Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

February 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

WRITE Institute Unveils New Website



As I’ve often written in this blog
, and as my co-author Katie Hull and I have written in our ESL book, The WRITE Institute is a great writing curriculum to use with English Language Learners.

They have just unveiled a new website. I might be missing something, but their new site doesn’t seem to have the ability for teachers to purchase their individual units at $20 each (and they are well worth the price). It seems you still have to go to their old site to order them.

I’ll be looking forward to seeing what kind of resources they’ll be adding to their new home on the Web.

March 19, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Here’s My Entire ELL Beginners Seven-Week Unit On Writing A Story (Including Hand-outs & Links)

My previous post, Here Are The Ten Downloadable Graphic Organizers I Use With ELL Beginners To Write A Story, was very popular, so I thought readers would find it useful if I shared my entire seven-week unit on writing a story. I hope you can suggest ways I can make it better.

After a simple “Word Splash” (words that I pre-teach like “setting,” “theme,” “protagonist,” and “antagonist”), I use very modified versions of the WRITE Institute’s story unit as we read two books together: The Story Of Ferdinand and Teacher From The Black Lagoon. You can purchase a supplementary copy of that unit from the WRITE Institute for $20 here. We have copies of their full unit, but I only use a three of their graphic organizers (a protagonist/antagonist sheet, a sheet for listing words related to the five senses and a story map) – I’m sure you could create or find other versions (lots of story maps are here, a five senses sheet here, and protagonist/antagonist graphic organizers are here).

So, the first week we do the word splash, then I read The Story of Ferdinand from the doc cam while students have their own copies. As you may remember, Ferdinand has his “favorite spot” in the story. At that point, I provide students with this sentence starter: “My favorite spot is ____________________________ because _________________________.” They create posters and share with the class. Every six pages or so we stop, students are paired-off, given small whiteboards and markers, and they take turns reading the story to each other while the other writes the words down on the board (if necessary, students can “cheat” by looking at the book). The “reader” checks the accuracy of the “writer.”

Afterwards, we complete a story map. The most difficult part of that process is helping students understand “theme” and, to a lesser extent, protagonist/antagonist. So, after the story map is done, students create a poster identifying three of their favorite movies or stories and identify the theme and the protagonists and antagonists.

Next, we read Teacher From The Black Lagoon using a similar process, without the “favorite spot” activity. Then we create a Story Map, without following-up with the theme poster.

Next, students write their own stories, and that’s where my previously posted ten graphic organizers come in.

After they complete handwriting their story, I have a short individual conference to provides simple suggestions (read about my thoughts on error correction at my British Council post, ESL/ELL error correction – Yes, No or Maybe?), and then students type it in Word – the red indicator of errors is obviously very helpful. We conference again, and then students copy and paste it into our class blog. You can see them all here.

Then, students record their stories using Speakpipe’s Voice Recorder. It says they only keep the recording online for a few months, but it’s the only stand-alone voice recorder that gets through our district’s content filters. Students record, past them onto our blog, and then I manually copy and paste them that night so it’s on the same comment as their story.

Students then read each other’s stories and leave a comment. I fell down on the job here and didn’t originally do as much pre-teaching on commenting as I should have, and it shows. I followed-up the next day with more explicit support, which resulted in a better comment like this.

Unfortunately, because of student absences, time constraints and the fact that I was out of class for a couple of days with district meetings, we couldn’t continue with the improved comments (they’ll have another chance later).

Instead, at that point I provided students with this guide for their writing a second and longer story. I gave them the option of either revising their first story or starting from scratch.

Students worked on their revisions/new stories, but we couldn’t get enough time in the computer lab for them to post all their creations on the blog – yet, at least.

Now, we’re moving onto a series of fable lessons. These appeared in my latest book, Navigating The Common Core With ELLs. Fortunately, the publisher has made the lesson plan and all the hand-outs available for free download – no registration required!

Just go to the book’s website, scroll to “Downloads” and click on “Fables Lesson Plan.” It teaches fables inductively and leads to students writing their own. I’m in the middle of doing these lessons now. The only change to the book’s lesson plan is that I have three more advanced beginners who, after having done part of the lessons, are now creating a collection of fables from their home countries that we’ll also study.

Student-created fables will be posted on the class blog and we’ll try commenting again. Here’s the graphic organizer I’m having students use to create their own fables.

So, that’s what we’re doing. Let me know how you think it can be improved!

I’m adding this post to The Best Sites For Learning To Write A Story.

Addendum: See Video: Trailer For New Animated Move Based On “The Story Of Ferdinand”

January 1, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
4 Comments

A Look Back: “The Fifteen Tech Tools & Non-Tech Resources I Use Most Often With My Students”

In February, this blog will be celebrating its ten-year anniversary! Leading up to it, I’m re-starting a series I tried to do in the past called “A Look Back.” Each week, I’ll be re-posting a few of my favorite posts from the past ten years.

