Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

November 1, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

Using Freire & Fotobabble With English Language Learners

'Paulo Freire-simon Rodrigues' photo (c) 2007, geya garcia - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I’ve written several times about how I use critical pedagogy with English Language Learners, specifically using a Freirian model (see “Freire’s Learning Sequence” from this blog and a New York Times piece I wrote).

In addition, I’ve often written about how I use the Fotobabble tool, which lets you post an image and provide a thirty second narration with it (see Student Writing & Metacognition).

Well, our student teachers and I put the two together this week with our Beginning English Language Learners.

Johnny Doolittle, an art teacher at our school, regularly uses his prep (free) period to help our ELLs, and this week did an art project with them. Along with creating art, our student teachers thought it would be a good time to use some Diego Rivera artwork in the context of a critical pedagogy lesson.

Students followed this sequence with the art:

1. Show a picture or short video clip portraying a national or international problem, or a common challenge your students face.

2. Next, ask students to share what they believe is happening. What is the problem they think is being portrayed?

3. Ask students what they think caused the problem.

4. This is followed by asking students if they, members of their family, or friends have ever experienced a similar problem.

5. Next, students can share how they responded to the problem.

6. The final task is to ask them to talk about other ideas they might have about how to respond to the problem, potentially bringing everything together in a poster to share.

This is where Fotobabble came in — we then took a picture of students with their “storyboarded” answers, and recorded their narration.

It worked pretty well. Here are a couple of example:

Also, students showed the art they created with Mr. Doolittle, and described the steps they took to create it:

October 1, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Using Freire & Fotobabble With English Language Learners

'Paulo Freire-simon Rodrigues' photo (c) 2007, geya garcia - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I’ve written several times about how I use critical pedagogy with English Language Learners, specifically using a Freirian model (see “Freire’s Learning Sequence” from this blog and a New York Times piece I wrote).

In addition, I’ve often written about how I use the Fotobabble tool, which lets you post an image and provide a thirty second narration with it (see Student Writing & Metacognition).

Well, our student teachers and I put the two together this week with our Beginning English Language Learners.

Johnny Doolittle, an art teacher at our school, regularly uses his prep (free) period to help our ELLs, and this week did an art project with them. Along with creating art, our student teachers thought it would be a good time to use some Diego Rivera artwork in the context of a critical pedagogy lesson.

Students followed this sequence with the art:

1. Show a picture or short video clip portraying a national or international problem, or a common challenge your students face.

2. Next, ask students to share what they believe is happening. What is the problem they think is being portrayed?

3. Ask students what they think caused the problem.

4. This is followed by asking students if they, members of their family, or friends have ever experienced a similar problem.

5. Next, students can share how they responded to the problem.

6. The final task is to ask them to talk about other ideas they might have about how to respond to the problem, potentially bringing everything together in a poster to share.

This is where Fotobabble came in — we then took a picture of students with their “storyboarded” answers, and recorded their narration.

It worked pretty well. Here are a couple of example:

Also, students showed the art they created with Mr. Doolittle, and described the steps they took to create it:

June 12, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Making Book Trailers With Fotobabble

I’ve previously posted about the video book trailers we’ll be doing in class during the final week of school next week.

As a “warm-up” and for some low-stress practice, we’ve been having students 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.

I’m adding this post to My Best Posts On Books: Why They’re Important & How To Help Students Select, Read, Write & Discuss Them.

May 18, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

Fotobabble Now Lets You Create Slideshows

As regular readers know, I’m a big fan of Fotobabble, the free tool that lets users use a photo and make a one minute recording to accompany it. I believe that it’s one of the best Web 2.0 tools out there — for English Language Learners and native English speakers alike.

The main drawback to it, of course, is that it’s been limited to a one minute recording.

Today, though, Fotobabble announced the ability to string together Fotobabbles in order to create a slideshow. The process does sound a little bit cumbersome but, then again, I haven’t tried it yet so I might very well be wrong. Here are their instructions on how to do it:

Go to the slideshow page and follow these steps to create your own:

1. Create a series of Fotobabbles
2. Tag them all with the same, unique tag (i.e. FlatStanleyCA) and make them Public
3. Enter a slide number (i.e., where the Fotobabble should go in the slideshow)
4. Search for the unique tag in the search bar
5. After your search results appear, click the slideshow link
6. Your slideshow is ready!

When I try it with my students, I’ll post to let you know how easy or difficult it is. Please leave a comment sharing your experience, too.

I’ll be adding this post to The Best Ways To Create Online Slideshows.

May 19, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Fotobabble Gets Even Better!

Fotobabble, the a neat application where people can post photos along with an audio description, has gotten even better.

Now, users can grab images off the web by just using the photo’s url address. Before, uploading images was the only option.

It’s one of the best Web 2.0 applications of the year for educators, and is on The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English list.

It’s a simple tool students can use to practice their speaking skills. It’s very easy to use but, just in case, Russell Stannard at the great Teacher Training Videos has posted a good video tutorial on how to use the app.

February 27, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

I Like Fotobabble

Fotobabble is a super-easy application that lets you upload a photo, provide a minute audio recording to go along with it, and then you get a link and an embed code that can be used for sharing.

I wish it provided the option to grab an image off the Web instead of only uploading photos, but I guess you can’t have everything.

It’s a simple tool students can use to practice their speaking skills.

I’m adding it to The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English.

Thanks to the Make Use of blog for the tip.

March 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

English Language Learners Design Their Own “Ideal” Neighborhoods

I’ve written a lot about my annual favorite lesson of the year for English Language Learners — students first identify what neighborhood qualities are most important to them; they then analyze their neighborhood and the wealthiest one in Sacramento (including through field trips and statistical analyses); next they decide which one they think is the best; and then they write a persuasive essay sharing their reasons. Every year, and this one has been no exception, at least ninety-percent choose our school’s neighborhood over the “Fabulous Forties.”

