An Online Course: Producing A Project of Ideas & Resources

Because of the extensive number of links, the most important are signified with a *1* sign. These also cover the widest array of Certification Standards. Be sure your course work reflects your having learned from these sites.

Note our other Teacher Development Network Courses and Workshops!

Be sure to read the COURSE POLICY

This is a PASS/FAIL course. Therefore, SELECT and BASE YOUR WORK on those areas that best match your current interests. You can return any time to areas that match future concerns and changing interests--one of the many advantages of on-line learning. Note the Rubric for Course Portfolio Assessment.

Essential Question 1: Based on links from the sites below, how should you approach sentence study in order to make it more effective?


Why do so many students and teachers dread grammar? Why has research found it ineffective in improving student composition or "correctness"? See what you can learn to answer these questions from links on the following page. Give particular attention to the ideas of meaning and combining sentences.


*1*The first section of your Project is to contain your ideas and reprinted resources for making sentence study more effective. Here are four other sites to consider, too:

  2. *1*VOCABULAY & SPELLING -- 13 sites
  3. Vocabulary University - wide variety of free vocabulary puzzles and tests, plus lesson plans for teachers, to enhance vocabulary mastery
  5. Teachers@Work Over 200 sites of ideas and resources for teaching language and literature. Type in the search topic you want, but also note the range of useful sites!

This web page starts with GRAMMAR, because it is a traditional and usually very ineffective bedrock of the English curriculum. Moreover, one-sentence composition can form an ongoing part of the entire English curriculum by having students compose and apply *1*THE WRITING PROCESS in giving responses to readings, feedback to other student writers, and work in all the language arts!

This first section reflects a *1*CENTRAL PRINCIPLE of making English teaching and learning more effective: INFUSE MEANING (no empty content skill work) and look for ways to COMBINE one area of English with others.

From at least two sites/activities you want to use, write an imaginary dialogue (script form) between yourself and two teachers—one tending to support your ideas, the other quite doubtful. Use this dialogue to develop ideas for how you would use and justify the activity or idea for "grammar" teaching.

Essential Question 2: Based on links from the sites below, what are the richest multiple link sites for the rest of the English curriculum?

Spend at least 5 hours total surveying and reprinting key pages from the following multiple link sites covering a wide range of the English curriculum:

  2. *1*Secondary English Resources Page -- A one-stop site for a myriad of topics and resources.
  3. *1*Mrs. Adams' Red Apple Site - Includes world, American, and British literature resources, as well as Advanced Placement materials for high school teachers and students. Note the menu of resources down the left side of the page.
  4. *1*Kathy Schrock's Guide for Literature and Language Arts
  5. Teaching English k-6 With the Internet -- For elementary, superb sites
  6. *1*Teaching English 7-12 With the Internet -- Great sites and resources!
  7. Solutions Center -- NCTE's solution ideas for a host of English Teaching needs
  8. *1*English Teaching Sites
  9. *1*Blue Web'n English Resources
  10. *1*Blue Web'n English Projects
  11. *1*Kids Did This in Language Arts! -- Student writings--lots of poetry! Be sure to give those you teach this expressive avenue.

    From at least three of these sites/activities you want to use, write an imaginary dialogue (script form) between yourself and two teachers—one tending to support your ideas, the other quite doubtful. Use this dialogue to develop ideas for how you would use and justify the activities or ideas.

Advanced Level Challenge:

Based on links from any single or combination of sections of course work, develop a WEB QUEST you can use with your classes. My web page, *1* QUESTING the WEB: Web Quests as Essential Questions, gives further examples of this format.

Since a Web Quest is a series of linked web pages, you may want to begin with HOW TO CREATE WEB PAGES. Also take note of the *1* Examples of Student-Produced Web Quests, and especially, *1* Think Quest projects for your subject area!

Essential Question 3: LITERATURE - Based on links from the sites below, in what ways might I Open Texts, Open Students,and Bring Literature To Life


    has a section on *1*Study Guides for Novels and plays commonly taught. Many teachers find the kind of "scaffolding" support from these Study Guides is necessary for many students. Surf and search these for varieties of ways to foster student responses and insight, adding these to a section on LITERATURE in your Project.