You might also be interested in:

 A Look Back: Best Posts From 2007 To 2009 

 A Look Back: 2010’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2011’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2012’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2013’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2014’s Best Posts From This Blog

I published this post in 2015, and it’s still pretty accurate (though I will be spending a good portion of this coming week doing planning for my classes and might have a few additions):

I share lots of tools and resources – in fact, I publish about five posts a day.

That’s a lot of stuff!

One way I try to help readers, and myself, hear through the “noise” of all those posts is through my 1,500 regularly updated “Best” lists.

I use many of them at various points throughout the year, but I thought that readers might find it useful/interesting to hear which ones I use most often with students.

So this list is sort of a classroom version of my needing-to-be-updated The Web 2.0/Social Media Tools I Use Everyday & How I Use Them list.

Here are the tech tools and resources I use most often with my students (not listed in any particular order):

I’ve called SAS Curriculum Pathways the best online ed site out there, and I continue to feel that way. It has free online interactive lessons for all subjects, and I particularly like their ones for Social Studies. Students complete the lesson and then email it the teacher. It’s super-easy for everybody to use, and very high-quality.

Lingohut is a free and accessible bi-and-multi-lingual language-learning site that my students like a lot.

Edublogs hosts all my class blogs, including ones for U.S. History, World History, Theory of Knowledge and a combination English For ELLs & Geography one (you can access all of them at the link). In some cases, they contain almost my entire curriculum, including downloadable hand-outs. Students use them regularly when we visit the computer lab. In light of the insane YouTube Safety Mode (see The Best Ways To Deal With YouTube’s Awful Safety Mode), blogs are particularly useful as hosting sites after downloading videos that would be blocked by the Safety Mode.

YouTube is a great source for videotaped student presentations and projects. Though I sometimes don’t make the video links “public,” you can see most of them embedded at our class blog (and/or on my YouTube channel). Students watching themselves can be a great self-evaluating exercise, and the best TOK presentations function as models for future classes. I especially like using the Shadow Puppet app these days which lets students provide audio narration to a visual without the added pressure of having themselves appear on camera. I also do the same with Vine or Instagram videos and then upload them to YouTube (see The Best Resources For Learning To Use The Video Apps “Vine” & Instagram).

I’ve written a lot about the free language-learning app and site Duolingo, including their virtual classrooms. Students love it, though their English-learning levels seem to plateau fairly soon. I’d love it if they made it more useful to intermediate learners at some point.

EdHelper has two levels of annual subscription costs ($20 and $40 – the less expensive version works for me). It’s a great source of easily accessible texts that can easily be repurposed for classroom use in multiple ways: text data sets (You can see examples of these in my ASCD article, Get Organized Around Assets and in a couple of pieces I’ve written for The New York Times), clozes (The Best Tools For Creating Clozes (Gap-Fills)); sequencing activities (read about these in another NY Times post) to be completed by students.  They are also great for Read Alouds and Think Alouds.

Raz-Kids (annual cost of $100 for a 36 student classroom) provides an excellent selection of engaging books that students can see and hear, along with comprehension quizzes. They’re great for Beginning and Intermediate English Language Learners.

Reading A-Z (annual cost of $100) is a sister site to Raz-Kids and provides hard-copy masters of the Raz-Kids books and more. They’re great for reproduction so you can have multiple copies of the same books for students. They’re leveled, and convenient for differentiation.

The WRITE Institute, as I’ve said many times, is the best resources out there for teaching writing to English Language Learners. You can purchase excellent unit plans for $20 a piece here here.

Sounds Easy! Phonics, Spelling, and Pronunciation Practice is a wonderful book for helping students learn phonics. Unfortunately, however, the book itself doesn’t discuss what I’ve found to be its most effective use through inductive learning (see The Best Resources About Inductive Learning & Teaching).  We discuss it in our ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide.  Simply put, after using the reproducible hand-outs from the book to teach the letter-sounds, I’ve found that then having students categorize and expand the number of words that fit into their categories is extraordinarily effective.

I really like the English In Action series as a “workbook” for students to use at the beginning of class for fifteen minutes and for homework. It covers the basics and is set-up for students to feel successful.

America’s Story is a very good “consumable” textbook for ELL U.S. History. My U.S. History class blog is organized along the books’ chapters.

ACCESS World History is a very accessible text that comes with a student workbook. My World History class blog is organized along the book’s chapters.

World View is a two volume consumable Geography textbook for English Language Learners. I like it a lot, but it appears that the publisher has gone out of business, and I’m not sure if another one is going to pick it up. I hope they do. But, just in case, I’d love to hear recommendations for other ELL-friendly Geography textbooks.

Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma
by Richard van de Lagemaat is the TOK textbook we use. I know there’s a newer edition, but our school can’t afford it yet, and I think this version still works well.

There is one more site that may join this list, but it’s relaunching this week and I’m sworn to secrecy until they go live.  If it’s as good as I hope it to be, it will certainly be the sixteenth resource on this list.

“Drawing Out” Book Is Excellent For ELL Beginner Homework

There you have it….I’ll work hard at keeping this updated.

Feel free to share your own similar list in the comments section.

June 21, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELLs In 2016 – So Far

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Another day, another mid-year “The Best…” list…..

I’ll be adding this post to All Mid-Year 2016 “Best” Lists In One Place.

Ordinarily, I also publish a separate list for ELL students, but just didn’t have it in me to do that this month.  You can see links to all those past posts at The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students In 2015 – Part Two.  I’ve included resources that I would ordinarily put in that list in this post, instead.

You might also be interested in:

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELLs In 2015 – Part Two

The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students In 2015 – So Far

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELLs In 2014 – Part Two

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELLs In 2014 – So Far

The “All-Time” Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of English Language Learners

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELLs In 2013 – Part Two

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELLs In 2013 – So Far

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s In 2012 — Part Two

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s In 2012 — Part One

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

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

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 2016 – So Far:

I’m going to start off with several excerpts that have been published from our new book, Navigating The Common Core With English Language Learners:

Jossey-Bass is making all the lesson plans and student hand-outs from our Navigating The Common Core With ELLs book available for free online – you don’t even have to register to get them! Just go to our page on the publisher’s site and download away!

And I think teachers will find my weekly posts at The New York Times helpful:  All My NY Times Posts For English Language Learners – Linked With Descriptions.

Elementary Podcasts are from The British Council. There are tons of English-learning podcasts out there, but this one stands out because each one includes web-based interactive exercises. I’m not aware of any other one like it – am I missing them? I’m adding it toThe Best Listening Sites For English Language Learners.

One of my most popular posts is The Best Places To Get The “Same” Text Written For Different “Levels.” It’s filled with free sources where you can get the similar versions of the same text that have been edited for different levels of readers. For some reason, however, I have neglected to put the modified readings from the great British Council on that list, and I am fixing that oversight now. They have a number of readings in three or four levels each. They seem to have them in two different places — stories in three levels here and four levels here.

Statistic Of The Day: Numbers of Immigrant Students Will Continue To Grow is a post I wrote about a recent study that shares some useful and, in one case, alarming statistics.

The Best Fun Videos For English Language Learners In 2016 – So Far

The Seven Best Silent Short Films for Language Teaching is from Kieran Donaghy. I’m adding it to The Best Popular Movies/TV Shows For ESL/EFL.

Immigrant and Refugee Children: A GUIDE FOR EDUCATORS AND SCHOOL SUPPORT STAFF is from The American Federation of Teachers.

Ways to Help ELLs Learn Pronunciation is the headline of one of my Education Week Teacher columns. In it, Wendi Pillars, Paul Boyd-Batstone, Ivannia Soto, Judie Haynes, Diane Mora, Eugenia Mora-Flores, and many readers offer suggestions on how to help English Language Learners develop good pronunciation skills.

The 10 Best Places to Find ELT Listening Materials is from Adam Simpson.

The Best Resources On The Importance Of Correctly Pronouncing Student Names

Updated: Here Are The Sites I’m Using For My Summer School “Virtual Classroom”

The Seven Best Short Films for ELT Students is from Kieran Donaghy.

Steve Smith has written a series of posts about learning strategies in learning a new language. Here are Parts One, Two, Three and Five.

Nine major shortcomings of L2 grammar instruction and how to address them is from The Language Gym. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Grammar Practice.

I’ve previously posted about ReadWorks as a source of excellent reading passages for use in classes (see “ReadWorks.org” Looks Like A Good Source Of Free Reading Passages For Social Studies). They recently unveiled ReadWorks Digital, a free site where teachers can create virtual classrooms for students to interact with their excellent texts online, including digital assessments.  Many of their articles are accessible to Intermediate ELLs.

I, and many ELL teachers, use The Story Of Ferdinand in class. It’s particularly useful when teaching the “story” genre (I use it, as well as Teacher From The Black Lagoon, as part of a modified unit from The WRITE Institute). I just learned that the director of the Ice Age movie is doing a full-length version of Ferdinand, and it’s supposed to be out next year. Disney did this cartoon version in the late 1930’s:

Many of you may know this, but it’s new to me that it was a very controversial story when it came out prior to World War II and was banned in in countries for it’s alleged promotion of pacifism.

