Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

April 12, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Gates Perspective On Student Surveys Was Bad, But Now It’s Getting Weird

I have posted numerous times about how I use student evaluations in my class, their results, and why I think it’s a terrible idea to connect them to the teacher evaluation process (see The Best Posts On Students Evaluating Classes (And Teachers) ).

And, of course, The Gates Foundation has come out squarely in support of doing just that in their Final MET “Effective Teaching” Report.

Now, however, their recommendations have gone from being bad towards approaching just plain weirdness.

In a piece titled Ask the Students, Thomas Kane, the director of the Gates project, is suggesting that now it’s important to start “aligning the language of the surveys with the language of the teaching standards.”

Yup, this practice, in line with the particularly useless directive that some teachers are given to write the standards that are supposed to be covered that day on the front whiteboard, is really going to give teachers helpful information about their craft. How about this question:

Was your teacher effective in helping you learn to interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone?

Or how about:

Was your teacher effective in teaching you to integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words?

You can see my previous posts about the questions that I think are truly helpful — both to us teachers and to our students….

October 1, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo

“What education reformers did with student surveys” Is Clearly A Candidate For Best Educational Policy Post Of The Year

As regular readers know, I’ve been very outspoken in my support and use of student evaluations of teachers as formative assessments and outspoken in my criticism of efforts by the Gates Foundation to incorporate them in formal summative evaluations of teachers (you can see many of my posts on this topic at The Best Posts On Students Evaluating Classes (And Teachers) ).

Today in The Atlantic, Amanda Ripley wrote a feature titled Why Kids Should Grade Teachers, which parrots the typical school reformer line.

Also today, Felix Salmon at Reuters wrote a devastating critique of her article and the whole idea in What education reformers did with student surveys.

It’s clearly a candidate for best educational policy post of the year. Here are some excerpts, but the whole piece is a “must-read”:

….along comes the Gates Foundation with a 36-question survey, severely chopped from a much longer one developed by Ronald Ferguson. Since there are 36 questions, the survey essentially measures teachers along 36 different axes, all of which are aligned with each other to differing degrees. In and of itself, that’s more useful than just measuring test scores, which are much less teacher-specific and which only provide one axis of educational quality.

But then what do the reformers do? They regress the survey answers against test scores, look at which survey questions align most closely with that test-score axis, and declare that those axes — the ones which test scores, by definition, are already measuring — must be the “most important”. Did you think that caring about kids was of paramount importance? Silly you! It turns out that caring about kids isn’t as correlated with test-score results as, say, whether the class learns to correct its mistakes. And therefore, we shouldn’t be worrying as much about whether teachers care about their kids; we should be worrying more about other things, instead. That’s what the test-score regressions tell us, so it must be true!…..

No! Stop! Do none of these people get it? What everybody wants, here, is better teachers. These surveys could be instrumental in helping to improve teaching. Teachers would be able to see where they score well and where they score badly, and ask themselves how to improve their scores in areas where they are weak. Principals could see which teachers were good on which axes, and set classes up so that students ended up with a balanced range of teachers. And generally, everybody could treat this data as an interesting and very rich way of improving educational outcomes.

Instead, reformers are rushing to use this data as a quantitative performance-review tool, something which can get you a raise or which can even get you fired. And by so doing, they’re turning it from something potentially extremely useful, into a bone of contention between teachers and managers, and a metric to be gamed and maximized.

July 12, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo

I’ve Got A Bad Feeling About This: “Next Up in Teacher Evaluations: Student Surveys”

Education Week Teacher has just published a report titled Next Up in Teacher Evaluations: Student Surveys (Learning First also has a good post on the same topic). It discusses the growing interest in using student survey results as a part of a teacher evaluation process and specifically talks about what’s happening in Pittsburgh. Here is how it ends:

But there was no denying that linking the Tripod results to evaluations is the logical and likely next step for Pittsburgh—and one that a few other places have already taken.

(ADDENDUM: I just remembered I wrote specifically about Tripod surveys earlier this year)

You will find few, if there are any, other teachers who have written as positively and as often about the value of student evaluations (see The Best Posts On Students Evaluating Classes (And Teachers) ). I do them regularly, post results — warts and all — on this blog, voluntarily report them to my colleagues and supervisors, and always learn a great deal from them.

But I’m not convinced that tying them to a formal teacher evaluation is a good idea.

