Friday, December 27, 2013

21 Literacy Resources For The Digital Teacher


1.  Lingro
Lingro is a cool tool for both the “wow” factor and for its usefulness. Simply type in a website address on the Lingro website and it instantly turns the website into a clickable dictionary that translates text in 12 languages. Lingro hides in the background until students need it. To use, students simply click on any word and several definitions of the word are instantly displayed. I could see this as very useful tool for just-in-time support forEnglish language learners.

2. Lexipedia
Looking for a visual thesaurus? Then Lexipedia is for you. Simple to use. Just type in any word and Lexipedia instantly displays the target word along with other words. It also color-codes the words by both parts of speech and relationships. As you hover over a word, a complete definition is displayed.

3. Shahi
Shahi, as described on the website, is a visual dictionary that combines Wiktionary content with Flickr images, and more! An absolute new favorite for me. Besides serving as a non-linguistic tool, I can also see this as a very useful tool for English language learners.

4. Snappy Words
Similar to Lexipedia, Snappy Words is another visual thesaurus. Teachers may want to introduce several of the thesaurus tools and allow students to select which works best for them. The visually sparse, cleaner display of Lexipedia works better for me.

5. Visual Dictionary Online
Check out Webster’s visual dictionary which is simple to use. Type in a single word or choose a theme that also includes many sub-categories from which to choose. Even though Webster’s is simple to use, there is a downside to this tool. After typing in a word search, 4 or 5 Google ads quickly appear above the definitions. Distracting. Yuk. It’s so clunky I almost didn’t include this tool.

6. Word Hippo
An all-in-one reference tool, Word Hippo does the following: defines a word, provides a meaning, provides a word that is opposite, pronounces a word, provides rhyming words, places the word in many different contexts, and translates the word. Whew! That’s a lot.

Wordnik has the look and feel of a traditional dictionary with a twist. Along with the definition, students can see images related to the word, hear related sounds, and even see tweets with the target word highlighted. The “related words” feature is particularly helpful. Wordnik also features a “Word of the Day,” “Random Words,” and pronunciations of words.

8. Your Dictionary
Your Dictionary bills itself as providing simple, straightforward definitions and the easiest-to-use online dictionary. That’s about right. Sometimes simple is good. In addition to providing a definition, Your Dictionary also includes a thesaurus and places the word in varied sentence examples.

9. MathWords
Math Words is a simple-to-use online dictionary specifically for math terms and formulas. This dictionary appears most appropriate for intermediate and secondary students.

10. A Math Dictionary for Kids
A kid-friendly math dictionary. I like the simple, bright appearance that includes visual examples of each term. This math dictionary seems to be appropriate for elementary students.


Word Clouds

11.   Wordle
Type (or copy & paste) in a chunk of text or individual words and Wordle generates a word cloud of the key vocabulary based on word frequency. Wordle can also be used for many varied purposes – check out these 52 ideas for using Wordle to support learning.

12.  WordSift
Similar to Wordle, students type (or copy & paste) in a piece of text and WordSift sorts the text based on word frequency.  The visual thesaurus that displays beneath the words is a nice addition in WordSift. With the visual thesaurus, students immediately see how words are grouped semantically. A useful addition, I think.

13. Tagxedo
Tagxedo is a word cloud app with style! Tagxedo provides a good deal of customization for users. For example, if teachers or students want to create a word cloud in a shape such as the apple shown above, then Tagxedo is the right tool for the job. For younger students, Wordle is much more straightforward to use; however, older students will love the customization Tagxedo provides which includes colors, shapes, fonts, and themes.


Games and Review

14.  Flashcard Stash
While I think that flash cards are sometimes poor practice, students can benefit from instant recognition. Fluency, if you will, with a specific set of words. Now, if understanding doesn’t go deeper than instant recognition, students are in trouble. Teachers can sign up for a free account and create flashcards to coordinate with units of study.

15.  Vocabulary Games
While I’m not a fan of word searches for review or “seatwork,” this website also includes a wide assortment of other vocabulary games that can be used on a SmartBoard for review purposes. To make a tool like this more effective, be certain to review the meaning of words as students play games.