  2. *1******ENGLISH COMPANION*****
  3. has a superb range of useful links. Explore the "Room 82" guides about 2/3 down the page on the left, as well as the "Tools" for teaching. In the *1*"How To Read a Poem/Short Story/Novel, etc. short documents, you will find strong process-assignment structures, "scaffolding" again to help inexperienced readers.
    In his rationale for teaching novels and stories, site author and classroom English teacher Jim Burke writes "narrative fiction often provides the only encounter with the imagination during the course of the school day; in this one respect, teaching such texts is vital." Imagining is crucial for mental and spiritual health. Reading and writing imaginative prose and poetry touches not only the heart of English, but the hearts of students and teachers as well. Try to sense what a tremendous privilege, gift, and challenge it is to teach and learn English, what glorious fun can be had,and what a high life's purpose it is to help young people gain power over the heart/mind/language connections and expressions!

  4. *1*Novels in Regents' Study Guide Form -- plot, character, themes--great site!
  5. "Hurrah for Karamazov!" -- Some great background and guides for students reading The Brothers Karamazov
  6. Ten Ways to Play with Literature -- Great ideas! Note the other "10 Ideas For..." lists in the left margin. These are from Traci Gardner, the Online Resources Manager for the National Council of Teachers of English in Urbana, Illinois, where she manages web pages and other educational Internet resources for teachers and educators.
  7. *1*Literature Circles provide an empowering student-centered strategy; structure with freedom!
  8. *1*Twelve Essential Questions has great focal points for literature study and appreciation.
  9. Mr. Lackey's Language Arts Resources -- Great links and resources, particularly for American literature
  10. *1*Using Adolescent and Young Adult Literature will allow you to gain familiarity with literature commonly used at the Middle School level and with reluctant readers in high school. Poetry Teachers.com -- Fun site, intended for elementary, but quite adaptable for older students.
  11. *1*The Crucible: Timeless Persecution A richly linked web quest!
  12. *1*Huckleberry Finn: A Web Quest
  13. *1*To Kill A Mockingbird--Then and Now A Web Quest
  14. *1*ThinkQuest Books & Literature - You'll find rich resources here: Web Quests, ready-to-use and highly motivating!
  15. *1*Teaching The Novel has directions for Workshop Approaches that you can benefit from [Structure + Freedom].
  16. SparkNotes - over 200 study guide titles written exclusively by Harvard students and recent graduates
  17. Penguin Teacher's Guides - discuss and access teacher's guides on "classic" literature
  18. EdSeek.Com - Check the right margin for commonly taught authors and works!
  19. Menu of Novel Resources
  20. Big Chalk's Literature-Elementary Links
  21. Big Chalk's Literature-Middle School Links
  22. Big Chalk's Literature-High School Links
    The three Big Chalk sites have numerous author, title, genre, and multiculture links. A treasure!

  23. Web Companion Homepage for Illuminating Texts
  24. Banned Books Quest
  25. {Reluctant Reader} Reading Lists
  26. General Literature Links
  27. Story Telling Resources
  28. Drama and Theater Resources
  29. Using Creative Dramatics
  30. American Literature
  31. American Literature Sites by Period
  32. American Literature Survey
  33. British Literature Survey
  34. Dickens On the Web
  35. British and other non-American Literature
  36. Sample Elementary Reading & Literature Lessons
  37. Library Resources
  38. Sample Literature Lessons
  39. Myth*ing Links -- Prof. Kathleen Jenks of Pacifica's Department of Mythological Studies has developed this amazingly fertile and thorough site on myths and archetypes.
  40. Links on Mythology -- This page contains links to websites on mythology, that is, the study of myths or the mythic stories themselves. This definition includes fairy tales, legends, and the study of mythic themes in pop culture, as well as the relationship between myth and science.

*1*Compose an imaginary Journal entry for a student who has tried an activity you select from the foregoing section. Have them write about a project idea they might like to propose, based on the activity.

Make a good collection of reprints for a LITERATURE TOOLS section of your Project.

Essential Question 4: Based on links from the sites below, what can I find in the STANDARDS & BENCHMARKS of Educational Reform that can be productive guidance?

