Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

February 20, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

I Really Like How SAS Curriculum Pathways Site Incorporates Knowledge Transfer In Social Studies

I’ve often written about how much I like SAS Curriculum Pathways, a free site with tons of interactive lessons that students can complete and then email to their teacher.

One particularly impressive feature they’ve added to a number of their U.S. History lessons is a task where students have to apply what they learned to a different fictional scenario. They talk about it in a blog post as an element of Bloom’s Taxonomy “apply” level, and it’s also an opportunity for students to “transfer” their knowledge (see The Best Resources For Learning About The Concept Of “Transfer” — Help Me Find More). More specifically, it’s an example of “near transfer” (applying knowledge to a similar situation) as opposed to “far transfer” (applying it in a substantially different arena).

If you’d like to learn more about transfer, check out the previously-mentioned “Best” list, as well as an excerpt from one of my books that appeared in The Washington Post, The real stuff of schooling: How to teach students to apply knowledge.

I’ll also be publishing a series on the topic later this spring at my Education Week Teacher column, which will include an experiment they’re doing – an animated video explaining the issue.

August 4, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

SAS Curriculum Pathways, Just About The Best Online Ed Site, Has Gotten Even Better…


I’ve previously written a lot about how much I like SAS Curriculum Pathways, a free site with tons of interactive lessons that students can complete and then email to their teacher.

It’s just gotten even better….

One, today they unveiled a big upgrade to the design of their site, and it looks great.

Secondly, they have a nice new feature called Explore Primary Sources, which provides lots of creative lessons for students to access…primary sources.

August 6, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo

Two Great Sites – SAS Curriculum Pathways & Awesome Stories – Upgrading Big Time This Month

'Awesome' photo (c) 2012, Sam Howzit - license:

I have posted often about two of my favorite sites, SAS Curriculum Pathways and Awesome Stories. They’re both free and are on more of my “The Best…” lists than you can shake a stick at.

And they’re both getting even better this month….

SAS Curriculum Pathways has added a bunch of new activities that I’m looking forward to using with both my ELL and mainstream students. You can read one of my previous posts about it to learn a little more.

Awesome Stories will be unveiling their new website later this month (here’s one of my previous posts about them). Here’s what they say it will include:

New Functionality Launching in August:

Teacher Portal

Student Portal

Standards-based Search

Advanced subject, grade Search

Teacher Accounts linked to Student Accounts

Teacher Assignment, Grading, Communication

Assignable CCSS “Tasks” linked to Story Chapters

Teacher Class Reports

School Reports

District Reports

Great stuff!

October 19, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo

“SAS Curriculum Pathways” Looks Like A Winner

Earlier this evening, Mary Ann Zehr, formerly a reporter with Education Week and now a high school ESL teacher in Washington, D.C., sent a tweet recommending something called SAS Curriculum Pathways for history resources.

Since I have always respected Mary Ann’s judgement, I immediately checked it out.

And I’m impressed.

It has a huge amount of interactives in all subjects. In many of them, students complete the activity online, and then send their work electronically to their teacher (it can also be printed out).

Before I continue, I should also mention that it’s free…

I really don’t know who SAS is (I didn’t have time to investigate), but they have set this system up so it’s free to educators and their students. The teacher signs-up and is give a log-in name for all the students in a school. It doesn’t appear that students need their own individual log-in because they have to type in their name before beginning any activity. Let me tell you, that will make using this site immeasurably easy — students won’t have to remember — or forget — individual passwords!

Since I’m teaching US History this year, I mainly focused on those sites, and they looked pretty good and accessible to ELL’s with audio support for the text. The site, though, has resources for all subjects.

In my quick review of the US History sites, they all appeared engaging, though primarily geared to lower-levels of thinking, primarily comprehension and recall. But since I use the Web generally as a reinforcement tool, that works fine for me.

Let me know if you’re familiar with SAS or, if you are just starting out with it, what you think of their other activities.

I’m adding it to The Best Websites For Teaching & Learning About U.S. History.

May 14, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Social Studies Sites Of 2017 – So Far

Here’s one more in my series of mid-year “Best” lists (you can see all 1,700 of the lists here).

You might also be interested in these previous posts:

The Best Social Studies Sites Of 2016 – Part Two

The Best Social Studies Sites Of 2016 – So Far

The Best Social Studies Sites Of 2015 – Part Two

The Best Social Studies Sites Of 2015 — So Far

The Best Social Studies Sites Of 2014 — Part Two

The Best Social Studies Sites Of 2014 — So Far

The “All-Time” Best Social Studies Sites

The Best Social Studies Sites Of 2013 – Part Two

The Best Social Studies Sites Of 2013 – So Far

All My 2013 “The Best…” Lists (So Far) Related To Social Studies In One Place

The Best Social Studies Sites Of 2012 — Part Two

The Best Social Studies Sites Of 2012 — Part One

The Best Social Studies Sites Of 2011

The Best “The Best…” Lists Related To Social Studies — 2010

The Best Social Studies Websites — 2010

The Best Social Studies Websites — 2009

The Best Social Studies Websites — 2008

The Best Social Studies Websites — 2007

Here are my choices for The Best Social Studies Sites Of 2017— So Far:

“History does not move on the machinations of a select group of great people”

A Beginning List Of The Best Resources For Teaching & Learning About The North Korea Missile Crisis

The Global Jukebox is an amazing repository of folks songs from all over the world. They’re organized in a couple of ways, including geographically. Here’s how they describe themselves:

The Global Jukebox pays tribute to the expressive styles of all peoples within the framework of cultural equity and the diversity which is crucial to our survival as a species.