You can read their essays here and you can see a complete description of the unit plan at A Lesson Highlighting Community Assets — Not Deficits.

But their essay is not the culminating task for this three-week unit.

Lastly, they have to design their own ideal neighborhood; write about what they have put in it and why, as well as who lives in it. Then, they use Fotobabble to show their design and record a summary of what they wrote about it.

Here are some examples, and you can see the rest at our class blog.

This whole lesson is just another way to reinforce that, just as our ELLs bring far more assets than deficits to the table, so do our neighborhoods….

February 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

The “All-Time” Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education

479150615101170_a-3fca694f_6NQKUw_pm

I’ve been posting annual lists of the Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education for seven years.

I thought it would be useful for readers, my students, and me to review them all and identify my choices for the “all-time” best ones.

I’ve begun creating a number of these “All-Time” Best list, with The “All-Time” Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly being the first one. Some of the sites there could easily be on this list, too. However, I’ve put all sites that don’t require registration over there.

Look for quite a few more “All-Time” Best lists over the next couple of months.  I think readers might find these lists helpful, but I’m primarily creating them for my students to experiment and help me decide if all these tools should stay on this list or not.

There are over 1,200 Best lists now that are categorized and updated regularly.  You can see them all here.

In order to make this “All-Time” list and, in fact, to make any of my annual Web 2.0 lists, a site has to be:

* accessible to English Language Learners and non-tech savvy users.

* free-of-charge.

* appropriate for classroom use.

* completely browser-based with no download required.

These sites are not listed any any order of preference.  These are also ones for students to use — I’m not necessarily including ones I that I use regularly — those are for another list.

Let me know if you think I’m missing some…I know I am. Even though I’ve reviewed many of my previous lists, I didn’t do an exhaustive search, so I’ll be adding more tools to this list in the coming weeks (and years!).

Here are my choices for The “All-Time” Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education:

I use Pinterest daily. However, in the vast majority of schools, it is never going to make it past Internet content filters for students. eduClipper is basically a Pinterest for schools. It has the potential of sort of being an “all in one” tool for the classroom, serving the same purposes as sites on The Best Social Bookmarking Applications For English Language Learners & Other Students list and on The Best Online Virtual “Corkboards” (or “Bulletin Boards”) list, as well as serving other functions.

Haiku Deck, an iPad app which now has a Web version, may very well be the best tool for creating online slideshows that are out there. It’s  on The Best Ways To Create Online Slideshows list.  Richard Byrne has made a tutorial explaining how to use the web version.

I’m a big proponent of the Picture Word Inductive Model as a strategy for English Language Learners to develop reading and writing skills (I describe it in detail  in my article in ASCD Educational Leadership, Get Organized Around Assets). It begins with the teacher labeling items in thematic photos with the help of students. The webtool Thinglink could be a great deal to help ELL’s maximize the advantages of this instructional strategy. Thinglink lets you upload or grab an image or video off the web and annotate items with the image or video super-easily. It basically looks like a photo in the Picture Word Inductive Model, just online.  Thinglink recently unveiled the ability for teachers to create virtual classrooms.

MarQueed is like a Thinglink  on steroids and allows collaborative annotation.  You can read more about it here.

Meograph is a cool web tool that lets you create an audio-narrated digital story with an integrated map.  You can also grab images off the web.

Easel.ly  is hands-down the easiest tool I’ve seen on the Web to create infographics. You just “drag-and-drop” a variety of themes, type in your data, and you’ve got a great infographic.

Lesson Paths (formerly MentorMob) lets you very easily create a slideshow. Webpages, videos and photos can be grabbed from the web and added, along with notes. It’s easy to use, very intuitively designed so just about anyone can figure it out, and attractive.

The free web tool Inklewriter is, without a doubt, the easiest way to write a choose your own adventure story. I’m tentatively putting it on this “All-Time” list, thought I’m not sure if I’m going to keep it here.  I’m going to have my students experiment with it a little more this year.

Magisto is an Animoto-like service that lets you upload several short videos and it then somehow “recognizes” the most important parts and turns it into a magically-produced one minute video.

Popplet is an app that is like Wallwisher on steroids. You can make an online “bulletin-board” with virtual “post-its” (called “popplets), just like in Wallwisher. And, except for the fact you have to register to use it, Popplet is just as easy and, in some ways, easier to use with a lot more functionality. With Popplet, you search for images and videos on the Web directly within the “popplet” instead of copying and pasting the url address (as you need to do in Wallwisher). You can draw within the “popplet” and it doesn’t appear to have an limit on the number of characters you can use. You can connect the “popplets.” You can also embed the whole thing.

educaplay is a great free tool where you can easily create a ton of different kinds of educational interactives that you can link to or embed in your site. These include Riddles, Crosswords, Wordsearch Puzzle, Fill in the texts, Dialogues, Dictations, Jumbled Word, Jumbled Sentence, Matching, Quizzes, and Maps. For at least some of the them, including dictation, it provides the ability to record audio.

Scoop.it lets you “scoop it” into your own personalized newspaper (that’s what I’m calling it, not them) which you can then share. It’s an ongoing process.

Fotobabble, is a neat application where people can post photos along with an audio description.

Sitehoover is an application that lets you create a personal homepage showing thumbnail images of your favorite websites. You can also organize them into separate “folders. It can be very useful to students doing research, or identifying their favorite language-learning site.

