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…)

Digital Tools for ELs: Summary of TESOL 14 Session

The TESOL 2014 Convention in Portland was a great place for teachers to learn new ideas, feel inspired, and network. TESOL always has plenty of great sessions to choose from, and on March 28, I attended a valuable session called “Digital Tools for ELs: Constructing Language and Content Knowledge” (EL = English Learner). Since many teachers couldn’t make the convention, I decided to share what I learned at this session on our blog because I know many teachers are interested in using technology in the classroom.

This session was put on by some lovely ladies from the University of Alabama and Etowah County Schools. The ladies, including DeAnna Ruhl, Amanda Foss, and Holly Hubbard, gave an excellent presentation where they explained the pros and cons of various apps, which I’ll recap for you here.

  • Students can upload slides/photos and narrate each slide
  • Easy to comment on and easy to share
  • Can be embedded (more…)

6 Digital Ways for Children to Celebrate December Holidays

“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love!” ~Hamilton Wright Mabie

The holiday season is here, and for many children, this is their favorite time of year. Their families gather together to celebrate (Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa) with special foods, symbolic decorations, music, and the practice of various customs. This is the time when children can share their traditions and discover how others celebrate worldwide. Below are a few suggestions on how you can integrate free web tools and apps to make this holiday season magical for children. (more…)

25+ Apps and Tools to Create Colorful Learning Experiences for Children

“Artists are just children who refuse to put down their crayons.”  ~ Al Hirschfeld

When I first began teaching children, I rarely used coloring activities, because some parents and teachers do not think it is a valuable way to learn a language. However, children love to color and draw. Throughout the years, I have found it to be a valuable teaching technique with many benefits. Children develop motor skills and learn about patterns, symmetry, etc. Coloring also helps children imagine and visualize a context for new vocabulary. Additionally, coloring helps teachers manage classroom behavior. Children need sit down and rest activities after a game or dancing and coloring activities are perfect to create a balance. Below are a few free tools and ideas to make sure your coloring activities provide meaningful language learning.  (more…)