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The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s In 2011 — So Far

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I usually just do a year-end list on this topic and many others, but it gets a little crazy having to review all of my zillion posts at once. So, to make it easier for me — and perhaps, to make it a little more useful to readers — I’m going to start publishing mid-year lists, too. These won’t be ranked, unlike my year-end “The Best…” lists, and just because a site appears on a mid-year list doesn’t guarantee it will be included in an end-of-the-year one. But, at least, I won’t have to review all my year’s posts in December…

You might also be interested in:

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s — 2010

The Best Sites For Teachers Of English Language Learners — 2009

Here are my choices for The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s In 2011 — So Far:

Every so often I’ll have a student who says they’re not very interested in learning English because they’re going back to Mexico as soon as possible. My usual response, which has been pretty effective, is that the student is likely to get a better-paying job there if he/she knows English, too. That position makes sense to me and, usually, to the student, who then tends to become more serious about learning English. I have gotten anecdotal evidence from English teachers in Mexico that this statement is true, but had never been able to find any concrete evidence to back it up. Until now.
The Guardian recently ran a story on research showing that knowing English increased your income by 25% in five countries in the developing world. Mexico wasn’t one of the countries started, but just being able to show this kind of data to my students will be helpful.

Mary Ann Zehr from Ed Week’s excellent Learning The Language blog has written a good overview on what she calls shifting ELL “trends” in the United States.

There are tons of simple tools that English Language Learners can use to practice speaking when they’re in the computer lab, and I’ve got the best ones listed at The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English. But what about when you’re not in the computer lab? What’s the easiest way to have students do an audio-recording so that they, and their classmates (and others), can listen to — and evaluate — their work? One option is to consider the tools listed at The Best Sites For Students To Record Audio By Phone. However, I recently learned about a new way that might just be the easiest. Audioboo is an excellent recording tool, and is on “The Best….” speaking list. And Posterous is a blogging tool that — though it has some disadvantages,too — is on several other “The Best…” lists.

Here’s a short video that shows how easy it is to connect Audiobook to a Posterous blog — and it’s VERY easy. I could see setting-up a class blog, perhaps only for audio recordings, and regularly going around with my iPhone and having students in the classroom record short snippets — of what they’re reading, writing, or some dialogue they’ve prepared. More importantly, at least in my case since we typically have generous access to a computer lab and can use other audio tools that I think are a bit better, it would be great to use this combination when we’re on field trips. I’ll be teaching Beginning English Language Learners next year, and we’ll be going on many short ones, so I could really see this combo working out well.

The New York Times has published an excellent interactive titled “Belongings.” Here’s how they describe it:

There are three million immigrants in New York City. When they left home, knowing it could be forever, they packed what they could not bear to leave behind: necessities, luxuries, memories. Here is a look at what some of them brought.

This is such a great question that all teachers of English Language Learners could use in class! Not only could students answer it, but it’s an opportunity to have them as the same question to their parents. Students could draw and write the answers and/or take images and put them either on the Web or on a classroom poster.

As a “warm-up” and for some low-stress practice, for students preparing to record a video “book trailer,” we had them make one minute Fotobabbles about their favorite books of the year. Students just go to Amazon, find the book, right-click on the image, left-click on “View image information” and then copy the “location.” They can then paste that url address into Fotobabble to get the front page of the book. Next, they use the outline I shared in that previous post to say their review. You can see a some excellent examples at our class blog.

“The 15 Greatest Movie Car Chases of All Time” is a great slideshow of video clips from TIME Magazine. I’m adding it to The Best Movie Scenes To Use For English-Language Development, where I also explain how I use these kinds of clips in the classroom.

EFL Classroom 2.0, clearly the number one support site for ESL/EFL teachers from around the world, is now a public site. In other words, you don’t have to log-on to access many of the great resources it has available. There are some resources, however, that will only be available to “Supporters,” who just have to pay fifteen dollars a year,and it’s well worth the cost. David Deubelbeiss has written a post explaining the change.

Students Making Video “Book Trailers”

Good Research On How Subtitles Help Language Learning

Research On Music & ELL’s

Movie Segments For Warm-Ups and Follow-Ups is a blog that shares video clips and written activities for English Language Learners. I’m adding it to The Best Movie Scenes To Use For English-Language Development.

We’ve had some great ESL/EFL/ELL Blog Carnivals so far this year. You can access all of them here

Homework For English Language Learners.

The Best Language Learning Games (That Are Not Online)

The Best Resources For Learning How To Use The Dictogloss Strategy With English Language Learners

The Best Resources For Adapting Your Textbook So It Doesn’t Bore Students To Death

How We Made An Excellent Speaking Activity Even Better

I’ve done a series of what I think are pretty interesting interviews with EFL teachers from around the world who are in “hot spots,” places where they’ve had political upheavals, natural disasters, etc. You read all of them here.

