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Resources And Discussion

Online Course Management System - FREE. Would you use it?

Started by ddeubel in Teaching and Methodology. Last reply by Mitchell Lee Feb 12. 7 Replies

I'd like to know how many teachers would use a completely free course management system , if offered here? Meaning, you can create a course there,…Continue

Tags: atutor, technology, online, ecourses, elearning


Started by ddeubel in Websites / links / access to new resources / communities.. Last reply by Nadeem Nawaz Jul 16, 2019. 102 Replies

We are now in our 3rd edition of "Site of the Day"! Hundreds of the best sites for teaching/learning. See #1 and…Continue

Tags: collection, list, web 2.0, resources, websites

ABCs - Alphabet Resources or Ideas?

Started by NEWS NOW in Teaching and Methodology. Last reply by Amelia Meirizka Jun 20, 2019. 73 Replies

I guess the alphabet is our bread and butter.Got any good ideas for teaching it or using it…Continue

Tags: children, abc, kids, phonics, reading

Learning Designs

Started by Elise in Teaching and Methodology Mar 27, 2019. 0 Replies

I was wondering what you all thought of learning designs pertaining to English language teaching? What are the ways in which you design your lessons to achieve better learning in your students?Continue


Teaching Writing - Helpful Websites....

Teaching writing isn't easy but despite being a "high order skill" it is an invaluable thing for any student who will work in an all English environment. Or for any second language speaker who'll communicate online (or by snail mail - people still do that, you know!).

Fortunately there are many online sites to help teachers instruct and for students to visit and get much needed feedback and practice. Also, many sites which offer writing collaboration so that students can share their writing and teachers can monitor and offer advice/feedback.

Here are all my favorites which teachers teaching writing might find useful. Be sure to visit our writing center for many, many materials and ideas to help you..... Happy teaching and learning. Enjoy the discovery!

The Top 10 Writing focused websites for ELT

# 1 The Owl at Purdue Writing Lab

Long time, the “go to” site for teachers of writing. Visit the ESL writing section for valuable advice. Their powerpoint section offers many power points to inform instruction of all writing points.

#2 PBWorks Wikis

Writing online needs “a place” and PB Works offers the best wiki around (online writing collaboration and website editing . Simply sign up for a loaded free version and invite your students by email. Perfect for projects on any topic. Find out more about what a wiki is and how to use one, at Common Craft Plain English.

#3 Penzu

Journals and diaries are cool to most kids. Penzu offers a real simple but attractive format where students can write and then send / share with their teacher or classmates. A perfect way to get students writing from prompts or sentence starters and getting them hooked on the writing habit! Take the tour here.

#4 Interactives Spelling Bee

Divided by grade level, students listen and spell parts of the story. An excellent dictation device for individual or even whole class practice.

#5 Listen and Write

Much like Spelling Bee, you can listen and write selected words from passages. Lots of precise feedback and very simple to use.

#6 Writeboard

A 37 signals collaborative writing product, Writeboard allows a teacher to create a class shared “bulletin board” or page. Students using a password can access and edit. Compare edits and see the differences in color. A great way for a teacher to edit student work and show the corrections! Also use Google Docs - and Show Document - for collaborative writing.

#7 Dancing Mat Typing

Writing also means being able to type! The BBC offers the best online beginner site with a cool Scottish accent! Fun for kids. Bubbles is also a simple practice game - For higher level practice try
Type Racer or Barracuda

#8 Graphic Organizers
Graphic organizers (especially storyboards) are a great way to get students beginning to write. They are essential to the Prewriting stage and whether you just make your own with a blank piece of paper or use a designed version, they really help students organize and prepare for writing.

#9 The Tarheel Reader

Story writing and using narrative to practice writing is essential. The Tarheel reader provides powerpoints (click SET UP on any book) which students can then open (the teacher can just erase the existing writing) and write about, then present as a book to the class. Wonderful stuff!

#10 Comics - Read Write Think Comic Creator

Comics really get your students motivated to write. Read Write Think offers many resources but this one rocks! Students make their comic and then print out to share. Here's another generator.


There are many other fine resources for writing. See my whole list here.

Also look at this blog for a lot more tools (online spell checkers / word counters / editors / dictionaries / thesauruses etc……. ). Lots there, just keep scrolling down.

Writing Websites for ELT.pdf

Story Frame Template.doc

Making A Mini comic book.pdf

Writing organizers.pdf

Downloads: 507

Comment by Ellen Pham on September 19, 2009 at 9:01pm
Great post, David... so many useful resources! I even bookmarked it, just to be sure I can find it again when I need it. Maybe you should put a copy of this blog in the writing center discussions?

Just an observation... I have managed not to stumble into the Writing Center until I followed the link in this post... I'm wondering if other members have a similar experience of taking forever to get all around this site? For myself, I kind of like that way of exploring, because I don't need anything right this minute, I can take my time... but is this good in general?

I admit I hardly ever look in the nav bar... I could learn a lot about the site that way, but I don't. Is that a general tendency of ning users? (Different from viewing static sites, where there isn't much else to do, usually, than look in the side or top nav.) I generally look at the latest activity, forum and blogs (and videos)- things that have a big box or image on the front page, and I do this over and over and over. When I want to find something, I try the search box first. It took me months to notice that the right side bar extended down the page past the chat box...

I'm wondering about this because if these are common experiences or ways of using EFL, maybe we can use this information to help people locate the resources they want here. For example, it is a rare day that I glance below the latest activity box on the left- the activity catches my attention, and then I'm done with that column.

Well I won't go on here, I just wonder if we could find out how users generally approach the site, and then organize the site around that... or are our habits not generalized enough to make that approach useful?

Comment by ddeubel on September 19, 2009 at 11:39pm

Glad you like them and I think you will also like many listed in the link at the bottom. From Smashing Magazine.

The issue(s) you mention really are important but I also think they are something that won't ever be resolved - given the nature of this site.... I really will keep listening to others and making things better but from what I've heard from members - they all use the site differently. That makes it really hard to come up with a way to access things that suits everyone. But agreed, there must always be a "better way".

For example, I always look at the left column to get an update as to what's "new" when I first visit. If I'm looking for something quite general - I look under the SEARCH tab and use the tag clouds there. That works well for resources but the RESOURCES tab and area really is its own thing. But I have heard from members now that all items are tagged, it is much more useful for finding stuff. I think this has increased users. I will have to redesign under different headings maybe - our site map.

Members can also browse the extra pages here through or (those pages made during our association with Widget Lab which Ning subsequently cut off).

But you are right and have got me thinking about putting up a Polly Daddy poll (which I can now integrate on its own community page here) to gather some info. Good idea!

But the writing center has lots of great writing helpers! Coming soon is a nice booklet of Writing Activities similar to the popular one I did for listening awhile back. (I'll have to post it here. Not in this blog which is usually a double of my public blog...).

Ellen, could you check something for me. I have reports (and I do too) of messages from when users try to download a .rar file. Like those on our flashcard page. Could you try to download the .rar files and see if you get an error message? Thanks!

Comment by Ellen Pham on September 20, 2009 at 12:48am
Hi David, just in for a quick check before I go out with the dog, but yes, I do get a great big ACCESS DENIED when I try to download a rar file!

Lots more great stuff to explore, be back later : )

Comment by Tune on March 21, 2011 at 4:30pm
It such a useful posts, David. Thanks for your unconditional dedication and support.

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