Pipes and PetiolesThis Missouri Botanical Garden Web site uses simple explanations, Flash animations and time-lapse videos to teach students about plants and how they grow. Sidebars offer definitions of plant vocabulary words, answer common questions and suggest plant-themed song lyrics.
Just the Facts, Please!Detective LePlant and his assistants, Bud and Sprout, need your students’ help in unlocking a green plant’s mysteries in The Great Plant Escape. As they look for clues, do experiments and solve problems, students will learn the basics of composting, germination, seeds and soils. And once they figure out the basics, it’ll be time to hunt down the bulb imposter. Accessible in English and Spanish, this interactive is a great introduction to plant science for grades 4 and 5.
Plus: The Great Plant Escape Teacher’s Guide provides interdisciplinary lessons designed to introduce students to plant science and increase their understanding of how foods grow. Activities enhance students’ math, science, language arts, social studies, music and art experiences. Many activities are for independent work, and some are for group work. The Teacher’s Guide also includes an online glossary of key science terms. The glossary, which is accessible in English and Spanish, provides an easy-to-understand explanation of each term and an image illustrating the science concept.
Grow GreenA Tree for Every Child helps teach students in grades 3–5 about forest communities and trees in the context of environmental change. This Web-delivered, hands-on education program encourages practical action to create a better world. On the Tree for Every Child Web site, you’ll find a learning guide, conservation tips, fun facts, cool historic trees and creative ways to plant your own tree at home or in your community.
Explore The Big Deal EarTHursday feature, which offers intelligent approaches to “going green” in your classroom. Every week, you’ll find new interactive ideas that will help you encourage your students to weigh in and take action on some of the biggest environmental issues in our world today.
Collect ‘Em! Save ‘Em!This Why Files collection of printable trading cards is a great introduction to endangered species around the world—from the Mexican wolf to the Sumatran rhino to the Beluga sturgeon. The front of each card features an animal photo; move your mouse over it to read about the species and how it is threatened.
You Otter KnowYoung children will love Pup’s Supper Interactive Book, an online storybook (in English and Spanish) about a mother sea otter and her pup. Although the story is short, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Web site offers several related activities for children to do offline. Print a few pages from the underwater coloring book, make a sea otter puppet out of a lunch bag or play a memory game with the printable “critter cards.” (Access the activities in Spanish from the English/Spanish storybook Web page.)
Bug BytesBugscope provides free interactive access to a scanning electron microscope so that students anywhere in the world can explore the microscopic world of insects. This educational outreach program from the Beckman Institute’s Imaging and Technology Group at the University of Illinois supports K–12 classrooms worldwide. Students propose experiments, explore insect specimens at high-magnification and discuss what they see with the institute’s scientists—all from a regular Web browser over a standard broadband Internet connection.
Leapin’ Lizards! Snakes Alive!The Smithsonian Institution’s American Museum of Natural History explores the world of lizards and snakes. In this online exhibition, your students will learn how chameleons and iguanas rely on vision while other lizards, such as geckos, depend on smell (using their tongues). Students will see boas, mambas, cobras, geckos, skinks and more. They can watch an anaconda slither and a chameleon catch prey with its tongue, and they can hear rattlesnakes and a barking gecko.
SPOTLIGHT! On Cooperative Learning*
Jigsaw Classroom is a cooperative learning technique designed to promote a constructive learning environment and increase positive educational outcomes.
Just as in a jigsaw puzzle, each piece—each student’s part—is essential for the completion and full understanding of the final product.
Here is how it works: The students in a science class, for example, are divided into small groups of five or six students each. Suppose their task is to learn about protecting and preserving ecosystems. In one jigsaw group, José is responsible for conducting research on the cycles in nature. Another member of the group, Kim, is assigned finding out how ecosystems change naturally; Pedro is assigned how people change ecosystems; Hana is to do research on how people can treat ecosystems more wisely; and Clara will read about how people can help restore damaged ecosystems.
Eventually each student will come back to her or his jigsaw group and will try to present a well-organized report to the group.
*Adapted from Jigsaw Classroom
Piecing Together the PuzzleIncorporate the jigsaw technique into your teaching repertoire to enhance all of your students’ learning experiences. The Jigsaw Classroom Web site presents an overview of the technique, along with 10 easy steps and tips for implementing the technique in your classroom. A case study describes how the jigsaw classroom originated in 1971 in Austin, Texas, as a matter of necessity to help defuse an explosive situation when white youngsters, African American youngsters and Hispanic youngsters found themselves in the same, recently desegregated classrooms for the first time.
