Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

September 22, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Using “Gangnam Style” As A Language Acquisition Activity

The New York Times has published Gangnam Style, Original and in Imitation, which includes the original video that started the worldwide craze and a nice fun selection of imitations.

It offers so many different options for language acquisition:

* Showing them to students using the “back-to-the-screen” strategy — pairing them up while one has their back to the video and the other has to describe in English what they’re seeing (there’s more to it that you can learn at the link).

* Having students create Venn Diagrams and a short Compare/Contrast essay about them.

* Put students in small groups where they speak different home languages so they have to speak in English to plan and perform their own Gangnam Style performance — that could even be videotaped!

How else do you think you could use this in the classroom?

Bonus:

Via Alexander Russo, here’s a teacher at a high school pep rally doing his own version:

October 9, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

The Best Resources On Malala Yousafzai

'Malala Yousafzai' photo (c) 2013, Michael  Volpicelli - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

The winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Friday, and Malal Yousafzai, the youngest nominee ever, is considered by many to be the frontrunner.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has been awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.

It was thought that Malala Yousafzai might win, but I don’t think one can argue with the final decision. You can learn more at The Best Resources For Learning About Chemical Weapons.

Here are a number of useful resources on her (you also might be interested in The Best Sites To Learn About The Nobel Peace Prize):

You can see a lesson on her for English Language Learners that I posted in The New York Times.

Last night’s interview with her on The Daily Show was amazing. Here it is in three parts (it may be able to be viewed in an RSS Reader):

Interactive Timeline: Malala Yousafzai’s Extraordinary Journey is from TIME.

Malala Yousafzai: from blogger to Nobel peace prize nominee – timeline is from The Guardian.

How Malala Yousafzai was attacked – interactive is from The Guardian.

Taliban would again target Malala Yousafzai is an article from yesterday.

The CBC has a number of good resources.

Here’s a Breaking News English lesson on her shooting.

Teaching Kids has some good lesson ideas.

Malala spoke to the UN Youth Assembly on her 16th birthday .

Here’s a link to the transcript, here’s a quote from her talk, and it’s followed by a video of the speech itself — pretty amazing:

They-thought-that-the

For Malala Yousufzai, a Nobel Prize could cap a remarkable year since Taliban shooting is from NBC News.

Malala Yousafzai: The Bravest Girl in the World is from Parade.

Malala: The girl who was shot for going to school is from The BBC.

Here’s a great artistic rendering of a quote by her. It’s from Zen Pencils:

The victory of Malala Yousafzai is from Salon.

Why Malala should have won the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize is by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post.

Pakistani Girl, a Global Heroine After an Attack, Has Critics at Home is from The New York Times.

Malala Yousafzai meets with the Obamas in the Oval Office is from The Washington Post.

Honoring Malala is by Wendi Pillars.

‘It’s very good news’ Malala didn’t win the Nobel Peace Prize: Pakistani Taliban is from NBC News.

Feel free to offer other suggestions.

You might also be interested in the 1,200 “The Best…” lists available.

February 15, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
5 Comments

The Harlem Shake As A Language-Learning Activity

I was crazy enough to have my English Language Learner students create Gangnam-style videos as a language-learning activity (though no one reading this blog will ever see what we created since students wouldn’t do it unless I participated and, trust me, you don’t want to see me dancing).

So, if Gangnam-style worked so well, why not jump on the Harlem Shake bandwagon?

If you don’t know, the Harlem Shake is the latest music craze. I’m planning on showing some of these videos to my students next week, have them describe what they see in writing and verbally (they can also compare the different versions), and then have them design their own. I’m sure they’ll demand that I participate when it’s time to perform. If so, don’t hold your breath about seeing the final product.

Here are a few versions (you can see more here):

Here are a couple of other helpful links:

Rules for Shooting Your Own ‘Harlem Shake’ Video


Have You Done A Harlem Shake Video Yet?

Free Super-Easy “Create A Harlem Shake App” Comes To iPhones Today

December 12, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

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

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

You might also be interested in:

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 2012 — Part Two:

I should start off with links to excerpts on our new book about teaching ELL’s that have been published since Part One of this list was posted at the beginning of September:

Interview With Co-Author Of “ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide”

Using Games in the ELL Classroom, Part I

Using Games in the ELL Classroom, Part II

Using Photos With English Language Learners

Eight Ways to Use Video With English Language Learners

Another Excerpt From Our Book On Teaching ELL’s!

