A Language Assistant’s top 10 most useful websites of all time

A Language Assistant’s top 10 most useful websites of all time Year Abroad Wordsearch by atozteacherstuff.com

This article was written by Morwenna Francis, published on 5th December 2012 and has been read 12482 times.

Morwenna is studying French and Spanish at the University of Sheffield, and is spending her year abroad as a Comenius Assistant in Toulon, France, and as a journalist for Andalucia.com in Estepona, on the Spanish Costa del Sol. Check out her blog 'Morwenna takes on Europe' for the latest update but, in the meantime, here are her top ten most useful websites for Language Assistants...
PANIC. Every assistant knows this feeling. The one that swiftly follows the jubilation of discovering the destination of your year abroad and the age group of your future students; the one that takes over when the realisation hits that you are actually going to have TEACH something to REAL-LIFE CHILDREN. This definitely happened to me, especially when my school decided to tell me that I would be giving extra conversation classes, ON MY OWN, and planning these lessons ON MY OWN.

Truth be told, it really hasn’t been that bad: I’ve managed to survive this long! However, these websites have been the best things ever in helping me to plan those god damn lessons!

1. Bogglesworld ESL (a.k.a. Lanternfish)

This has to be by far the best website I have ever found. I stumbled upon it via the recommendation of another site and have used it for practically every lesson I’ve done. Think worksheets, word searches and crosswords for practically every topic you can think of and for nearly every level. It also has lots of readymade role-plays for higher levels and even sections for those teaching French and Spanish to English speakers!

2. Bingo Card Maker

This has been an absolute godsend. It creates 16 different bingo cards at a time, either 3×3 or 4×4, for practically every topic. Perfect for learning vocab or filling those last few minutes of a lesson! It’s been a great success in my classes! See also: Wordsearch creator (you can choose your own vocabulary list).

3. Project Britain

This has been my go-to site for any lessons on British culture. Even though I’m British, I don’t know half of the things that the children ask me about, so I always look on this website for interesting facts on practically any element of British culture! Especially good for younger students.

4. MichelleHenry.fr

This one is particularly great for assistants in France. If you’re struggling to explain a grammar point to a class, this has all the explanations in French as well as loads of useful links to interesting websites. It’s not just grammar either: it includes vocab, writing practice and oral practice, all from a French point of view. This one has been very useful in my one-to-one private lessons.

5. Englisch-Hilfen.de

This website has exercises for all the English grammar and vocabulary points you could think of. Again, it has been very useful for my one-to-one lessons. Note that it also has a German version, for all those assistants in Germany and Austria.

6. BBC World Service - Learning English

This is also great for up-to-date news stories and activities. Check out ‘Words in the News’ for recordings of new stories that come with texts (which I adapted to create gap-fills), ‘Word of the day’. The site includes lots of things relevant to the everyday life and the business world. I used it most when I was teaching adults last year who needed to learn everyday English.

7. British Council - Learn English

This site was recommended to us in our Comenius introductory talks and has been so useful! There are so many ideas for games, songs and activities for all ages, as well as loads of useful videos, and interactive grammar and vocab games. It’s another one that keeps up-to-date with the current news. The ‘Learn English Teens’ section has been particularly useful for my collège students. Don’t forget to search in the forums too – so many teachers have posted great lesson plans on there!

8. Dave’s ESL Café

I have to admit, I haven’t used this one as much as others but there are loads of great ideas in the ‘ESL cookbook’. It also has an experienced teaching community in its forums that will always help you out if you’re stuck!

9. Breaking News English

If you’re in a rush and are looking for an entire lesson plan on a recent event, this site is amazing! New news articles are added every few days or so, and include an entire lesson’s worth of activities to go with them. I use it a lot in private tuition.

10. And never forget, other assistants are also an endless source of ideas… and so is ThirdYearAbroad.com! :)

Check out the blog of one of my Toulonnaise assistant friends, Zhenya, for some great teaching ideas for lycée level and post-BAC level (sixth-form and older).

Here are Lauren's top ten most useful sites for Language Assistants:

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