    Note the sections correlated to the California Standards and Frameworks in the Teaching Tools section on the

  1. ENGLISH COMPANION page. These are similar to the
  2. *1*Massachusetts FRAMEWORKS.
  3. RECOMMENDED in Mass. Frameworks: *1*Useful English Lanuage Arts Teaching Practices *1*Note Links for Each Practice.
  4. High School English Language Arts Standards -- Saskatchewan: superb!
  5. Rhode Island English Frameworks -- Up-to-date and insightful.
  6. National Standards, and State by State Standards are also on the Web. You are expected to be familiar with these (the Frameworks in whatever state you teach in) and target your teaching toward them, as made distinct in the school(s) you teach in. No one teacher is expected to address all the frameworks, of course; it is a team effort, spread over a span of grades. Ask other teachers what "division of labor" they have devised, and if not, why not.

    A compendium of the "best" English standards from around the nation will give you a great conceptual overview of K-12 English teaching, based on 10 principles. Spend quality time reading these benchmarks and reprinting some for the grade level(s) you teach.

  7. LANGUAGE ARTS STANDARDS -- A compendium of standards drawn from all states

  8. A site from Texas -- shows how English standards can be written with Internet links embedded to illustrate resources for addressing the standards.

  9. *1*Is Your School Ready for Standards-Based Reform? -- Anne Wheelock's "rubric" to help balance "outcomes" based reform with meaningful contexts from "best practices"
  10. Preparing Your High School Students to Take Standardized Tests
  11. *1*Test Content and Tips for Preparing Your Students for Standardized Reading and Writing Tests

    **Lastly, two positive yet difficult directions for school-wide, positive, productive reform are 1)

  12. Small Schools By Choice, meaning breaking big schools down into "houses" or "clusters" of 70-120 students each. This helps students and teachers to know each other better--and results in higher attendance, achievement, and less violence. Smaller school units also make it easier to bring about
  13. *1* Parent and Family Engagement as a Reform Strategy. Give consideration to both of these dimensions of reform in this section.

    Essential Question 5: Based on links from the sites below, what useful ideas and resources on the 'Net are thre for TEACHING WRITING?

    Three sites to explore and garner ideas and reprints for this fifth section of your Project are:

    3. COMPOSITION CENTER -- From Dartmouth, excellent material & techniques on the Writing Process
    4. COMPOSITION RESOURCES -- 33 sites from Princeton, Hunter, Purdue, & more
    7. ReadWriteThink Resources
    8. Teaching Writing with Peer Response Groups. Encouraging Revision
    9. Awesome Library on Creative Writing
    10. Why Write - A Message for Teachers
    11. Writing Resources from TeachersFirst
    12. Sample Writing Lessons
    13. Learning Strategy Study Guides


    Having students write from and about their subject readings is an accepted tradition in both conservative and progressive schooling. Several sites below suggest ways you can enhance the usefulness and power of writing as a learning tool.


  1. Make it a practice to use writing as a learning tool, not just for testing. Review sites at *1*Writing To Learn for ideas. Many of these sites have excellent background and guidance for using writing in a progressive way, while accomplishing conservative ends.
  2. *1*The I-Search Unit -- Detailed information on phases of an I-Search assignment, the most successful way to teach the research paper in a meaningful way.
  3. The I-Search Process -- More ideas and resources. Note the rubric!
  4. A good example of writing from, rather than about, literature is in Teaching the Novel.
  5. Use a variety of types of writing. The expressive type forms the foundation for later, more academic types of writing.
  6. Consider aspects of The Writing Situation. Play imaginatively with these and students' responses will blossom. Other links on this University of Maryland site can prove helpful to you as well.
  7. Become an ambassador for Writing Across the Curriculum. See if you can find like-minded teachers to join in doing this.
  8. Creative Writing opportunities have always marked the best English teaching. Include them in your "Tool Bag."
  9. The Write Site - students take on the role of journalists generating leads, gathering facts, and writing stories using the tools and techniques of real-life journalist
  10. Teen Ink - written entirely by teens for teens from schools nationwide about issues that matter to them
  11. Researchpaper.com - the Web's largest collection of topics, ideas, and assistance for school- related research projects
  12. Teachers & Writers Collaborative - brings writers and teachers together in collaborations that explore connections between writing and reading literature
  13. Highwired.Net - free opportunity for high school journalists to participate in an on-line newspaper simply by registering their school with the site
  14. In "teaching with heart," you can use writing as a healing and more deeply spiritual means than most teachers have. It can be part of teaching your students and yourself that Your Thoughts Are Very Powerful.