Tripline is a great map-making application. You just list the various places you want to go in a journey, or a famous trip that has happened in history or literature, or a class field trip itinerary, and a embeddable map is created showing the trip where you can add written descriptions and photos. You can use your own photos or just through Flickr. Plus, you can pick a soundtrack to go with it as it automatically plays through the travels.

Quizlet is  on The Best Tools To Make Online Flashcards list.  In addition to letting you create and study flashcards, it also lets you study the words in “game” forms.  Plus, it allows voice recording for some features.

Zunal is an easy way for teachers (and students) to create webquests. I know there are some specific parameters involved in using the term “webquest,” so you can also use Zunal to create much simpler “online scavenger hunts.” At their most basic, it can be a series of questions students have to answer, along with links to websites where the information can be found. Zunal also acts as the host for the webquest or scavenger hunt after its been created.

“The Digital Vaults”  is an entry into the vast resources of the National Archives, and allows you to use those resources to create your own movies, posters, and what it calls “Pathway Challenges” to… challenge others to find connections between a series of images, documents, and other resources you put together.

ESL Video is a super-easy to take pretty much any video off-the-net and create a quiz to it. It’s designed for ESL/EFL students, but it can also be used by and for mainstream students.

VoiceThread lets you upload pictures and create an audio narrative to go along with them. In addition, audio comments can be left by visitors.

Animoto lets you easily create musical slideshows.

Screencast-o-Matic lets you easily upload PowerPoints and provide audio narration.

Stay is a great tool for students to plan virtual trips. I use it a lot in my Geography classes.

Since Slideshare is blocked for students in my District, I favor Authorstream as the preferred tool that students use to upload and then post PowerPoints on our class blogs.

And, speaking of class blogs, of course, Edublogs needs to be on this list!

January 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Here’s My Teacher Model For Instagram Video “Book Trailers” Students Will Be Making

I’ve previously posted about having students create video “Book Trailers” (basically book reviews) about the books they’ve been reading.

Here are links to those specific posts, though you can see all of them — and more — at My Best Posts On Books: Why They’re Important & How To Help Students Select, Read, Write & Discuss Them:

Making Book Trailers With Fotobabble

Book Trailers From My Class

Students Making Video “Book Trailers”

Book Trailers

I’ve also shared the videos my ELL students have made with both Instagram and Vine on academic vocabulary.

Prompted by a discussion we had among ninth-grade English teachers earlier this week, I’ve decided to bring the two concepts together and have students try creating “book trailers” using Instagram videos.

Here’s the model (made in five minutes) I’ll be using:

Ideas on how to make it all go better are welcome!

December 21, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The Best Web Tools For English Language Learners (In Other Words, The Ones My Students Regularly Use)

659042012267578_a-686f8125_vMi1Ug_pm

I received a comment from reader Mark, who says he loves all “The Best…” lists, but would like to hear my top recommendations sometimes.

Of course, I have posted The Best Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced English Language Learner Sites, but even that is a pretty lengthy one.

So, I thought I’d begin a running list here of posts where I have described (and future additions will describe) the Web 2.0 tools that I regularly use with my English Language Learners. In addition, I’ve also included direct links to a few other great tools that my students regularly use for direct language-learning.  I thought this list might “narrow” things down a bit for readers.

I also hope that readers will contribute their own suggestions!

Here’s my list:

Web 2.0 Content Creation Tools:

Using “PixiClip” With English Language Learners

Geography Students Use “Stay.com” To Create Virtual Trips

English Language Learners Using Screencast-o-matic For Folktale Presentations

Having English Language Learners Use Cellphones To Identify High-Interest Vocabulary

Making Instagram Videos With English Language Learners

Using Freire & Fotobabble With English Language Learners

Terrific New Videos: Using English “Sister Classes” From Throughout The World In Our ELL Geography Class

Literably Is An Excellent Reading Site — If Used With Caution (I’ve been using this each week and it works well as a formative assessment — check them out here).

Using “Dvolver Moviemaker” With English Language Learners

Student Accessible Language-Learning Tools:

FOR BEGINNERS:

Pronunciator has simple lessons for 60 different languages, and its most important feature is that it allows you to repeat and record what is being taught, and then “grades” your pronunciation. English Central pioneered this kind of capability over two years ago, and the is the first time I’ve seen another web tool try it, too.

Lingo Hut is an impressive site for beginning learners of many different languages, including English.

Using a drop-down menu, you can easily select your native language and the language you want to learn, and then progress through a well-designed series of exercises including reading, listening and speaking.

Spanish-speaking ELLs love Pumarosa.

I’ve long believed Henny Jellema’s online TPR Exercises to be not only one of the best listening exercises for Beginning English Language Learners on the Web, but one of the best ELL activities — period.

Language Guide has got to be the best online dictionary for ELLS on the Web. Plus, if you click on the “gear” symbol at the top, students can access all sorts of reinforcing interactive exercises. Too bad they don’t highlight that feature more prominently.

The Reading and Everyday Life activities from GCF LearnFree are excellent.

FOR BEGINNERS & INTERMEDIATES:

Can anything really beat English Central? I think not…

U.S.A Learns is an incredible website to help Beginners and Intermediates learn English. It’s free to use. Students can register if they want to save their work and evaluate their progress.  It’s a joint effort of the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE), Internet and Media Services Department and the Project IDEAL Support Center at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research.

Bitesize Literacy from the BBC.

I’m looking forward to hearing reactions and your own suggestions!

December 20, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

My Favorite Posts In 2013 — Part Two

146064501599693_a-3978f67e_AQm1Ug_pm

I regularly publish a list of my personal favorites posts during the year, and it’s usually my last annual “Best” list of the year.