Here’s the longest name for a report that you’ll see today: Practical Guidelines for the Education of English Language Learners: Research-based Recommendations for the Use of Accommodations in Large-scale Assessments/2012 Update.  It provides some very useful research data that I hope schools and test-makers are aware of — it’s helpful for when ELL’s have to take the less than useful state standardized tests and for when they have to take tests of any kind in regular content classes.

Grading is always a tricky issue for teachers — and students. I’ve written about it, as well as guests, in one of my Education Week columns, Several Kinds Of Grading Systems.  The primary guide I use is whatever “will move students forward.”  As a teacher said in our school’s staff meeting last night, I don’t want to be a “gate-keeper.”  Instead, I want to be a coach/encourager.  Katie Hull Sypnieski and I also wrote about it in our book, The ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide.  Katie adapted it for use in most of our ESL and mainstream classes, and I thought I’d share it here. You can download the hand-out we give students.

Breaking News English, the long-time invaluable resource to ESL/EFL/ELL teachers around the world, has just undergone a major “revamp.”  Sean Banville, the site’s creator, describes many of the changes here, and you can see the first new style lesson here. There are many improvements, including tons more online interactive exercises.

Ideas for English Language Learners: ‘Gangnam Style,’ ‘Emotion Words’ and More is the title of one of my posts at The New York Times Learning Network. You can see all my NY Times posts here.

The British Council reorganized their website awhile back, and now that have all their songs for English Language Learners (including closed-captioning) all in one place. It’s an excellent resource.

Kate Kinsella is well-known for her research on helping students learn and use academic vocabulary. The California Department of Education has put a series of her videos and materials on their website.  The videos don’t at all capture her dynamism that you see in person, but downloadable “apply the concepts” materials are worth their weight in gold! And, they’re free.

In Pursuit of the Excellent Game is an excellent piece from TESOL on using games with ELL’s.

Using Photographs to Teach Social Justice is an excellent twelve lesson resource from Teaching Tolerance.  The series is particularly suited to United States History classes, and would be accessible to mainstream and English Language Learners. I would have definitely used them last year when I was teaching United States History to ELL’s, and will adapt a couple this year for my ELL Geography class.  Though I am completely supportive of the intent and message of the lessons, I’ll probably be making some minor adjustments to them to make some of the questions a bit more subtle.

As an introductory activity, I have students in all of my classes create “Who Am I?” posters which they then share “speed-dating” style (linking up in rows, show and share, and then one row moves to the right — or left — and does it again and so on). It seems to go well, and I thought readers might find it useful to see the model I use for them (as you can see, I hold few artistic aspirations :) ):

Bill Ferriter posted a link to this “Trunk Monkey Compilation.” This hilarious video is perfect for ELL’s to watch and then describe what happened, and even do Venn Diagram to identify differences and similarities:

I’ve previously posted about research discussing the value of students sharing what is happening in their lives (see The Value Of Sharing Positive Events) and have written on this blog and in my books how I apply this finding in my teaching, primarily in my English Language Learner classes. I have students write about two positive events in the week and why they felt they were positive, and one not-so-positive event and what they could have done to make it better. They share it with a partner verbally, and each has to ask a question of the other. Then I invite a few people to share with the entire class, and afterwards collect them. Not only does it help build a positive classroom atmosphere, it provides an opportunity to write for an authentic audience and it helps me learn what’s going on in students’ lives.

I can’t really say why I haven’t done it with mainstream students in the past, but I’m starting to do so this year. We always do a short reflection on Fridays and, though I might not ask them to do it every week, I’ll include it regularly.

I thought readers might find it useful to see the model I use. I’ll print it in the body of this post, and you can also download it as a student handout here that you can modify. Here’s the content:

Mr. Ferlazzo’s Journal, Sept. 7, 2012

Here are two good things that happened to me this week:

I really enjoyed school starting this week. I love my classes and all my students because they are all hard-working and smart.

I had a great time playing basketball on Tuesday night. I scored the game-winning shot, and everybody on the team wanted to pass the ball to me.

Here is one not-so-good thing that happened to me this week:

A student dropped gum on the rug in my room, and I was not happy that I had to scrape it off. I could have reminded students to throw gum in the garbage.

