Monthly Archives: April 2009

MORE Literacy Websites for Primary Students! Some great resources so check them out!

Here are some more great websites to explore and a number of these are for older students. Cheers Nina

Useful because…

Fantastic site for students with little to no English. Easy to navigate, relies on visual prompts rather than written instructions. Contains hundreds of activities; mainly fine motor skills, creativity/self expression, plus some literacy/numeracy/thinking.

Simple literacy & numeracy activities, categorised into primary grade levels. Requires some English to understand instructions.

Contains interactive numeracy/literacy-building activities on topics such as alphabet, numbers, shapes & keyboard skills. Nice big, colourful text & easy to navigate.

Bright & colourful site with cute games for building skills in literacy, numeracy, thinking, problem solving, fine motor skills, memory & creativity.

Highly visual site containing literacy/numeracy building activities. Can be navigated with little to no English.

=Very simple site with LARGE text & images, covering very basic concepts, eg. alphabet, numbers, colour & shape. Limited selection, but easy to understand & use. Also has flash stories, sing-a-longs & a section for parents.

Games, stories, activites etc. with (possibly) recognisable characters, eg the Wiggles, Bananas in Pyjamas etc. Students can choose activities by theme or character.

Contains games & lab activities to develop motor skills & reinforce basic concepts, eg. number, shape, colour, letter & sound recognition. Bright & colourful, heaps to choose from but some English needed to navigate.

Includes games, songs, stories & writing activities. Games are theme based, from basic (numbers, alphabet) to more advanced (environment, ancient Egypt etc) Some English needed to navigate site & follow instructions.

Includes sections for grammar, spelling, pronunciation, listening etc. Also lots of games, games,puzzles, activities etc. students can do on their own. Students need some literacy & independent working skills to navigate site & read instructions


More France photos: Normandy- I hope they’re not boring you!s5005663 Omaha Beach  Follow link for a soldier’s story.

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Great Literacy Websites for English as a Second Language Students & all children!

Every now and again someone sends me something really worthwhile. The following is an example of this.

 10 useful websites for teachers of ESL students & all Litearcy Learners


Useful because… writingfun.html

Great for writing genres & text organisers, can be used with smartboard & has printable pages. Best for upper primary.

Clear & simple layout, thematic units, good for very basic literacy & numeracy resources. For lower primary & brand new arrivals.

Varied materials ranging from simple alphabet exercises & flashcards to more advanced activities. Categorised into subject areas & themes, includes fun activities like puzzles, word searches, word scrambles & colouring pages. Appropriate from lower to upper primary.

HEAPS of free flashcards, worksheets and accompanying handouts, phonics cards, games, printable certificates, stickers & other activities. Also has some flash games that go with printable materials, to reinforce vocab etc. Middle to upper primary.

The name says it all. Not specifically for ESL students, but worksheets are clear & attractive with large text & space to write. No much vocab building/thematic stuff, but good for thinking, organisation, writing development etc. Best for middle/upper primary.

Similar to Also has puzzle maker feature & activities for critical thinking & problem solving. Best for upper primary. Some sections require membership to print materials, but some are free.

Scroll down just a little to find a huge selection of printable worksheets & exercises related to vocabulary building, grammar, parts of speech etc. You can also search the site for any topics/themes. Results will appear on the right side of screen, and links to other websites on the left. A lot to look through, but very comprehensive materials. Includes video lessons for pronunciation etc. Best for upper primary/extension work.

Similar to website above, also with PowerPoint lessons & videos.

Includes hundreds of printable resources for ESL students. Best for upper primary; lots of written activities- grammar, spelling, punctuation, vocab etc. Useful if you’re looking for very specific exercises for more advanced learners, eg. verb tenses, parts of speech etc.

Just colouring sheets. Organised into themes down the right hand side of screen. Includes alphabet & numbers, so can be useful for pre-literate students, to start discussion about various topics, or just for fun. Some great mandalas & geometric shapes for students with more advanced fine motor skills.

 Source: Noble Park English Language School


Photo: Shakespeare and Company – The famous English bookstore in Paris frequented by Earnest Hemingway and F.Scott Fitzgerald.

Cheers Nina


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Viva La France – EaB International: The Victor Hugo School Paris



Well, oui I’ve been to France! On the first Monday of the Australian (Victorian) school holidays my fifteen year old son and I jetted off to Paris to stay with my brother, sister in law and nine year old nephew who have been living in Paris for nearly a year, for two weeks.

On arrival at Charles de Gaulle Airport, after a couple of lengthy flights including managing our transfer through Hong Kong Airport (an experience) we slid into a taxi and headed to Mirabeau in the 16th Arrondissement (District). For Victorian readers the 16th District is the Toorak of Paris – beautiful  (my brother is obviously not a teacher!).

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We walked through the door at 9 am, put down our bags and headed out to the local coffee shop. Sitting outside, I enjoyed my first coffee experience (one of numerous for me as I quickly learnt that a coffee meant toilets!) in amazing surroundings. The day was planned by our Parisian family as a ploy to help us through our jetlag. 


A visit to the EaB International: The Victor Hugo School – Paris

The Victor Hugo School has been an IB World School  since March 2003.

We arrived the day of my nephew’s school open afternoon and my son and I were invited – permission granted. This is a big event, as parents have to make appointments to enter the school and rarely see their child’s classroom. This is also something expats grapple with, after coming from Australia where parents are used to an ‘open door’ policy, but security is high in international schools.

My nephew attends the EaB International: Victor Hugo School. When visiting any school I’m always on the lookout for ideas – not just to compare! I was not disappointed. The differences were obvious. Space is at a premium in Paris so classrooms are very small. My nephew’s classroom is small by Australian standards, however, there were approximately 14 students in his grade so that’s the trade off. The French students attend school for 30 weeks a year and there are 5 public holidays in May and others during the year. They have a half day on Wednesday where students can go home or do sport. My nephew is doing tennis as an optional paid extra – sensible Aussie parents.

His teacher was welcoming, but also overwhelmed as there really wasn’t enough room for visitors in the classroom. The activities the students completed with their teacher while I was there, were the same activities that I have presented to children in Australia -literacy activities and numeracy games. I observed students who were engaged and enjoyed sharing their writing orally with all visitors.

The children were then taken to their Violin class which was taught in French (which my nephew seemed to understand) but I didn’t. Then it was off to French language class where the children sang songs for us. Visiting a school in another country is a terrific experience. There are obvious differences but also many similarities.


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 Photo- Writing displayed at the school. Impressive!

After school we went to the park that the school uses at lunchtime as there isn’t a playground. The park is breathtaking! These children are not missing out. My nephew’s friends and their parents meet each day after school so that the children can play outside (most live in apartments).

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My nephew has made many friends at school from different countries around the world. He is by nature a very social ‘Aussie’ boy who would adapt easily to any environment and that’s my observations as a teacher. He’s not too keen on homework which seems to be plentiful and likes spending time with his mates playing and of course the computer which he uses with ease. He told me how he narrates cartoons and uploads them to utube and they’re good – yes, he is only nine! His education for the last year has certainly not been confined to the school. Paris and beyond has been his classroom.



My favourite musee even more than the Louvre: Musee D’ Orsay  


As I write this post my nephew and his parents will be part of an Australian group attending ANZAC day at Villers Bretonneux. Another example of learning through ‘real life’ experiences.


Au revoir




Next post: Guided Reading – Forming groups

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