Humanising Language Teaching is one of my favorite online journals, and they’ve just published the newest issue. There’s always a lot of good stuff in it. This month, I’d like to highlight a very useful article titled “Why Use Games in the Language Classroom?” by Adam Simpson (you can read his blog here). The article makes a number of good points and points to helpful research. It’s definitely worth reading.

Excellent Speaking Activity

David Deubelbeiss shares some nice resources and ideas in his post, Using Silent Video in the EFL Classroom.

Instalyrics is a new site that shows you the lyrics to any song very, very quickly, along with a music video that goes along with it.

There are two sites that provide clozes (gap-fills) to music videos as they are played. Since they both use YouTube videos and most schools don’t provide YouTube access for students, I’m not adding them to “The Best…” list for ELL students. But since many schools, like my own, allow YouTube access to teachers, I’m including them here. Teachers can project them on a screen and students, as a class or in small groups, can figure out the answers. The two sites are:

Lyrics Gaps lets you choose a song and the language you want it sung in and then gives you the option of seeing/hearing it in different modes — karaoke, beginner, intermediate, expert. Apart from karaoke mode, you’re then shown a YouTube video of the singer, along with the lyrics on the side including blanks (fill-in-the-gap). I especially like the beginner mode, which provides several options to chose to complete the sentences. The higher levels don’t give any hints.

Lyrics Training shows YouTube videos of the latest popular songs, and provides subtitled “clozes.” In other words, it will show the words as they are sung, but it will periodically show a “blank” where a word has been removed. The video will stop at the end of that line, and listeners have to type in the correct word that they heard. The “blank” also shows how many letters there are in the missing word. You’re given the option of watching the video with a few blanks, more blanks, or none (which is great after you complete the whole song). It’s great to project it up on the screen and then have students — either individually or in small groups — use small whiteboards to write down their answers. It’s simple to use — no registration is necessary — and you can learn more about it at Teacher Training Videos.

The Best — And Easiest — Ways To Use YouTube If, Like Us, Only Teachers Have Access To It

The Best Articles & Sites For Teachers & Students To Learn About Phonics

A Simple & Easy Way To Practice Speaking

The Best Resources Documenting The Effectiveness of Free Voluntary Reading

The Best Places To Find Research On Technology & Language Teaching/Learning

A Creative Concept For A TV Show & How To Implement It In The Classroom

Jason Renshaw, who is always very generous in sharing materials he creates to help teach English Language Learners, has done it again with a nice and simple Template for making your own reading + projects material.

David Deubelbeiss has a great new book, We Teach We Learn. Here’s the description:

36 print optimized lessons based on the teacher / learner friendly methodology of SCC or Student Created Content. Multi media resource links for each lesson. Teacher’s notes for each lesson. Dozens of blackline master printable extras. Download each lesson from the private wiki and edit for your own environment/class! Voicethread practice linked for all students, for each lesson. It’s not just a text book – it’s a teaching toolkit! Buy one copy and use with the whole class.

I’ve already used some of his materials with my class. If you go to the link, you’ll also be able to see samples.

The Guardian Teacher Network, from the British newspaper, has thousands of resources that can be printed out and used in the classroom. I was quite impressed with the high quality of the materials that I saw, and many can be used with English Language Learners.

The ELT Journal, from The Oxford Journals, is a very nice collection of articles that teachers of English Language Learners would find useful. The collection, titled Key Concepts In ELT, is described this way on the top of the webpage:

‘Key Concepts in ELT’ is a feature of the Journal that aims to assist readers to develop an appreciation of central ideas in ELT, and to approach the content of articles from a perspective informed by current debate on aspects of theory and practice. The list given below is an up-to-date guide to all ‘Key Concepts’ that have been published in the Journal. The list contains links to the original articles, which are available to download free of charge (PDF file).

My Podcast Transcript On “Using Visuals to Teach Text” Now Available

Twitter “Chats” For ESL/EFL Teachers (& How To Participate In Them)

“Freire’s Learning Sequence”

Teaching English through songs in the digital age is a four part series by Vicky Saumell summarizing an #ELTchat session on Twitter. I can’t imagine you’d find a better compilation of resources and teaching ideas anyway — it’s a must-read and must-bookmark resource.

And, if that isn’t enough for you, Eva Büyüksimkeşyan has also posted another exhaustive list of music-related resources: Songs in EFL Classroom.

A Good & Simple Collaborative Storytelling Lesson

The Best Videos Illustrating Qualities Of A Successful Language Learner

The Best Funny Videos Showing The Importance Of Being Bilingual Or Multilingual — Part One

Sock Puppets is a simple iPhone app that lets you easily record a student and upload it to YouTube. It can be used to briefly record a student speaking or reading in class, or even to have two or three students record a simple play (the free app allows thirty seconds of recording while for 99 cents you can upgrade to 90 seconds). One major advantage of using this for speaking practice is that it’s the sock puppet that’s actually speaking on the display, not the student. It looks like it could have potential. Thanks to techchef4u for the tip.

Feedback is welcome, including additional suggestions.

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You might also want to explore the 700 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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