CUE 2011: Best Websites and Multimedia for Teaching English Language Arts


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Brady Wood and Lambrina Mileva from Shmoop ( present more than 20 of their favorite websites and multimedia sources for English Language Arts teachers (emphasis on grades 6-12).

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  • We are going to walk you through a lot of stuff/materials today. It’ll feel like a whirlwind, but we really want to show you as much as possible. We will post this to our website by tomorrow, so don’t feel like you need to write everything down.
  • A little bit of pun fun. English teachers live for their literature and try to make it come alive and infuse with enthusiasm and humor for their students. Retrieved from:, March 15, 2011.
  • Which gets increasingly more difficult, unless we link literature to popular culture and technology trends, which is why we’re all here. Now let’s walk through some engaging, interactive, and multi-media learning resources that you and your students can take advantage of, that won’t put anyone to sleep.
  • Short (5 min) audio discussion of characters that are important in American culture.  Often also includes links to video clips. It doesn't cover a huge number of characters, but it has some good ones, including Henry Fleming (Red Badge), Willie Stark (All the King's Men), Troy Maxson (Fences), Captain Ahab (Moby-Dick), Hester Prynne (Scarlet Letter), Holden Caulfield (Catcher in the Rye), and others from American lit.  (Also has lots of fun pop culture characters, like Darth Vader and Cartman.)
  • This is a site from the UK, but I think it's totally helpful for US ELA teachers and students as well.  This site has two anthologies of English language poetry (all great titles, including poets like Shakespeare, Keats, Tennyson, Dickinson, Hopkins, Blake, and Browning). For every poem it covers, it offers the full text, some "points to ponder," analysis, and - best of all -  two different (professional) readings (usually one from a man and one from a woman). It's awesome to hear the different ways the same poem can be read.
  • Not sure how useful this is, but I find it cool. It's a collection of interviews of authors asking them about their writing routines.  Might have some good snippets for writing classes. Includes writers like CS Lewis, Flaubert, Auden, Kafka, Munro, Morrison, and Hemingway.
  • Lots of great audio and video courses and lectures available on literature and writing. Some examples: an entire course on Tolkien; lectures on Oedipus the King, Candide, Hamlet, and the Aeneid from Stanford (Literature of Crisis); The American Novel Since 1945 from Yale, etc.
  • Students use Google Earth to explore literature.  Currently it doesn't cover a ton of titles, but has some good ones.  Examples: The Kite Runner, The Aeneid, Grapes of Wrath, Macbeth, Night, The Odyssey, Fever 1793, Walk Two Moons.
  • A great resource for Today in Literature/History type topics.  Also includes a poem a day.  You can read it or listen to the 5 minute podcast every day.
  • This website collects the favorite poems from all sorts of people, from professors to constructions workers to students.  Each poem has a video to go with it, where the person says why it's their favorite poem and then read the poem.
  • Just found this one too!  Seems cool and very interactive.  Explores Shakespeare through the lens of "Pen to Print" and "Stage to Screen."
  • Great scholarly info, interview, and criticism. This site is hosted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • Objective: Students listen to NPR reporter Lynn Neary's five-minute interview of Ray Bradbury, Tim Hamilton, and others, and comment on the details and challenges involved in adapting his novel to graphic format. Students answer critical questions about the piece, participate in classroom discussion, and create their own representation of the book. Teachers can expect to spend about 30-50 minutes on classroom discussion and possibly one or two more class periods for students to present original work.
  • CUE 2011: Best Websites and Multimedia for Teaching English Language Arts

    1. 1. Tech It to the Limit: Use the Web and Multimedia to Teach Language Arts Lambrina Mileva & Brady Wood CUE Annual Conference Mar. 18, 2011 Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    2. 2. What We’ll Cover Today <ul><li>21 Resources for Students and/or Professional Learning </li></ul><ul><li>Using Shmoop in Your English Classroom </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Overview of Shmoop’s Free Learning Guides </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teacher’s Editions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Best of the Web (BOTW) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Writing Lab </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Test Prep: AP, SAT, PSAT, ACT, CAHSEE </li></ul></ul>Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    3. 3. Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    4. 4.