16.  Vocabulary Spelling City
A beefed-up version of vocabulary games, Vocabulary Spelling City includes many more game-like activities useful for reviewing words. A number of teacher-made lists are included such as analogies, compound words, math words, and many more. The free version seems to include about 5 activities and teachers can save lists. “Teach Me” pronounces words and uses each word in context. Teachers can use pre-selected sentences or create their own. Vocabulary Spelling City is a useful tool for students, teachers, and parents. While there is both a free and paid version, Vocabulary Spelling City seems like a natural for PTA funding. The classroom paid version allows students to practice in school and at home as well.

17. VocabAhead
VocabAhead is a useful tool for secondary students and teachers. Short videos – 30 to 60 seconds – accompany each word and make this tool stand out among others for secondary students. The Study Lounge, for students, features leveled word lists (grades 6-12) and SAT word lists. Students can view videos, hear pronunciations, practice, take quizzes, play games, track performance, and more. In addition, teachers can create their own word lists for students. Custom word lists can be embedded in a blog or class website which makes integration and review a snap. Apple and Android apps are also available for free download.

18. Free Rice
At Free Rice, students can practice matching words to the correct definition, and donate rice at the same time. For each correct answer, the United Nations World Food Programme donates 10 grains of rice to a country in need. How’s that for combining word learning with social goodness? When a student plays, there is a visual display of rice (see image) which is added to a bowl each time the student makes a correct response. Free Rice includes subject area lists in Geography, Science, Math, and others. It is leveled so students can play at just the right level of challenge for them. Note of caution: Free Rice may be addicting to youand your students.


Word Walls and Virtual Field Trips

19. Wallwisher
Wallwisher is an online space to create a collaborative, digital word wall. Getting a leg up on the more traditional word wall, Wallwisher allows users to create sticky notes that can include text, images, links and videos. Teachers can embed this into a classroom website or blog which makes it a go-to collaborative space for students. For primary students, teachers will probably want to create the wall with words and links for students. Older students will get the hang of it fairly quickly. A great, collaborative tool and virtual classroom space to build online references and key vocabulary for content units.

20. ThingLink
ThingLink is a tool for making images interactive. To use, simply upload an image, identify hot spots on specific parts of the image, and add text or web links to the image. In the classroom, teachers could use ThingLink to launch a unit by introducing students to key vocabulary or students could design interactive images as they become more familiar with vocabulary. There are many possibilities; I’d love to know how you use ThingLink to extend and deepen student learning.

21. TrackStar
TrackStar, a free online program, allows teachers to collect a series of websites and annotate them so that students can follow an online journey. With a little work, teachers can create a visual vocabulary field trip for students. Teachers determine topics which support units of study. TrackStar is a great way for students to experience multiple exposures to words in varied contexts (a characteristic of effective vocabulary instruction).

Source: Kimberly Tyson, Ph.D.,


Felis Anu Nuebu (Chamorro)

Feliz Ano Nuevo (Spanish)

Parakapw Mwahu (Pohnpei)

Ungil Becheserrak (Palau)

Akemashite Omedeto Gozaimasu (Japanese)

Hau'oli Makahiki Hou (Hawaiian)

Sut dal kum mum (Korean)

Gung Hay Fat Choy (Chinese)

ChĂșc Mung Nam Moi (Vietnamese)

May the year 2014 bring you abundant blessings filled with much love, joy, peace, and happiness!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas from around the Pacific!

Merry Christmas from around the Pacific!

~Felis Pasgua (Chamorro)
~Maligayan Pasko (Tagalog)
~Peren en Krismas (Pohnpeian)
~Monono ilo raaneoan Nejin (Marshallese)
~Falang e Baynag (Yapese)
~Tok Tapeng (Kosraean)
~Ungil Kurismas (Palauan)
~Pwapwan Kirisimas (Chuukese)
~Mele Kalikimaka (Hawaiian)
~Ameseighil ubwutiiwel Layi Luugh me raagh fee (Carolinian)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

ReadWriteThink URL:

ReadWriteThink is made up of a community of literacy expert advisors and a diverse group of educators who share a passion for literacy learning. It has partnered with the International Reading Association (IRA), National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and Verizon Thinkfinity to provide access to best practices in literacy.

Visit the ReadWriteThink site at

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Literacy Sites

Featured URL:

Literacy Sites – ESL & ABE is maintained by the Lisle Library District, which promotes the three E’s of “Enrich, Educate, and Empower.” This site further focuses on ESL and Adult Basic Education (ABE) websites.

