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WebQuests (WQ) for ESL




SPEAQ-quests (SQ) 



This wiki is an integral part of the SPEAQ-quest site. Its designated purpose is to  gather ideas, suggestions and feedback as we attempt to develop and define a SPEAQ-quest.


There are WebQuests for first language students but we want to develop a series of ESL Webquests that include the precepts of Quebec ESL - the competencies, the strategies and the essential knowledge or related content, etc.


This wiki is meant to act as a "THINK-QUEST" for developing SPEAQ-quests: from resources and tools, quests and scaffolded activities, to concepts and precepts.


Your input is precious and solicited to add to our evolving understanding and vision. 


Read - review and add your 2 cents - inspire, illuminate, bring us to ponder and re-think - that is the mission of your participation in this SPEAQ-quest wiki.



Choose a personal text colour which will distinguish your ideas, comments and input.


Visit our site at http://speaq.qc.ca/SPEAQ-quest/


Here are resources for a point of departure to WebQuests




while WQs expand, they are not necessarily all inclusive.


Pedagogical considerations






eg. Where is the ESL in WQ? What would put the ESL in WQ/SQ


What distinguishes or are the prerequisites for success of, an ESL WQ?

What are the characteristics of an elementary ESL? …Secondary (core) ESL (cycle 1 and cycle 2)? …an Enriched Secondary ESL cycle 1 vs cycle 2?


    • What resources enhance success?

    • Which strategies should the teacher assure are in place or put in place?

    • What conditions?

    • Which issues are most approachable?

    • Which rubrics or other evaluation guidelines are most applicable?

    • Are all 3 competencies called into play? And how?

    • Is response the end or the means?

    • Process vs product ???


What distinguishes an ESL WQ from a trivia or treasure hunt, a media scrapbook, a hotlist, a report, a list of information gathered from a variety of “guided sites”?  http://www.kn.pacbell.com/wired/fil/formats.html


What are some presentation guidelines for ESL WQ, per cycle, …?


Purpose:   (Broad Areas of Learning) /



  • ESL

  • CC


Language Conventions:

  • Structures:

  • Grammar:

Functional language:

  • Vocabulary:

  • Expressions:







 From  http://www.ualberta.ca/~gkoble/project/  comes :

Adapting Instruction for ESL Learners


        There are a few key steps teachers can take to adapt regular curricular material for ESL learners.

  1. Identify and organize curricular outcomes required to achieve the desired level of proficiency.

  2. Identify the necessary skills and abilities present or required in the students to achieve these outcomes.

  3. When selecting reading materials, use highlighting or other strategies to draw each student's attention to particular elements of the text.

  4. Draw on interesting and relevant topics to encourage participation.

  5. Use resources identified within the program of studies wherever possible.

  6. Employ visual aids to reinforce the meaning of textual material whenever possible.

  7. Teach outlining strategies and provide glossaries (materials for both purposes can be found above).

  8. Simplify assignment objectives and expectations - use more formative assessment and less summative assessment strategies.

  9. Balance assignment content to place equal emphasis on reading and visual recognition.

  10. Embrace group work, pair work, and community learning strategies.

  11. Allow student input into assignment creation.

  12. Accommodate assignments in breadth and depth accordingly.

  13. Utilize a three-pronged approach to ESL instruction:

    • Develop content knowledge

    • Develop academic proficiency

    • Develop English language skills

  14. Employ reading strategies from the English Language Arts model:

    • RAFTS (Role, Audience, Form, Topic, Strong Verb)

    • PQ4R (Preview, Question, Read, Reflect, Recite, Review)


 From http://www.ncpublicschools.org/racg/resources/strategies/movement/survival  comes:

Modifying assignments

  • Have ESL students look at the visuals in the chapter, rather than the text.

  • Allow ESL students to write about what they understand or see in pictures.


  • Have them copy the captions under the pictures and the chapter subtitles. ???


  • Write a list of key words for the student to find in their bilingual dictionaries. ???

  • Have students copy a chart, make a graph, or draw a picture, time line, table, or diagram

  • Have students trace a map, then label cities, states, rivers, and mountains. ???

  • Have a buddy talk to the ESL students about the pictures in the chapters, pointing out key vocabulary, and reading the captions aloud to them.

  • Have mainstream students tape part of a chapter so the student can read along and hear the sound of the language. ???

Meaningful ways for ESL student to learn new words

  • List the words needed.

  • Alphabetize them.

  • Find the words in a bilingual dictionary and write the definition.

  • If any of the words can be illustrated, draw pictures of them.

  • Learn the correct pronunciation of the word.

  • Write a synonym in English.

  • Listen to a buddy use the word in additional sentences to illustrate the meaning.

  • Say and write the sentences to demonstrate knowledge of the word.

  • Make a word-find puzzle that has the words in it.


Consider: Creating Materials for the EFL Classroom



Also see

LANGUAGE ACQUISITION CHART: defines, describes performance and appropriate teaching strategies for US ESL students at stages in development



Authentic Task-

Bringing the Real World Into the Classroom

Based Materials:



Language Processing Deficits - Adapt Instructional Materials for Students



Multisensory Techniques Can Help Students with Learning Disabilities



From http://larryferlazzo.com/englishint.html

If you have problems sounding out words or sentences in links that do not have audio,Speaks for Itself

then "copy" and "paste" those words or sentences into one of these sites that will  "speak" the words to you:




Voz Me


 You can also use this website to translate words or passages into your native language: Babel Fish, Oddcast,  World Lingo, Google, MSN Translator or Study Buddy Translator, Lingro

With ESL Reader you can copy and paste any text, and easily look up words you don't understand using a bilingual dictionary -- just by clicking on the word!


Dictionaries Thesauri and Reference (114)

Online English and Translating Dictionaries, Thesauri, General Reference








Webquests for ESL





Making a difference: Resources, presentation, ...

  • simple language 

  • rebus /pictograms?  (I want a pet WebQuest) / simple and direct note form /...

  • support for words and expressions – dictionary integrated (click on word) or provided (glossary)

  • amplify the quantity as well as quality (clear, concise, understandable, varied presentation- not all reading)

  • use audio, graphic and video sources,

  • be explicit in suggesting and explaining, (Exploring the World of "Memphré"- Lake Memphremagog's underwater creature)

  • integrate use of appropriate strategies

  • provide practice or secondary resources on using the primary resources.

  • conditions- adapting WQs to the level of computers access available including the computer-less class,





  •  keep the written aspects appropriate– reports in note form, short letters, use tables and images to enhance content,

  •  exploit  audio, graphic and video (technology or not eg. posters) possibilities as level appropriate products.



Reinvest, discuss –use cooperation and collaboration- use and generate interaction, write and produce…



Webquests are inquiry-based so ... what guidelines or suggestions do we have for Essential Questions, supporting questions ... within the limits of ESL ( core vs enriched)? 



What do you think? Your answers will be graded and your participation proportional to that result! ( kidding!!)



What are the learning goals, means, etc. ?



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