Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

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!

January 21, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
3 Comments

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

knowme

The free iPhone app KnowMe was released today, and I know that, starting tomorrow, it will become the iPhone app I will find most useful in my classroom.

You can combine photos from your phone with live video (f you want), easily add narration, and voila, you have an audio narrated presentation. You just hold down on the photo with a finger and talk.

Here’s a simple one I made using classroom photos, which I then emailed to myself.

It doesn’t have an embedding function, and doesn’t yet offer an immediate sharing to YouTube. However, with YouTube’s terrible Safety mode (see The Best Ways To Deal With YouTube’s Awful Safety Mode), I’m not sure how many of us educators are really uploading videos to YouTube these days anyway — most are just going to be blocked by their insane algorithm.

Shadow Puppet has been my favorite app up to know to let students provide audio narration of images, and I didn’t think it could get much easier than that, but KnowMe has proven me wrong.

You can read more about it at TechCrunch.

I’m adding it to several “Best” lists, including:

The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English

The Best Ways To Use Photos In Lessons

The Best Sites For Beginning iPhone Users Like Me

Here’s a video about the app:

Intro to KnowMe With Nev Schulman from KnowMe on Vimeo.

November 22, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
5 Comments

The Fifty Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2016

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As regular readers know, I’ve begun posting my end-of-year “The Best….” lists. There are over 1,600 regularly updated lists now.  You can see them all here.

As usual, in order to make this list, a site had 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 (however, I’ve begun to make exceptions for special mobile apps).

Some sites I’m including this year are primarily geared towards teachers creating content for classroom use, but could also easily be used by students.

It’s possible that a few of these sites began earlier than this year, but, if so, I’m including them in this list because they were “new to me” in 2016.

You might want to visit previous editions, as well as The “All-Time” Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education; The “All-Time” Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly and The “All-Time” Best 2.0 Tools For Beginning English Language Learners.

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2015

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2014

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2013

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2012

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2011

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education — 2010

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education — 2009

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education — 2008

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education — 2007

Feel free to let me know if you think I’m leaving any tools out.

Instead of ranking each of the fifty tools on this list in order, I have them organized into three general groups: Useful, Good, and Excellent. The “Excellent” tools are added to the “All-Time” list mentioned previously.

Here are my fifty choices for The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2016:

USEFUL

Vizia lets you integrate quizzes and polls into videos. You can read more about it at Richard Byrne’s blog. I’m adding it to A Potpourri Of The Best & Most Useful Video Sites.

WebReel lets you create a “reel” – a slideshow – of links to web addresses. You can also write a description of each site in the presentation. It would be an easy tool to use if teachers or students were creating webquests or internet scavenger hunts, which is why I’m adding it to The Best Places To Create (And Find) Internet Scavenger Hunts & Webquests.

Elink is a new tool for collecting and curating web resources. For teachers, I think it would be most helpful in creating Webquests or Internet scavenger hunts – you can leave comments about each site you save.

Ormiboard lets up to four people collaborate on an online whiteboard and is free, at least for now. I’m adding it to The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration.  Thanks to Shelly Terrell for the tip.

After quickly registering, Marvel Comics lets you create your own comic that you can print, send, or embed. I’m adding it to The Best Ways To Make Comic Strips Online.

Limnu is a free online collaborative whiteboard that looks pretty good. I’m adding it to The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration.

Wakelet is another addition to the very crowded resource curation market.  It does seem fairly easy to use, and you can leave notes to the links you save.  Because of those features, I’m adding it to The Best Places To Create (And Find) Internet Scavenger Hunts & Webquests because teachers and students can use it for that activity.

Chalkmotion is an intriguing free tool that lets you either draw or choose “hand-drawn” illustrations to use in a slideshow (you can also add text). The intriguing part comes in when you publish your show – instead of just showing the images, it shows the the process of actually drawing them, too. It can be a little annoying because of the time involved, but also sort of fun. As you can see from the simple one I created, I could see ELLs using it for vocabulary reinforcement. I’m not ready to put it on any “Best” list, but it’s worth a look.

