Developing Language and Academic Literacy with Technology, Grades 4-12

Presented at the 15th Annual ELD Institute "One Size Does Not Fit All: Ensuring Success for All English Learners" Saturday, April 9, 2005

Karen Cadiero-Kaplan, Ph.D.
College of Education
San Diego State University

Communicating Across Distances

  1. Yahoo:
  2. From Shore to Shore, or "De Orilla a Orilla"
    This is an international teacher-researcher project that has focused on documenting promising classroom practices for intercultural learning over global learning networks
  3. Project FRESA:
    This is a collaborative project designed by Michelle Singer and Amada Irma H. Perez. Michelle teaches 5th grade and Amada teaches 3rd grade. Both teachers work at Mar Vista Elementary School in the Ocean View School District in Oxnard, California. Together, their classes created a multi-media, cross-curricular anthology about the relationship between the strawberry crops that surround and sustain the local community, environment, and economy to their lives.
  4. Putting the Movement back into Civil Rights Teaching: LEARN Civil Rights Project:
    In partnership with the LEARN Project at Long Island University, the Civil Rights Teaching Global Learning Project is a groundbreaking online education project that highlights the recently published Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching. The project links classrooms together across geographic lines in dialogue and action on issues of civil rights, social justice, and people's movements. The text, edited by: Menkart, D., Murray, A., View, J. availabe at:

Internet Activities & Lessons by Content Area

Language Arts & English Language Development (ELD)

  1. Stories to Grow By
  2. Indigenous Australia:
    Hear the tales of the indigenous peoples of Australia, and better understand the role of storytelling as well as other areas of cultural heritage. Students can access a dictionary of terms that may be new to them, and the "How do I find...?" area can help them find information on specific topics, such as medicines and land ownership.
  3. Mozart's Magical Musical Life
  4. Charlotte's Web
    If your students love the book, Charlotte's Web, this site provides creative supplemental resources, a mystery quotes quiz, trivia crossword puzzles, and links to other Charlotte's Web sites. Created by Mrs. Taverna's 1998-1999 Second Grade, at Pocantico Hills School in Sleepy Hollow, New York.
  5. The Internet Picture Dictionary
    This on-line picture dictionary has a wide range of vocabulary categories with a variety of activities to give students practice in using vocabulary in context. Langauges include English, Spanish, French, Italina, and German.
  6. Fluency through Fables
    The site is designed by and for ESL teachers. The fables are used to increase fluency as well as critical thinking and increasing vocabulary.
  7. ESL Activity Website
    A comprehensive resource for ESL teachers and students in middle and high school. Includes a variety of on-line and printable grammar related exercises and activities. The site includes bilingual voabulary quizzes in over 20 languages.
  8. English Exercises Online:
    This site, developed by a teacher from Belgium, offers online and worksheet activities for English language learners. Lessons incorporate activities with teaching tips. When activities have Dutch/English next to them in parentheses,that means it is in Dutch,to be translated into English. However, most exercises are in English and help to prepare students for the general work force.
  9. Postcard Geography 2001-2002
    Paper postcards are still the rage! Here is a project that entails students exchanging postcards with other classrooms. Through what is now lovingly referred to as snail mail, these postcards allow cultural exchanges, polish writing and mapping skills.
  10. Amigos: A Place to Share Stories
    Amigos is a bilingual website of interest to, but not limited to, ethnically diverse middle school and high school students, parents, teachers and interested adults. Amigos consists of several components including informational essays, resources for locating help, and sharing personal stories and intergenerational experiences


  1. Paso Partners - Integrating Mathematics, Science and Language
    An Instructional Program:

    Integrating Mathematics, Science and Language: An Instructional Program is a two-volume curriculum and resources guide developed by Paso Partners - a partnership of three public schools, an institution of higher education, and SEDL specialists. The resource is designed to help elementary school teachers organize their classrooms and instructional activities in order to increase achievement of Hispanic primary-grade children whose first language is not English. The guide offers a curriculum plan, instructional strategies and activities, suggested teacher and student materials, and assessment procedures.
  2. Mr. Pitonyak's Pyramid Puzzle:
    This site features an interdisciplinary Web based project designed for middle school math students to determine how much it would cost to build an Egyptian pyramid today.
  3. NASS Kids Agriculture and Math Fun:
    NASS provides the numbers to help understand agriculture. Ag for Teachers contains links to lessons using USDA information and statistics.
  4. Learn & Practice Multiplication Facts at:
  5. Current Value of Old Money:
    A hotlist created by a science librarian at the University of Exeter, teachers and older students can find sources to compare inflation, costs of living, and more for periods in history, Ancient Rome, Spain, and Colonial America are some of the periods featured. Many links to explore, linking mathematical concepts of finance to history.