    Creativity and Imagination are "at risk" during adolescence, meaning it is one last great opportunity to develop these human traits, a final fertile period in the life cycle. Make the most of it, and you will find tremendous energy and life in your teaching!

    Notice that many sites and links in Parts 2 and 3 pertain to writing as well.

Essential Question 6: Based on links from the sites below, how is SHAKESPEARE a Special Case, and what 'Net resources are most useful?

Spend several hours considering tips on these sites for this sixth section of your notebook:

  1. *1*Mr. William Shakespeare & the Internet -- Don't overlook this award-winning and amazing site!!
  2. *1*The Busy English Teacher: SHAKESPEARE ++
  3. *1*SHAKESPEARE: Chill With Will -- Helping High School Students Learn To Love Shakespeare
  4. *1*The Shakespeare Classroom -- Great links!
  5. The Plays of Shakespeare -- Awesome resources!
  6. Shakespeare
  7. The Accessible Bard
  8. Entrance to the Shakespeare Web
  9. Surfing With the Bard
  11. MACBETH Plugged In -- A high school student team-produced web quest. Don't miss it!
  12. Frontline: The Shakespeare Mystery -- Great site, great links
  13. Shakespeare's Plays & Sonnets with Guides
  14. About Guide To SHAKESPEARE
  15. Shakespeare: Classroom Lessons and Activities - provides lessons and activities regarding the Globe Theatre and Shakespeare's plays and sonnets
  16. The Complete Works of Shakespeare - full works of Shakespeare's plays and poetry with a linked glossary
  17. Yahoo! - Arts:Performing Arts:Theater:Plays:Playwrights:Shakespeare, William (1564-1616):Shakespearean Insults
  18. Personalized Insults
  19. Shakespearean Insult Kit
  20. Shakespearean Insult
  21. Shakespearean Insulter
  22. Simulating Hamlet in the Classroom A pdf document (Adobe Acrobat) from the MIT program in Systems Analysis/Dynamic Modeling--that demonstrates how dynamically complex systems, such as good plots and characters, can be best understood through computer simulation of the way every change affects the whole system, which in turn affects the part. An innovative way of showing students how complex systems work--including their own bodies, their families and relationships!

  23. ThinkQuest Search **Type "SHAKESPEARE" into the Search window, and get over 20 Shakespeare unit projects! Compose an imaginary Journal entry for a student who has tried an activity you select for teaching Shakespeare. Have them write about a project idea they might like to propose, based on the activity.

    Essential Question 7: Based on links from the sites below, what additional ideas show the 'Net's usefulness for Teaching & Learning English?

    Section 1: Insites for Teaching English

    has the links from this page, plus much more. Survey and surf new sites and reprint accordingly to file into earlier sections of your Project Notebook, or this one.

    Also, survey and reprint from selected links in the following sites:

    Section 2: WOW!
    Here's a further sample of useful Internet sites for English teaching --
    1. *1* Teaching Strategies for All Subjects
    2. *1***Rubrics! Great site to help you evaluate students most fairly and to help them learn to self-evaluate in all areas of English!
    3. Rubrics for English Teachers To Save Time
    4. *1***Types of Assessment
    5. *1***Theory Meets Practice in Language Arts Assessment
    6. *1***English Rubrics for Grades 7, 8 and 9
    7. *1***Assessment Resources
      *1* Work out your views on assessment in a brief paper, written as a Draft Proposal to your department. Include this in your notebook.