Home, Sweet Home
Living LandscapesBeginning just beyond the window, and extending past the boundaries of your town or city across the Earth’s surface, an amazing variety of habitats awaits—along with the plants and animals that live in them. Geography Action! invites you and your students to explore the habitats you live in or ones nearby.
A Walk in the WoodsAs they click through this photo-filled Web site from the Urban Programs Network at the University of Illinois, your students will discover that a walk in the woods is a great way to learn about and appreciate nature. Turn on the speakers to hear an enthusiastic voice read the text of each page. The site is accessible in English and Spanish.
Everything CountsIf the word biodiversity makes you think of exotic habitats and endangered species, this Web site from the American Museum of Natural History will help bring the meaning closer to home. Your students will find out how biodiversity affects their everyday life (even if they live in a city). Then they can click on the biodiversity-related activities to try after they’ve turned off the computer.
Nab the Invaders!Developed by NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program, this Web site invites students in grades 4–10 to become Sea Grant Super Sleuths. Students use the site’s resources to track down aquatic invaders in U.S. waters. Full of colorful illustrations and creative text, the online activity is an entertaining way for students to learn about invasive species. Don’t miss the list of suspects, a collection of “Wanted” posters for characters like Louie “Sucker Mouth” Sea Lamprey and Wilma “the Creeper” Watermilfoil!
Enjoy free access to the Fall 2009 Big Deal Book for Educators of English Language Learners in eBook format. You’ll find some 200 active links to well-vetted resources especially for ELL professionals like you. Look for funding sources, interactive lessons, online multimedia programs, engaging Web destinations and a bounty of ideas to introduce interdisciplinary themes for the 21st century classroom.
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Get help in the face of financial challenges and budgetary constraints to purchase technology products for your 21st century ESL classroom. Troxell Communications’ Education Scholarship/Grant Rebate Program makes funding available to any educational institution that purchases products made eligible for rebate by Troxell’s participating vendor partners. There is no limit on the number of rebates an institution can receive. Find enrollment information on the company’s Web site.
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View the free video examples, sample worksheets and lesson plans for EASY (English Academic Success for You) – The ESL Series and see how easy it is to take your beginning ESL students to intermediate level and into the workforce with the new series EASY at Work. The program is correlated to the CASAS Workforce Skills Certification System.
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Help your English language learners achieve academic success with Northpoint Horizons’ Content Academic Vocabulary System. The five-step teaching plan (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate) helps you provide differentiated instruction to meet the diverse needs of your students. Visit the site to learn more about the system and to access sample math and science vocabulary lists for K–2 and 3–6.
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Individualize your ESL instruction with ESL ReadingSmart, a Web-based learning environment designed to accelerate the development of English as a second language. ESL ReadingSmart provides instructional materials for newcomers as well as for intermediate and advanced English learners (grades 4–12, college and adult education). Each lesson offers activities and reading selections for students, as well as online lesson plans, worksheets and printable handouts for teachers. Instructional materials are written at a variety of ESL levels, helping teachers solve the challenge of teaching English learners in multilevel classrooms. Try the demo and then sign up for a free trial.
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Introduce young English learners to English pronunciation, vocabulary and essential phrases with Ben and Bella as they explore and have fun with English. In Britannica’s Discover English with Ben & Bella DVDs, language learning is presented through engaging animations, live action, chants and songs. An Activity Book, a Storybook and Parent Guide for each episode/lesson make language learning easy and enjoyable for ESL students and their parents. By encouraging young English language learners to actively participate with mind, voice and body, this delightful program provides an engaging and dynamic setting for teaching the fundamentals of English. Visit the program’s Web site where you’ll find synopses of the 18 episodes in Series 1–6, as well as free, downloadable sample worksheets and activities for the three episodes in Series 1.
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Provide multiple avenues for tackling a wide variety of math topics with Learning.com’s Aha!Math Spanish/ELL edition, a new, Web-delivered supplemental math curriculum for K–2 native language instruction and for students transitioning into English language instruction in grades 2–5. Digital coaches present all Aha!Math content for K–2 in Spanish—including onscreen math vocabulary. ELL strategy guidesâ€¨ help teachers in grades 2–5 use Aha!Math English content with ELLs for content mastery. Spanish–English vocabulary exercises support language acquisition and academic vocabulary development for ELLs in grades 2–5. Sample the curriculum online at no charge.
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