URL for Guam Council IRA December 2013 Newsletter

Visit to view this month's Guam Council IRA newsletter.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Resourceful Websites for ESL Teachers

* (articles)
* (activities; membership fee required)
* (bingo games)
* (flash cards; membership fee required)
* (great information)
* (leveled books and reading ideas; membership fee required)
* (songs, poems, resources)
* (printables)
* (animated videos, free trial membership)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

We love seeing all of your creative fall bulletin boards and door decorations!

They brighten up your hallways and classrooms, and we want them to brighten up our e-mail during our first ever “Fall Decorating contest”.

Starting today, November 6 until next Friday,November 15, all you have to do is take a picture of your fall themed bulletin board or door decorations and submit them to You will then be eligible to win one of 10 Elmer’s Prize Packs!Submit Now!
Source:  Elmer's Teachers Club

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Rosetta Stone Language Value Video Proposed

On Jury Duty, Still Teaching- How Video Lessons Covered an Absence
Rosetta Stone Solutions for K-12 provides you with the tools to create a dynamic learning environment that will engage students and keep them interested in learning, while providing you the tools and support to manage and monitor language learning in action.
Language skills are critical to our competitiveness in the global economy . In one single platform Rosetta Stone® provides you with engaging language learning tools, such as live coaches and learning villages to help you prepare your students for successful futures. Watch the video to learn more. View Video

Source: eSchool News

Sherry Dixon Presentations Links

Click on any of the following links to view Sherry Dixon's presentations:

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Hungry for Learning - The Online Path

Although we may not be able to travel abroad for higher education opportunities, we can seek other creative paths, such as online learning. UOG's Reading Program, under the leadership of my colleague, Dr. Catherine Stoicovy, has paved the way for such opportunity in our region. Check out the following article by Dr. Vince Akimoto which sheds light on this subject: Enjoy, and keep learning!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Math Classroom Ideas

The following is a resourceful website on Math bulletin boards and classroom ideas: Enjoy!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Second Language Acquisition Sites

Check out the following websites for information on SLA,ESL, assessment, language diversity, bilingual education, technology and language learning, two-way immersion, and more. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

University of Richmond’s Writer’s Web

Features:  Writing in the disciplines, peer editing, brainstorming, clustering, freewriting, outlines, reading strategies, and other resourceful writing activities.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Reading Rockets - 103 Things to Do Before/During/After Reading

Author: Jim Burke, WETA
Website address:

5 attributes for building literacy of English Learners:
*Culturally relevant -- Culture(s): All
*Effective strategy for English Learners -- Strategy name: Interactive Activities
*Authority -- Well known public source
*Age Appropriate -- Grade Level: 6th-8th 
*Navigation with ease -- Links, design, feedback buttons: Accessible

• Prior to, while, or after reading a book, the ideas allow the children to become more involved in the stories that they read.
• Provides over 100 interactive activities to choose from, including dramatic monologue, pantomime, mapmaker, business card book, postcard, billboard, moviemaker, trailer, adjective-it is, collage, haiku/limerick, roundtable, CliffsNotes, silent roundtable, fishbowl, silent conversation, movie review, surf the net, inspirations, Dear author, timeline, Mandala, transparencies, fictional friends, Oprah book club, picture this, Kids books, downgrade, Draw!, state of the union, interview question, Dear diary, Rosencrantz and Gildenstern, Improv, Interrupted conversations, What if, found poetry, 13 view, personal ad, Holden meets Hamlet, character analysis, Epistle poem, author interview, Write intro, and more!

Monday, July 22, 2013

ESL Links of Interest

Dave's ESL Cafe: 
An online resource for all ESL teachers

UHM Center for Second Language

Friday, June 28, 2013

ESL Assessment Links (n.d.). Project based learning.

RubiStar. (2008).