BeatLab seems like a very accessible way to create and share lots of different kinds of music. Thanks to Richard Byrne for the tip. I’m adding it to The Best Online Sites For Creating Music, which I just updated and revised.

Mad Libs, I think, have very limited usefulness with English Language Learners since they really don’t promote accurate understanding. However, for ELLs who are in the high-intermediate range, I’ve found they can be an occasional fun activity that also reinforces parts of speech. Having students create their own versions for their classmates can move this activity to a much more productive level, however, and the Word Blanks site is the easiest tool out there for making them.

Clarisketch looks like an excellent app for ELLs — you can draw and then record audio about it. Unfortunately, it’s only available as an Android app. I hope they’ll have an iPhone version soon. I’m adding it to The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English.

Google unveiled a new collaborative space called…Spaces. It appears to be a private space where invited users can share posts, photos and links.

Prisma is a new free app that lets you turn your photos into manga. I could see this being a very attractive tool for reluctant writers to use — they can create their own web comics. You can read more about it at TechCrunch.

Participate lets teachers collect different learning resources.

Votesy is a free and simple survey tool that lets you ask one text, image or video-based question. It really does seem super-easy to use, and the polls are embeddable.

Opinion Stage is a free and easy tool for making online tests, polls and lists.

Stephen Fry, who I had never heard of but who is apparently a well-known British actor and comedian, has launched Pindex, a “Pinterest For Education.” You can read more about it here, and it has a user-guide here. It really is a “knock-off” of Pinterest, so one might wonder why the world needs it. I think it might be useful to educators for two reasons — one, with luck, since it’s focused on education, school content filters might not block it as so many do Pinterest; and, secondly, because it has a nifty quiz-making feature that lets track if students have completed them. In other words, teachers can create a board which students study, followed by a quiz. After students complete a quiz (after they have registered for Pindex), their username appears under the quiz for its creator to see.

I’ve written about Russel Tarr’s extraordinary ClassTools site often (see This Is The Best Web 2.0 Site For ELLs & May Be The Best One For All Students). He has a zillion of easy-to-use (and with no registration required) tools for creating online content. He recently added another one to his vast suite of options — this time, it’s a super-simple way to create interactive online crossword puzzles.

Synap is a new easy tool for creating online quizzes. It will really be useful when there’s a large bank of user-created quizzes for teachers to draw upon.

I’ve been hearing a lot of “buzz” about Versal, which lets teachers create online interactive resources.

NoteBookCast is a simple online virtual whiteboard that can be used by many people at the same time.

I’ve written a lot about tools that students can use for annotating documents online (see Best Applications For Annotating Websites). I’m primarily interested in tools that don’t require any downloads at all because that makes it problematic for use in schools/ I recently learned from InterCom about a tool called Annotation Studio. It’s free and is from MIT.

ClassKick lets teachers create virtual classrooms with pre-made or original assignments. It’s free.

The Learnia lets you create interactive video lessons.

Poll Deep is a tool for…taking polls. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Creating Online Polls & Surveys.

PullQuote is an easy tool for creating visually attractive quotes online.

FotoJet is a new free online photo editor. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Online Photo-Editing & Photo Effects, which I’ve just updated and revised.

NowComment seems like a good tool for students to use when annotating online documents and they can see the comments of others, too (teachers can create private groups).  The reason it’s under “Useful” instead of “Good” is because the only way you can annotate a website is by copying and pasting it, and I’m not sure if that’s legal or not.

Coggle is a new mindmapping tool.  I’ve added it to Not “The Best,” But “A List” Of Mindmapping, Flow Chart Tools, & Graphic Organizers.

GOOD

Thanks to David Kapular, I learned about a new site where users can create animations. It’s called Animatron. You can create five animations for free, but after that the cost is $15 per year. The feature that made it stand out to me was its audio recording capability, even though the sound quality isn’t top notch.

Tour-Builder by Google lets you easily create…tours. It’s super-easy to add videos or photos (uploaded or via searching the Web), and can be used to document literary journeys, field trips, historical events, etc. I’m adding it to The Best Map-Making Sites On The Web.Thanks to Sarah Thomas for the tip.

Perusall is a new online tool inspired by Eric Mazur. I’ve previously posted about his work encouraging college instructors to move away from lectures. Perusall is a free site where teachers can assign student readings for homework and where students annotate the text while connecting with other students doing the same thing at the same time. The tool then also supposedly provides some kind of automatic assessment for the student annotations. Teachers can upload anything they want, as well as assigning textbooks that then have to be purchased through the site (I assume that this is their strategy for making money). You can read more about it at This new tool makes the flipped classroom more social. I’m adding it to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress.

Vicki Davis  shared a link to a new resource, Write The World, on Twitter. Write The World lets teachers set-up virtual classrooms for free where they can monitor student writing progress and, if they wish, let classmates use it for a peer review process. They can be private or public groups. In addition, the site has writing contests, provides prompts, and encourages students to view each other’s work from around the world. I’m adding it to: The Best Places Where Students Can Write For An “Authentic Audience” and The Best Online Tools That Can Help Students Write An Essay.

I learned about Genial.ly from Shelly Terrell’s excellent post, Visualizing Learning with Infographics: 23 Resources. Genial.ly seems like a new and useful free tool for creating infographics.

eMargin is a free tool developed by Birmingham City University in the United Kingdom. You can upload any text and have students annotate it, and the same text can be annotated by a closed group. In addition, you can “upload” a web address and annotate it, as well. The lay-out can be a bit funky with websites, but it’s still workable. I’m adding it to Best Applications For Annotating Websites.

Creating their own unique English subtitles to funny “foreign language” or silent movie scenes has been a fun language-learning activity done in many English Language Learner classrooms for years. There are several tools that teachers have used for just that purpose, which you can find at The Best Places To Create Funny Subtitles For Silent Movies. Caption Generator lets you do that for any video on YouTube, so ELLs and their teachers can now have even more choices. However, you probably want to use it with caution. Some of the videos that have been captioned and viewable on the site may not be classroom appropriate. However, I assume (thought haven’t checked at my school computer) that those videos will be blocked by district content filters. I can’t be sure, though.

Thanks to Sara-E. Cottrell, I recently learned about Sugarcane, a free web tool that lets you easily create lots of different kinds of learning games, as well as access ones that others have created. It’s owned by IXL Learning, but your school doesn’t have to be subscribed to it in order to use Sugarcane. I’m adding it to The Best Websites For Creating Online Learning Games.

The new PhotoScan app from Google, for both Android and iPhone, lets you easily convert your old “paper” photos into high-resolution digital images.  It’s great for personal use, but I’m also finding it helpful for scanning some of the many old photos I’ve taken over the years that would be good for the classroom.

Most of us are probably familiar with the famous ethical “Trolley Problem” (see The Best Videos About The Famous “Trolley Problem”). Now, MIT has created what’s got to be the most engaging online version of the age-old ethical dilemma in its “Moral Machine.” Their take on the problem is that you are designing the moral decisions a self-driving car has to make. You’re given thirteen scenarios and, after you’re done, you can see how your answers compare to those of previous participants. The best part, though, of the site comes next. You can then create your own scenario that others can play! I think it’s safe to say that for as long as this site is up, any IB Theory of Knowledge class that has access to technology will be playing it during their Ethics unit.

Unsplash has been on my The Best Online Sources For Images list for quite awhile. It has tens of thousands of images that can be used for free – commercially or for educational purposes – without having to provide any attribution to the photographer (though, of course, it’s still a nice thing to do). Until relatively recently, however, it didn’t have a search feature. They recently unveiled a great one, and it’s super-fast. I’m still going to go with Photos For Class as my favorite free image site (see “Photos For Class” Is My Favorite Site For Finding Images), but Unsplash is a close second.

Pablo lets you create visually attractive quotes and provides access to over 50,000 royalty-free images.

I have a huge The Best Online Sources For Images list (and one needing some revising and updating). And, with all those resources available, Photos For Class has become my “go-to” site for blog and presentation images. It’s free and, when you download the image (all Creative Commons licensed for public use), proper attribution is shown with it. It can’t get much easier than that….

