Category Archives: News

General information about

“https” has arrived! is now a “secure” site!

“SSL” (Secure Socket Layer) is a security mechanism that encrypts the data that flows between your computer’s “browser” (such as Firefox or Chrome) and a web site’s server. Normal, unsecured Internet traffic uses “http” (Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol). For many years banks, online retailers, etc. used “https” (Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol: Secure). This protects your financial data, credit card number, and passwords from being intercepted during the journey from your computer to the web site’s computer.

Recently, “https” has become the standard for all sites, and has now implemented this standard.

New packages available in the Sandbox

Three new items have been added to the Sandbox content area:

  1. Proverbs- How to Live: This content was adapted from VOA and includes written material, a “fill in missing words” listening exercise, and comprehension exercises.
  2. Weather words- Word Soup:  A “Word Soup” / “Find the Words” worksheet has been added to supplement the existing Weather-words vocabulary sheet/recording.
  3. Template to help teachers create their own “Flash Sheets” for vocabulary.

Web site updates and new Sandbox content!

There have been significant changes to the web site. Bit by bit a new, more consistent, user-friendly interface is being rolled out across the site.

The latest recipients to this face-lift are the home page itself, and the Kiosk documentation directories. The new pages are designed to be useful on the “full screen” of a desktop or notebook computer, as well as “mobile friendly” for tablets and SmartPhone devices. Testing has been done primarily with the Chrome and Firefox browsers, as well as (Icecream Sandwich and above) Android mobile devices. If you encounter a problem on your device, please send an email.

In addition “The Blind Men and the Elephant” has been added to the “Stories” section of the Sandbox. This version of that classic parable is a fun addition to the available content, and should spark some great class discussions! The audio file, combined with a “partial dictation” exercise are supplemented with some vocabulary materials that may be useful depending on the class level.

As always, comments and suggestions are welcome!

New categories and content for the Sandbox!

There are five new categories in the Sandbox: Activities, Civics, Family, Health, and Work have joined the original  nine.

37 new content packages have been added to the Sandbox!

The Sandbox and Kiosk are separate projects. But many of the initial uploads for the Sandbox have been focused on making audio content available.

But the scope of the Sandbox project has always been broader than that! It is a place for ESL teacher sharing and collaboration across all classes of teaching materials.

The new content includes mostly “documents”- Exercise sheets, classroom activities, reference materials.

For Kiosk users, there is one new package with audio: “Work hours in the U.S.” This piece (from VOA) is an article dealing with work-life. You can access the package through either the “Articles” or “Work” categories.

A few more audio packages are on their way over the next few weeks.

Don’t forget to leverage your own creative talent and submit materials to share with others. See the “Submitting content for the Sandbox” article in this news section, or just click the “Share Content” option on the Sandbox menu bar for more information.


New “look and feel” for the Sandbox!

The category and content pages for the “Sandbox” have been redesigned!

  • Cleaner look
  • More consistent
  • Mobile-friendly! (try them on your cell phone or tablet)
    Note that as with most other applications and pages designed for SmartPhones, when the screen is not wide enough to display the menu bar, it collapses into an icon represented by three horizontal bars at the top right corner. Just click it for access!

Category pages now use icons to help you know at a glance whether a content package has a document file, audio, etc. (Click on an icon if you are unsure what it means!)

Content package pages have also been redesigned, moving away from several different “trial” layouts that have been around for several years. The most common objects can be either previewed or downloaded by clicking icon-buttons. But, if you “want it all”- PDFs, source documents, MP3s, WAV files, etc, you can now click a single “package” button to download a compressed zip file with all the content objects!

As always, if you have questions, suggestions, or other feedback, feel free to send an email message!

Next up?  More content! Over the next couple of weeks more content packages will be added. This will include worksheets, and reference pages, as well as packages that include audio files!

(And don’t neglect your own creative urges! Submit your own content to share with other teachers on the Sandbox! Click the “Share Content” option on the menu bar on any of the Sandbox pages to get more information!)

Email subscriptions now enabled!

You can now receive email notifications when new articles are posted to this website!

News Update SiteFind the “Subscribe to  News / Updates via email” section on the informational “sidebar” (This is the area with white lettering on a black background. On your desktop, it should be at the left side of the screen. On a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the bottom of the screen.)

Just enter your email address in the box, and press the “subscribe” button. You will receive a confirmation email before the subscription becomes active. From that email message, click the “Confirm Follow” button/link.

Once you confirm the subscription, you may be redirected to the “WordPress” subscription/account page. You DO NOT need to set up a WordPress account for your subscription to work!

As always, please let me know if you encounter any difficulties with the subscription process. News / Update site is up and running!

This site- is ready and open for business! You can check this site for updates on Kiosk software, and Sandbox content.

This site automatically adapts to different screen sizes, so it should be just as readable on your SmartPhone as on your computer screen! Set a bookmark!

You can also subscribe to “news” from this site using an RSS feed. For more information on that, see the link “Subscribe to News / Updates with RSS” on the menu.