  1. Bucket Buddies
    Are the organisms found in pond water the same all over the world? Let your students identify organisms in a water sample, compare their findings with other participating classes, and look for relationships and trends in the data collected by all project participants.If you don't want elementary school students (grades 1-5) mucking about in a pond, there are instructions for teacher collection of samples. This site contains a great list of links to help you identify your local macro invertebrates.
  2. Window to the Universe
    This website is an excellent resource for student research on the solar system. Planet facts are written to meet the needs of various reading levels and is also in Spanish.
  3. Aerona Dinosphere, Supported by the Children's Museum of Indianapolis:
    Using actual specimens from the Dinosphere: Now You're in Their World exhibit, The Children's Museum staff along with local educators and university professionals collaborated to create engaging, K-8 standards-based online activities and WebQuests. There are eight activities for K - 2, divided into nonreader, early reader, and reader categories. There is also a WebQuest for grades 3 -5, as well as one for grades 6 - 8. Each activity has a teacher's guide including activity overview, standards and suggestions for variations, when applicable. All activities and WebQuests have been translated into Spanish for ESL students.
  4. Virtual Field Trips
  5. Life on the Rocky Shore
  6. Camp Silos:
    Exploring the Prairie, Pioneer Farming, The Story of Corn and Farming Today and Tomorrow are the areas covered by this website. Each area is divided into a Student area, a Teacher area (with lesson plans), and Resources. This is a great site for combining the study of US westward expansion and biomes.

Social Studies

  1. Garbage: How can my Community Reduce Waste
  2. Your Mission: The Last Mission
    Students are charged with finding a location for the last California Mission, and work as a team to research the geography, native peoples, and natural resources of the region.
  3. Our Gold Rush Community
  4. The Salem Witch Trials: The World Behind the Hysteria
  5. Your Nation
  6. Look Who's Footing the Bill!
    This site uses the national debt controversy to inspire students toward taking democratic action. After exploring the issues from four perspectives, students have to answer the question, "What's so big about a 5 trillion debt?"
  7. A School for Iqbal - A Bullet Can't Kill A Dream
    This site is an outstanding example of how the Web is about people and reaching out (not bandwidth and AUPs). Iqbal Masih was sold into child bonded labor at 4 years of age for the equivalent of $12. He escaped at age 10 and began to speak out against child slavery. He won the Reebok Human Rights Youth in Action Award 1994 and on Easter Sunday, 1995, he was murdered. Students at Broadmeadow Middle School formed a campaign to help fight for Iqbal's Dream.
  8. The PBS Kids Democracy Project
    Want to give elementary students an understanding of how the government plays a part in our daily lives, or what the President of the United States does during the day? This easy to navigate site lets students explore these topics, or go virtually into the voting booth.
  9. Web Quest for Peace: An Internet Web quest on Kashmir
    Developed by Pakistan teacher Fatemeh Sheikh, this web quest provides tasks that guide students in designing a lasting peace agreement between India and Pakistan.(NOTE: This site sometimes causes the browser to open multiple pop up windows, but it is worth checking out for the content and process).
  10. A Force More Powerful: A Century of Non-Violent Conflict
  11. World Game Institute Home page
    The World Game Institute is a 27 year old non-profit research and education organization whose mission is to supply the perspective and information needed to solve the critical problems facing global society of the twenty-first century.

English Language Development (ELD) & Bilingual Education

  1. Hot Internet Sites ¡en Español! An Internet Hotlist on Spanish Resources
    You will find resources for students who speak Spanish as their primary language and you will also find links for students learning Spanish as a foreign language. The resources are appropriate for Kindergarten through Community College levels.
  2. Dr. Mora's CLAD Website:
    This site provides a comprehensive resource on the philosophy, methods and public policy issues in educating language minority students. It is designed to link university scholarship, K-12 educators and the general public to disseminate current information about pedagogically sound principles and practices in language education.
  3. National Clearning House for English Language Acquisition:
    OELA's National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition & Language Instruction Educational Programs (NCELA) collects, analyzes, synthesizes and disseminates information about language instruction educational programs for English language learners and related programs. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement & Academic Achievement for Limited English Proficient Students (OELA) under Title III of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001.
  4. Mexico Para Nino:
    This site is truly Mexico para Ninos, and in addition to Spanish, the site includes English, French and Italian translations. Students can explore the states of Mexico as well as the government and history. Diversity not only covers plants and wildlife, but the indigenous peoples of Mexico. Cultural information on Mexican mythology, foods,games and music can be found throughout the site.
  5. Casa de Joanna
    Teaching French or Spanish? Casa Joanna has links for you. Find language websites that contain thematically organized authentic links for Spanish teachers. There are also links to French and Spanish language search engines and portals/web guides.
  6. Especially Espanol!
    Many teachers, students, librarians and others are interested in locating good Spanish language resources. No matter what statistics you hear about the growth of the Internet, the number of good Spanish language sites doesn't seem to be keeping pace. We created this web site because we are concerned about the lack of resources and lessons available.
  7. Some Spanish Language Places
    This website is a hotlist of Spanish resources on the internet, it includes lists in Spanish for government resources, periodicals, arts and culture and more.
  8. Dave's ESL Cafe:
    Dave's ESL Cafe is for ESL/EFL students and teachers from around the world. Includes a Search Page, Quiz Center, Help Center, Idea Page, Graffiti Wall, Question Page, and more.