Wiggins, G. (2011). Big ideas: An authentic assessment e-journal -

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Study Guides and Strategies

Author:  Joe F. Landsberger

5 attributes for building literacy of English Learners:
* Culturally relevant -- Culture(s):  All
* Effective strategy for English Learners -- Strategy name:  Pre Questions
Authority -- Well known source
Age Appropriate -- Grade Level: 6th-8th
Navigation with ease -- Links, design, feedback buttons:  Accessible


  • Pre-Reading strategy that guides the ELs in the comprehension process.
  • Enables teachers to prepare questions in advance of reading.
  • Guides students as they complete their reading assignment.
  • Teacher can help students develop their own questions, which will help them establish purpose and focus.
  • Great strategy in activating prior knowledge.
  • Students get an idea of what they are going to be exposed to from the reading.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Guam Council IRA May 2013 Newsletter Available Online

Click on the newsletter above to view this month's issue.

Monday, April 8, 2013

32nd Annual International PIBBA Conference Form URLs

Hafa Adai! PIBBA International proudly announces that the 32nd Annual International PIBBA Conference will be held July 21-24, 2013 in the beautiful island of Guam. The theme is "Indigenous Rights - Sacred and Secret ~ Direchon i Taotao Siha - Sagrada yan Sikretu." We hope to see you there, and please stay tuned for more information.
*2012 TOY recipients will also be recognized during the ceremony.
*2012 POY recipients will also be recognized during the ceremony.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Best Websites for Teaching and Learning

The Best Websites for Teaching and Learning honors websites, tools, and resources of exceptional value to inquiry-based teaching and learning as embodied in the American Association of School Librarians' Standards for the 21st-Century Learner. New for 2012, the Top 25 Websites foster the qualities of innovation, creativity, active participation, and collaboration. They are free, web-based sites that are user friendly and encourage a community of learners to explore and discover. The Landmark Websites are honored due to their exemplary histories of authoritative, dynamic content and curricular relevance. They are free, web-based sites that are user-friendly and encourage a community of learners to explore and discover and provide a foundation to support 21st-century teaching and learning. Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning NEW FOR 2012! Past Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning Lists Landmark Websites for Teaching and Learning Tools and Resources for School Librarians Press Kitl Nominate a Website Best Websites for Teaching and Learning Committee 2012-2013 Donna Baratta, Chair Elizabeth Dumas Kyle Harmon Susan Hess Jessica Hinman Melissa Jacobs-Israel Debra Kay Logan Catherine Nelson Floyd Pentlin John Schumacher Jennifer Habley, Staff Liaison Source: AASL

Monday, January 14, 2013

Reading Rockets:

Reviewed by Erik Miller

Features: Reading Rockets is possibly the most comprehensive reading strategies website available. It offers a multitude of research, strategies, and multimedia learning tools. It includes resources for parents, such as booklists, tips on creating a home library, tips on finding books at the right reading level for your child, and tips for reading with your child. Most importantly, it includes booklists, watch and learn videos, author study toolkits, and author interviews.

In particular, the author interviews can be useful in the classroom. The video interviews are the cheapest and fastest way for students to connect with authors before the write or read. It would be excellent to show the Marylin Singer before a poetry unit and have the students analyze what she said poetry can be. Likewise, it would be fun for students to listen to Lois Lowry’s interview about “The Giver” before or after reading it, and discuss her point of view regarding how controversial it is. Students can then decide for themselves after reading it if it controversial and should be removed from a school reading list.

To go directly to the author interview sit of Reading Rockets copy and past the following link into your URL bar:

Reviewed by Johnavan Tamayo

This website and organization is dedicated to giving children the gift of reading. was founded by a group of editors and publishers, to include Julie Stan, that are educators and parents. Early Moments has been around for 45 years publishing popular titles and series such as Baby Einstein, Dr. Seuss, and Disney.  It is their firm belief that reading to your children at a very young age will prove most beneficial to a lifetime of learning.

Early Moments provides 10 strategies that parents can incorporate into their routine.  With each strategy it requires that the parent be enthusiastic about reading and model ideal practices.  The strategies included are quite easy to incorporate. Words are everywhere, thus at every corner have children read the text in sight. Taking regular trips to the library is another way to keep children interested. This website also details games and activities parents can simply do at home with their children.

Lastly, they provide booklists of all those published under Disney, Baby Einstein, and Dr.Seuss. When you click the title it gives a detail description of the books origins, a summary, then an activity that can be performed in the home. Early Moments effectively promotes literacy, while focusing on reading at the early stages of a child’s life.

URL for Guam IRA Website -