Totally 3rd Grade Blog
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Posts Tagged ‘vocabulary’

Best tool ever for teaching foreign languages?

Thursday, March/03/2010

I am absolutely giddy.  I recently discovered a cool new project developed by Google that essentially allows anybody to instantly translate text from one language to another.  It’s called Google Translate and it has the potential to revolutionize  teaching resources.

As an experiment, I copied the lyrics from the most popular song on this site, 50 States, and pasted them into Google Translate.  Then I hit “translate” and the entire lyric popped up in Spanish (the language I chose) so quickly that I didn’t realize at first that it was already finished.  No kidding, I hadn’t even taken my finger off the mouse before my Spanish translation was complete.

I immediately added the Spanish translation to the 50 states activities menu and am now asking for opinions about how well this thing works.  The Spanish version of the lyrics can be viewed by clicking here.

As cool as that is, there is one  feature that will be life-changing for a substantial number of students and teachers.  Instead of simply pasting text into the translator, you can also paste the URL of any website.  When you use the translator this way,  the entire website will automatically  be translated into your language of choice.  This is a real time-saver and it encourages additional reading exploration.

Imagine these 3 scenarios:

1. You discover that a particular website in India offers something relevant that your class would enjoy reading.  Simply enter their URL, select the language in which you’d prefer to read and start reading your translated version instantly.

2. You want to better help ESL students in your classroom so you, when necessary,  provide instructions  in their native language.

3. You could also use the tool to communicate in writing with non-English speaking  parents.  The potential is staggering.

If you’re personally web-savvy, Google also provides widget code so that you can make your own websites fully translatable.  I added the widget to this site right under the big pointing finger graphic.  Go give it a try.

What do you think; is this the coolest thing since sliced chleba or what?  (Chleba means bread in Czechoslovakian.  Go try it!)

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Worksheet Gold Mine!

Thursday, March/03/2010

Super Teacher Worksheets
Super Teacher Worksheets is one of the most complete, high quality collections of well thought-out worksheets that I’ve come across in a long time.  If that wasn’t enough, they’re also free!

Math, reading, writing, grammar, phonics, spelling, science and social studies worksheets are well organized, which means you won’t be wasting time trying to find what you want.  Each also comes with its own answer key.

Since there are numerous variations for each subject,  it should be easy to find the perfect way to present material to your students.

Here is a sample worksheet for counting coins. Clearly, these worksheets aren’t just thrown together. There is a lot of meat on these bones.

You simply must go check this out.  Now!

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Animal Classification

Wednesday, January/01/2010


Little known fact: the second most sought after song available on this website is “Animals Belong in Class,” by Teacher and the Rockbots.

This song helps listeners differentiate between mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians and arthropods by calling out descriptive clues about each class and then asking listeners to deduce the correct class.

“Animals Belong In Class” song sample

Like most music on this site, it comes with printable flash cards, worksheets, Cloze reading and vocabulary studies, wiki links and a lesson plan.

You can check it out more closely by visiting the  Animal Classification web page and you can download or buy the CD by clicking here.


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A Spelling Site You Should Check Out

Wednesday, November/11/2008

Every now and then I come across a website that is really worth your time.  One of those sites is

SpellingCity is free to use and in a nutshell, you can type in your spelling list and the site will:

  1. automatically produce 8 different spelling games utilizing your list
  2. automatically produce 2 or 3 different kinds of interactive, online quizzes
  3. display your vocabulary words in sentences
  4. audibly pronounce the words for you
  5. offer a variety of printable worksheets involving the spelling words you’ve entered
  6. provide other useful functions that you can check out while you’re on the site

Did I mention that it’s free? Additionally, if you create a user account (also free) you can save your lists for future use.  This can be handy if you want to sit down once for an hour or so and prepare all of the vocabulary quizzes you’ll need all year in one sitting.

Once you’ve set it up, just have students pull up the appropriate list and get to work!

Click the link below to see for yourself.

Take me to to check out a truly useful website

P.S. The site has a vocabulary of 38,000 words.  As a smarty pants, I typed in “discombobulation” and the site correctly pronounced the word and correctly used it in a sentence.  I was blown away.

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