Thursday, February 24, 2005

Software: Computer: Computer Literacy: Teknemedia

These are software programs, which are a diversion from the websites that usually populate this blog. However, we have used this software in the AELC for a couple of years, and I have found it to be easy to use and understand. Their mouse tutorial is one of the better ones, and they go from basics to the Internet. Come check out the programs in the AELC, or check out the website. The programs are relatively inexpensive and better than most texts.

Citizenship: New York Citizenship: New York to your Town

A PBS site that was created for children with a focus on New York, but the reading level is low and the interest is high. You can click on objects in the pictures to get additional information on immigration and historical issues.

Computer: Computer Literacy for Adults Computer Literacy for Adults

This is a site using the older hypercard style, but it is good for giving students who need computer vocabulary an easy to use program. There are a limited number of hypercards in each stack so you need to go back to the main stack to start a new section, but it is good for limited use.

Citizenship: International Institute International Institute of RI Online Citizenship Class

Char Rokop found this program to help students with preparing for the citizenship interview. It covers :
N-400 Forms and the Interview
100 Questions
The reading level is fairly low, so almost any student at high beginning or intermediate and higher would profit from this site.

ESL: English Language: English Daily English Daily
This is a site that I like for content, but it is not interactive. It also seems geared to Chinese students, though most items could be useful for students from any culture. Worth looking into. There are many areas covered, including:
Conversations: Includes topics like: 'I made a good impression.' 'Who's in the line-up?' 'Make the shortlist.' or 'Entry level model.'
Common Mistakes in English: Gives Chinese style vs. American style eg: Chinese: It's seven twenty o'clock. American: It's seven twenty. Chinese: He's become better. American: He got better.
TOEFL Vocabulary
Learn American Idioms: Gives both definitions and examples in context: eg: Cough Up or Scratch Someone s Back
Proverbs: eg. 'Between the devil and the deep sea': To choose between two equally bad alternatives in a serious dilemma.
Grammar: Good definitions for parts of speech. eg: Verbs, transitive, "A transitive verb requires an object to complete." examples: A. The hunter killed a bear. (bear is the object of killed) B. The scholar learned his lesson. (lesson is the object of learned)
Ancient Chinese Stories: eg: A Recipe for Immortality The difference between Fifty yards and a Hundred The Fox who profited from the Tiger's might
Learn American Slang: includes: definitions and examples, etymology and synonyms for about 115 terms like: 'mystery meat', '24/7', 'brewski' and 'phat'. Not the usual list, these are current and up to date terms that confuse students.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Computer: Basic Computer Skills: English and Spanish

This tutorial has been designed to help people who have never used a computer before. We will concentrate on using the mouse and a few other basic skills. It also has a button to change the lesson to Spanish, for those low English literacy students. Look for the 'en espanol' link.

This site
also has some other interesting skills for basic computer and the Internet,
and a few of them are in both Spanish and English.

Computer: Absolute Computer Basics Absolute Computer Basics

I like this site for some really simple basic skills such as using the mouse and cursor. However, you need to note that it was produced by the BBC, so you get the occasional British words and spelling ('whilst' and 'colour' are examples). I decided to add it to our list anyway, since it really is quite good.

Computer: Computer Basics: Terms

Vocabulary is always a stumbling block for new computer users, especially for those who already are learning a second language. This site has a lot of information, but I like the definitions page to help a new computer user become comfortable with the language.

Computer: Computer Basics

This is a link to basic computer information, and has a lot of information available. There are many layers of information in here, so dig deep.

ESL/ABE/GED: Grammar Compendium English Grammar Quizzes

I get a lot of requests for really specific grammar skills, and often it is difficult to find those exact skills on large software programs. This site has English grammar quizzes on a large volume of skills including grammar and vocabulary, and has them in levels from easy to difficult. Some topics include:
Do or Make Did or Made Go or Do Have-Has For or Since
How Many?-How Much?
How & Complement - Matching Quiz
Make or Do Set, Sit or Seat?
So or Because Some, Any or No
Tell or Say
"There Is" or "There Are"
Until-Since-For Was or Were
Was-Were What-When-Where What-Which-How
Adverbs or Adjectives

The above are examples from the EASY level of instruction. See the main site page for additional skills and levels. It's worth the trip!

Idioms are always among the most difficult concepts for ESL students. Here is a link to a site with several Idiom links, including some that are quite specific such as color related idioms and action verb idioms. There are also sites for specific languages such as Czech'czech' it out!

Computer: Computer Basics: Computer Literacy 101 : Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101
This is a free for personal use site, and a permission to use form for teachers, and is available in both English and Spanish. Here is the permission information for teachers:
"Since my computer literacy materials are copyrighted, you do need to get permission to use them in your classroom. At this time there is no monetary charge for such use.
All you need to do is complete the Permissions form and await my reply (almost 100% guaranteed to be Yes! I'm so happy that you would want to!!) As a reward for filling out the form, I will send you the address of a zipped file of end-of-the-chapter questions for the Computer Basics section.
There are a few simple restrictions and one requirement.
Restriction: No permission is given to include these materials in another published work.
Restriction: Any use of portions of the materials on this web site, whether in print or onscreen, should credit the source and include the web address
Requirement: You must provide me an evaluation of how well the materials worked for you!
Please use the Evaluation form so I can respond appropriately to your comments, whether positive or negative."
Check out the site for additional information.
permission granted to include this site in the blog: 2/21/05 by Jan Smith

Thursday, February 17, 2005

GED: Problem Solving

Included are lesson plans and ideas for instructors to teach various math problem solving skills from graphs to algebra and geometry, fractions and percents.