 

EXCELLENT

The History Project is a new free online tool for creating timelines, and its partially funded by The New York Times. It’s very easy to use, with web and social media search capability built into the site when you are creating a timeline. In addition to letting you create a sequential list including images and videos, and also shows the events on a map. Best of all, in my opinion, you can easily record your own audio thoughts for each event. I’m adding it to The Best Tools For Making Online Timelines, and it may be the best of the lot…

My Simple Show lets you create free audio “explainers” – about biographies, chemical reactions, you name it. What makes it truly exceptional is the scaffolding and support it provides each step of the way, plus so much of it is automated – down to the selection of images (which you can easily change). You can provide your own audio narration or choose its computer generated voice. It’s very, very simple to use and accessible to English Language Learners.

Zooniverse is an amazing site where scholars put up projects that require “people-powered research” – for example, attempting to decode formerly secret Civil War telegrams. It has many projects in multiple subject areas, along with very cool online tools for students to use when doing the research. The site also has lesson plans for teachers to use when introducing students to the site. A site like this offers real purposes for student learning. I’m amazed that I hadn’t heard of it before today when Stephen F. Knott sent the tweet about the Civil War project. Further exploration led me to all the site’s other features. I’m going to add it to Best Places Where Students Can Write For An “Authentic Audience,” but it deserves to be on a lot of other Best lists.

Reader Gabrielle Klingelhöfer shared the site Learning Apps with me, and I’m sure glad she did! It’s a free site that lets teachers create virtual classrooms where students can uses lots of different kinds of online exercises and games to learn many subjects. There are tons of already-created exercises divided by subject, and it seems super-easy – and I really mean easy – for teachers to create their own. There are many ESL and regular English interactives. There are tons on other subjects, as well. My only suggestion to the site is that it would be nice to have a further search parameter to divide by language. The other subjects have many exercises in other languages (the site itself appears to be from Germany) and it would just make it a little easier for teachers. But it’s really a minor issue for a fabulous site.

Adobe Spark looks like an amazing new free tool that lets you create visually attractive quotes, web pages and videos. Richard Byrne, as usual, has created an excellent video showing how it works.

Wizer lets teachers easily create online, multimedia online “worksheets” (even better, you can use or modify ones other educators have made), give students the url address to the “worksheet” (I’d just copy-and-paste it on our class blog), students quickly and simply register on Wizer, complete the worksheet, and, voila, teachers can easily see each students’ work. In some ways, it’s like a somewhat less-sophisticated SAS Curriculum Pathways, which I think is the most useful site on the Web for teachers. There, though, only SAS creates the materials.

The KnowMe app is a Web 2.0 tool I found this year that I immediately added to The “All-Time” Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education list. You can combine photos from your phone with live video (f you want), easily add narration, and voila, you have an audio narrated presentation. You just hold down on the photo with a finger and talk. You can read about, and see many examples, about how I use it here.

August 14, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

“Call Me Ishmael” Is A Neat Site & Model For Student Book Activity

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Call Me Ishmael is a neat site that I learned about through John Damaso’s excellent post, Top 10 ISTE takeaways for English teachers.

It’s very simple – students read a book of their choice, call a number and leave a message telling a short story how it impacted their life. The site’s creator then picks three of these stories each week to (literally) type them out and publish a video with the typing coordinated with the voice message.

Here are a couple of examples:

All the voice messages seem to be embedded on the site, too, and visitors can vote on which ones they think the site should turn into videos.

It’s a pretty neat idea, and I especially like that the voice messages are embedded. That way, even if a video is not made with them, students can still see that their message is posted.

Even if you don’t have students call the number, though, the videos can be used as good models. Students can easily create their own versions of these kinds of “book trailers” by a website like Little Bird Tales or the KnowMe phone app.

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

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)

 

 

June 15, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2016 – So Far

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As regular readers know, it’s time for me to begin posting my mid-year “The Best….” lists. There are nearly 1,600 regularly updated lists now.  You can see them all here.

As usual, in order to make this list, a site had 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 (however, I’ve begun to make exceptions for special mobile apps).

Some sites I’m including this year are primarily geared towards teachers creating content for classroom use, but could also easily be used by students.

