the television series for adults who want to strengthen their literacy skills. Attention teachers! Check out the new THINK MATH dvd, a free multimedia teaching tool that explores core mathematical concepts, such as fractions, percents and ratios."

One of the best features of this site is the Math Lessons in Spanish section.( There is also a Writing section that includes such things as
Filling Out a Job Application Grammar and Punctuation How to Write a Business E-mail Preparing to Get a Job Writing a Complaint Letter Writing a Cover Letter that would be very useful for those in vocational classes.
The Reading section includes: Comprehending Business Problems Finding Faulty Logic Parts of a Newspaper Reading Charts and Graphs Reading Maps Reading the Fine Print Scanning for Specifics Strategies for Better Reading Structure of a News Story Summarizing Using Context Clues
The Vocabulary section is also quite useful, and includes a great interactive area called Check Out the Buzzword to really understand a word in a relational context. This section also includes:
Contract Language Dictionary Entries Finding New Ways to Say Something Personal Dictionary Prefixes Say Plenty Roots and Their Families, Part 1 Roots and Their Families, Part 2 Suffixes Understanding Business Jargon What Makes a Compound Word? Words with Multiple Meanings
Highly recommended site.

VESL: English for All English for All

This is a multimedia site that requires several plugins, but they are provided. You can register as a student or teacher, or just preview the site as a visitor. The site is free, and well done, and can be quite useful for any student who wants a more vocational approach to their English. For example, on Vocabulary Activity, students can listen to a word, and click on the word they hear. They can then submit their answers and find out both the score and the words they chose incorrectly. There is comprehension and grammar, and videos are clear and well done. A text of the video can also be viewed for additional reinforcement of language skills. At the end of each chapter, a test is available for students to gain a more comprehensive understanding of their new skills.

General: Google Public-Domain Books

From Mac Central, 11/03

"Google Inc. on Thursday said it has added more public-domain books to its Google Print service. The books come from libraries at the University of Michigan, Harvard University, Stanford University and the New York Public Library and can be viewed in their entirety in the Google database.
Previously, Google Print users could find public-domain books and view their entire contents but Google calls Thursday's announcement the first significant addition of public-domain books, according to a company statement. Google isn't revealing how many new books are added but said that for example, U.S. Civil War history books, government documents and works by Henry James are now available. Public-domain books either were never covered by copyright or are no longer protected by copyright."

This joins other online book projects such as ( which has over 16,000 texts available from Da Vinci to Shakespeare to Nietzsche. Most are 'plain vanilla' (no artwork) but the texts, though uploaded by volunteers, remain accurate to the original.
Others, such as the British Classic Literature Library ( include texts from Dickens to Twain, and recipe books, self help books and even the King James Bible. Having just read Doris Kearns Goodwin's new book on Abraham Lincoln (Team of Rivals : The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln), I was interested in reading the biography of Lincoln. Some of his speeches and writings are also included.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Word of the Day

A new feature of this blog is 'Word of the Day'. Check it out at the bottom of this page and challenge your students...and yourself!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Reference Tools

Reference Tools -----Excellent Resources

REFDESK - In a library, if you don't know where to look for a reference book, you go to the Reference Librarian. On the Internet, if you don't know where to look for answers, you go to At first glance, the sheer amount of useful links on the Refdesk home page can be overwhelming. But it's really quite well organized and useful.

Don't overlook the drop down menus and search tools. For example, if you want to access a particular ISP (Internet Service Provider), you can do so from this site. There are words of wisdom and thoughts of the day, but there is also access to all the major US news outlets. Items of widespread concern, including things like gas prices, are listed individually, so you can easily reference them. Do you need a Dictionary/Thesaurus, Computing Dictionary, Medical Dictionary, Legal Dictionary, Financial Dictionary Acronyms, Wikipedia Encyclopedia, or Columbia Encyclopedia? Access them from this site. Do you need a Style and Writing Guide or help with Grammar and Punctuation? The REFDESK can help you.

You can access current events, a real time airport monitor at LAX, a Facts Encyclopedia or a Recipe Resource. College Rankings, Hospital Rankings, statistics on how many homes have computers by state, and even a text to speech tool (you type in the text, and it is read to you...wonderful for ESL students working on pronunciation.) As a matter of fact, the sheer number of facts and information that you can reference from this one site is truly and utterly amazing. Check it out, and mark it as one of your favorites.
RefDesk -

LIBRARY SPOT - Convenient links to popular online Almanacs, Calculators, Dictionaries, Directories, Encyclopedias, Historic Documents, Quotations, Statistics, and Thesauri. LibrarySpot -

Monday, October 17, 2005

GED +: Physics

Two interesting sites to review physics.


interactive journey through modern physics! Have fun learning visually and conceptually about 20th Century science and high-tech devices.

General: Health: Trust for AMERICA’S HEALTH

From anthrax to asthma, from chemical terrorism to cancer, America
is facing a crisis of epidemics. As a nation, we are stuck in a
"disease du jour" mentality, which means we lose sight of the bigger
picture: building a public health defense that is strong enough to
cover us from all points of attack – whether the threats are from a
bioterrorist or Mother Nature. By focusing on PREVENTION, PROTECTION,
and COMMUNITIES, TFAH is leading the fight to make disease prevention
a national priority, from Capitol Hill to Main Street.