    8. *1*Debate Central - Everything you need to use and coach debating techniques!
    9. *1*Project Based Learning: What Works -- Check out English Projects on this page!
    10. AllReaders.com - search engine that finds books based on specific plot details, like themes and character traits
    11. All Digests from the ERIC Clearinghouse on Reading, English, and Communication -- Superb resource!
    12. PubList.com - only Internet-based reference for over 150,000 domestic and international print and electronic publications
    13. BookAdventure - students in grades K-8 demonstrate their reading comprehension through short quizzes and earn rewards; from Sylvan Learning Center
    14. PinkMonkey.com - chapter summaries, huge library of literature classics, study guides and more
    15. Xrefer - large and diverse collection of reference works from some of the world's leading publishers
    16. Traditional Grammar: An Interactive Book - complete, free introduction to the basic syntactic structure of modern English and the most common prescriptive errors in formal writing and how to avoid them
    17. GlobalEnglish - comprehensive curriculum in business and general English for a wide variety of English language learners
    18. 1st Headlines - links to individual stories in most major newspapers and network news Web sites from United States and around the world
    19. Modern American Poets - 161 companion sites for poets in the Anthology of Modern American Poetry
    20. Poetry 180 -- A poem a day from Billy Collins, our 2003 Poet Laureate of the United States
    21. Teaching Grades K-12 with the Internet -- Some great English teaching sites
    22. The Poetry Room - Unconventional prose poet Louis Jenkins, an intriguing source for student study
    23. Poet Online - poems on different topics, poetry tips, a poetry contest and more
    24. MLA Style - Modern Language Association of America's style for preparing scholarly manuscripts and student research papers
    25. Bibliomania - access to the full text of classic world literature and important reference texts that help to bring language alive
    26. Literary Traveler - online magazine providing informative, unique and interesting articles about writers and creative artists and the places they traveled
    28. Englishtown.com - extensive free resources for learning English, including onsite activities, teacher-led classes, and resource directories
    29. Bartleby.com - classics of literature, nonfiction, and reference free of charge for the home and classroom use
    30. Language and Literature Center
    31. The Word Detective - answers readers' questions about words and language
    32. Tales of Wonder - folk tales and fairy tales from around the world
    33. WriteNet - lesson plans, writing exercises, student writings, advice on using computers in the teaching of writing, book reviews, and much more
    34. National Council of Teachers of English - teaching ideas, guidelines, books and journals, professional development programs, grant and job information
    35. Reading Online - International Reading Association's electronic journal
    36. Academy of American Poets - poetry exhibits and programs
    37. Children's Literature Web Guide - links to awards, bestsellers, authors, stories, and resources for teachers, writers, and illustrators of children's literature
    38. GrammarNow - ask grammar experts helpful ways to teach grammar rules
    39. Ask an English Grammar Expert - ask for assistance with tricky grammar rules and skills
    40. Pitsco's Ask an Expert - ask experts in your field of study and ask specific questions
    41. Ask an English as a Second Language Expert - ask ESOL experts about meeting the needs of ESOL students
    42. Webtime Stories - stories, myths, fables, "best books" for kids, resources, and more
    43. The Internet Classics Archive - texts of 441 works of classical literature by 59 different authors
    44. Brain Candy - insults, word play, mind games, quotations, jokes, poetry, and song lyrics
    45. Mythology - mythology from around the world and related works of art that people have created
    46. Encyclopedia Mythica - encyclopedia on mythology, folklore, legends, and more from cultures around the world
    47. ThinkQuest Mythology
    48. The Hero's Journey - explore the classic mythological story structure and create your own stories.
    49. Theriault's A.P. English Links - An interesting array