It’s possible that a few of these sites began earlier than this year, but, if so, I’m including them in this list because they were “new to me” in 2016.

You might want to visit previous editions, as well as The “All-Time” Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education; The “All-Time” Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly and The “All-Time” Best 2.0 Tools For Beginning English Language Learners.

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2015

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2014

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2013

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2012

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2011

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education — 2010

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education — 2009

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education — 2008

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education — 2007

I don’t rank my mid-year lists, but do place them in order of preference in my end-of-year lists. Just because a tool is on this mid-year list does not mean it will make the cut for the year-end version.

Feel free to let me know if you think I’m leaving any tools out.

Here are my twenty-one choices for The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2016- So Far (not ranked in any order):

Adobe Spark looks like an amazing new free tool that lets you create visually attractive quotes, web pages and videos. Richard Byrne, as usual, has created an excellent video showing how it works.  It has the potential to join the “All-Time Best” list, but I still need to spend a little more time with it before I make a decision.

Google unveiled a new collaborative space called…Spaces. It appears to be a private space where invited users can share posts, photos and links.

Now, any teacher – including clueless ones like me – can experiment with a new Minecraft Education Edition for free over the summer. Check it out here.

Participate lets teachers collect different learning resources.

Votesy is a free and simple survey tool that lets you ask one text, image or video-based question. It really does seem super-easy to use, and the polls are embeddable.

Wizer lets teachers easily create online, multimedia online “worksheets” (even better, you can use or modify ones other educators have made), give students the url address to the “worksheet” (I’d just copy-and-paste it on our class blog), students quickly and simply register on Wizer, complete the worksheet, and, voila, teachers can easily see each students’ work. In some ways, it’s like a somewhat less-sophisticated SAS Curriculum Pathways, which I think is the most useful site on the Web for teachers. There, though, only SAS creates the materials.  It, too, has a chance to join the “All-Time Best” list after I spend more time with it.

Opinion Stage is a free and easy tool for making online tests, polls and lists.

Pablo lets you create visually attractive quotes and provides access to over 50,000 royalty-free images.

Stephen Fry, who I had never heard of but who is apparently a well-known British actor and comedian, has launched Pindex, a “Pinterest For Education.” You can read more about it here, and it has a user-guide here. It really is a “knock-off” of Pinterest, so one might wonder why the world needs it. I think it might be useful to educators for two reasons — one, with luck, since it’s focused on education, school content filters might not block it as so many do Pinterest; and, secondly, because it has a nifty quiz-making feature that lets track if students have completed them. In other words, teachers can create a board which students study, followed by a quiz. After students complete a quiz (after they have registered for Pindex), their username appears under the quiz for its creator to see.

I’ve written about Russel Tarr’s extraordinary ClassTools site often (see This Is The Best Web 2.0 Site For ELLs & May Be The Best One For All Students). He has a zillion of easy-to-use (and with no registration required) tools for creating online content. He recently added another one to his vast suite of options — this time, it’s a super-simple way to create interactive online crossword puzzles.

I have a huge The Best Online Sources For Images list (and one needing some revising and updating). And, with all those resources available, Photos For Class has become my “go-to” site for blog and presentation images. It’s free and, when you download the image (all Creative Commons licensed for public use), proper attribution is shown with it. It can’t get much easier than that….

Synap is a new easy tool for creating online quizzes. It will really be useful when there’s a large bank of user-created quizzes for teachers to draw upon.

I’ve been hearing a lot of “buzz” about Versal, which lets teachers create online interactive resources.

NoteBookCast is a simple online virtual whiteboard that can be used by many people at the same time.

The KnowMe app is the one Web 2.0 tool I’ve found this year that I immediately added to The “All-Time” Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education list. You can combine photos from your phone with live video (f you want), easily add narration, and voila, you have an audio narrated presentation. You just hold down on the photo with a finger and talk. You can read about, and see many examples, about how I use it here.

I’ve written a lot about tools that students can use for annotating documents online (see Best Applications For Annotating Websites). I’m primarily interested in tools that don’t require any downloads at all because that makes it problematic for use in schools/ I recently learned from InterCom about a tool called Annotation Studio. It’s free and is from MIT.