General: Librarian's Internet Index Interesting site created by librarians to help navigate the Web. See their blurb on the site:
" Librarians' Internet Index (LII) is a publicly-funded website and weekly newsletter serving California, Washington state, the nation, and the world.
Every Thursday morning we send out our free newsletter, New This Week, which features dozens of high-quality websites carefully selected, described, and organized by our team of librarians. Topics include current events and issues, holidays and seasons, helpful tools for information users, human interest, and more.
You can subscribe to our newsletter by email or RSS, or read us on the Web. You can also search and browse our website for the best of the Web. We have tens of thousands of entries, also maintained by our librarians, and organized into 14 main topics and nearly 300 related topics."

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Commentary: Sotir: Just When You Thought...

The one thing I know about technology is that it can always surprise me. Today I was reading Edutopia ( Yes, this mag is produced by the George Lucas Educational Foundation, but this is not some science fiction blockbuster. These are real, though sometimes not yet available, products for learning. The new products include one that is wonderful and another that is simply amazing, and that I can't wait to try. The wonderful one is something I think students have forgotten about, but hopefully will rediscover.

Visual Thesaurus ( is $29.95 for a desktop edition (Hybrid PC/Mac CD), or $19.95 a year or $2.95 a month online. It's animated and truly seems to make language come alive. Type in a word and a host of related terms pop up on the screen. There is a visual trail to follow, uncovering dozens of linguistic links. A trial version on the website is available where you can input any word and see how the program works. I was absolutely fascinated seeing the word develop beyond the uses normally associated with it. For example, I typed in 'fantastic' and was immediately shown an array of words from 'phenomenal' to 'wondrous'. It will pronounce the base word, and you can click on any of the words to make it the base word as well. There are definitions and uses included. It is 'marvelous' tremendous' and 'extravagantly fanciful', but hardly 'foolish'. Perhaps it can even excite children (and adults) to expand their use of language again.

My choice for 'simply amazing' is the Fly Pentop Computer ( Go to this site and you can try it out for yourself. It's about $100 but that buys a lot of wow for your money. It's a combination of pen and...paper. So how is this a computer? By giving audio feedback as you write and draw on special Flypaper, of course. For example, you can draw a calculator, touch the handwritten digits and functions with the device to perform an operation, and then hear the answers announced. Or draw drums or a piano keyboard and record your own tunes. You can even add Flyware cartridges to add games and adventures. What kid isn't going to want one of these (and Santa...if you're reading least one adult would like this in her Christmas stocking too...) This is way too much fun for just kids!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

All Levels: Basic Search Engines

Searches are always difficult for students new to computers. Besides Ask Jeeves ( )here's another fast facts search engine: It's fast and intuitive, and easy enough for novices to use.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Very Humbling

Remember when our grandparents, great-grandparents, and such stated thatthey only had an 8th grade education?Well, check this out.
- - -Couldany of us have passed the 8th grade in 1895? This is the eighth-grade finalexam from 1895 in Salina, KS, USA. It was taken from the original documenton file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina,KS, and reprinted by the Salina Journal.

Grammar (Time, one hour)
1. Give nine rules for the use of Capital Letters.
2. Name the Parts of Speech and define those that have no Modifications.
3. Define Verse, Stanza and Paragraph.
4. What are the Principal Parts of a verb? Give Principal Parts of lie, lay and run.
5. Define Case, Illustrate each Case.
6. What is Punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of Punctuation.
7. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.
Arithmetic (Time, 1.25 hours)
1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2.A wagon box is 2 ft deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushelsof wheat will it hold?3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is itworth at 50cts/bushel, deducting 1050lbs. for tare?
4. District No. 33has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a schoolseven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
5. Find cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20 per meter?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distancearound which is 640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.
U. S. History (Time, 45 minutes)
1. Give the epochs into which U. S. History is divided.
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, 1865.
Orthography (Time, one hour)
1. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication?
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: Trigraph, sub vocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals?
4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u'.
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions under each rule.
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
7. Define the following prefixes and use in connect! ion with a word: bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup
8.Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name thesign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood,fare, last.
9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane,fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.
Geography (Time, one hour)
1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mounta! ins of North America.
5.Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver,Manitoba, Hecla,Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall &Orinoco.
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.
7. Name all the republics of Europe ! and give the capital of each.
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.

Alsonotice that the exam took five hours to complete. Gives the saying "she/heonly had an 8th grade education" a whole new meaning, doesn't it?What happenedto us???? It is kind of humbling, isn't it ??

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

ESL/ABE/GED: Grammar: Grammar Central

This page contains links to both notes on grammar lessons, as well as copies of the lessons themselves. Be sure to check the answer keys for the lessons. Quite a comprehensive list for basic grammar skills.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Family Tech--Andersen's Fairy Tales website

A fun website about a select few Hans Christian Andersersen's fairy tales can be found on You can read a fairy tale, and then do a fun game. I read about the Emperor's New Suit, and then I did the game where you get to pick out the clothing you want the king to wear. It was cute!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Commentary: Sotir

I started using computers in the late 80's. The changes within the last 25 years or so have been amazing. Who would have thought that those original Apples would lead to a revolution that has literally changed the world. We've moved from FTP Bulletin Boards to the World Wide Web and blogs and wikis and podcasts. We survived the dreaded Y2K crash of the Millennium (OK, it never happened, but we were really scared anyway...).

