Many Helpful Things: Online Resources and Activities

As a comment to one of my earlier posts about blogging, reader Diana Bermfadez mentioned a website that was new to me called ManyThings.org. This prompted me to take a look at the site, which is amazing, and think about other useful sites that make ESL/EFL materials available to teachers.

ManyThings is really great because it has lots of online exercises that students can do in class on a computer or, better yet, on their own as homework assignments. There are vocabulary building activities, pronunciation practice tasks, and many types of gap fills and quizzes for all different ages and levels.

I found the minimal pairs section to be really helpful because it gives students the chance to hear, for example, 17 and 70 as many times as necessary to learn how to distinguish the difference between the two. If you could create a weekly or monthly homework log with one activity link per day or week, and maybe even have parents sign off on the amount of time their children spent practicing the specified activities, that could help ensure that students were completing the required tasks and that parents were involved in the process, too.

ManyThings had great digital resources and activities that students could complete online, but I also wanted to share some of my favorite paper-based ESL/EFL resource websites. They are all free to join but require registration. The first is BusyTeacher, which has free articles and worksheets. While it is great to make your own worksheets, I see nothing wrong with starting with a set of materials and adapting them to suit your purposes rather than starting from scratch, especially when teaching common topics like colors or directions. Another site is ESLPrintables, which requires you to post at least one worksheet and earn points to download worksheets created by other users but, if I remember correctly, you start off with enough points to become familiar with the site first.

Finally, the most recent site I have found is TeachersPayTeachers, which is exactly what it sounds like but, in addition to having many teaching resources for sale, there are a ton of free materials. Also, if you sign up for the newsletter, you can get even more worksheets plus free personal- and commercial-use clip-art to spruce up worksheets of your own. While the first two sites are just for ESL/EFL materials, TeachersPayTeachers is not, which just makes searching for resources more interesting.

Now you have one website with online-based activities and three with downloadable teaching materials to make your life a little easier. Thank you, Diana, for sharing that marvelous site ManyThings.org! If anyone else has sites to share, please feel free to post them in the comments section.

About Tara Arntsen

Tara Arntsen
Tara Arntsen recently completed her Master's degree in Teaching-TESOL at the University of Southern California. She currently teaches in the Intensive English Program at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. She has taught ESOL in China, Japan, and Cambodia as well as online. Her primary interests are communicative teaching methods and the use of technology in education.
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4 Responses to Many Helpful Things: Online Resources and Activities

  1. Salma Dosi says:

    Dear reader,
    I teach 12-18 year old multicultural, coeducational, cosmopolitan students and I like them to be productive in class. I am going to consult http://manythings.org when planing my lessons because it has many activities including:- Reading with Audio, Grammar, Vocabulary and Crossword Puzzles. This link is useful to all the teachers of ESL from kindergarten to teachers’ colleges. Make sure you have more than two hours when you open this site, because it is easy for you to lose track of time.
    Thank you Tara, for I have been able to update my Java Script and install the latest Media Player which have enabled me to enjoy all the benefits offered on this link. Fellow teacher do not hesitate to accept new applications because they are free of charge and will make your lesson planning easier.
    Another useful link is http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org. My favorite activity is WORDSHAKE . From the menu bar click ‘Fun & Games’ and then follow your instincts.’ Listen and Watch’ activities are good for oral practices. Please remember to bookmark both the links for reference later on.
    Yours sincerely,
    Salma.

    • Tara Arntsen Tara Arntsen says:

      Thank you for reading my post and sharing some of your experiences, Salma. The website you shared has a ton of resources and WORDSHAKE looks awesome. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Alexandra Lowe Alexandra Lowe says:

    Thanks, Tara, for this great blog post. If you’re not already familiar with this other terrific website, http://www.agendaweb.org, you might want to check it out. It has hundreds of links to ESL materials – not only grammar materials and quizzes, but songs, listening activities, videos etc. I also find that many of my students really like the Voice of America’s Special English programs, http://learningenglish.voanews.com/ They are very topical and are great for vocabulary and listening skills. They are a great way to create “gap-fill” listening activities based on engaging current events. We are about to use the “Apps for Apes” story in my classes this week.

    • Tara Arntsen Tara Arntsen says:

      Alexandra, thank you for sharing those two sites with us! They look amazing and, like you said, have just a ton of activities. It’s nice to know that you’ve had success using them with your students. I’ll be sure to start using both sites to find material for my students too.

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