Focus on English and Language Arts

Absolutely Whootie: Stories to Grow By

Whootie the Owl guides you through this site, which is filled with international legends, folk stories, and fairy tales for younger students. Search for stories geared toward 10- to 12-year-olds; then check to see if your choices have accompanying worksheets to hand out in class. There are also related games and puzzles for kids to try. Many of the stories incorporate character education themes.


Crunch is a new online Webzine written by kids of all ages. The Crunch editors offer news, arts, and technology topics and ask students to write short stories and reviews to post to the site. There's also a section for kids to submit creative writing and poetry. The topics are fun and kid-oriented, making Crunch an exciting lesson plan idea. Submissions are constantly accepted, so both your summer school students and your new class next fall can participate.

Kim's Korner for Teacher Talk

An eighth-grade language arts teacher created this forum to share with other educators her ideas for teaching grammar, writing, and literature. The simple graphics and clear explanations would be great for first-year teachers who are spending the summer developing their lesson plans; veteran teachers looking for ways to modify their curricula might find some useful tips, too. Feel free to submit your own ideas as well.

Millennium Mystery Madness

This award-winning ThinkQuest Jr. site takes an in-depth look at mysteries and how they're written. Teach your students about some of the world's most famous mystery writers. Then walk through the step-by-step guide to the various elements good mysteries need. Finally, get some reading assignment ideas from the list of favorite mystery books and stories.

Plain Language Online Training

Teaching your students to write in plain language will help them learn how to effectively and efficiently communicate with others. Visit this short online training course with your students to teach them how to organize their thoughts, choose the right words, and produce a clear, complete document. You can also incorporate the site's principles into your curriculum.