So what has this done to education in general? We have moved from a society of digital immigrants to a generation of digital natives. Kids of the new Millennnia have embraced this new technical world. I was thrilled to have a transistor radio that my parents hated, and I loved being able to take my music with me wherever I go. Now we have cell phones that play music and videos, take pictures, IM our friends and read our email. Apple has made a fortune on the tiny little iPods, that get tinier all the time...check out the Nano... The demand for technology in education has become the norm, no matter what the type of institution. The National Center for Education Statistics notes:

** in 2002 the average public school had 131 institutional computers
** from 1994 to 2002 the percentage of public schools with Internet access increased from 35% to 99%

For adult education, those statistics do not always apply. But you, as the instructor, need to help your students transition into the digital world. True, our students are not always at the forefront of technology. But just as you give them the skills to speak English or use math effectively, they need to learn technology. Give them the skills they need to be better parents, or more successful employees, or to simply adapt to the world around them. Adults will never be as savvy at computers as the children, but they can build a comfort zone. I've done some quick surveys of students in the AELC. About 75% of them either have computers at home, or have access to computers (families and friends). They need to know how to use them. Give them Websites to try at home. Show them how to access the Internet. Give them the tools to create their own success.

Monday, September 19, 2005

ESL/GED: Writing Portals

from a list by Carol S. Holzberg published in Technology and Learning ( September 2005:

Web portals provide convenient one-stop gateways to special interest topics. The world of writing and publishing is no exception, and student and teacher authors of all ages and abilities can find a host of resources online.
eTeachers Portal.comOffering practical advice to educators who teach literacy, writing, and English, eTeachers Portal also provides space at Kids on the Net where children can publish their writing; read book reviews and advice from established authors; and explore stories and poems written by peers.
Google Directory: Blog PublishingLearn virtually everything there is to know about blog publishing at Google's Blog Publishers directory.
My Paradigm: Online Writing CommunityThe Paradigm Online Writing Assistant provides writing help in the form of an interactive, menu-driven, everything-you-wanted-to-know free guide to writing.
Transitions AbroadAt this portal you'll find helpful tips about travel writing from folks who write while they travel. There is also information about working, studying, and living abroad; general book publishing and marketing information; press trip resources; and sample writer's guidelines for print and digital travel magazines. DirectoryAt this no frills directory of nearly 3,000 sites geared toward writing and publishing, you'll find a list of resources organized alphabetically into 26 categories.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Gasoline Prices
Get involved in scouting out cheap gasoline with this web site. Students can type their zip code and the distance you're willing to travel ("radius" - use a map and a compass to explain how the term "radius" is the same one they've learned for the distance from the center of the circle to the outside) and get a list of stations with the lowest prices in your area. If there are savings a few miles away, have the students figure out how much you'd save on a whole tank by paying, say, five cents less per gallon. Figure out how much gas you'd use to drive to the far station, and whether or not you'd actually save enough to make it worth the trip.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

ABE/GED, ESL: Today's Front Pages

Today's Front Pages

Each day, Washington D.C's Newseum museum site brings you front pages from newspapers around the world - over 400 of them. See how the same story is covered in different places or compare news from different regions. Roll over each thumbnail to see a larger image, click on it to see one large enough to read the headlines. PDFs are available if you want to read the part of an article that's on the front page (Acrobat Reader software required). This is an interesting way to get discussions on current events in the classroom. Since there are over 400 front page resources available, students can read about it from their home town or country.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

GED: Algebra A free online Algebra study aide. Includes lessons, calculators, worksheets and resources, including:
Prime NumbersGenerate custom charts and lists of prime numbers.
Perfect Squares Chart GeneratorGenerate custom charts and lists of perfect squares.
Study TipsGeneral tips and guidelines for students of algebra.

GED Mathematics Test: Contemporary/McGraw Hill
Publisher's site that enhances materials from the textbooks.

Student CenterAre you preparing to take the GED Mathematics Test? If so, this section will help you review everything you have covered in your textbook. Click on the link above, and then choose a chapter from the table of contents. You’ll find Chapter Review Quizzes, Chapter Outlines, Interactive Flashcards, Web Links, a Math Handbook, and more!
Instructor CenterAre you preparing students for the GED Mathematics Test? This section will provide you with Tips and Resources from Contemporary’s GED Instructor Resource Binder, Instructional PowerPoint Presentations, Web Links, and more!

GED: Test Practice GED practice test sites.

Take the self assessment module quizzes below (make notes of your scores and remember which revealed significant gaps in your learning)
Access the following online resources to improve your weak areas and enhance your score on a fundamental level.
Self Improvement Directory

For students with computers at home, this is a free practice site that they can use to practice prior to taking the tests.

GED Test Taking Tips GED Test Taking Tips

One page sheet that gives practical advice prior to taking the GED test. Good handout for students.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

ABE/ESL: Reading: Storybooks Online The title is 'Children's Storybooks Online' but some of the stories could work with low reading level adults. Some stories are read aloud, and can be read word by word. This is another site that you need to spend some time looking at to determine its best use, but there are some real gems in here.

Nutrition Information: Low Literacy Teens and Adults
This is a quick guide to articles, books, kits, videos and Web sites that discuss nutrition education for teens and adults with limited reading skills. It also lists resources that will help you create and find easy-to-read print materials. Some English as a Second Language materials are included. However, this is not a major focus of the list.
It has an amazing list of easy to read materials. The creators of the list seriously took on the challenge of providing good information to those who probably need it the most, yet have the least ability to understand what is generally available. Quite comprehensive.

Friday, July 22, 2005

ABE/GED: This Nation: US Government and Citizenship

I liked the self grading quizzes ,the FAQs about the Constitution and the sectionon the American Revolution which also include some photographs. The site is developed to correspond with the This Nation textbook, but there are many good tools on here as well.

ABE/GED Soical Studies, Historical Collections from the Library of Congress

A library of Congress on line resource of Historical Collections for the National Digital Library. Learning page includes search help, activities and lesson ideas.