You might also be interested in:

My Best Posts Over The Years — Volume One, focused on the year 2007 and includes a fair amount of still-useful material (at least in my opinion).

I’d say the same thing about my review of posts from 2008, which you can find in My Best Posts Over The Years — Volume Two.

Volume Three covered 2009.

Volume Four reviewed 2010.

Volume Five looked at 2011.

My Favorite Posts In 2013 — So Far

So, here are my favorites from over the past six months:

I’ve got to start off with my latest book, which was published by Education Week: Classroom Management Q&As: Expert Strategies for Teaching

In addition to my teacher advice column at Ed Week (by the way, tomorrow I record the first of what will be weekly radio shows with the BAM! Network interviewing people who contribute guest pieces to that Ed Week blog), I’ve really enjoyed writing weekly posts for The New York Times on teaching English Language Learners (previously, they just appeared monthly).

There are almost 1,250 “The Best…” lists, and here are a few of my favorite ones from over the past six months:

A Collection Of The Best Fun, Yet True, “Said No Teacher Ever” Resources

The Best Resources On Why Improving Education Is Not THE Answer To Poverty & Inequality

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2013

In addition to my Ed Week and NY Times posts, I’ve published a number of other articles elsewhere. Here are a few of my favorites:

Here are some on classroom management that I particularly like:

“Flowchart For When A Day Goes Bad In Classroom Management”

Getting A Special Wristband Is Not The Best Road To Greater Student Motivation

Choice Equals Power: How to Motivate Students to Learn is a nice article over at KQED’s MindShift blog about an online conversation I had during Connected Educators Month.  It’s been quite popular, and I think offers helpful ideas.

As far as education policy goes,  Why we can’t all get along over school reform is a post I wrote for The Washington Post that I like a lot and has received a fair amount of positive feedback.

Here are a few other posts I’ve published on teaching English Language Learners that are also among my favorites:

English Language Learners Using Screencast-o-matic For Folktale Presentations

And here are three favorites on classroom instruction:

This Is Exactly What I Mean By Connecting Social Emotional Learning & Literacy Instruction….

Here are some audio interviews I did:

Dana Goldstein had me as a guest, along with Matthew Chingos from the Brookings Institution, on a Slate podcast of Schooled: Does Class Size Matter?

School Leadership Briefing posted a fifteen minute audio interview they did with me over the summer.

The BAM Radio Network interviewed several guests, including Daniel Pink and me, for a program on student motivation. You can listen to it here.

I hope you find these links helpful!

December 16, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Using “PixiClip” With English Language Learners

xmas

Last week, I posted about the new web tool called “PixiClip” (see “PixiClip” Is A Neat Drawing Tool For English Language Learners). It’s a drawing tool that doesn’t require any registration and has a feature of letting you provide an audio commentary to your artistry. I explained that I thought it had a lot of potential for English Language Learners, and that I was going to give it a try this week and write about what happened.

As I’ve written in previous posts, I’ve been pretty aggressive this school year in trying out Web 2.0 tools with my ELL students. Our District has “lightened-up” considerably on its Internet content filters, and I’ve been taking advantage of this opening. You can see previous posts about the tools we’ve been using:

Geography Students Use “Stay.com” To Create Virtual Trips

English Language Learners Using Screencast-o-matic For Folktale Presentations

Having English Language Learners Use Cellphones To Identify High-Interest Vocabulary

Making Instagram Videos With English Language Learners

Using Freire & Fotobabble With English Language Learners

Terrific New Videos: Using English “Sister Classes” From Throughout The World In Our ELL Geography Class

Literably Is An Excellent Reading Site — If Used With Caution (I’ve been using this each week and it works well as a formative assessment — check them out here).

So, today, we tried out PixiClip….

It didn’t start-off well earlier in the day when an aide and I tried it out before school — even though the site wasn’t blocked, it appeared that our antiquated computers would only allow the “doodling” function and not let us record audio. That, of course, was the primary reason it was an attractive site.

After our lack of success using it in Firefox (it had worked at my home in that browser) and in Internet Explorer, we downloaded Google Chrome and were pleased to find that it worked fine there.

We began a unit on Christmas today, and my Beginner students wrote out a series of instructions on what to do with a Christmas tree (after learning the necessary vocabulary). We then went to the computer lab, and PixiClip worked like a charm. It was a great opportunity for a formative assessment, students got speaking practice, and they enjoyed it a lot.

Here are a couple of examples embedded below:

The only negative is that the videos seem to turn on automatically when you embed them.

I’ll definitely be adding PixiClip to my list of tools to regularly use!

December 8, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

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

837935487539639_a-360d7575_ztKjUg_pm

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

You might also be interested in:

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 2013 – Part Two:

I’m obviously biased, but I think the weekly posts I write for the New York Times Learning Network on teaching ELLs are one of the best resources on the Web for both students and teachers.

There are tons of ways to use photos in lessons with English Language Learners (see The Best Ways To Use Photos In Lessons) and the Awkward Family Photos site is a great source for them.  Some are inappropriate for classroom use or just too mean-spirited to use, but there are tons of excellent ones, and the site has an index to easily search by topic, especially by specific holiday.

Eva Buyuksimkesyan has published the 36th ELT Blog Carnival(formerly known as the ESL/EFL/ELL Blog Carnival) and it’s a great one on holiday lessons. Teachers from around the world have contributed posts.

The Best Fun Videos For English Language Learners In 2013 – Part Two

9 great reasons to use posters in your language classroom is a very good post from Adam Simpson.

Dictations Are Fun! is from TEFL Reflections. It doesn’t exactly fit, but I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning How To Use The Dictogloss Strategy With English Language Learners.