Guest Post: “The Benefits of Genius Hour for ELLs”

Education Week published the video of our Webinar on ELLs & The Common Core, which we did in conjunction with the publication of our new book, Navigating The Common Core With ELLs.

 

Education Week released a special report on teaching English Language Learners that is a must-read for anybody interested in ELLs, and it will remain one for a long time to come. The Ed Week report includes many articles and, my hat is off to them on this, there are Spanish-language versions of all of them.

The differences among ESL program models is from MultiBriefs.

Four Excellent Sites for Online Dictations is from Blog de Cristina. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning How To Use The Dictogloss Strategy With English Language Learners.

Dave Stuart Jr., who provides the most accessible materials out there on the Common Core Standards, did a thirty-minute interview with me about teaching English Language Learners. He’s now put it online, along with a short summary.

Can Duolingo Crush the TOEFL? is from Slate.

The Best Resources For Learning About The Multilingual Education Act Ballot Initiative In California

The Best Resources For Teaching Shakespeare To English Language Learners

Here’s How My Students Taught Their Classmates A Social Studies Unit – Handouts Included

We Did A Great ‘Growth Mindset’ Lesson With Our ELLs This Week – Here’s The Lesson Plan

The online publication Quartz published a piece about an amazing new interactive ad campaign that encourages people to repeat phrases as part of an online video story. Fine, you might be thinking, so what’s the big deal? Well, the recorded phrases then go into a VoiceBank that supplies audio for people who must use a device to communicate. Can you think of many other things that could be more motivating to an English Language Learner to try to get as close to perfect pronunciation as that? All you have to do is go to the Voice of Goldivox and follow the story along. The phrases are short and very accessible. I wouldn’t use it with Beginners, but would think Intermediates and Advanced could do it with a little practice. Here’s a sample video, though you have to to the Goldivox link to watch it all and record:

I don’t know how long this campaign will last but, because it’s so cool, I’m adding it to The Best Websites For Learning English Pronunciation.

Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration inthe United States is from The Migration Policy Institute. I’m adding it to The Best Ways To Keep-Up With Current ELL/ESL/EFL News & Research.

Effective Strategies For ELL Error Correction is the headline of one of my Education Week Teacher columns.

Teachers of English Language Learners, and researchers (see No Surprise In This Study: Language Learners Retain Vocabulary Better When Connected To Gestures & Images), have known for a long time that drawing  pictures of words enhances memories of them. A new, and exhaustive, study seems to have confirmed that understanding. You can read a summary of the research here and also watch a video summary in the short video embedded below (I wish more researchers would make videos like this one). In a pleasant surprise, the study itself is available for free online.

NPR has been run a three-part series on how “gifted” English Language Learners, particularly Latinos, are overlooked for admittance into advanced classes in schools. Of course, that’s no surprise to most of us — it’s common that even many teachers confuse not speaking English with not being intelligent. It’s great that this problem is finally getting some public attention. We’re lucky at our school that some of us who also teach English Language Learner classes also teach courses in the International Baccalaureate program so, for instance, I recruited four of my ELL students for my IB Theory of Knowledge class this year and have twelve slated to attend next year. Why Gifted Latinos Are Often Overlooked And Underserved is the link to one of the stories.

Reader Susan recommended I check-out the Big Learners site, and I’m glad she did. It has thousands of worksheets for elementary grades that you can print-out for free with no registration required. The English ones I looked at seemed pretty decent and could certainly be used with Beginning and Low-Intermediate English Language Learners to reinforce concepts that have been initially taught in more engaging ways. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Free ESL/EFL Hand-Outs & Worksheets.

Let’s Learn English is a new course for English learners. It’s a series of 52 lessons with online resources, student printables and teacher lesson plans and is from the Voice of America.

New Geography Videos From Our Latest Sister Class – In Guatemala!

WordSift came out several years ago as a great tool to help English Language Learners develop academic vocabulary knowledge. Mary Ann Zehr wrote an excellent description of it at Ed Week, and I put it on The Best Websites For Developing Academic English Skills & Vocabulary. It was created by Stanford Professor Kenji Hakuta. Then, it seemed to disappear. I started getting requests from educators for alternatives. Now, it’s back! WordSift 2 has launched. Paste in a text, and you get all sorts of stuff in return — word clouds sorted in various categories, images of words to enhance understanding, sentences showing the words in context, word webs, and more!

Successful Field Trips with English Language Learners is from Colorin Colorado.

The Best Resources For Learning How The Every Student Succeeds Act Affects English Language Learners

The Best Resources For Learning About The Ins & Outs Of Reclassifying ELLs

tiching, an organization of teachers in Spanish-speaking countries,  did an interview with me on student motivation. You can read it – in Spanish – at Larry Ferlazzo: “Ofrecer autonomía es clave para desarrollar la motivación.” Fortunately, even though I did most of the interview in Spanish, they made me sound far more fluent than I actually am 🙂 I’m adding this post to The Best Posts & Articles On “Motivating” Students.