    5. 5. and Poetry Foundation <ul><li>Academy of American Poets </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Full texts of poems, close readings, poet biographies, glossaries, writing and reading tips, local poetry events, mobile phone apps </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>National Poetry Month (April) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Poem in Your Pocket Day” collection for young poets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Poem in Your Pocket Day” is April 14, 2011 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Poetry Foundation </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Articles, news, events, multimedia, Poetry magazine </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Poetry Tool allows you to find poems by poets, categories, occasions, use of literary devices, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>genres, title, and first line </li></ul></ul>Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    6. 6. Poetry 180 <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>One poem per day for American High Schools </li></ul><ul><li>From the Library of Congress </li></ul>Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    7. 7. The Victorian Web <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Rich resource for Victorian literature, poetry, & history </li></ul><ul><li>Texts, short articles, book reviews, suggested readings, links </li></ul><ul><li>Biographies, historical, economic & social contexts, science, technology, religion, visual art </li></ul>Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    8. 8. Reading Multimedia Texts <ul><li>Teen Diaries </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teens record diaries of their lives. Edited by NPR and presented on “All Things Considered” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This American Life </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Podcast available on iTunes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quirky, funny audio essays from NPR </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Now also on TV (Showtime) </li></ul></ul>Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    9. 9. GoodReads <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Online community for readers </li></ul><ul><li>Reviews and discussion forums </li></ul><ul><li>Help students discover other books they might like </li></ul><ul><ul><li>YA book lists </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Books by categories and themes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recommends other books you might enjoy </li></ul></ul>Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    10. 10. Our Favorite Professional Learning Resources for English Teachers
    11. 11. PBS Teachers <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Great lesson plans </li></ul><ul><li>Guide to PBS video </li></ul><ul><li>Educator community </li></ul><ul><li>Widgets for your classroom website </li></ul>Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    12. 12. The English Companion <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Thriving online community of 1,000s of English teachers </li></ul><ul><li>Discussions and mini-groups devoted to specific topics </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers share advice and lesson plans </li></ul><ul><li>Led by Jim Burke, HS English teacher from Burlingame, CA </li></ul>Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    13. 13. Blogs & Webcasts <ul><li>Blog: Free Technology for Teachers </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reviews of free instructional resources. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Each review includes suggestions for classroom applications </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Video Webcast: Palm Breeze CAFE </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Podcast: search iTunes Store for “Palm Breeze Cafe” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Software & website reviews and tutorials </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Twitter, Diigo, Delicious, Facebook, Flickr, Wikimedia Commons… </li></ul>Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    14. 14. Using Twitter as a Professional Learning Network <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>@username </li></ul><ul><li># = “hashtags” </li></ul><ul><li>Some popular hashtags for English Teachers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>#edtech </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>#edchat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>#yalitchat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>#tlchat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>#gtchat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>#ntchat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>#ellchat </li></ul></ul>Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential Many more!
    15. 15. Arts Edge from the Kennedy Center <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Standards-based lesson plans for theater, music, visual arts, dance </li></ul>Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    16. 16. The Center for Digital Storytelling <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>3-5 minute digital stories </li></ul><ul><li>First-person narratives, collect still images, video, and music </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher workshops, certificate programs, textbooks, online resources, and custom program development </li></ul>Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    17. 17. NPR’s In Character Series <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Short (5 min) audio discussions of important characters from American culture </li></ul><ul><li>Includes video clip links </li></ul><ul><li>Also has lots of fun pop culture characters, like Darth Vader </li></ul>
    18. 18. Poetry Anthologies <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>2 anthologies of English language poetry (Shakespeare, Keats, Blake, and others) </li></ul><ul><li>Full text, “points to ponder,” and 2 professional readings of the poem </li></ul>
    19. 19. Daily Routines <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Interviews asking authors about their writing routines </li></ul><ul><li>Great writing snippets </li></ul><ul><li>Includes Kafka, Auden, and CS Lewis </li></ul>
    20. 20. iTunes U: Literature <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Lots of great audio and video courses </li></ul><ul><li>Tolkien, Oedipus, and Hamlet, among others </li></ul>
    21. 21. Google Lit Trips <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Use Google Earth to explore great works of literature </li></ul><ul><li>Includes The Kite Runner and The Odyssey </li></ul><ul><li>Interactive maps and journeys </li></ul>