James Keddie has a site called Lessonstream that contains many lessons for English Language Learners.

Larissa’s Languages some good ideas in Homework is..Fun! I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Homework Issues.

Getting the whole class talking offers some good ideas. It’s from The British Council. Again, it’s not an exact fit, but I’m adding it to The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English.

Here’s another good resource from The British Council — activities to do when you’ve got ten minutes to prepare and few materials to use.

Geography Students Use “Stay.com” To Create Virtual Trips

Supporting English Language Learners In Content Classes

Having English Language Learners Use Cellphones To Identify High-Interest Vocabulary

Readers of our book, The ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide, know that there’s a lesson plan in it helping students learn the qualities of a successful language learner and that they do a self-assessment as part of it. Part of that lesson includes use of The Best Videos Illustrating Qualities Of A Successful Language Learner.

Now, Marisa Constantinides has created a quiz called Are You A Good Language Learner (completely separate from our lesson), which would be great to give to students. And the EFL Smart Blog has turned Marisa’s quiz into an interactive one that could be taken online. It’s an excellent activity to use on its own or as part of our lesson plan.

Kate Kinsella has a collection of hand-outs to assist in academic language instruction. I’m adding it to The Best Websites For Developing Academic English Skills & Vocabulary.

The Best Ways To Modify The Picture Word Inductive Model For ELLs

English Language Learners Using Screencast-o-matic For Folktale Presentations

Literably Is An Excellent Reading Site — If Used With Caution

Vicki Hollett published the 35th ELT Blog Carnival (formerly known as the ESL/EFL/ELL Blog Carnival) and it’s a great one focusing on Teaching and Learning with Video. Teachers from around the world have contributed posts.

English Agenda is a site from the British Council which offers a wealth of language-teaching research and online professional development. I’m adding it to The Best Ways To Keep-Up With Current ELL/ESL/EFL News & Research and to The Best Places For ESL/EFL/ELL Teachers To Get Online Professional Development.

Skills Practice | Using Storyboards to Inspire Close Reading is from The New York Times Learning Network, and shares a reading strategy that I think would be particularly useful to ELLs. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On “Close Reading.”

Teaching English at the British Council features a “blog post of the month” from English teachers throughout the world. It’s a great collection.

Focus on portfolios: 4 advantages of alternative assessment is by Adam Simpson. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments.

Maximising Learning in Large Classes and Teaching Large Classes are both from The British Council. I’m adding them to The Best Resources On Teaching Multilevel ESL/EFL Classes.

Using Freire & Fotobabble With English Language Learners

The Best Ideas For Using Games In The ESL/EFL/ELL Classroom

Terrific New Videos: Using English “Sister Classes” From Throughout The World In Our ELL Geography Class

Making Instagram Videos With English Language Learners

Writing bingo is a very creative lesson plan from Sandy Millin. I’m adding it to The Best Websites For K-12 Writing Instruction/Reinforcement.

I must have my head stuck in the sand, because I had never heard of “A General Service List: the most important words for second language learners of English” until Wendi Pillars sent a tweet about anew version of it. It looks pretty useful, particularly the interactive exercises on Quizlet.

The 21 Luckiest People In The Entire World is a pretty amazing GIF collection from BuzzFeed. Show these to English Language Learners and have them describe what they are watching, perhaps alternating with the Back-To-The-Screen exercise I use with videos (read about it here).

Tellagami is neat iPhone/iPad app that lets users quickly create virtual characters that can speak audio that’s been recorded or use text-to-speech. I’m adding it to The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English and to The Best Sites For Beginning iPhone Users Like Me.

The Benefits Of Learning Languages is an excellent lesson plan from Film-English. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning The Advantages To Being Bilingual.

David Deubelbeiss at EFL Classroom 2.0 published the 34th ELT Blog Carnival (also known as the ESL/EFL/ELL Blog Carnival).  It’s theme is “Best Lessons,” and teachers from around the work have contributed posts.

Jimmy Fallon Comes Up With A Great Game For English Language Learners

“Lyrics Videos” On YouTube & English Language Learners

The Teaching English – British Council Facebook page. This site is relatively new to me, but it’s certainly not new to many others since it has well over 1,000,000 “Likes”! Ann Foreman does an extraordinary job inviting and sharing resources from teachers throughout the world.

The Best Three Sites On The Web For ESL/EFL/ELL/ELT Teachers

Alex Case has put together a list of his most popular blog posts/shared resources from the TEFLtastic blog.

ESL Teacher Interviews: Larry Ferlazzo comes from Kaplan International, and you might find it interesting. Even more interesting, though, is the interview they did with my friend, colleague, and co-author Katie Hull Sypnieski a few months ago.

David Deubelbeiss has what I think is a great idea on how to make multiple choice questions more learner-friendly and effective.

The Best Infographics About Teaching & Learning English As A Second (or Third!) Language

Carissa Peck published the 34th ELT Blog Carnival (also know as the ESL/ELL/EFL Blog Carnival) and its focus is on teaching/learning pronunciation. It’s so good that I’m adding it toThe Best Websites For Learning English Pronunciation.

“Rewordify” Is One Of The Most Unique Sites Out There For English Language Learners & Others

Using Tech to Teach English is the title of a new guest post I’ve written over at the International Reading Association’s blog, Engage.

Adam Simpson posted about The BBC Motion Gallery, which has zillions of short clips. It’s particularly useful to teachers outside of Great Britain, since they are viewable in the United States and elsewhere. Most other BBC video clips for education are blocked for viewing outside that country.

Place Pulse is a site from MIT that shows you two Google Street View images from around the world, and then asks you to “vote” on which one looks “livelier”; “safer” or any number of other comparative adjectives (you can switch them by clicking on the question mark).

