BBC Languages

I received a special request for resources on foreign languages, specifically grammar. Now, while the internet is teeming with games and resources on vocabulary, there is very little when it comes to grammar. Fortunately, I found the BBC Languages site.

This site basically provides language learning courses online. Interactive lessons are available in both audio and video for languages like French, Spanish, German, Italian and Portuguese. There are tons of other resources on the site, like information on culture, quizzes and slang guides.

The interactive lessons are perhaps the most useful, as they present material via video, and then use interactive games to quiz on those same concepts. Here is the program for learning French, called Ma France. For the Spanish language course, Mi Vida Loca, go here.

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Winged Sandals

Learn about Greek mythology and everyday life in ancient Greece at Winged Sandals. This is a site created for kids, with fun videos and games that teach about classic myths and the Greek gods and goddesses. There’s a lot of great content on here, including a “who’s who” of mythology, so I encourage you to just explore and enjoy.

Microsoft Slidefest Do and Don’t

I absolutely love the videos on this site. Microsoft, while promoting a contest, created a series of videos on the do’s and don’ts of PowerPoint presentations. These videos are really funny, and they point out the five most common errors people make when creating PowerPoints. They’d be great to show before assigning a PowerPoint presentation.

Barnes and Noble Storytime

Did you know that Barnes and Noble posts animated video versions of favorite picture books, read aloud as a storytime? The most recent book featured on Barnes and Noble is Ree Drummond’s Charlie the Ranch Dog, and features Ree herself reading her book aloud. A very fun and easy way to bring books to life and experience some favorite picture books (Strega Nona! The Polar Express! Green Eggs and Ham!) in a new way.

PBS Freedom Riders

Because 2011 is the 40 year anniversary of the Freedom Riders, the brave participants are being celebrated in many ways (they were even on Oprah!). PBS created a documentary on the brave men and women who risked their lives by riding buses into the South at the height of the Civil Rights movement. This film is actually available for viewing on PBS’s website, along with a great deal of accompanying features. There is an interactive map of the route, a complete roster of Freedom Riders with background information on each, and a great deal of background on the movement itself. This is a really rich source of information, and the film is just icing on the cake.

Grammaropolis Word Sort

This fun word sorting game helps review the different parts of speech. The cute Grammaropolis characters each represent a different part of speech, and you must drag words to the corresponding character. It’s a very simple game, but once you reach level three, where your options include interjections, prepositions, and pronouns, it gets pretty tricky. The Grammaropolis site has other content to review grammar, but I think the game is the most fun.

Solar System Scope

This website is a lot like using the solar system feature of Google Earth, but it uses up a whole lot less of your computer’s processor, and isn’t an application that needs to be downloaded and installed. It’s a beautiful 3D model of the solar system that can be manipulated to zoom into specific areas. So far, there isn’t that much functionality yet; you can see the planets in relation to one another, and even drag them through their orbits. However, the function to provide actual information on a planet when you click on it is still in development. There are some cool features, though: you can view a star’s name and distance from the sun by hovering over it, and you can manipulate a calendar feature to watch the planets throughout the year.