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Activities for ESL Students

http://a4esl.org/

 

(reviewed Winter 2010)

 

Reviewer: Kinda Al Rifae

 

Recommendation: Highly Recommended

 

Description

           

"Activities for ESL Students" is a project of The Internet TESL Journal (iteslj.org). This monthly web-based journal started publication in 1995 by Aichi Institute of Technology, Japan. It has now a collection of more than 5,000 links to resources for both teachers and students. The Internet TESL Journal offers teachers articles, research papers, lessons plans, classroom handouts, and teaching ideas. It also offers students a big collection of activities. It is open to all contributors and contains a variety of materials from teachers around the world. "Activities for ESL Students" is directed particularly to an audience of ESL students. It has a huge number of grammar and vocabulary quizzes, exercises, and crossword puzzles. The home page tells a lot about the content of this Web site. There are mainly two parts there: English Only and Bilingual Quizzes. In addition to the quizzes and puzzles, the English Only part contains sections that take the visitor to the Web site's search engine, the new quizzes, the "30 newest ESL podcasts", ESL videos, and some other useful ESL links.  The second Bilingual Quizzes part offers students bilingual vocabulary quizzes in 48 different languages. Many teachers contribute to this project by regularly adding new quizzes and activities to it.
 

Evaluation

         

This Web site is well-organized and very easy to navigate. The home page enables students to access all the main sub-menus of the site. The clean design and the variety of colors used (blue, green, pink, orange, etc. ) also help in speeding the navigation process. Grammar and vocabulary quizzes are classified according to six various levels of difficulty. Grammar quizzes, for example, are divided into Grammar-E (Easy/ levels 1&2), Grammar-M (Medium/levels 2&3), and Grammar-D (Difficult/ level 5&6). Similarly, crossword puzzles are sorted into "easy" and "not so easy." Bilingual quizzes are presented under titles such as fruit, months, numbers, etc.  It does not take a long time to for pages to load, and it is easy to move from one page to another.

 

The fact that there are quizzes for students of all levels is not the only advantage of this Web site. Technically speaking, students who are working on any computer that is able to access the Web can have their share of the quizzes. Actually, there are one thousand 'HTML-only' quizzes. For those who are able to use JavaScript or the Flash plug-in, there are more interactive quizzes. Students can get a score after each answer is given. As stated in the Web site, "quiz items are generated in a randomized order so that no two quiz sessions are alike... skipped or incorrectly answered items are recycled and appear again at the end of the quiz." The student who takes a quiz also gets immediate feedback if he/she makes mistakes. The feedback given is either the correct answer or sometimes a statement. Quizzes take different forms: multiple-choice questions, fill-in-the-blanks, and true or false. This variety of forms helps the users to keep interested in trying more quizzes.

 

In terms of options and content, quiz-takers can choose to learn from the many grammatical items provided (articles, conjunctions, prepositions, verbs, pronouns, adjectives, sentence structure, punctuation etc.), and lots of vocabulary words starting from the simple ones about clothes, colors, and body parts to the more advanced ones about banking, movies, criminal offences, etc. While learning about grammar and vocabulary, students will know a lot about places, holidays, culture, sport, common mistakes in writing, and general knowledge.  The collection of crossword puzzles also covers a variety of language areas such as foods, baby animals, web vocabulary, medical terms, etc.   

 

"Activities for ESL Students" is up-dated. Some quizzes, for example, were added on February 2, 2010. There is no advertising. Students can take the quizzes for free, and by pursuing the link Selected Links for ESL/EFL Students, they can visit other good websites. I highly recommend this Web site for ESL students, although the Internet TESL Journal, which publishes it, is not peer-reviewed.        

 

Subject Headings: ESL students, activities, games, quizzes

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