You can read more about it at Open Culture’s post, New, Interactive Web Site Puts Online Thousands of International Folk Songs Recorded by the Great Folklorist Alan Lomax. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning About The World’s Different Cultures.

Google unveiled a huge redesign of Google Earth. The changes include being now completely browser-based, letting you see the world in 3-D, and providing guided “Voyager” tours. You can read more about the changes at:

Introducing the New Google Earth, Google Maps Mania

Redesigned Google Earth brings guided tours and 3D view to Chrome browsers and Android devices, The Verge

In The Best “Lists Of Lists” Of History’s Most Influential People, Events & Ideas, I share good models that I use for models – or just ideas – for student projects. Here are a few additions:

25 Moments That Changed America is from TIME.

Ancient World Maps that Changed the World: See Maps from Ancient Greece, Babylon, Rome, and the Islamic World is from Open Culture.

The Best Resources On The Famine Threatening 20 Million People & How To Help

The Best Resources Showing Conflicts Around The World

A Beginning List Of The Best Resources For Fighting Islamophobia In Schools

25 Mini-Films for Exploring Race, Bias and Identity With Students is an important collection of videos and accompanying lesson plans from The New York Times Learning Network. It’s not to be missed… I’m adding it to A Collection Of Useful Posts, Articles & Videos On Race & Racism – Help Me Find More.

The Atlantic unveiled the “Life Timeline” interactive. Use a “drop-and-drag” menu to input your birthday, and it will deliver a visually engaging history of the key events that have happened during your lifetime. The timeline includes political, cultural, technological and other kinds of developments, along with an intriguing short summary. You can read more about the Life Timeline tool here. As we all know, teenagers love to talk and write about themselves, and this tool could be an intriguing personal hook to connect with history. It doesn’t really fit into The Best “Today In History” Sites list, but I can’t think of a better place to put it.

There are lots of ideas we want our students to learn about being an active citizen, and strategies for achieving social change is one of them (see The Best Posts & Articles On Building Influence & Creating Change and The Best Websites For Learning About Civic Participation & Citizenship).

Kathryn Schulz published an excellent analysis and guide for effective ways to communicate with your congressperson in The New Yorker – What Calling Congress Achieves. I wouldn’t use the whole piece in class, but excerpts would be very engaging.

How to Make Your Congressman Listen to You is also very good, and much more accessible – it’s a series of tweets from a former Congressional staffer.

The Best Practical Resources For Helping Teachers, Students & Families Respond To Immigration Challenges

The Best Resources On The Trump Administrations New Immigration Enforcement Policies

I Really Like How SAS Curriculum Pathways Site Incorporates Knowledge Transfer In Social Studies

GlobalXplorer is a crowdsourced tool supported by TED that lets users search satellite imagery for signs of looting so that archaeological sites can be saved. The first country they are searching is Peru. It seems like it would be an excellent student project – the geographic “tiles” that are searched don’t seem too big, the “training” required (watching a short video) seems pretty easy, and the supplemental materials from National Geographic about Peru are ideal for Geography class. You can read more about the project at TED. In many ways, the project is similar to Zooniverse, another crowdsourced site for “citizen” science and social science projects (see “Zooniverse” Is One Of The Coolest Ed Sites On The Web – I Can’t Believe I’m Just Hearing About It!).

The Best Resources For Learning About The Spanish-American War

The Best “Around The World” Videos

“What If?” History Projects

“Good Judgment” Is A Site Where Our Students Can Showcase Their Forecasting Skills

The Best Videos For Learning About Civil Disobedience

The Best Resources For Learning About President Trump’s Executive Orders On Immigration & Refugees

A Beginning List Of The Best Resources On The Women’s March

Guest Post: Social Studies & The Common Core (With Downloadable Lessons)

Guest Post: Exploring Cultural Values with Students (With Hand-Outs)

The Best Sites For Learning About The Presidential Inauguration – 2017

Max Roser at “Our World In Data” has really done an impressive job highlighting key indicators at his “A history of global living conditions in 5 charts.” In addition, he has created a chart summarizing the global development over the last 200 years as the story of 100 people (available at the same link). I’m adding it to The Best Websites For Teaching & Learning About World History and to The Best Sites That Show Statistics By Reducing The World & The U.S. To 100 People.