“One-Sentence Project” Audio Slideshow From My English Language Learner Class

David Duebelbeiss has written two good posts: “Best” Videos for ELT Player and Video Lessons. I’m adding both to The Best Popular Movies/TV Shows For ESL/EFL (& How To Use Them).

Judie Haynes has a very useful TESOL post titled 10 Online Resources to Improve EL Literacy that’s worth reading. One resource she mentions that I thought was particularly good was from National Geographic. They have quite a few simple “Listen & Read” nonfiction stories that would be great for English Language Learners. You can find them here and here. I’m adding them to The Best Websites To Help Beginning Readers.

Vocabulary building and revision tools is from Adam Simpson. I’m adding it to The Best Sites Where ELL’s Can Learn Vocabulary.

Sounds Like A Story is from ELT Cation. I’ve used sound effects to help students learn vocabulary, but this blog post describes a cool lesson that takes that idea several steps further.

The Seven Best Film and Video Resource Sites is by Kieran Donaghy. I’m adding it to The Best Popular Movies/TV Shows For ESL/EFL.

Collaborative writing activities is by Rachael Roberts. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Collaborative Storytelling, which I’ve just updated and revised.

Ways to Support ELLs With Special Needs is the title of one of my Education Week Teacher posts.

English My Way has lots of teacher resources if you’re working with Beginners.

Study: Extrinsic Rewards Reduces Long-Term Learning Of New Languages & Other Knowledge

The Best Free Online Tools For ELLs To Use For Assessing Their Language-Level

Statistic Of The Day: Explicit Teaching Of Grammar Is Not A Winner – What Do You Think Is?

Last September, Google introducing the ability to type by voice to Google Docs, and I wrote about its possibilities for language learning (see The New Voice Typing Feature In Google Docs Is Great – I Wonder If ELLs Can Use It For Pronunciation Practice?). Google recently announced an expansion of those features, and you can read about it at TechCrunch’s post, You Can Now Edit And Format Your Google Docs By Voice. You can also see the official list of available commands at Google.

Not Hangman Again is a PDF full of classroom games, shared by the British Council.

Student Instructions For How They Can Create A Cloze (Gap-Fill)

I Did A Presentation Today On The Concept Attainment Instructional Strategy – Here Are My Materials

How My Students Evaluated Me This Semester

High Schools With College-Bound ELLs Share Common Practices, Study Finds is from Education Week.

Bilingual Kids Are Way Better At Thinking Outside The Rules is from Fast Company.

This Student Presentation Is An Example Of Why The “KnowMe” App Is Perfect For ELL Teachers

A Useful Lesson When Teaching Problem/Solution Essays – & Other Topics

“Drawing Out” Book Is Excellent For ELL Beginner Homework

Here’s An Example Of How I Scaffold A Short Writing Prompt

The New York Times has just launched a Spanish-language site. It offers both articles translated from English versions and original content. Having good Spanish translations of their English articles can be great tools for English-language development, and the Spanish articles can also be used by ELLs to help develop background knowledge on a specific topic being studied. I’m adding this info to The Best Multilingual & Bilingual Sites For Math, Social Studies, & Science.

I Did My Best Job Teaching A “Growth Mindset” Today – Here’s The Lesson Plan

ASCD’s monthly “Educational Leadership” magazine is usually great, but it was even more special in February with a special issue titledHelping ELLs Excel. Usually, I provide a brief review of a few of the articles that aren’t behind a paywall and which I think are particularly worth reading. However, I’d recommend you go and read all the ones that are freely available AND pay a few bucks to read all the others (if you aren’t already a subscriber).

Teachers Might Find My “Concept Attainment – Plus” Instructional Strategy Useful

Building Relationships With Families of ELLs is the title of one of my Education Week Teacher columns.

Here’s The Writing Prompt I Used With My Intermediate ELLs Today

New ELL History “What If?” Projects

“KnowMe” Has Immediately Become The Most Useful iPhone App In My Classroom

The Latest Videos From Our Sister Class Geography Project — This Time, From Greece!

Here’s A New Phonics Activity I Did Today

Top-Notch English Site, USA Learns, Unveils Rebuilt Version

Simple Exploration Project With ELL History Class

Teaching ELLs That ‘Science is a Verb’ is another of my Education Week Teacher columns.

“WordsEye” Is A New Cool Tool That Could Be A BIG Help With Language-Learning

Increasing Motivation Through Students Setting Goals is the title of one of my Teaching English – British Council posts.

