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:

September 20, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Late Educator Paulo Freire Was Born On This Day

220px-Paulo_Freire

Image via Wikipedia

The late educator Paulo Freire was born on this day in 1921.

You can read more about him at The Zinn Education Project’s Facebook page.

You might also be interested in a New York Times post I wrote that includes a lesson building on his work, and a post that appeared on this blog awhile back, What Would Paulo Freire Do If He Was A School Superintendent?

January 17, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

“Freire’s Learning Sequence”

Freire’s Learning Sequence is a short article/lesson plan I wrote for the most recent issue of the Library Media Connection.

I mentioned it at the bottom of my earlier post about a recent podcast I did, but thought that some people might have missed it. It’s a good lesson that I also write about more extensively in my book on teaching English Language Learners.

October 19, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
3 Comments

What Would Paulo Freire Do If He Was A School Superintendent?

We don’t have to imagine the answer to that question because Freire, the famous popular educator, was indeed the Superintendent of schools in Sao Paulo, Brazil during 1989-91, and Bob Peterson has just written an article about that experience in the most recent issue of ReThinking Schools. The article is titled Big City Superintendents: Dictatorship or Democracy? Lessons from Paulo Freire .

Here’s a quote from the article:

The heart of the Freire administration’s plan to transform the schools was the movement to reorient the curriculum. This was a change that was only partially successful, uneven from school to school. But it still stands in sharp contrast to the top-down, scripted curricular reforms that are being forced on many of the large urban districts in this country.

At the core of Freire’s approach was changing the nature of teaching and learning in the classrooms. The curriculum had to be based on the realities of the students’ lives, be meaningful to their aspirations, bridge disciplinary divides, incorporate assessments that accurately reflected student learning, and be constantly reflected upon by educators during paid collaborative planning times during the work day. Teachers were being expected not to “deliver” curriculum, but to create it in collaboration with each other, their students, and the community. According to Freire, his goal was

. . . to gradually elevate the level of knowledge of the teachers, promote collective work as the privileged form of teacher formation, and afford the material conditions for all this to occur. In this manner the pedagogic innovations are appropriated, the curricular alterations fruitful, because the principal agents [of these changes], the teachers, are considered not objects of training, but elements that produce and re-elaborate knowledge.

Now, I know that you can’t just take a strategy from one country and plop it into another. And, in fact, there have been challenges in applying Freire’s methods in the United States (I’ve used it quite successfully in my ESL classes, though, and have found the best teaching strategies on how to do that come from U.S. Peace Corps ESL/EFL Training Manuals)

Given that, however, it seems to me that it would still be worth superintendents, particularly ones from urban districts, taking a serious look at Freire’s perspective.

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)

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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:

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

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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!