Feedback is welcome, including additional suggestions.

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

You might also want to explore the 1000 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

November 23, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

November’s Best Posts From This Blog

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 my previous Best Posts of the Month at Websites Of The Month (more recent lists can be found here).

These posts are different from the ones I list under the monthly“Most Popular Blog Posts.” Those are the posts the largest numbers of readers “clicked-on” to read. I have to admit, I’ve been a bit lax about writing those posts, though.

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):

What Is The Best Education-Related Book You’ve Read This Year?

Create Your “Perfect Day” with “Peek”

” The best — and worst — education news of 2012″

Another Excerpt From Our Book On Teaching ELL’s!

“Celebrating our Students’ Good Writing”

The Fifteen “Twitterers” Whose Tweets I Read First

Video Gives A Sense Of What People With Autism Might Experience

Follow-Up To My Lesson On “Grit”

Wow! Check Out Google’s New “100,000 Stars”

It’s Looking More Likely That CA Schools May Get Long-Term Monies They Need, But Not For Another Two Years…

What Worked For The Obama Campaign Can Work For Us & Our Students In The Classroom

A Rube Goldberg Machine Like You’ve Never Seen Before….

Nice & Simple Bloom’s Taxonomy Poster

Terrific “New Yorker” Profile Of Diane Ravitch — & The Struggle For The Soul Of Education

” Struggle For Smarts? How Eastern And Western Cultures Tackle Learning”

“Assisting Students With Special Needs”

Latest Round Of Edits Completed For My Next Book!

Video: “Star Wars and Blooms Taxonomy Revised”

Google Creates A Rather Odd “Story Builder”

Using The “Carrots, Eggs & Coffee” Story In Class

All My Class Blogs

There Are Now One Thousand Categorized “The Best…” Lists

“Teachers as “Brain Changers””

Subscribing To Twitter Via RSS Feed

“Meograph” Just Became A Lot More Useful To My Students & Me

What Do Students Think Are The Best Ways To Assess Their Learning?

Our Grading Guidelines

“Ideas for English Language Learners | ‘Gangnam Style,’ ‘Emotion Words’ and More

“Instead of seeing students as Far Below Basic or Advanced, we see them as learners”

“Taking Advantage Of Neural Networks In The Classroom”

“The Victorians” Looks Like A Great Site

 

September 29, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

September’s Best Posts From This Blog

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 my previous Best Posts of the Month at Websites Of The Month.

These posts are different from the ones I list under the monthly“Most Popular Blog Posts.” Those are the posts the largest numbers of readers “clicked-on” to read. I have to admit, I’ve been a bit lax about writing those posts, though.

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):

Participate In A Free Online Chat With Us About Our New ELL Book

“Eight Things Skilled Teachers Think, Say, and Do”

“Ideas for English Language Learners | Election 2012″

“Using Games in the ELL Classroom, Part II”

Teaching Science By “Becoming A Learner”

Series Of Good Dan Pink Videos To Use With Students

More Info On Why Inductive Learning Is So Effective

Using “Gangnam Style” As A Language Acquisition Activity

“Using Games in the ELL Classroom, Part I”

Arrogance, The Gates Foundation & The “Remembering Self”

“This Is Your Brain On Reading”

“A Nobel Laureate Writes About Becoming A ‘Science Coach’”

Everyone Should Hear This Speech From Karen Lewis

This Is The Best Piece I’ve Read So Far On The Chicago Teachers’ Strike

New Organizational Tool I’m Using This Year: Double – Sided Notebooks

“Sacramento City Teachers Association declines to participate in Race to the Top “

Evaluating Student Athletes

“Mural.ly” Opens To The Public

More Free Online Resources From Our ELL Book

The “Who Am I?” Poster I Use As A Model For Students

My Student Handout For Simple Journal-Writing

We’ve Decided On A Title For My Upcoming Book!

” An Interview With Paul Tough On Character & Schools”

Eight Ways To Build An Audience For Your Blog

September 28, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Video: “Voting Early Style”

I’ve previously posted ideas on how to use the “Gangnam Style” video as a language acquisition activity. Even I have limits to the levels of public embarrassment I can endure, so will not post the video that our class developed.

However, students, teachers and administrators in Houston used the Gangnam craze as a tool to encourage involvement in public life. Check out this fun “Voting Early Style” video I learned about from Alexander Russo: