Extra! Extra! 16 Web Tools & Apps for Kids to Learn with the News

“Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.” —Joseph Pulitzer

Transform your young language learners into classroom reporters. Our students can learn by reading current events and news articles. They can also act as journalists who write short news articles. This helps them enhance their reading and writing skills, because they will need to conduct research and summarize local news. They can enhance their listening skills and learn to form questions through live interviews in English to help them gather information for their news stories. They can practice their speaking and listening skills by acting as TV reporters and recording themselves sharing local and world news on video. (more…)

12 Web Tools & Apps for Creating Digital Avatars

“Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.”
—Lady Bird Johnson

If you are planning to get your young learners to use web tools and navigate the web this year, then plan on teaching about digital footprints and citizenship. One way to get your young learners to be aware of their digital footprints is to have them create digital avatars. An avatar is a graphic or digital representation of a person often used in video games or virtual worlds. Avatars can also be used as profile pictures on various social networks or for digital projects to protect students’ identities. (more…)

Children Celebrating Their Parents: Activities & Tons of Resources

“A father’s goodness is higher than the mountain, a mother’s goodness deeper than the sea.”
—Japanese proverb

All over the world, children celebrate their parents on special days. On May 8, many children  will gather to appreciate their mothers with greetings or flowers. On June 19, many children will give gifts of appreciation, like cards and ties, to their fathers. Some countries celebrate both parents in May or in June. Children get excited about creating imaginative gifts and are motivated to express their love in different languages. Free digital tools and apps help children design beautiful books, projects, greetings, and crafts and also enhance their English skills. Make English learning meaningful this month for your young learners by getting them to appreciate their parents in English with the following gift ideas listed below. (more…)

Play and Learn! Game-Based Language Learning for Kids

“Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.” —Fred Rogers

Spring and summer breaks are right around the corner. Motivate your young learners to continue practicing their English skills beyond the classroom with free online games. Many websites and apps have free games to help children enhance their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. Children will play these games for hours till they achieve a certain score or pass to the next level. Children will also learn vocabulary within a multimedia-rich context. Many games include an interesting background story, which comes alive through colorful worlds and animated characters. Below are tips and resources to get you started on your journey integrating games in the classroom. (more…)

Film It! Tips for Getting Children to Be Directors

“I believe my camera should always be in one hand and a good script in the other. That makes it possible for storytelling to come to life.” —Leticia Alaniz

“Pick up a camera. Shoot something. No matter how small, no matter how cheesy, no matter whether your friends and your sister star in it. Put your name on it as director. Now you’re a director.” —James Cameron

‘Tis the season to celebrate with your students! Halloween, Dia de Los Muertos, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and other holidays around the world take place in fall and winter. One of the best ways for students to learn and teach others about the way they celebrate is by producing a movie. (more…)

6 Ways to Get Kids to Express Themselves in Another Language

“It is said that children learn languages from their environment. They get into an environment where language can happen, and language learning happens.” —Greg Thompson

Although kids learn English in school, the most powerful language learning takes place outside the classroom with family or peers. Children need a context and time to experiment and play with the vocabulary and grammar they’ve acquired. They need to make plenty of mistakes so they learn from them. Outside the classroom, children can make mistakes safely and don’t feel intimidated by grading or assessment. Below are six ideas for helping children practice English outside of school in fun and engaging ways. This is a great list to share with parents at the beginning of the school year! Feel free to make a copy of this parent email template to send to the parents of your English language learners this year. (more…)

Incredibly Pinteresting Ideas for Teachers of Young Learners

“Teachers who love teaching, teach children to love learning.”
—Robert John Meehan

One year I was given a class of two-year-olds. I had never taught students that young before and definitely felt out of my element. I remember asking the teachers I met online for resources and many lead me to some great books, but nothing that I could browse online for inspiration. After hours of online research, I couldn’t find any teacher blogs and sites for teaching toddlers and very young learners. However, the tide has changed, and thanks to the visual social bookmarking site, Pinterest, the web is full of a plethora of magical activities for teaching children of any age. Below, I’ve listed some sites and tips for tapping into the magic! Your problem will soon be that you run out of days to try these lessons with the kiddos you teach. (more…)

That’s Wicked! 20+ Halloween Activities, Apps & Tools Kids Will Love All Year Long

“As astronauts and space travelers children puzzle over the future; as dinosaurs and princesses they unearth the past…as monsters and gremlins they make sense of the unreal.” —Gretchen Owocki

Children across the globe enjoy dressing up, monsters, ghosts, witches, sorcerers, and horror. Halloween is that time of the year to explore spooky themes that will get your students learning English, science, history, math, and culture hands-on. However, the fun does not have to end on Halloween. Feel free to use any of these wickedly awesome activities, apps, and resources throughout the year to continue to engage your young learners! (more…)

The Essential Checklist for Using Technology with Young Learners This Year!

“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.” —Bill Gates

This year you may have set a goal to use technology with your young learners, but you aren’t sure where to begin. Integrating technology with young learners can be tricky. Many digital tools and apps require learners to be 13 and above or have questionable material. Additionally, you have to get the children’s parents to be okay with you publishing their voices, images, and digital creations. This may seem overwhelming, but no need to worry. The checklist below will help you successfully integrate technology in your young learner classes. (more…)