ABE/GED: Library of Congress Website Library of Congress website. A treasure trove of information, including resources for:
Kids, Families
Braille and Audio Materials
Law Library of Congress
Library Catalogs

A great on-line reference service from the Library of Congress for instructors! A Questions and Answers link accepts online questions that are answered by the on-line librarian. A Chat Service is available during designate times. There is an A-Z index for quick information search.

ALL Levels: Basics of Internet Navigating & Mouse Use This is a link from the Florida Community College at Jacksonville site. It includes everything from clicking (this is a mouse) to using links and email. The level is great for low level readers, and there are excellent illustrations and lessons for each chapter. It is written for Netscape (both PC and Mac) but most of the areas have universal applications. The mouse clicking lesson is interactive, and students can learn a lot quite quickly.

ABE/GED: Social Studies: CNN StudentNews ACAT Curriculum from pre-literacy and up. This gives standards and indicators for many social science levels, along with hot links to additional sites that can be used in class.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Summer Musings: Sotir: Vlogging

I know, you thought that since it is summer, you are safe from my threats of new technologies...well, wrong. While checking my RSS feeds (oh you do TOO know what they are, and if not, read all about it a few posts down), I came across an interesting article on blogging and videos=vlogging (of course). Vlogs feature video shorts instead of text. Too bad the name is even worse than blog, not to mention more difficult to pronounce. Sort of a very local cable access channel. If only they had this in Wayne's World.

Vlogs post things like cooking lessons and family events. Politicians are not far behind. Sen. John Edwards is receiving and responding to questions using video. Vlogs, in infant formulations, have been around for a couple of years, but are now toddling out into the mainstream. For those of you who have just become accustomed to blogs...too late...the train is leaving the station...

Vlogger numbers are still pretty small, in comparison to the size of the blogosphere, but they are catching up. The downside is that it takes longer to put together a vlog. You need to shoot the video, edit the video, upload the video...which takes a lot longer than posting to a blog. But just as uploading photos to the blog was made infinitely easier by web sites like HELLO, soon there will be similar tools for video postings. I can post a photo on the blog in less than a minute. I see the same applications for video as well, as soon as more people start using it.

Yes, this is a rapidly changing world. As one of my Luddite (non-techie) friends says...'that blog thing you always babble about...I am hearing it now from normal people too...' He deserves to be vlogged.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

ESL: Vocabulary Another compendium. This is a sub-page ofThe Internet TESL Journal'sTESL/TEFL/TESOL/ESL/EFL/ESOL Links and includes sites such as
Arabic Number to English Convertor (Requires JavaScript.)
Enter a number up to 999,999,999 and see it spelled out in English.
BBC News English - Words in the News
Read, listen and learn the English in this week's stories.
Common Errors in English (Paul Brians)
Words that native English speakers frequently find confusing.
Common Usage Problems (Vicki Jones and Ann Bertoldie)
Words that native English speakers frequently find confusing.
English for You - Visual Fruit (Donald Hennessey)
Pictures of fruit and their names in English
English for You - Visual Veggies (Donald Hennessey)
Pictures of vegetables and their names in English
Expanding your Vocabulary (La Trobe University)
Brief hints for advanced students.
Language Adventure - Picture Quiz
Easy. Click on the picture of the word you hear. (WAV files)
Megellan's Log - Pronunciation Pairs (Sentences Using Heteronyms) (Douglas Milburn)
We polish the Polish furniture every day. I did not object to the object. etc.
Nick Miller's EFL/ESL Resource Material - Street & Map Terms (Nicholas E. Miller)
A list of words with definitions.
QuiaCom - Matching Quiz - Countries and Nationalities [FRAME] (AH Syed) activity -Columns - ESL Topics and Vocabulary [FRAME] (English Specialist)
True/false and multiple choice quizzes on basic exam topics and vocabulary
Testing Vocabulary
By S. Kathleen Kitao & Kenji Kitao
The Compleat Lexical Tutor (Tom Cobb)
Test your word knowledge, Learn words at your level, Read & Listen, ...
Vocabulary - Extended Family Chart
A detailed family tree chart: paternal uncle's wife, maternal cousin, ....
Vocabulary Self-Study Quizzes (The Internet TESL Journal)
See the answers right away. Produced by teachers around the world.
Vocabulary Vulcanizer [FRAME] (Paige Jaeger)
Study 'roots' to improve vocabulary: Phobia (=Fear) claustrophobia, xenophobia
Word Safari: vocabulary expeditions (Ruth Pettis)
For native speakers and advanced students. Expand your English vocabulary while surfing the Web's List of Words and Phrases (David Wilton)
baker's dozen, kick the bucket, left wing, Kilroy was here, ... - Don't worry about your active vocabulary (Tomasz P. Szynalski)
Why it is normal to understand more English words than you can use
www.EnglishClub.Com - Informal Contractions (Reductions) (Josef Essberger)
Gonna, Ain't, Gimme, Gotta, Kinda, Wanna, Whatcha, ...
www.EnglishClub.Com - Interjections (Josef Essberger)
Charts with meanings and examples: Ah, Alas, Dear, Eh, ...
www.EnglishClub.Com - Say or Tell? (Josef Essberger)
How to use say and tell.
www.EnglishClub.Com - Telling the Time (Josef Essberger)
UK English: 'just gone three o'clock'; Others: 'a quarter past three' etc. - Building vocabulary: Word formation (Sven Cederberg)
300+ word formation exercises - Diagnostic Vocabulary Test (Sven Cederberg)
Example of random generated test from huge database - Compare Word & Phrase Use on the Web (Create Your Own Vocabulary Study)
The love of money is the root of all evil. VS Money is the root of all evil. - Buildings
See pictures of vocabulary, a dialogue, crossword puzzles, dictation/spelling, . - Rooms
See pictures of vocabulary, a dialogue, crossword puzzle and jumbled words

I like to see specific categories of words (buildings, rooms, time, fruits and vegetables), and also idioms and informal contractions, which always confound students. There are a few that have online quizzes and pictures to help students understand better. Students who learned English the British way can find translations into American English, and even specific tools such as the Arabic Number to English convertor have a real value for students. Some of the sites are better than others, so if you find one particularly useful (or not at all useful), share it with your fellow bloggers.