The Best Resources For Learning About The Importance Of Prior Knowledge (& How To Activate It)

 

 

May 20, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Video: “Ferdinand The Bull”

I, and many ELL teachers, use The Story Of Ferdinand in class. It’s particularly useful when teaching the “story” genre (I use it, as well as Teacher From The Black Lagoon, as part of a modified unit from The WRITE Institute).

I just learned that the director of the Ice Age movie is doing a full-length version of Ferdinand, and it’s supposed to be out next year.

Disney did this cartoon version in the late 1930’s:

Many of you may know this, but it’s new to me that it was a very controversial story when it came out prior to World War II and was banned in in countries for it’s alleged promotion of pacifism.

February 12, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

This Student Presentation Is An Example Of Why The “KnowMe” App Is Perfect For ELL Teachers

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Last month, I wrote “KnowMe” Has Immediately Become The Most Useful iPhone App In My Classroom.

I’ve been using this free app a lot in my classroom since that time, and thought I’d share a short and simple video we made in the classroom today.

We’re working on a persuasive essay and, as part of the study, have studied advertising. This particular lesson came from The WRITE Institute, and students had to find ads using six different persuasive methods.

They made a poster of their findings, and then made a short presentation. Recording them with KnowMe was so easy!

All I had to do was first take quick photos of the posters with my Smartphone. Then, I went to the app, tapped the photo, and it recorded the presentation as long as I had my finger on the picture. I took my finger off it when the first group was done; then, tapped the photo of the second group during their presentation. I then immediately emailed the link to myself and within a minute was able to show it to the class. Later at home I saved the video to my computer to upload it to our class blog and here – and no hassle with YouTube Safety Mode restrictions!

And it’s super-easy to integrate video with photos if you want to!

December 13, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Fifteen Tech Tools & Non-Tech Resources I Use Most Often With My Students

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I share lots of tools and resources – in fact, I publish about five posts a day.

That’s a lot of stuff!

One way I try to help readers, and myself, hear through the “noise” of all those posts is through my 1,500 regularly updated “Best” lists.

I use many of them at various points throughout the year, but I thought that readers might find it useful/interesting to hear which ones I use most often with students.

So this list is sort of a classroom version of my needing-to-be-updated The Web 2.0/Social Media Tools I Use Everyday & How I Use Them list.

Here are the tech tools and resources I use most often with my students (not listed in any particular order):

I’ve called SAS Curriculum Pathways the best online ed site out there, and I continue to feel that way. It has free online interactive lessons for all subjects, and I particularly like their ones for Social Studies. Students complete the lesson and then email it the teacher. It’s super-easy for everybody to use, and very high-quality.

Lingohut is a free and accessible bi-and-multi-lingual language-learning site that my students like a lot.

Edublogs hosts all my class blogs, including ones for U.S. History, World History, Theory of Knowledge and a combination English For ELLs & Geography one (you can access all of them at the link). In some cases, they contain almost my entire curriculum, including downloadable hand-outs. Students use them regularly when we visit the computer lab. In light of the insane YouTube Safety Mode (see The Best Ways To Deal With YouTube’s Awful Safety Mode), blogs are particularly useful as hosting sites after downloading videos that would be blocked by the Safety Mode.

YouTube is a great source for videotaped student presentations and projects. Though I often don’t make the video links “public,” you can see most of them embedded at our class blog. Students watching themselves can be a great self-evaluating exercise, and the best TOK presentations function as models for future classes. I especially like using the Shadow Puppet app these days which lets students provide audio narration to a visual without the added pressure of having themselves appear on camera. I also do the same with Vine or Instagram videos and then upload them to YouTube (see The Best Resources For Learning To Use The Video Apps “Vine” & Instagram).

I’ve written a lot about the free language-learning app and site Duolingo, including their virtual classrooms. Students love it, though their English-learning levels seem to plateau fairly soon. I’d love it if they made it more useful to intermediate learners at some point.

EdHelper has two levels of annual subscription costs ($20 and $40 – the less expensive version works for me). It’s a great source of easily accessible texts that can easily be repurposed for classroom use in multiple ways: text data sets (You can see examples of these in my ASCD article, Get Organized Around Assets and in a couple of pieces I’ve written for The New York Times), clozes (The Best Tools For Creating Clozes (Gap-Fills)); sequencing activities (read about these in another NY Times post) to be completed by students.  They are also great for Read Alouds and Think Alouds.

Raz-Kids (annual cost of $100 for a 36 student classroom) provides an excellent selection of engaging books that students can see and hear, along with comprehension quizzes. They’re great for Beginning and Intermediate English Language Learners.