It’s an intriguing way to teach comparative adjectives to English Language Learners, as well as having IB Theory of Knowledge students explore perception.

I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Gaining A Basic Understanding Of Adjectives.

Using Music and Songs in EFL Classes is the theme of the 33rd ELT Blog Carnival, and it’s a good one!  Eva Buyuksimkesyan has gathered contributions from English teachers throughout the world on the topic, and it’s so good that I’m adding it to The Best Music Websites For Learning English.

Chaplin & Keaton Silent Movies For English Language Learners

Yet Another Good Piece For Students On Learning & The Brain

I think it’s pretty clear that English Language Learners are a pretty low priority as far as implementation of the Common Core Standards are concerns, and Californian’s Together have put together a prettygood toolkit explaining those problems.

Of course, one potential benefit of being a low-priority is that we teachers of ELLs, and our students, might be left alone, but I’m not counting on that.

By the way, look for what — if I say so myself — is an excellent article on ELLs and the Common Core that my colleague Katie Hull and I wrote for ASCD Educational Leadership.  It will be appearing there in a few months.

50 Ways To Use Images In The ELT Classroom is from David Deubelbeiss. I’m adding it to The Best Ways To Use Photos In Lessons.

Breaking News English, the popular site used by thousands of English teachers around the world, has now begun providing each lesson in multiple levels – from beginners to advanced.  And I thought Sean Banville, the site’s creator, was busy before! I wonder how much sleep he’s getting now?

Perhaps this has been available for quite awhile, but I just noticed that Jossey-Bass makes the first chapter of our ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide available for free.

Just go to this link and on the right of the page it lists three excerpts. Excerpt 1 is the entire first chapter. Excerpts 2 and 3 show the index.

Of course, you can find tons of other free resources from the book here, too.

You might also be interested in my other over 1,200 “The Best…” lists and, particularly, this year’s end-of-year favorites.

November 27, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

November’s Best Posts From This Blog

981792820789924_a-72909389_W1qWUg_pm

I regularly highlight my picks for the most useful posts for each month — not including “The Best…” lists. I also use some of them in a more extensive monthly newsletter I send-out. You can see older Best Posts of the Month at Websites Of The Month (more recent lists can be found here).

Here are some of the posts I personally think are the best, and most helpful, ones I’ve written during this past month (not in any order of preference):

Using Protest Movements & Historical Photos For English Language Development

Here’s What My IB Theory Of Knowledge Students Did For Their “Ways Of Knowing Final Project”

‘Listen, Empathize, Connect’ For Student Motivation

A Simple & Effective Classroom Lesson On Gratitude

“Collection Of Tweets From Second Week’s Chat On Classroom Management”

‘Good News & Bad News’ About Student Motivation

Geography Students Use “Stay.com” To Create Virtual Trips

Create Collaborative Online Documents Using “Notepad” With Audio Chat

“Choice Equals Power: How to Motivate Students to Learn”

Lesson On John F. Kennedy

“Teachers Should Be Friendly With Students But Not Friends”

‘There Is No Such Thing As An Unmotivated Student’

Professor James Heckman Publishes New Paper On “Non-Cognitive Traits”

Microsoft Eliminates Its Own Destructive VAM Rankings; However, Gates Still Seems Focused On Using It For Us

“Collection Of Tweets From First Week’s Chat On Classroom Management”

Supporting English Language Learners In Content Classes

Teaching English With Lucha Libre

Having English Language Learners Use Cellphones To Identify High-Interest Vocabulary

No, L.A. School Reformers, Grit Does Not Equal Giving Students Rewards & Being Data-Driven

Finding Similar Images To Use For Compare/Contrast Prompts

Ways To Support Students Setting Goals

Student-Created Prompts As A Differentiation Strategy

English Language Learners Using Screencast-o-matic For Folktale Presentations

Literably Is An Excellent Reading Site — If Used With Caution

Getting A Special Wristband Is Not The Best Road To Greater Student Motivation

“Response: A Bad Day In The Classroom ‘Will Pass’”

Google Unveils Great Resource For Virtual Field Trips

My NY Times Post On Using Music With ELLs

This Year’s Shipment Of Stress Balls For Students Has Arrived!

“My Most Popular Parent Engagement Posts In 2013″

“Recover From Bad Days by Seeing ‘Disasters as Opportunities’”

Three Useful Common Core “Cheat Sheets”

EDpuzzle Is An Innovative Video Site

Education Books In One Sentence — Part One

It Might Be Hard To Find A Better Short Video Than This One To Portray “Grit”

Using Freire & Fotobabble With English Language Learners

“Student Contest | 15-Second Vocabulary Videos”

New Link For My Article, “Developing Teacher Leadership For The Long Haul”

“Five key strategies to get/keep kids engaged at school”

 

November 6, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

English Language Learners Using Screencast-o-matic For Folktale Presentations

screen

This year, our School District loosened our Internet filter, so there are now many more options for tools we can use (though, of course, our antiquated tech does create some barriers).

Because of this new freedom of access without having to battle for individual sites to be unblocked, I’ve been pretty aggressive in experimenting with Web 2.0 tools to determine which ones provide the most benefit with the least “hassle” for all involved, especially with my English Language Learner students.

I’ve previously posted about some of them already this year:

Making Instagram Videos With English Language Learners

Using Freire & Fotobabble With English Language Learners

Terrific New Videos: Using English “Sister Classes” From Throughout The World In Our ELL Geography Class

Literably Is An Excellent Reading Site — If Used With Caution (I tried this out today, and I think it will work well as a formative assessment — check them out here).