Monday, June 20, 2005

General Information: Sotir: Super Searching

I know this may come as a surprise to many of you, but I spend a lot of time on the Internet. For legitimate reasons of course, but I thought some of my shortcuts for getting into sites might be helpful tools for others as well. For example...did you know that when you look at the address box on Explorer, there is a small 'e' icon in front of the address? (Netscape users will have an icon that looks like a bookmark.) If you click and drag that box into another document, such as a blog post, you don't have to spend the energy copying and pasting the address. Yes, this is a minor aid, but when you post as many Websites as I do, every little bit helps.

Many of you already use your 'Favorites' button to save sites. Try creating folders for like Favorites. This will help you organize your list and use it more effectively. You can also rename the title of the site to one that fits a category first. Simply right-click on the bookmark and choose 'rename' from the options. You can save an entire page, not just a link, if you use 'Add Favorites' and choose the box that says "Make Available Offline". Even if you are not connected, you can still view a page of interest, or if the page disappears, you still have the information it contained.

Portals (see other articles with the term RSS in them) are Websites that pre-select and organize links to other information on other sites. You choose the information you want and let the portals search the Web for those sites for you. If you wanted to (and why wouldn't you?) you could set up a portal to keep up on the new posts to this blog. You need to have sites with RSS addresses The RSS address for this blog, for example, is '. Add this /atom.xml address to a portal, and you will be automatically notified when the blog posts new articles, as well as other posts to similar topics. I have a portal entitled 'educational technology' and get a list of new sites that might pique my interest daily. The portals also tell you if nothing new has posted to the site in whatever timeframe you wish. I have mine set for 3 days. If a new post comes on, the title and when it was posted appear on my portal list. I like having technology do my work for me.

One of the other tools I like is the 'Advanced Search' option. Often I get requests for very specific kinds of Websites. I could put in just a regular Boolean search (using AND, BUT or even OR), but sometimes I want more specific information. Since a lot of information on the Web stays on in perpetuity, some of it goes out of date. If I want information that appears on the new GED test, for example, I can ask for sites published more recently. Sometimes I do searches for information on wider topics like 'blogs'. If I want general information,just typing in 'blogs' might be enough. However, blogs have really come into their own in the past two or three years, and the newer posts are more relevant to what I am looking to find. Use the tools to find more relevant data, or at least lessen the amount of data offered. I don't know about you, but 5,279, 345 hits is more information than I care to peruse.

Any other hints for making technology work for you? Post them...right here.

GED/ESL: Historic Maps

This resource for K-12 teachers and students developed by the Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography at the Newberry Library is designed to bring historically significant map documents into your classroom. Inside are high quality images of historic map documents that illustrate the geographical dimensions of American history.
Each map is accompanied by lesson plans written for four grade levels and designed to support a variety of social studies, history, and geography curricula. Add your own ideas for using these maps to this blog post.

GED/ESL: Chicago History

Here's an interesting site to bring history closer to home...the Chicago Historical Society site; the Encyclopedia of Chicago. There are maps, advertisements, photos and other entries to make the history of this area come alive. Special Features include:
Special Features
Interpretive Digital Essays
Plan of Chicago
Water in Chicago
Rich Maps
Labor Unrest in Chicago, April 25-May 4, 1886
Worlds of Prairie Avenue
Governing Space
The Grid
How Chicagoans Remember Their History
The Public Faces of Religion
Video Gallery : Chicago on Screen
Biographical Dictionary
Dictionary of Leading Chicago Businesses (1820-2000)
Timeline and Year Pages
Year Pages
Chicago Homicide Rates per 100,000 residents, 1870-2000
Chicago Mayors, 1837-2003
Chicago's Tallest Buildings Since 1854
Chicago's Weather Extremes
Development of Railroad Lines from Chicago
Foreign-Language Broadcasting in the Chicago Area, 1956-1995
National Historic Landmarks in the Chicago Metropolitan Area
Selected Chicago Daily Newspapers, English Language
Selected Chicago Daily Newspapers, Foreign Language
Selected Chicago Daily Newspapers, Outside Chicago

Thursday, June 16, 2005

GED/ABE: Graphing: Create a Graph Create a Graph

Although created for kids, this is a great tool for creating various types of graphs including bar, line, area and pie. It gives students an opportunity to choose the graph type and input the information they choose, and then view the final product. Good for students who do not have access to tools like Microsoft Office.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

General Information: Adult Education Blogs/Research

This is another compendium site that gives some good virtual resources for educators, and also lists some educationally related blogs compiled by Naomi R Hirsch, who gives as a bio:
'I currently support educational outreach and curriculum development with the Community Education and Outreach Programs for both the Environmental Health Sciences Center and the Marine and Freshwater Biomedical Sciences Center.' I like to visit other educational blogs, and find them a great resource for the AELC.