  1. Seeing Color
    This site on color vision is designed for K-12 students and includes a sample color blindness test using two of the Ishihara charts along with brief explanations about color blindness. Included are links to Sir Isaac Newton and a chart on common animals and the colors they see. Developed by the Research Topics section of the Ask a Biologist site at Arizona State University.
    Photographs of masks from many cultures can be found here. Featured are masks from affiliated museums around the world, as well as masks found at mask festivals in Europe and Asia and masks made by contemporary artists.
  3. The National Gallery of Art
    The National Gallery in Washington created a variety of activities for children learning about art. Take a tour of the sculpture garden, or explore the colors, shapes, and lines found in Kandinsky's Improvisation 31 (Sea Battle.)
  4. Bembo's Zoo
    A flashy site (Flash plugin required) for artists and creative thinkers to just sit back and watch. Turn your high school computer lab students loose trying to figure out how they did it. Beginning animators may get some wonderful ideas, all surrounding the basic alphabet.

Discussion & Reflection

How could you integrate the content and activities found in these sites into your curriculum and/or school day? What other ideas come to mind for using the computer for whole class instruction?

Student Resources

  1. Yahooligans:
  2. Kids Connect:
  3. Classroom Clip Art:
  4. Discovery Schools Clip Art Gallery
  5. So You Have to Do A Research Project?
    Provides 4th to 8th grade students information to help them complete a research project; access tips, worksheets, and resources that help build information literacy skills.

Teacher Resources

  1. The Teacher's Desk
  2. Blue Web'n
  3. Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators
  4. National Education Service On-Line
  5. Global Schoolhouse
  6. Rethinking Schools On-Line
  7. Pacific Southwest Regional Technology in Education Consortium (PSR*TEC)
  8. Firstgov for Kids
    Welcome to the U.S. government interagency Kids' Portal. It provides links to Federal kids' sites along with some of the best kids' sites from other organizations all grouped by subject. Look for state report information as well as music and transportation.
  9. Montage
    Montage is an impressive collection of interactive curriculum projects involving teachers and students around the globe. The projects are designed to create collaboration and learning through the medium of the Internet and other communication technologies.
  10. Artistas Espanoles
    This site features a chronological look at seminal artists in Spanish History. Explore important art periods and view information and works by over 100 Spanish artists from Fresco to Gargallo.

Searching the Internet

  1. Yahoo:
  2. Google:
  3. Mama.Com Search Engine:

Creating Your Own Web Page

  1. TeacherWeb:
    Create a free personal website that's as easy to use as the bulletin board in your classroom. What could be easier than posting assignments, announcements, and other educational material on your own classroom's bulletin board?
  2. BlackBoard:
    Create a FREE course Web site to bring your learning materials, class discussions, and even tests online. Supplement an existing class or teach a course entirely on the Web.
  3. The Internet Brothers: Tips and Tools:
    Whatever it is, if you are working with students on webpages, this is a must read. What are layers? How do you do a Quicktime VR panorama, and make it easier to load? What is dynamic HTML, and which version should you try to implement? Update your HTML skills, or just visit the areas marked with a green dot (for beginners).
  4. Copyright Tips and Issues

List Serves for Teachers

  1. BlueWebn: For K-12 Teachers, receive news weekly of new online resources, lesson plans, tools, and learning activities. TO SUBSCRIBE, go to
  2. Have a Cow, Dude. If you are an elementary school teacher, this listserv offers a variety of data you can integrate into your lessons. Learn about milk production from a dairyman who names each of his cows (the girls), and updates listserv subscribers on their milk and calf production. Each month, the author tackles questions from readers. To subscribe, visit
  3. The Weekly Puzzler sends you puzzles each week. Riddles, Brain Busters, Math Riddles, Trivia and more...all in one e-mail message. The answers are included in the same message. Keep those brains working! To subscribe, visit
  4. "On the Wild Side" is created by the Audubon Society. Very cool, weird facts you can use to dazzle people and perhaps gross out your students. For a more detailed nature listserv, subscribe to the "eNature Observer." Visit the Audubon website at to subscribe.

Web Quest Assignment