The ones I’ve listed above have all gone very well — easy to use, free-of-charge, higher-order thinking, multiple language domains (reading,writing,speaking, listening), authentic audience, high levels of student engagement, minimal time commitment.

And, now, we’ve had another student success with with Screencast-o-matic.

I had previously posted about it, but hadn’t visited the site in quite awhile. Jose Rodriguez, one of the coordinators of the impressive K-12 Online Conference, recommended I try using it for the keynote address I gave for the conference in October on teacher leadership (you can see it here). I was quite impressed at the changes they had made since I had last tried it out.

All you do is register for the site, show a slideshow, and record audio — you don’t even have to upload your slides prior to recording. You only upload your entire slideshow and audio narration at the time it’s finished. You can publish it to the site and/or to YouTube, and you’re provided with an embed code.

I thought this would be perfect to my students — some knew PowerPoint and they could teach the rest quickly, so there wouldn’t really be much new to learn — I suspect, and I ended up being correct, that it would take less than a minute for students to learn how to use Screencast-o-matic.

We had just finished our Latin American unit in Geography by reading a Mexican folktale, so I thought it would be a good time to experiment. I had students create a simple storyboard (just a piece of paper divided into ten or so boxes) and asked them to tell a folktale from their own culture. They needed to end it with the “lesson” of the story. It took one class period for them to create the storyboard, about two periods to make the PowerPoint, and then they recorded on Screencast-o-matic today. We’ll watch them in class tomorrow.

Here are a few of them:

It’s been a positive experience, and we’ll definitely be using Screencast-o-matic again.

Have you had your students try it out?

October 19, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The Best Online Tools For Using Photos In Lessons

One of my more popular “The Best…” lists is The Best Ways To Use Photos In Lessons. Though that list includes several online tools, I recently realized I hadn’t included many that I use and have previously posted about. So, I thought I’d bring them all together in a new list.

You might also want to explore The Best Sites For Beginning iPhone Users Like Me for even more online photo tools.

Here are my choices for The Best Online Tools For Using Photos In Lessons:

I’m a big proponent of the Picture Word Inductive Model as a strategy for English Language Learners to develop reading and writing skills (I describe it in detail in this month’s ASCD Educational Leadership in my article, Get Organized Around Assets). It begins with the teacher labeling items in thematic photos with the help of students. The webtool Thinglink could be a great deal to help ELL’s maximize the advantages of this instructional strategy. Thinglink lets you upload or grab an image or video off the web and annotate items with the image or video super-easily. It basically looks like a photo in the Picture Word Inductive Model, just online. Thinglink’s recently announced for educators and students that you can now annotate fifty images free, and the cost for far more is next-to-nothing.

Here’s an image I annotated in the PWIM style (you can embed images, too) Just put your cursor on the photo (if you’re reading this on an RSS Reader, you’ll have to click through to the actual blog post):

Students can pick photos online or upload ones that are reinforcing the theme we’re studying, and label the items. In fact, you can even choose to have your photos/videos be able to be annotated by others, too!

“ImageSpike” Seems — Almost — Just Like “Thinglink”

Szoter doesn’t require registration, you can upload or grab images off the web (just insert its url address), and the final product looks just like an image would look like using the Picture Word Inductive Model.

Pic-Lits lets users pick an image from selection and then “drag-and-drop” words onto the image. The user’s creation can then be saved with a link posted, or it can be embedded. It has some elements that might make it particularly useful to English Language Learners. The words you can choose from are labeled by their parts of speech, and once you drop the word on the image you can see all the different verb conjugations and choose one. You can write a poem or describe the picture. You also have the option of writing whatever words you want if you don’t want to be limited by the words available to drag-and-drop.

Five Card Flickr Story lets you pick five photos from a group of pre-selected images from Flickr and then write a story about them. It saves your selection and story, and provides you with a link to it. No registration is required.

I take photos (and have students take photos) using iPhone apps that let you provide an accompanying audio commentary.

The best app for this kind of excellent speaking practice exercise is Fotobabble. The web version is already on The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English list, and I’m adding the phone app there, too (here are several examples where I’ve used both the web and iPhone version in class). You take a photo, provide an up-to-one minute commentary, and then can it several ways. You can email it to yourself, too, where you are provided a link to it on the Fotobabble site. You’re given the opportunity to re-record if you don’t like how it sounds on the first try, and you can make other changes to it, too. It also provides the option to embed, as I have done with this quick experiment (a photo of one of our dogs, Lola):

Another option is an app called Picle. It only gives you ten seconds of commentary, but you can choose to have it record at the same time you’re taking the photo or afterwards. It doesn’t offer an embed option, but you can link to it on the Picle website. It also doesn’t appear to give you an opportunity to re-record if you’re not satisfied with your first try. Here’s a sample – again of Lola.

enpixa is a similar iPhone app. It’s free, and you can add a thirty second recording.

Skqueak is a new free iPhone app I like a lot that lets you easily provide audio for photos. There are several other apps in this post that do something similar. However, I suspect that Skqueak is going to give them a run for their money. It’s very simple to use, it appears to have a very extended recording time (though I’m not sure what the time limit is exactly) and, most importantly, it makes it extremely easy to create sort of a seamless audio slideshow. None of the other similar apps have such an ability, or at least one that is as easy to use.

Here’s a short example:

Phreetings lets you search for an image (it appears to use Flickr, but I can’t be sure), drag and drop it on a virtual card, and then write something below it (it looks like you can write a lot there). You’re then given the url to copy and paste. During our study of natural disasters, for example, I can see my students finding an image labeled “Katrina” and writing a short report on what they’ve learned so far about the hurricane.

