Monday, October 10, 2011

Websites for English Teaching

Put together for the annual conference of INOTE, the Irish National Organisation for Teachers of English, in Kilkenny, on Saturday 8th October, here is a start on a list of useful websites for English teachers (not as a foreign or second language, but as a 'humanities' subject).  'Useful' actually means recommended - this is a 'curated' list, and very much evolving.

The list will be updated frequently, so feel free to suggest more sites, with a brief comment, by the comments section underneath the post, or by Twitter via @sccenglish. Thanks to members of the EC Ning (see below), who are suggesting sites on this thread (sign up for free membership to access).

  1. Shakespeare Search Engine: a brilliant tool, a 'Google for Shakespeare'. Search by play, by character, by theme...
  2. Word frequency lists: combine this with Wordle (see here for our own series of Shakespeare Wordles) for fascinating analysis and class discussion.
  3. Folger Shakespeare Library: lots of resources, including teaching ones.
  4. Royal Shakespeare Company: ditto, including their education section
  5. 60 Minutes with Shakespeare: Sixty Speakers, Sixty Minutes on Shakespeare and his time, via short audio talks from experts (sign-up needed). For anyone who's interested in the cultural and historical background to the plays.
General Poetry
  1. Poetry Archive: outstanding site with a stellar cast of contributors, which focusses on poets reading their own work. Highly recommended for classroom use.
  2. Poetry Foundation: the American equivalent, from Chicago, with terrific resources, essays and, again, audio material.
  3. Poetry 180: 'a poem a day' for American High Schools, from the Library of Congress, set up by Billy Collins when he was US Poet Laureate.
  4. Poetry Ireland: back home now, with a useful educational section.
General English Teaching & Resources
  1. The English Support Service for secondary schools - the best site for those of us who teach in Ireland to check on courses, events and resources.
  2. Geoff Barton's site: 'Free English resources for students and teachers' - and a lot of them. Very helpful, from a top practitioner. And if you don't know it, you have to read 'Twelve Things that Great English Teachers Do.'
  3. The English Companion Ning. Founded by Californian teacher Jim Burke, this is a social network of 30,000 English educationalists. An extraordinary resource, with instant access to support and help for teachers all around the world.
  4. Times Educational Supplement English resources: the site from one of the world's best-known educational publications. A vast number of resources are available, including our own here.
  5. New York Times Learning Network: as you would expect from such a distinguished publication, a lot of impressive material (in many subjects), such as their Great Gatsby microsite. 
  6. BBC Learning for English: all the depth you'd expect of the world's top broadcaster.
  7. Teachit ('English Teaching Online'): UK site full of teaching resources, advice and 'whizzy things' (such as this very handy timer for classroom activities and tests). Subscription for full access, some resources free.
  8. Leaving Cert English is a site from Evelyn O'Connor from Claremorris: does what it says on the tin - lots of advice for the exam, with a strong emphasis on podcasting. 
  9. WebEnglishTeacher: lots of links to lots of English literature and language resources.
Individual Poets
  1. Wilfred Owen & WW1 Poets: oustanding site from the Oxford University First World War Poetry Digital Archive, with manuscripts of the poems and much more.
  2. Billy Collins Action Poetry: these animations of the poems are great for class, at any age level.
  3. Elizabeth Bishop: helpful commentary and critical paragraphs on the great American poet.
  4. Seamus Heaney: excellent microsite on the Irish Nobel Laureate from RTE, with plenty of video material.
  1. Plain English Campaign: a good way to demonstrate to your classes how not to use language. Nice Gobbledygook Generator.
  2. British Library Learning (Language and Literature): terrific resources, including 'Changing Language'.
  3. Oxford Dictionaries: plenty of free resources here (as well as the subscription option), including 'How Shakespearean are you?
  4. Word Dynamo, from lots of tests, word-lists and more.
Media & Film
  1. Film Education: UK site with resources, training and microsites on films.
  2. Association for Media Literacy: ' the impact of the mass media on contemporary culture' with plenty of resources (thanks to @msolomonteacher).
(hard to select: good writing can be found anywhere. But selections from these sites often provide valuable material for exemplars and class discussions, as well as our own pleasure).
  1. McSweeney's Internet Tendency: quirky and often brilliant (including their parodies).
  2. New Yorker: much of the magazine is also available online, including the fiction microsite (and podcasts of writers reading others' stories), plus articles like this one by Atul Gawande, which will make you think about your own teaching.
  3. Longreads: exactly that - the best long writing on the web, curated.
  4. Arts and Letters Daily: has been around for a while, just as good as ever. Fine writing gathered.
  5. ReadWriteThink: suggested by several members of the EC Ning. Lots of resources from the International Reading Association and the American National Council of Teachers of English.
  6. Storybird: designed for young children, but also a brilliant tool for older pupils, putting together a structured narrative. And great fun. 
  7. Spellathon: one for your pupils - have fun and raise money in the 'global spelling event.' 
  8. Writing Prompts: an excellent visual blog with regular ideas for prompting writing of all sorts. 
  9. Following which: our list of visual prompts for writing on various sites.
Website Tools
  1. Wordle: lots of uses for analysing and discussing texts - see here for our series of Shakespeare Wordles, here for 'Tintern Abbey', here for our series analysing the public and political use of language, here for the soliloquies in Hamlet.
  2. Audioboo (also a mobile app): an easy way to record and podcast short talks - click here for our series on 10 Characters in Hamlet, here for the Patterns of Poetry series.
  3. Lulu: the world's top self-publishing service. We've published two smart books based on this blog - Going Places and Outside the Frame (read how here). A great opportunity for showcasing pupils' work.
  4. Diigo: perhaps the best bookmarking tool, and more - collect and annotate information, and share it with your pupils.
  5. Twitter: here are reasons why it's great for English teachers.
  6. Instapaper: Marco Ament's brilliant tool (with associated mobile apps) strips website articles down to the words and cuts out everything else, so that you can read them later on almost any device (including the Kindle).


noelcaprice said...

EDSITEment from the National Endowment for the Humanties contains hundreds of lessons for teaching English literature, as well as history, art and culture.

Anonymous said...

Is a website hosted by two English teachers who posts new lesson/curriculum every day about anything and everything.

Teachit said...

Thanks for the nice write up of our site, Glad we made it onto your very useful and comprehensive list!

Just thought we'd clarify - all our teaching resources are free as pdfs, to anyone who wants to register with us. Our subscription based charges only apply if you wish to edit Word versions of resources, or access our whizzy interactives.

Teachit said...

Thanks for the nice mention of our site Glad we made it onto your very useful and comprehensive list!

Just thought we'd clarify - all our teaching resources are free as pdfs to anyone who wants to register with us. Our subscription charges are only for editable Word versions and our interactive whizzy things.