Among her blog listings:
All About Blogs
The Art of Blogging 1 and 2
9 Tips for Capturing Critical Knowledge in a Changing Workplace
Thinking Page, your source for information on improving organizational and individual thinking.
How’s Your Climate for Learning? quiz
Learning & Technology Blogs
Innovation Wizard on Your Intranet
Blogs in the Workplace
Extension Specialist blog example
Weblogs, CMS, and dynamic Webpublishing for learning and education :: blogged by Sebastian Fiedler
Weblog Comments....

General Information: Adult Education Blog Listing

This is an site that lists some published adult education blogs for review. Blogs include:
Blinger: A linguistics & ESL BlogLots of interesting resources, including podcasting/audio blogging on linguistics and ESL. It is maintained by a Canadian teaching EFL in Korea.
BlahBlahBlogNancy Peralta, an educator, uses this blog to educate and learn.
Educational Bloggers NetworkA professional, well-designed community weblog that contains various useful resources on education and blogging. It files blog entries in to departments such as: Cool tools, Student work, K-5 and more. This blog is sponsored by the Bay Area Writing Project and
Edu-Tech NewsJessica Millstone's blog on educational technology news and resources.

General Information: Adult Education Blog

This is an interesting blog that contains some good site links, comments and quotes.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Blogs: Free ESL Blog Hosting Free ESL blog accounts.

The promo reads "These are custom made blogs especially for ESL teachers and students. Here you'll find blogs from teaching in Japan to living in Greece to studying in China to... well all kinds of stories from all around the world from both teachers and students of English.
And the best part? Well, it's 100% free to use!" If you use it, let me know.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Informational: New Constitution Blog

Here is yet another blog to reflect Websites specific to the U.S. Constitution and Citizenship, and it was developed to promote Constitution Day, September 17. I created this blog to give our students and instructors a resource for materials relating to the Constitution and Citizenship. Check it out and let me know what you think of it!

As always, you can email me at if you want an invitation to join any of our blogs. I hope this is a useful instructional tool.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Informational: Nonprofit Good Practice Guide
The website is a one-stop shop for widely-accepted, innovative nonprofit practices offering Preferred Practices and Pitfalls, Glossaries, Resources, Trends and Web site Profiles within ten
topic areas. The Guide can be used as a reference for quick answers, in preparation for staff or board meetings, as a training tool, and in reference for classroom studies. It's an interesting resource.

Blogs: Chronicle of Higher Education The Chronicle of Higher Education Blog. Here's another blog to explore.

Commentary: Sotir: The End of the Information Age

I get inspiration from a variety of sources. Actually, the number of sources that are available for that inspiration happens to be the problem. Take for example, this blog site. I can spend every hour of every day researching Web sites and still only skim the surface. And like the universe itself, it seems to have no end.
This morning an article from Pip Coburn of UBS on the Always On Network entitled "The Information Age is Over."( popped up on one of my RSS feeds. Read a few articles down if you don't yet know what an RSS feed is. I made a quick click to the site. I like Coburn's ideas, and he does seem to have a firm grasp of the way that technology goes. And apparently, yet another Age is gone...and I almost missed its demise. To be sure, technology is still there, but we seem to have left the Information Age, and apparently catapulted headlong into the Integration Age. I wonder if the prehistoric humans were as confused by the various ages as we are. Hopefully, they were ignorant of the changes around them. It's easier that way.
But not so for us. As Coburn says, "It ain't the Information Age any more. Sorry, but it ain't. The Information Age meant aiming to get the information, but we can now all get tons and tons and tons of it anytime..." How true is that? How overwhelmed are we not only by all the information available, but of all the methods to access that information. Even the now ubiquitous cell phone is being primed to not only give us Internet access (that is sooooooo 2002), but also access to our TV news. Need the news NOW? Check out your phone. Is a Dick Tracy wrist phone so out there? Click on: , which bills itself as the site with the current state of wrist phones. Yes, complete with photos, thank you very much. Information is there, around us, 24/7, and requires little effort to retrieve. Except knowing HOW to retrieve it, of course. It's always something, isn't it? Coburn writes "Complexity can become simple...But if there isn't a commitment to make it simple, it won't get simple. The commitment is key. The commitment to make a change. "
So how does that filter down to education, and especially to Adult Education? Instructors have been committed to creating lesson plans that make complex ideas simple enough to understand. And as those who support the instructors, we must be ever watchful of the new methods for making that work. In my office is a print that says 'Change, of any sort, requires courage'. Education on the other hand, lives by the theory that 'if it ain't broke don't fix it'. Of course we clean up the grammar, but education will never be the hotbed of change. We like to think we are, but in practice, we really aren't.
As a School Board member in the 90's, for example, I argued against the idea of buying typewriters to teach computer keyboarding. Typewriters were cheaper, they argued back, and the keyboard is the same. It's the process that's different, I argued on. You cannot cut and paste on a typewriter. You cannot copy text on a typewriter. But typewriters were in the comfort zone, and computers were not. Staff recognized the need for keyboarding classes, but were not yet willing to make the change to computers. For the record, that was the year the district purchased the first computers for keyboarding classes. Change CAN happen, with persistance.
The same holds true in the AELC. Fortunately AELC instructors are more willing than most to try out new ideas, as that is the core principle of our program. So I use a blog to communicate with the instructors. ( . Some have taken to it more than others, and some have even embraced the changes made from paper memos to emails to blogs. Others... well, they are still looking for that comfort zone.
Right now we are in the process of changing the way our lab accesses the educational materials we offer students. Currently we have cross-correlated our classroom curricula and educational software so that students have immediate access to the information they need (our Individual Educational Plans, or IEP's). Students from any level can come into the Center and instructors only need their class number to put them on the correct software to enhance what they are learning. It works well and allows us to assist over 1000 students a year from 7 or 8 different programs, and about 45 different levels, using 40 -50 software programs.
This fall we will unveil a new IEP, called an OIEP for Online Individual Educational Plan. That plan will also be cross-correlated with the classroom curricula, as well as the software IEP. The difference will be that it will be available, not on paper, but on the computer desktop. If the software we have is inadequate to meet student needs, we will have access to additional educational Websites, conveniently correlated to the classroom curricula. Since the OIEP is housed on the computer desktop, Websites such as those found on this blog will be accessible to our students and instructors with a simple click on the appropriate link. This will give us additional learning tools for our students, but will require a change in how instructors process the information available for students. And change is always difficult.
The key, of course, as Coburn said, is integration. It isn't enough to know the Websites are out there, but we need to integrate those Sites into the educational fabric of the Center. Change will not be easy, but if it offers our students better tools for success, it is essential.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