ABE/GED: Charts and Graphs

This is a lesson plan with hotlinks to sites to teach charts and graphs to low reading level students. Within the lesson plans there are wonderful ideas on how to teach this subject, as well as some simple to understand explanations of the various types of charts and graphs.

GED/TOEFL/IEI :Five Paragraph Essay Wizard : Five Paragraph Essay

The five paragraph essay is an essential lesson for students, but often difficult to find specific websites that address it. This is a great site for that purpose. There is a lot of information contained in the hotlinks as well as the main topic areas.

ESL: Listening: All levels Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab

Listening skills programs and sites are hard to come by, but the new TOEFL test emphasizes them and students always ask for them. Here is one that gives listening skills at levels of beginning, moderate and advanced.

ESL: Idioms

Idioms are always difficult for ESL students. Here is a comprehensive site to help students figure them out!

Beginning ESL: Color Clothesline:

It's often difficult to find programs for the lowest level ESL student. Colorful Clothesline is a lesson created to introduce level 1 ESL students to clothing, colors, and color patterns. Students can test their knowledge of colors and clothing. Select a category to practice vocabulary, and take a quiz to test what was learned.

Correctional: Project Metamorphosis: Prison Related

There is not a lot of material developed especially for the prison population, but we all know that many of our programs include this component. This site was developed to give some instructional materials that are relevant to that population.

ESL: Grammar Gorillas This is a fun way to check grammar skills. There are questions for both beginning and advanced students. Each set is only 10 questions, but you can play again with different questions.

ESL/ABE/GED: National LINCS: Learner Produced Material National LINCS
A service of the National Institute for Literacy

The section I particularly liked is called Topics (, which is an online magazine for learers of English. There are movies and reviews, stories written by students and a section called "You Said It' which is student opinions on the topics. I liked this site because most of the material is produced by learners, so the reading level is appropriate, and the topics are relevant to our students.
This is a great site for working on reading and writing skills, and it is set up so that students can participate in generating materials for the next volume. Intermediate and higher level students might like this site.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Welcome Wheaton College Students!

A warm welcome to students from Dr. Seaman's class from Wheaton College. I hope you will add your comments to the posts as you review the websites.

Monday, February 14, 2005

ESL/TOEFL: FYI: Next Generation TOEFL

Next Generation TOEFL Update
There are some exciting upcoming changes to language tests administered by Educational Testing Service

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL®) is undergoing some important changes. In order to meet the challenge of providing a more comprehensive assessment of an applicant’s ability to understand and use the English language in an academic environment, the “next generation” TOEFL® has been developed to assess all four language skills - listening, reading, writing, and speaking. The new test will be administered on fixed dates in a network of secure Internet-based test centers. While some questions in each of the sections will be similar to questions found on the current computer-based TOEFL® test (CBT), others will be new. The scoring system will change as well. Each of the four language skills will now be reported on a scale of 0 to 30, and there will also be a total score. In addition, the next generation TOEFL® will no longer have computer-adaptive sections; it will be a linear assessment test covering a full range of question difficulty. Note taking will be allowed on the new TOEFL® in order to better reflect real-life academic situations. The new TOEFL® will take approximately four hours to finish.
Starting in July 2004, students were introduced to this new version of the TOEFL® (iBT TOEFL®) on the Internet. Full-length tests will be unproctored (i.e.: not supervised), and the scores will be given to the examinee only. In September 2005, the iBT TOEFL® will begin to be administered at official ETS® test centers.
A very important change to the TOEFL® is the inclusion of a mandatory speaking component - the Academic Speaking Test. Your responses will be recorded on tape and then reviewed later and given a score. During the test you will be asked six questions, two of which will focus on familiar topics. The other four will ask about short conversations, lectures, and reading passages. Both the questions and the reading passages will be printed in the test book. The time you have to prepare your response and speak will be printed below each question. The preparation time begins as soon as the question is finished, and you will be told when to begin speaking.

The Reading and Listening sections will be fairly similar to those on the current TOEFL® CBT, although some new question types will be introduced. The Writing section, however, will now include two writing tasks instead of just one. There will be an integrated task (combining listening, reading, and writing) in addition to the current independent task, and typing will be required.
This integrated approach to language testing will help students prepare for success in the real academic environments they will be in when they begin their studies.
The test will first be administered in the United States on September 24, 2005. On October 22, the TOEFL iBT test will begin in Canada, France, Germany and Italy. The test will be introduced in the rest of the world in 2006.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

AELC Instructors

All AELC instructors will receive an invitation to join this blog as well as the AELC blog. Please use any free time to review the sites on this blog, and add them to our overall use of the web for classes.