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Twelve Days of Christmas: Printable Goodies

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Oh, it’s the seventh day, and that means I’m past the halfway point! Woohoo! Well, on New Year’s Eve, traditionally a time for confetti and streamers, we’ll be focusing on paper. Many of us have been asked recently by higher-ups to reduce our use of paper for economic reasons, and while it’s a good thing for the environment anyway, there are some activities for which there’s just no substitute for the paper-in-hand approach. Games, stickers, brainstorming, outlines–usually we’d rather print it out (okay, on recycled paper!). But if you’re like me and will spend hours fussing with a word processor that’s not really meant to create such materials, read on for a little help.

Simon_Printer_on_fire from openclipart.org
(best clip-art ever, or what?!)

Tools for Educators has a lot of printable material and does not require registration. They’ve provided not just pre-made items you can download and print, but generators that you can modify a little or a lot. The graphics are a little kitschy and clip-art-tastic, but hey! You didn’t have to draw it yourself nor waste hours looking through clip art sources. Here are a few of the highlights.

  • Dice! As an RPG geek, I love it. You can print and fold actual six-sided paper dice to really liven up your class activities. The page includes a link with some suggestions for language games you can play using dice, too.
  • Boardgames–simple, but lots of possibilities for various age levels and topics. Add your own or use the built-in options.
  • Two different bingo board generator pages (one image-oriented, one word-oriented and more customizable), which can be used for all sorts of things, not just standard bingo games–have students watch for certain phrases or interactions during a movie, for example.
  • Stickers and charts are available at a different URL but from the same people; you’ll be wanting to print in color and use adhesive-backed paper for these. Another site they run will get you a certificate generator with lots of nice-looking certificates you can present to your students.

There’s more at the main link, so give it a try. By the way, they mention that the generator pages should work on both 8.5×11-inch and A4 paper, which is very thoughtful since most North America-based teachers are using the former and nearly everyone else in the world uses the latter. (Confusingly, the United States and Canada do not conform to international standards on paper sizes.)

Another source (8.5″x11″-oriented) is Freeology.com’s Graphic Organizers. There are 56 items here, including Venn diagrams, a pros and cons scale, character description forms, storyboards, vocabulary cards, story charts, and many, many more. These could be used for reading and writing classes most easily, but also for conversation classes and other uses–just flipping through them may give you some ideas. One caveat: These are all PDFs, and for some reason, the text doesn’t display when I view them in Preview on my Mac (the shapes appear, and I can view the files correctly in Adobe).

Finally, the simplest “printables” site I’ve found, but still possibly useful, is PrintablePaper.net, which simply has many different forms of graphs and lines, including handwriting, octagonal grids, calligraphy, Battleship, and more (also 8.5″x11″, sorry).

If you have any suggestions for other A4-friendly sites, let me know, although I think most of these will print OK if you preview before you print.

By the way, I still have Google Wave invitations available! If you are an English/ESL/EFL or other second/foreign language educator or educator-in-training who would like a Google Wave invitation, please go to the Contact Me form and tell me what kind of school/other teaching situation you work in and what level you teach at (or where you’re studying and for what degree). Make sure to give me your Gmail address or another e-mail address to which you’d like the invitation sent. (Do not comment here to get the invitation–you don’t want your e-mail address posted for the whole internet to see!) You must be a language educator to get an invitation.

Quickly: Paper Generator

Here’s a mini-post of something that might be useful for a variety of teachers: graph paper PDFs and generators. The page has much more than standard graph paper, including musical staff paper, storyboards (great for helping student writers!), polar graphs, and all kinds of things. There’s even a generator where you can enter your own parameters. I’m sure this could be useful in lots of different classes–in fact, just looking at might give you some ideas.

I usually don’t post single useful links when I find them; I just save them to del.icio.us and store them up till I have enough for a post. If you want to check out my links as I add them, here’s my del.icio.us page. (Just be warned that I add lots of non-educational stuff, so you might want to just look at the “tesol” tag or whatever.) You’re also welcome to add me to your network there.