ESL: Predicates, Objects and Complements Created by the Capital Community College Foundation, CCC Foundation, 950 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06103. Phone (860) 906-5102 or email:

A good explanation of these grammar terms, with links for additional information. This is not an interactive site, but offers good explanations and examples to help students with the concepts.

ESL: Adverb Clauses - Conditional Meanings This is another site I've recommended before, and is specifically created for ESL students. This link takes you to an online quiz where you can click on the box to get the correct answers. This would be a good review for instructors to check student's understanding of the concept.

ESL: Subjunctive in Adverbial Clauses: Spanish and English The subjunctive in adverbial clauses

A great site for bilingual Spanish students who are trying to understand English grammar. This site is basically in English but explains the English within a Spanish context. For example:

" If no change of subject is involved and a preposition exists which corresponds to the conjunction, that preposition plus an infinitive is normally used, e.g.: He's saving his money so he can buy a car, Ahorra su dinero para poder comprar un coche. "

ESL: Adverbial Clauses of Time This is from AZAR, which is a favorite software program in the AELC. It includes a one page quiz on adverbial clauses of time.

ESL: Verbals: Gerunds, Participles, and Infinitives Brought to you by the Purdue University Online Writing Lab at

I've recommended the OWL site before, which are particularly well done web sites on grammar and writing skills. This site has good explanations, points to remember and exercises, with answer keys.

ESL: Gerunds and Gerund Phrases'gerund%20phrases'
Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics: Language Skills Practice. 71. Copyright © by Holt, Rinehart and W inston. A worksheet with answer key. Requires Adobe Acrobat.

ESL: Identification of Verbals and Phrases This is a good informational site with 2 short quizzes at the end. Great examples are included.

ESL: Gerund Phrases The Tongue Untied

The gerund phrase includes the gerund and the object of the gerund or any modifiers related to the gerund. This is an informational site, not an interactive site, but does explain gerund phrases well.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Blogs: Creating your Own

Tech Soup has great articles, and this one on creating your own blog is no exception. Use it to get a feel for all that blogging has to offer.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Wiki: Definition

For all of you who are now comfortable with blogs, let me introduce you to wikis...not in my words, but in someone who says it better than I can:
What Is Wiki
Wiki is in Ward's original description:
The simplest online database that could possibly work.
Wiki is a piece of server software that allows users to freely create and edit Web page content using any Web browser. Wiki supports hyperlinks and has a simple text syntax for creating new pages and crosslinks between internal pages on the fly.
Wiki is unusual among group communication mechanisms in that it allows the organization of contributions to be edited in addition to the content itself.
Like many simple concepts, "open editing" has some profound and subtle effects on Wiki usage. Allowing everyday users to create and edit any page in a Web site is exciting in that it encourages democratic use of the Web and promotes content composition by nontechnical users.

Some wikis to explore: : the original online Wikipedia : Adult Literacy Education (ALE) Wiki

Blog Tools: Google now owns Blogger. "How does Blogger work? Magic! Actually, you provide Blogger a template of your page (or use one of several pred-designed ones) that indicates where you want your posts to appear. When you want to publish something, you simply enter it in a form. When you're ready, you hit a "Publish" button that will automatically send your new page to your web server. No muss. No fuss. Total control."
This is the tool I used to create this blog. Total time to create this masterpiece: less than 10 minutes. Blogs are what they are, but creating the template is as easy as 1, 2, 3...

Blogs: Edublogs Blogs and Wikis to Explore (blogs in education)
Yet another new term: "edublogs". This is a nice compendium of articles, blogs and wikis that are related to education. Since the Web is notorious for giving sites and then taking them away, some of the links aren't active, but if you are interested in researching blogs, this is a great place to start.

Try these out too: Educational Bloggers Discussion Blogging Across the Curriculum

And while you are exploring, how about 'vlogs' or videoblogs....check out the tutorial at

Having fun yet?

Blogs: Educational Blogs Education Blogs: Weblogs for and by teachers, educators, and learners. They contain ideas, resources, and tips that may be used in schools, universities, colleges, workshops and the rest of the academic world. Sometimes you just can't help feeling voyeuristic when you read these...

Blog: Educational Search Engine Blog Search Engine, for educators. Interesting to see how the blog can be used academically.

Blogs: Educational Blog Uses An excellent site describing blogs and how they can be used in educational settings. Great links to other blogs and blog writing tools. This page is designed to provide you some resources if you want to get started using blogs for yourself or with your students. The use of blogs in instructional settings is limited only by your imagination.