    22. 22. The Writer's Almanac, from Garrison Keillor <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Great resource for “today in literature” type topics </li></ul><ul><li>Includes a poem a day </li></ul><ul><li>Can read or listen to 5 minute podcast every day </li></ul>
    23. 23. Favorite Poem Project <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Collection of favorite poems from all sorts of people </li></ul><ul><li>Each poem is accompanied by a video with an explanation of why the poem is a favorite </li></ul><ul><li>Individuals read their poems </li></ul>
    24. 24. Shakespeare: Subject to Change <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Extremely interactive website </li></ul><ul><li>Explores Shakespeare through the lens of “Pen to Print” and “Stage to Screen” </li></ul>
    25. 25. Modern American Poetry <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Great scholarly information, interviews, and criticism </li></ul><ul><li>Site is hosted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign </li></ul>
    26. 27. Experts Say… Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential “ Smart and consistently humorous” – Academy of American Poets “ Best of the Internet ” - PC Magazine 2009 & 2010 Webby Award Honoree ” A nice balance of rigor and fun .” - School Library Journal “ Makes the learning process fun .” - San Francisco Chronicle Best in Tech 2011 - Scholastic Administrator
    27. 28. What is Shmoop? <ul><li>Fun digital curriculum & test prep </li></ul><ul><ul><li>600+ FREE Learning Guides in 10 subjects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SAT, ACT, PSAT, AP Exam Prep </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Written by master teachers and Ph.D. students from Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley </li></ul><ul><li>Shmoop (v): to push something forward (Yiddish slang of our founder’s grandmother) </li></ul>Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    28. 29. Things You’ll Learn on Shmoop Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential The Portrait of a Lady (written in 1880) shares a lot in common with TV’s “Gossip Girl” Emily Dickinson was a packrat Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce picked bar fights together in Paris Albert Einstein's 7th-grade teacher told him he &quot;would never get anywhere in life.&quot; True story. M.I.A.’s 2008 hit “Paper Planes” borrows its chorus line from the early 90s rap hit “Rump Shaker”
    29. 30. 600+ FREE Learning Guides on Shmoop Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential 2. Pick Your Subject 3. Find In-Depth Analysis & Resources 1. Go to
    30. 31. Our Shtick: We Speak “Student” <ul><li>Why Should I Care? </li></ul><ul><li>The Great Gatsby is a delightful concoction of Real Housewives, a never-ending Academy Awards after-party, and HBO’s Sopranos. Shake over ice, add a twist of jazz, a spritz of adultery, and the little pink umbrella that completes this long island iced tea and you’ve got yourself a 5 o’clock beverage that, given the 1920s setting, you wouldn’t be allowed to drink. </li></ul>Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    31. 32. Ocean-deep analysis. Lots of questions. No such thing as THE answer Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    32. 33. Close Readings that Inspire Deep Engagement with Texts Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential Meet Prufrock. (Hi, Prufrock!). He wants you to come take a walk with him through the winding He’s going to show you all the best sights, including the &quot;one-night cheap hotels&quot; and &quot;sawdust restaurants.&quot; What a gentleman, he is! Also, he has a huge, life-altering question to ask you. He’ll get to that later, though.
    33. 34. Best of the Web Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential Hand-picked links to the best audio, video, books, movies, primary sources…
    34. 35. Writing Lab: A Squirt of WD-40 for the Writing Process Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    35. 36. Photo Slideshows <ul><li>Paintings </li></ul><ul><li>Photos </li></ul><ul><li>Actor portraits </li></ul><ul><li>Setting </li></ul>Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    36. 37. Bestsellers: If Students Read it, We Help Teachers Teach it Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    37. 38. Music as Poetry Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    38. 39. Shmoop Teacher’s Editions <ul><li>100 Teacher’s Editions </li></ul><ul><li>($7 per T.E. per teacher, also available via Site License) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Classroom Activities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Homework Assignments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quizzes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Essay Questions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Current Events & Pop Culture </li></ul></ul>Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential Click “Teacher Resources”
    39. 40. Assignments and Activities: Fahrenheit 451 <ul><li> fahrenheit-451 </li></ul><ul><li>Students </li></ul><ul><li>- Consider the challenges in adapting text to other forms </li></ul><ul><li>- Listen to NPR piece </li></ul><ul><li>- Create their own graphic novel </li></ul>
    40. 41. Current Events and Pop Culture: The Great Gatsby <ul><li> great-gatsby </li></ul><ul><li>Gatsby vs. the Obama Age </li></ul><ul><li>2009 article in The Atlantic compares recent anxieties about race in the Obama age to Tom Buchanan’s racism against minorities in the 1920s </li></ul>
    41. 42. TEST PREP SHOULDN’T BE ROOT CANAL Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    42. 43. Shmoop Online Test Prep: ACT, SAT, PSAT, AP Exams <ul><li>In-depth content review </li></ul><ul><li>100s of online practice problems </li></ul><ul><li>Full-length timed online practice exams </li></ul><ul><li>Access anywhere you have Web access </li></ul><ul><li>Saves your progress </li></ul><ul><li>AP Exam Prep Courses: </li></ul><ul><li>English Language, English Literature, US History, US Gov’t, Calculus AB & BC, Microecon, (coming soon: Psych, Macroecon </li></ul><ul><li>CAHSEE Coming This Spring </li></ul>Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    43. 44. AP English Language & AP Lit Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    44. 45. Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    45. 46. In-Depth Content Reviews Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    46. 47. Lifelike Exam Simulation Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    47. 48. Immediate Feedback: How to Get the Question Right Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    48. 49. Vocab, Less Dry Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    49. 50. Highest “Shmoints” scorers in the country win Shmoop t-shirts Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    50. 52. <ul><li>Teacher Resource Center: </li></ul><ul><li>On Twitter: @helloshmoop </li></ul><ul><li>On Facebook: </li></ul>© 2009, Shmoop University, Inc.