Web Site Review Form  

Website Title:  Web English Teacher



Publisher:  Carla Beard

Curriculum Area: English Language Arts

Copyright or Last Updated Date:

February 1, 2009

 Grade-Level Span:   K-12

Reviewer: Chris Strayer christine.e.strayer @wmich.edu or cstrayer@otsegops.org

Website URL: http://www.webenglishteacher.com

 

1.      DESCRIPTION OF THE WEBSITE   

Web English Teacher is an excellent resource site for any English Language Arts Teacher. The instructional range is from early elementary all the way up to AP and IB level English classes. There is a vast selection of successful lesson plans, innovative WebQuests, and multi-media offerings. What I find to be extremely valuable, as a teaching professional are the different options that are available to the “so-called” traditionalist assignments, such as book reports. This website also covers the broad range of instructional content that ELA teachers must address – grammar, vocabulary, literature, drama, speech, writing – just to name a few. On every page of the site, there is a lengthy list of links to creative approaches for each of these concentrations. Another valuable resource on this site is the “Professional Resources for English/Language Arts Teachers” where you can find useful tools such as templates or certificates, not to mention links for professional development opportunities and teaching jobs.

As a long time Web English Teacher “fan” I have a long laundry list of strengths for this site. The only problem I have with this site is that I get so busy that I sometimes forget to use it when I am creating lessons for instruction.


2.      DISCUSS THE INTERFACE AND INTERACTIONS OF THE WEBSITE   

I have never encountered any difficulty while utilizing this website. The links to each page of the site are clearly displayed in the left side bar. The title of the site is clearly visible at the header of the page and each of the pages has a uniform appearance, so that the links are easily identifiable. All of the advertisements are kept to the right of the pertinent information. All links to resources are a consistent deep blue color and have always proven to be valid, when I have used them. The website utilizes a lot of primary colors, but there also some great graphic images presented as examples of project completion. For example, the site is currently highlighting the tool Wordl and there are several graphic examples that help teachers understand what is being discussed. From a teacher's perspective, the lack of multi-media “bells and whistles” is appreciated. For this type of site, it would most likely be a distraction. Overall, this website is a great common sense, practical resource for ELA teachers.


3. HOW MIGHT YOU USE THIS WEB SITE IN YOUR OWN CLASSROOM

    As this is primarily intended as a “Teacher's” website, I have not used this for a student resource, yet. However, in my American Literature class, students must choose an author to research, read some of the author's work, and construct a comprehensive research paper, drawing conclusions about the author's life and their work. I could direct students to utilize the “Literature (Prose)” link in the menu. This would be conducted as an individual assignment, with students choosing their author from the long list of authors on the “Index to Literature Sites” page. Their respective link would take them to a multitude of resources that they would have access to as a part of their assignment completion. As this site is so accessible, the only knowledge that they would need to have before using the site would be how to use a hyperlink and as part of the research process, how to document source information from electronic resources. The use of this site would be a valuable experience for students in using electronic resources in formal research. In the process, I would provide instructional support regarding the credibility of electronic resources. In order to assess the proficient use of the site, I would likely require that students complete a brief process analysis of their research and identify several of the sources that they successfully located, in the process of completing the paper. While I do teach the necessity of traditional research methods to my students, I think that the use of a site like this will help them to identify credible electronic resources and gain a better understanding about the validity of information on line. This has proven to be a new area of concern that has inherently emerged out of our Web 2.0 world and a resource and lesson such as this will support students in being more critical consumers of information.

4. WHAT NETS*S STANDARDS COULD YOUR STUDENTS and TEACHERS DEMONSTRATE BY USING THIS SOFTWARE?

  Model Digital Age Work and Learning

Demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations (NETS-T 3,a)

Model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning. (NETS 3,d)

Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility

Advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropraite documentation of sources (NETS 4,a)

The standards would be met by teaching students to transition from a traditional method of research in physically based text to electronic resources. While research has been around for a long time, the implications of electronic research are complex and require critical thinking. (NETS 3 a, d) In addition, the requirement that students conduct responsible research in the citation of all sources consulted and used, inherently establishes a level of citizenship and responsibility whether they are accessing tangible text or virtual text. (NETS 4, a)