GED: Science McGraw Hill/Contemporary has excellent online assistance that ties into their print text.
They cover most of the areas for GED 2002. This link is for the Science portion, and each chapter includes:

Chapter Overview
Chapter Outline
Chapter Review Quiz
GED Practice Quiz
Web Links

GED:Radio Dramas Sorry, Wrong Number: Using Radio Dramas in the GED Class
by Cathy Coleman

This is an article for instructors on using alternate skills for teaching reading. It's short but has good ideas.

GED: Test Prep Online practice tests -- and answers intended for the do-it-tyourself GED prep student. Students choose a topic, take the test and receive an evaluation when they finish, including explanations of why the answers are incorrect and a score. This would be good for students who are ready to take the test, but need a little more encouragement or review.

GED: GED Prep Lessons, on-line real-time (or asynchronous) GED Prep lessons. A complete 74-unit GED Prep curriculum. This is designed for students, not teachers, but may be of interest to teachers as well. There is no fee for any part of this program.

GED: GED 2002 Three thirty-minute streaming videos, each focusing on a different aspect of the GED Test. Students in Indiana's adult education programs are featured. Applicable print materials can be downloaded. Requires Windows Media Player, a free download.

This is a well done site and would be helpful for instructors new to the GED 2002 test as well as students. The video is excellent, and there are some helpful tools as well, such as an explanation of the calculator keys. Worth a peek.

Commentary: Sotir: Blogosphere

I don't know if you realize, but by accessing this blog, you are on the cutting edge of technological science. All right, perhaps that is a bit too flowery, but the truth is, bloggers are really getting into mainstream society. The 2004 election is a good example of how blog influence in a few (since 1998) short years. Conservatives, Liberals and the declared Neutrals drove the red/blue states, dissected the politics and helped define the media presence of TV, radio and print journalism. It is, by far, one of the fastest growing trends on the Web.

What makes them work? The immediacy of response and the ability to create a dated, archived resource have made them a cultural firestorm. Before blogs came into being, the Internet hosted Usenets, email lists and bulletin boards. All of these tools created a community of people who had things to say and share. Blogs just make it easier.

Our vocabulary has expanded as well. Consider 'troll': a person who disrupts a blog discussion by posting messages to create hostility (very common on political blogs). Or 'blogstorm': a large amount of activity, information and opinion that erupts quickly. The totality of blogs is often called the 'blogsphere'. One of my favorite terms is for those who use blogs to create an online diary. Since the diaries are accessible by almost anyone, they call themselves 'escribitionists'. Legal type blogs are called 'blawgs'. A 'moblog' is a blog featuring posts sent mainly via mobile phones, using SMS or MMs messages, and often include photos, which also makes them 'photoblogs'. If nothing else, it is fun to see the almost daily expansion to our vocabulary.

The term 'weblog' (from which the shorter 'blog' comes from) was coined in December 1997 by Jorn Barger. (This could be a Jeopardy or Trivial Pursuit question in a few years.) September 11, 2001 caused a flurry of blogs to appear, as people tried to make sense of the madness. The war in Iraq was the first 'blogwar'. Other media 'embedded' reporters to give an immediate feed to the war and events. But despite giving a first hand view of the war, it couldn't give what many people wanted...a place to give their opinions as quickly as they spewed from their heads. Blogs can do that.

The immediacy of blogs is a particular value. If you read an editorial in the newspaper that you disagree with, you could write a snail mail (letter) or email, but the satisfaction of seeing your words in print is held off until the next printing. Blogs are immediate satisfaction. Type it, hit 'publish', and the entire blogosphere knows where you stand. Blogs exist on almost any topic. There are as many unique types of blogs as there are people who read them. There are blog search engines and blog directories ( try Globe of Blogs: or or ).

Actually, one of the real advantages of blogs is the linking capability. If you want to reference something in your post, you simply link the address. Readers can click on the link to get the information. 'Pings' (tools to notify the original poster when someone else writes an entry concerning their original post) are also useful. The Blogarithm tool ( at the bottom of this page is an example of a 'ping'. Go ahead, add a comment to this post. I'll know that you did immediately after you hit 'publish'.

So how can we use blogs in education? Instructors can set up a blog for students to practice writing. Collaborative discussions work well with blogs. Information for a class (assignments, Web links etc.) can easily be given in a blog, with the advantage of it being in a Website, accessible from any computer with a browser. Blogs can be updated from anywhere, and added to at any time. They are archived and searchable. What ideas do you have?

Thursday, May 12, 2005

GED/Pre-GED: Lesson Plans Thirteen/WNET New York, PBS's flagship station, developed Thirteen Ed Online. This free service features everything from standards-based lesson plans and classroom activities to a multimedia primer, online mentors, and reviews of curriculum-based Web sites.

An excellent resource for instructors. These plans include links to other activities, handouts, lessons etc. For example, the plan entitled 'Analyze This' ( includes this overview: One of the most important critical thinking skills people have is the ability to analyze a variety of images and symbols that appear alongside everyday words and text. By everyday words and text, we mean text found in newspaper columns, business reports, bank statements, and utility bills. These examples often use graphic images like charts, graphs, tables, and pictures to supplement the text to help the reader's understanding of it. This lesson engages learners in the analysis of various types of graphs common in daily life. It can be used as a stand-alone lesson, substitute lesson plan or self-directed study in preparation for the GED. There are great links to lessons in preparing graphs and charts, and a lot of useful information on how instructors can use the lesson.