    Section 3: Mainly Middle School English

    1. *1*Literary Fan Club - A Web Quest based on favorite authors of young adolescents.
    2. BDD Online; Teacher's Resource Center Provided by Bantam Doubleday Dell; includes teacher's guides with book and author information.
    3. English Extravaganza
    4. Literature Sites for Children
    5. Better Book Reports  Includes twenty-five ideas for book projects.
    6. Book Reviews by Frederick Muller  Reviews of books written by a middle school library media specialist.
    7. Booktalks -- Quick and Simple Short book talks appropriate to middle school.
    8. Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Contains reviews, activities, professional topics.
    9. Children's Book Council Online
    10. Children's Picture Book Database User may search database of more than 900 keywords.
    11. ERIC Clearinghouse on Reading, English, and Communication Includes lesson plans
    12. Introduction to Literature Circles Includes teacher and student resources.
    13. Kim's Korner for Teacher Talk Great ideas for middle school language arts, especially Six Trait Writing.
    14. Language Arts Cyber Guides (Teacher and Student Editions) Supplementary units of instruction based on core works of literature; designed for the classroom with one computer.
    15. Language Arts Lesson Plans Middle school lesson plans from Columbia Education Center.
    16. Learning with Mysteries Includes lesson plans.
    17. Literary Fan Club Lesson plan for problem-based lesson.
    18. Media Literacy Clearinghouse  Concerned with helping students develop an informed and critical understanding of the nature of mass media, the techniques used by them, and the impact of these techniques.
    19. MysteryNet:  Learning with Mysteries  Lesson plans for teaching a mystery unit.
    20. National Council of Teachers of English Homepage
    21. Nuts and Bolts of the Big Six  Information about the Big Six.
    22. Sagebrush Learning Resources (formerly Econoclad)  Book catalog which contains information on reading levels and plot summaries.
    23. Essential Question 8:

      Based on links from the sites below, and considering the following "EXTRA TOPICS" sites, how might you make your teaching more relevant and reach more students? Particularly, through a) working with parents and families, b)using alternative assessment to help students learn more, c) confronting the dilemma of depth vs. coverage. d) teaching the gifted and talented, the learning disabled, and English Language learners likely to be in your classes via "inclusion", e) coping with challenges of (beginning) teaching, including mastering the dynamics of questioning, and f) helping students with career planning and transition to life after high school.

      1. Working With Parents: What Parents Should Do, What Is the Teacher's Role
      2. Teacher Web.com -- A fast and easy way to create a great connection to students and parents. You can use many of the links you find in this course!
      3. **Rubrics! Great site to help you evaluate students most fairly and to help them learn to self-evaluate in all subjects!
      4. Depth vs. Coverage in Teaching and Preparing Students for Standardized Tests
      5. Teaching Gifted and Talented Students
      6. Teaching Strategies and Techniques -- Matched to types of diabilities students may have
      7. Free Translation.com -- A site that can be used to translate handouts, tests, and texts into Spanish and several other languages
      8. Teaching English Language Learners
      9. Guides for New (And Not So New) Teachers
      10. *1*TEACHERS ON TEACHING Discussions by classroom teachers on what they wish they'd known when they started.
      11. *1*My Hero: Teacher Heroes Inspiring!
      12. *1*Teacher Tools Page -- On-line tools for making quizzes, puzzles, rubrics, webquests, and more.
      13. Custom Classroom -- Free tools
      14. SchoolNotes.com FREE! Easily develop homework assignments and class information, posting it on the Web!

        *1***Consider, too, the importance of WAIT TIME. Most teachers ask questions at an extremely rapid rate, and average only one second of wait time after each question and after each student answer.

        When teachers increase wait time by 5 seconds, the following results occur:

        1) Longer student answers;
        2) More appropriate answers;
        3) More frequent student responses;
        4) More answers on the analysis and synthesis levels;
        5) More questions and responses from slow learners; and
        6) More confidence by students in their answers.

        An excellent site to inquire further into the dynamics of questioning and wait-time is *1*Changing the Questions.

      15. Careers.org -- Resources for Job Seekers and links to numerous career information sites.
      16. Exploring Careers
      17. Career Paths Online

        FINAL TASK

        Go through your Project. *1*Make an annotated Table of Contents for each section, and **star the sites you want to be sure to make reference to in teaching the English language arts.

        Describe ideas you have gotten that you believe will make your classes come alive.

        Finally, compose an imaginary letter to a friend who has written, asking you about teaching. Tell the friend about one class based on ideas from this online course—the kinds of students you have, the work they’ve done, how you’ve evaluated them, and what you want to try to add next year.

        Mail your completed work to:

        Chad C. Osborne
        923 West Mission St.
        Santa Barbara, CA 93101

        This site is a member of WebRing.
        To browse visit Here.