Bubblr is a super-easy tool to use for adding “speech bubbles” to online photos. ImgOps lets you do the same thing.

The Art of Storytelling is a site from the Delaware Art Museum that allows you pick a painting (they don’t use photos, but the site is so good I decided to inlude it in this list anyway), write a short story about it, record it with your computer microphone, and email the url address for posting on a student website or blog. It’s extraordinarily simple, and extraordinarily accessible to any level of English Language Learner. No registration is required.

Dubbler joins the list of several free Smartphone apps that let you record a sixty second audio caption for a photo.

Wave joins the list of several free Smartphone apps that let you record an audio caption for a photo.

Feelit joins the ever-growing list of Smartphone apps that let you record audio along with your photos.

In Looking For Assets, Not Deficits I talk about a new site and strategy called TimeSlips.

PhotoBlab is yet another Smartphone app for adding audio to your photos.

Image Quizzes is a very helpful post from Life Of A Perpetually Disorganized Teacher.

Stipple is another tool that lets you annotate photos with links to other sites or text.

PixiClip is a neat drawing tool I learned about at Richard Byrne’s blog. I’d strongly encourage you to go there and read more details about the site and see his example but, basically, it lets you make a drawing and record either audio-only or a video to go along with it. It also lets you upload an image from the web and “mark it up,” but I think there are plenty of other web tools on this list that let you do that easily enough — and let you grab images off the web with photo url addresses (PixiClip just lets you upload one from your computer) — so I don’t think that feature particularly stands out.

But the audio-plus-drawing capability could really come in handy for English Language Learners.

For example, my Beginners are studying the theme of “Home” right now. After doing some pre-planning for a rough “script,” I could see them doing something like the recording I’ve embedded below as a novel summative assessment and may try that out next week. If we do, I’ll post examples on this blog.

Here’s my model:

Feedback, as always, is welcome. Please contribute your own suggestions on using photos in the classroom.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at the 960 other “The Best…” lists and consider subscribing to this blog for free.

April 8, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Student Writing & Metacognition

I’ve previously posted about having English Language Learner students write and describe the process they’ve used to write an essay (see A Pretty Darn Good Lesson — If I Say So Myself :) ). They then record themselves using the Fotobabble web tool.

I’ve got to collect all my posts related to metacognition into a “The Best…” list…

Last week, I had my Beginning ELL students do something similar, but a little different.

We’ve been working writing research essays, and using graphic organizers that they construct. Their first one was on an animal of their choosing (we’re going on a field trip to the zoo soon). They’ll be doing another one on a country of their choice and, to further solidify the writing process in their minds, they described the process they used. They’re holding their essays and their graphic organizers in the photos.

It’s a simple exercise that covers all four domains — reading, writing, speaking, and listening (we post them on our class blog and show them to the class).

Here are a couple of examples:

March 11, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

Excellent Phone Apps For Taking Photos With Audio Descriptions

This week in class I’m going to start taking photos (and have students taking photos) using iPhone apps that let you provide an accompanying audio commentary.

The best app for this kind of excellent speaking practice exercise is Fotobabble. The web version is already on The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English list, and I’m adding the phone app there, too. You take a photo, provide an up-to-one minute commentary, and then can share it several ways. You can email it to yourself, too, where you are provided a link to it on the Fotobabble site. You’re given the opportunity to re-record if you don’t like how it sounds on the first try, and you can make other changes to it, too. It also provides the option to embed, as I have done with this quick experiment (a photo of one of our dogs, Lola):

Another option, which was launched this week at the SXSW conference in Austin this week, is an app called Picle. It only gives you ten seconds of commentary, but you can choose to have it record at the same time you’re taking the photo or afterwards. It doesn’t offer an embed option, but you can link to it on the Picle website. It also doesn’t appear to give you an opportunity to re-record if you’re not satisfied with your first try. Here’s a sample – again of Lola.

I’d definitely vote for Fotobabble. However, since Picle is new, I assume they’ll be making lots of improvements in the future.

In addition to adding both to “The Best…” speaking list, I’m adding them to The Best Sites For Beginning iPhone Users Like Me.

September 19, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
15 Comments

The Best Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced English Language Learner Sites

280831340406870_a-dd6672a3_PlwCUw_pm

Last week, my classes all of a sudden became more challenging.

Instead of teaching two separate classes of United States History to Intermediate English Language Learners, one double-block period of Beginning ELL’s, and one period of IB Theory of Knowledge, my schedule now looks like this:

First Period: U.S. History to Intermediate ELL’s

Second Period: Prep

Third and Fourth Period: Combined class of Beginners and Intermediates

Fifth Period: U.S. History to Intermediate and Beginning ELL’s

Sixth Period: Theory of Knowledge

It’s all going to work out fine, and I’ll certainly get some new good ideas out of it to add to my upcoming book on teaching ELL’s :)  (Katie Hull, my co-author and colleague, and I just submitted our 90,000 word manuscript to editors over the weekend — it will be published next July, and I’ll have time to make additions in December).

But it did force me to make some changes to my new English class blog.  It now includes a list of accessible links to what, in my opinion, are the Best Sites For Beginners, Intermediates, and Advanced English Language Learners (Katie’s class of advanced students will now also use the site).

I just copied the sidebar from the class blog and pasted it here.  You can find more specific reviews for all of them if you search this blog.  I also included a section from the sidebar where I’ll be adding music and video sites that I’ll be using in the classroom via computer project — those sites are blocked to students, but not to teachers.

Let me know what you think — am I missing something?

Feel free to add suggestions in the comments, and also feel free to visit the class blog, which will be continually updated with new assignments and sites.

If you found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to this blog for free.

You might also want to explore the 760 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.