ClassKick lets teachers create virtual classrooms with pre-made or original assignments. It’s free.

The Learnia lets you create interactive video lessons.

Poll Deep is a tool for…taking polls. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Creating Online Polls & Surveys.

PullQuote is an easy tool for creating visually attractive quotes online.

Having an easy tool that students can use to create online lists with commentaries — books, movies, figures in history, etc. — can come in handy. Unfortunately, the ones I use to recommend and use have all gone under. Now, Intralist has opened-up for business. You’re limited to five items, but you can easily add images and commentary, and people can leave comments.

March 28, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

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

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As regular readers know, every year I do “One-Sentence Projects,” inspired by Dan Pink (you can see The Best Resources For Doing A “One-Sentence Project”).  Students write one sentence that they want people to say about them and their lives forty or fifty years into the future.

This year’s are a little different — I’m using the great new KnowMe app to have students narrate their one-sentences, along with three actions they are going to take during the remaining two-and-a-half months of school to further themselves toward that goal.

In light of a recent study I wrote about a few days ago related to the value of students (and anyone!) having a purpose to their lives (see Another Interesting Finding On The Value Of Having A “Purpose For Learning”), these kinds of “one-sentence projects” make a lot of sense.

Here’s the student hand-out I used: ONE SENTENCE PROJECT.  You can find the videos I used to introduce the project at the previously mentioned “Best” list.

Here’s a slideshow of part of the presentations. We’ll be finishing up the rest tomorrow:

February 27, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

February’s Top Posts From This Blog

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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).

You can also see my all-time favorites 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). There are a lot of them this month:

“How To Use Data – & How Not To Use It – In Schools”

Two New Useful Writing Resources

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

New “Open eBooks” App Unveiled By White House Looks Like A HUGE Benefit To Students & Schools

Google Docs Expands Voice-Typing Ability Expanding Language-Learning Possibilities

New Study Finds That Most Kids Don’t Think Collective Punishment Is Fair – Here’s What I Do Instead

“Changing Your Mind” Is Title Of My Latest NY Times Interactive For ELLs

“Human” Is Impressive Video Series Of Personal Stories From Around The World

“Photos For Class” Is My Favorite Site For Finding Images

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

Nice YouTube Channel For University Of California Science Animations

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

Another Study Shows Limitations Of Standardized Tests For Teacher Evaluations

New Study Documents The Power Of Teacher Collaboration

Video: “Better Call Saul” Scene Illustrates The Limitations Of Grit

How My Students Evaluated Me This Semester

Justice Scalia’s Death – Resources For Teaching About It & Analyses Of What It Means For Ed

“Principals Must Support Teachers in ‘Quest of Continuous Improvement’”

Study: Learning About Failures Of Famous Scientists Improves Student Achievement

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

Great New Yorker Essay On Teachers

NY Times Video Of Success Academy Charter School: “Rip & Redo”

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

Here’s What My Students Think Of A Growth Mindset

My Latest NY Times Student Interactive Is On Chinese New Year

Video: “Close Reading” A Super Bowl Commercial

Study: Do Tests On Computers Assess Academic or Technological Abilities?

Teachers Can Get A Free DVD Of “He Named Me Malala”

“How to Practice Restorative Justice in Schools”

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

Videos & Lesson On Rube Goldberg Machines From Our School’s Physics Teacher

New Issue Of “ASCD Educational Leadership” Is A Must-Read On ELLs

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

Three Good Speaking/Writing Prompts – Along With Video Models

Sacramento Bee Story On Teacher Shortage Features Our School’s Student Teacher Support Program

Ted Cruz Provides Example Of Applying Good Research In Destructive Way – Maybe He Learned It From Ed Policy?

My Latest NY Times Student Interactive For ELLs Is About Valentine’s Day

Ninth Anniversary Of This Blog — What Have Been My Most Popular Posts?

Really Impressive Interactive Traces The World’s Population Over The Last 2,000 Years

“Building Relationships With Families of ELLs”

Reading Rainbow Unveils New Classroom Site Today

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

“‘Successful Schools Solicit’ Family Engagement”

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