Reading A-Z (annual cost of $100) is a sister site to Raz-Kids and provides hard-copy masters of the Raz-Kids books and more. They’re great for reproduction so you can have multiple copies of the same books for students. They’re leveled, and convenient for differentiation.

The WRITE Institute, as I’ve said many times, is the best resources out there for teaching writing to English Language Learners. You can purchase excellent unit plans for $20 a piece here here.

Sounds Easy! Phonics, Spelling, and Pronunciation Practice is a wonderful book for helping students learn phonics. Unfortunately, however, the book itself doesn’t discuss what I’ve found to be its most effective use through inductive learning (see The Best Resources About Inductive Learning & Teaching).  We discuss it in our ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide.  Simply put, after using the reproducible hand-outs from the book to teach the letter-sounds, I’ve found that then having students categorize and expand the number of words that fit into their categories is extraordinarily effective.

I really like the English In Action series as a “workbook” for students to use at the beginning of class for fifteen minutes and for homework. It covers the basics and is set-up for students to feel successful.

America’s Story is a very good “consumable” textbook for ELL U.S. History. My U.S. History class blog is organized along the books’ chapters.

ACCESS World History is a very accessible text that comes with a student workbook. My World History class blog is organized along the book’s chapters.

World View is a two volume consumable Geography textbook for English Language Learners. I like it a lot, but it appears that the publisher has gone out of business, and I’m not sure if another one is going to pick it up. I hope they do. But, just in case, I’d love to hear recommendations for other ELL-friendly Geography textbooks.

Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma
by Richard van de Lagemaat is the TOK textbook we use. I know there’s a newer edition, but our school can’t afford it yet, and I think this version still works well.

There is one more site that may join this list, but it’s relaunching this week and I’m sworn to secrecy until they go live.  If it’s as good as I hope it to be, it will certainly be the sixteenth resource on this list.

“Drawing Out” Book Is Excellent For ELL Beginner Homework

There you have it….I’ll work hard at keeping this updated.

Feel free to share your own similar list in the comments section.

December 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELLs In 2014 – Part Two

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Another day, another  “The Best…” list…..

You might also be interested in:

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELLs In 2014 – So Far

The “All-Time” Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of English Language Learners

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELLs In 2013 – Part Two

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELLs In 2013 – So Far

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s In 2012 — Part Two

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s In 2012 — Part One

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

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

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 2014 – Part Two:

All My NY Times Posts For English Language Learners – Linked With Descriptions — there are three year’s worth, and there are many of them!

Language Travel Tips: How to Talk to Someone Who Doesn’t Speak Much English is from Slate, and could be a very helpful piece for ALL teachers to read.

Picture Word Inductive Model with Highschool Newcomers by Wendi Pillars is an exceptional step-by-step description of how to use one of my favorite ELL teaching strategies.

I’ve written A LOT about the advantages of inductive over deductive learning, and how I also use both in my classroom (You can see many posts here). The British Council shared a short post that Paul Kaye wrote six years ago that does a great job explaining the difference between inductive and deductive, and he provides a number of practical examples from the language-learning classroom. Check out his article, Presenting New Language.

Here’s an extensive list of excellent classroom activities from The British Council.

Literacy Through Photography for English-Language Learners is from Edutopia.

Unlocking Language for English-Learners is an excellent article at Education Week by Justin Minkel.

Teaching learning strategies to ELLs: What, why, when, how is an excellent article from Multi Briefs.

Making reading communicative is a very good post from The British Council.

Interview With People Behind The Most Popular English Language Learning & Teaching Sites In The World

Adam Simpson has also written an excellent three-part series on Socratic Circles.

Do you understand? is from TEFL Reflections.

Here’s a useful post from Ana Cristina on flipping an ESL class. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On The “Flipped Classroom” Idea.

Julie Goldman, the Coordinator of the great WRITE Institute that creates curriculum for English Language Learners, has written an excellent article on “Research-Based Writing Practices For English Language Learners,” which you can download for free here. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Writing Instruction.

Lizzie Pinard – Course books in the language classroom: friend or foe? is from The British Council.

Core and Quirks has some intriguing ways to diagram verb tenses.

One of my Education Week posts brings together all my pieces posted there from the past three years on teaching English Language Learners — in one place!

Katherine Bilsborough – Taking the stress out of homework: 5 tips and 5 tasks is from The British Council.

To Get Fluent in a New Language, Think in Pictures is from The Wall Street Journal. It might be behind the Journal’s paywall. However, if you do an internet search for the headline and click on it from the search results, you’ll gain access to it. It’s a quirk in how The Journal handles its paywall.

The Disabled Access Friendly Site is for teachers of English Language Learners and “provides teachers with free teaching material that can be used in class, for projects or examination practice, but at the same time stimulates students to put themselves in the shoes of someone with a mobility disability, for a better understanding of their needs and feelings.”

Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners is a website collecting all the resources, including PowerPoints and materials, from a big conference on this topic in July, 2014.

Information gap activities: what does it take to design a successful task? is from A Different Side Of EFL. I’m adding it to The Best Online Resources For “Information Gap” Activities.

The Best Resources For Teaching Common Core Math To English Language Learners

I’ve been posting monthly at Teaching English-British Council on very practical issues related to teaching ELLs.

Getting The Least Motivated Students More Motivated By Working With The Most Motivated is a post about an activity that’s been working quite well in my class this year.

Video: My English Language Learners Did A “One-Sentence Project” explains a lesson I did just before winter break that resulted in this video:

The Best Resources For Teaching The Next Generation Science Standards To English Language Learners

Here’s a video of a simple activity my Beginning ELL students did to learn to tell time in English. They created a poster explaining their daily schedule and then explained to the class and on video. You can see more examples at our class blog.

The Best Fun Videos For English Language Learners In 2014 – Part Two

I learned about the free Shadow Puppet Edu (what appears to be a premium version of the more commercial Shadow Puppet app) through an article in  ASCD Educational Leadership, and am very, very impressed. It has a bunch of bells and whistles that I haven’t even explored yet but, at its core, it’s an iPhone/iPad app that lets you pick photos and super-easily (and I do mean easily) lets you add audio narration to each photo and create a slideshow.

The Best Places To Get The “Same” Text Written For Different “Levels”

Jimmy Fallon from The Tonight Show keeps on playing new games that are perfect for the language-learning classroom, and I’ve posted about quite a few of them.

Oh, Boy, This Is Great! Researcher’s Scans Show Brain Connections Growing When Learning New Language

Quote Of The Day: “Traditional grammar instruction isn’t effective. Period.”

Here’s A New Reading Activity I Tried Out Today That Went Pretty Well…

Video: Here Is How I Used The Shadow Puppet App Today To Teach Verb Tenses

Here Are Forms My Students Are Using To Evaluate Themselves & Me

A Simple Lesson On Climate Change For English Language Learners

My extraordinarily talented teacher colleague at our high school, Dana Dusbiber, along with the extraordinarily talented bilingual aide Alma Avalos, teach a class of adult English Language Learners once-a-week at our school in the evening. With support from the University of California at Davis, their students have published a “must-read” book that I’m sure will be a model for ESL classes around the country and the world. And the University has made it available free! You can download an eBook version here.  The stories in it are so moving and so well-written. You couldn’t ask for more engaging, and better-written, models for student-writing.

Dreamreader is a new reading site for English Language Learners created by Neil Millington, an English teacher in Japan.

Here’s how he describes it:

There are 25 lessons on the site right now and they cover a variety of topics. I’ll be updating with more free lessons on a regular basis, and by the end of the year I intend to have over 50 free readings on the site. Teachers can have their students read the articles online and do the quizzes or, if they want to use them in their class, they can just download the PDFs and print/copy them. There are also downloadable vocabulary worksheet PDFs that students can use for vocabulary study. The lessons are all graded across a wide range of levels (from beginner through to advanced) and I’ve done my best to develop them by using academic-based criteria (JACET 8000, Flesch Kincaid, etc.) and testing them out with EFL learners. I am planning on adding feedback videos to the site too, and hopefully they will be up and ready next month. I hope that students and teachers will find the site useful.

I’m quite impressed with what he’s done, and I suspect you will be, too….

The Atlantic has published some great pictures at “A Visual History of Kids Being Unimpressed with President Obama.” They’d be perfect to use with English Language Learners to have them talk and write about them.

FluencyTutor For Google is a web app only usable with a Chrome browser that provides a large selection of leveled reading passages that students can read, record, and store on Google Drive. Teachers can then listen at their convenience and correct and note students’ reading fluency. The reading passages provide quite a few supportive features that make them particularly accessible to English Language Learners.

Most of the features are free, but teachers have to pay $99 per year for some “dashboard” services like tracking student progress.

If I was teaching an online class of motivated adult English Language Learners, I could see FluencyTutor’s whole package as an excellent tool.

However, I definitely wouldn’t recommend a classroom teacher using it as a way to track a readers’ progress. I have the same concerns about using it for that as I have about Literably, a web tool in the same vein — having students read to us is as much about building the relationship (if not more so) than getting the data.

On the other hand, though, a site like FluencyTutor could be a super tool for students to practice on their own and compare their reading progress during a school year. It’s less about them tracking exactly how many words they read each minute and more about them seeing how their reading prosody — expressiveness, smoothness — improves. Just having the free features should be enough for accomplishing that goal.

Readers might be interested in three class blogs I maintain for English Language Learners:

English and Geography

United States History

World History

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