They are great tools for formative assessment (not summative) and can be key ways for me to be data-informed (not data-driven).

Just as formative assessments have been found to be much more effective in supporting student learning than high-stakes summative assessments like standardized tests, the same can hold true for educators.

As I’ve written before, I just don’t understand why “reformers” like the Gates Foundation and others continue to take tools that have incredible potential for teacher development as a formative assessment and destroy their many positive attributes in the name of summative assessment. They’re doing it with videotaping teachers and now they’re doing it with student evaluations.

This is what I’ve written before about how and why I use student surveys:

I want to know more from students than what Gates is asking. I want to know if they think I’m patient and if they believe I care about their lives outside of school. Yes, I certainly want to know what they think I could do better, and I also want to know what they think they could do better. I want to learn if they think their reading habits have changed and, for example, when I’m teaching a history class, are they more interested in learning about history than they were prior to taking the class. I want to find-out what they believe are the most important things they learned in the class and, for many, it might be learning life skills like the fact their brain actually grows when they learn new things or the fact that they had in them the capacity to complete reading a book or writing an essay for the first time in their lives. And, in the discussion that follows (one thing I learned during my nineteen year community organizing career is that a survey’s true use is as a spark for a conversation) we discuss all these things and many more, including the differences between what might be what we like to do best and what we learn the most from.

Just as I don’t believe standardized test scores give an accurate assessment of student learning (though I incorporate it as part of my being “data-informed”), and just as I doubt the value of feedback on a video of my teaching offered by someone a thousand miles away who knows nothing about me or my students, I question how helpful a standardized student evaluation form created by people completely disconnected from my students and me is going to be.

And, though I’m confident that the vast majority of my students will take it seriously and not view it as a grade on whether they were entertained or not (one of the reasons I know this to be the case is because we do a mini-unit on the qualities of a good lesson, and they have to incorporate them in lessons that they teach to their classmates), I’m not confident that this is  the case everywhere.

Do we really need to ratchet up the pressure even more on teachers — many of whom leave within their first five years now?

What do you think?

November 20, 2008
by Larry Ferlazzo

Update On The Best Tools For Surveys & Polls

I rated as the number one site on The Best Sites For Creating Online Polls & Surveys.

At the time, it just had one drawback — you couldn’t restrict the number of times an individual voted.

I just received an email from them announcing several new features to their web application, and that ability to limit multiple answers is one of them.

I’d encourage you to give it a try.

June 22, 2008
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Sites For Creating Online Polls & Surveys

'Quora in 20 minutes' photo (c) 2011, Nicholas Wang - license:

I’m planning to involve readers more in ranking sites for some of my year-end “The Best…” lists, and so thought I would investigate various web applications that allow you to create online polls and surveys. I wasn’t able to find exactly what I was looking for that would work for my purposes but, at the same time, I was able to identify a number of sites that would work great for most teacher or student surveys/polls.

I have students create polls/surveys that they generally do face-to-face, but I expect that they will be making ones that could be used in our international Sister Classes Project — and those would have to be done online. In addition, our mainstream ninth grade English classes might be creating some online polls, too.

The criteria I used in to determine if a site would make this list included that it was:

* accessible to English Language Learners and/or people who are not very computer savvy.

* free-of-charge.

* difficult, if not impossible, to access polls that other users of the site might have made (to minimize the chance of finding inappropriate content for the classroom).

* able to be embedded in a blog or website.

* pretty flexible on restrictions about the number of polls created or the number of people responding to them.

Some, though not all, of the sites that made this list also allow people responding to the poll to provide multiple answers to one question, which was a key criteria in the kind of survey tool I was originally looking to use for engaging readers in helping rank sites in some of my “The Best…” lists. However, none of those had one other key element I needed — the ability to restrict voters from the same IP address. It looks like I’m going to have to pay in order to get that ability, which is not one that the vast majority of teachers or students will need in online polls/surveys they create. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if some site-owners would try to vote multiple times in my reader polls if given a chance, so I would like to make doing that at least a little more difficult.

I’d be interested in hearing people’s suggestions about which “for pay” service would be the best for that purpose.

But, for now, here are my picks for The Best Sites For Creating Online Polls & Surveys:

Number six is Micro Poll. You can ask multiple questions, and people taking the poll can provide multiple answers. You do have to register, but it’s easy to do so.