Radio Garden is an online interactive map of radio stations that you can listen to from around the world. It’s pretty nifty, and you can read more about it at The Atlantic’s article, The Map That Lets You Listen to the Radio Everywhere. It would be a good companion to Radiooooo, one of the coolest music sites around. You can click a country on a world map and then click a decade from the past 120 years, and it will then play music from that area and from that time period. Both of them are now at The Best Sites For Learning About The World’s Different Cultures.

The Best Resources – Critical & Positive – For Teaching With “Moana”

The Best Resources For Teaching & Learning About The Standing Rock Protests\


February 25, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

February’s Tops 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 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. I’ve also been doing “A Look Back” series in anticipation of this blog’s tenth anniversary in February.

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:

New Study On Reading Takes Right Idea & Messes It Up

ASCD Educational Leadership Publishes My Article On Personalized Learning

Here Are The Ten Downloadable Graphic Organizers I Use With ELL Beginners To Write A Story

“Performance Assessments are ‘Absolutely Worth the Effort’”

I Really Like How SAS Curriculum Pathways Site Incorporates Knowledge Transfer In Social Studies

A History Of The United States’ Fear Of Immigrants

Study Finds That It’s True: Good Teaching Conditions For Educators Equals Good Learning Conditions For Students

We Should Be Obsessed With Racial Equity

Immigration Fears Appear To Become Reality

Useful Resources On “Fake News,” Including An NPR Story Highlighting My Lesson

Have Students Use “GlobalXplorer” To Become “Armchair Archaeologists”

New Study Reaffirms What Teachers Know: Relationships Matter

“Math can be a ‘Hard Sell’”

“Author Interview: ‘The ABCs of How We Learn’”

You’ll Want To Read This Interview With Education Researcher Kirabo Jackson

A Look Back: Every Teacher Who Has An ELL In Their Class Should Watch This “Immersion” Film

New “What If?” History Presentations

A Look Back: New Study Shows Intervention Has Big Impact On “Achievement Gap” – Also Shows Shortcomings Of Ed Research

Video: “Immigrants In Our Community Are A Gift”

Immigration Raids Across The Country – Is This Just The Beginning? (If It Is, Here Are Helpful Resources)

“Putting Teacher Action Research Into Action” Is My New British Council Post

A Look Back: How Much “Content” Knowledge Do You Really Need To Be An Effective Teacher?

A Look Back: Important New Study Looks At Assets, Not Deficits, Of Teen “Defiance”

No Surprise: Study Finds That If Teachers Show Bias, Then Students Don’t Trust Them Or School

Sad News: Swedish Statistician & “Edutainer” Died Today – Here Are His Best Videos

DeVos Is Confirmed As Ed Secretary: Here’s a Wrap-Up

A Look Back: Video – “10 Strategies to Help Students Develop Intrinsic Motivation to Write”

A Look Back: Here Are Downloadable Scaffolded Instructions For Students To Create A “3/2/1” Poster

Video: Entire “Uncut” 84 Lumber “Journey” Super Bowl Commercial (That Will Be Shown In Many ELL Classes Tomorrow)

“What If?” History Projects

“Good Judgment” Is A Site Where Our Students Can Showcase Their Forecasting Skills

“Home Language Support ‘Helps Learners Navigate Both Worlds They Inhabit’”

A Look Back: “KQED Interviews Me About Saul Alinsky & His Connection To Teaching”

The Right – & Wrong – Way To Apologize

Here’s A Lesson – & A Template – That Intermediate ELL Students Taught Beginners

A Look Back: “Ways A Mainstream Teacher Can Support An ELL Newcomer In Class”

“‘The Writing Strategies Book’: An Interview With Jennifer Serravallo”

Three Excellent Resources For Learning About Effective Social Change

“Understanding the Benefits of a Student’s Home Language”

A Look Back: “The Elephant In The Room In The Talent vs. Practice Debate”

Everything Is Crazy, So What Do We Teachers Do In Class This Week?

New Study Connects Growth Mindset & “Bouncing Back” From Mistakes

A Look Back: No, Most Educators Are Not “Fueling Student Anxieties” – Trump Is Handling That On His Own

Good Advice On “De-Escalating Power Struggles In The Classroom”


January 5, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Five Most Popular Posts Of The Week

Here’s the latest edition of this regular feature . These are the posts appearing this blog that received the most “hits” in the preceding seven days (though they may have originally been published on an earlier date).

You might also be interested in 2016’s Most Popular Posts! and Ninth Anniversary Of This Blog — What Have Been My Most Popular Posts?

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

2. Classroom Instruction Resources Of The Week

3. SAS Curriculum Pathways, Just About The Best Online Ed Site, Has Gotten Even Better…

4. The Best Resources For Helping Teachers Use Bloom’s Taxonomy In The Classroom

5. The Best Websites For Creating Online Learning Games

January 1, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

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

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

You might also be interested in:

 A Look Back: Best Posts From 2007 To 2009 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s a lot of stuff!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Drawing Out” Book Is Excellent For ELL Beginner Homework

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

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

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