Number five is Poll Junkie. Its features seem very similar to Micro Poll. The key difference, and the reason why I’m ranking it ahead of Micro Poll, is that it doesn’t require registration in order to create a poll.

I’m ranking Snappoll as number four. It only allows you ask one question, and doesn’t allow multiple answers. However, I’m ranking it this high because it’s the only site that allows you to block multiple answers from the same IP address — for free. You can also create a poll without registering.

Zoho Polls is number three. It allows multiple questions and answers. I particularly like its feature of being able to have people taking a poll “rate” answers with one star, two stars, etc. It does require registration.

(The sites I originally ranked at number two and one went out of business)

(Editor’s Note: I’m adding one more online poll/survey application to this list — PollDaddy. Not only is it easy, and has a lot of features the other sites on my list have, it also is one of the few that has a security feature to prevent multiple voting.)

Yarp is a new web tool that very,very easily lets you create a simple online invitation or survey. I’m particularly interested in the survey aspect, and I’m adding it to this list. It has a lot of benefits:  no registration is required; you can quickly type a question in and choosed various responses (a or b; true or false, yes or no); and those who respond can also write their own comments. This is a stand-out application for English Language Learners who want to use a simple survey for an in-class project or, even better, with sister classes in other places.  It provides wonderful and accessible opportunities for reading and writing.

Ask 500 People is a new poll/survey application that, it seems to me, has some potential. After you sign-up, it’s extremely easy to set-up a one question poll. Other tools on this list are actually just as easy. However, “Ask 500 People” is easy and offers a wide variety of ways to set-up your poll — far more than some of the ones on that list. You can use pictures and have different kinds of responses (A or B, different ranges of agree/disagree, etc.). You can also embed your poll, and comments can be left on it. Comments aren’t moderated, but I didn’t see anything inappropriate, and I also didn’t see any inappropriate poll questions on the site either.  Of course, I also only spent a few minutes looking around.  It has a number of other bells and whistles that are worth considering.

Doodle is another addition. Registration isn’t required, and it’s extremely easy to create a poll that can be embedded in a blog or website or be accessed via its url address.  Participants can leave comments, too. It appears to have been set-up primarily to organize group events, but it can be used as a poll for just about anything. The Make Use of blog has an extensive explanation of how it works, though it’s pretty darn simple.

ProProfs, the exceptional multi-tool site that is already on The Best Ways To Create Online Tests and The Best Tools To Make Online Flashcards lists, now may be the number one tool on this list. I don’t know how long they’ve had their poll-making feature, but I just discovered it. It has just about everything I’m looking for in a tool to create polls — very accessible, you can easily add images or videos, you can include links, they’re embeddable, there are no limits in the number of responses, you can restrict voting and….it’s free.

Flisti is a new and extremely easy application that lets you create a very simple poll. No registration is required, and you can post the link to the poll on a teacher/student website/blog, or embed it there.

Obsurvey is a very flexible and easy web application for making online polls/surveys.

The Answer Garden is an intriguing combination of a survey tool and a word cloud generator. Without requiring any registration, it lets you pose a question to which people can write their own short answers. The answers appear as a word cloud below the question, with the words changing in size based on how often they are used in responses. Responders have the option of writing in their own answer or clicking on one of the words already in the word cloud. The entire “garden” can be embedded in a blog or website, and you can also link to it. The fact that anybody can answer anything to the question without identifying themselves makes it problematic — to say the least — in many school settings. But in certain mature situations, it could be very useful.

SurveyMapper is a tool to create simple surveys. It’s unique twist, though, is that it also shows you a map (of U.S. states or countries in the world) of where the people who answered the question live. Just because it gets “points” for being creative in a crowded field, I’m adding it to this list.

I’m not very impressed with the features that are available for free from Survey Monkey, but that’s the service I use when I have a poll on this site. I need to pay a few bucks, but it makes things easy if you are doing a larger poll.

QuizSnack is a simple tool that is also worth a look.

Pollmo looks like a very easy way to create online polls. You can read a more extensive description of the site over at Free Technology For Teachers.

Swayable lets you create a simple survey that can include two photos (you can either upload them or grab them from the Web) and a question.

Kwik Surveys is a new online survey tool.

Hall is a new site that lets you do several things — all apparently without requiring registration — including creating a simple poll.

Kwiqpoll lets you easily create a poll — and no registration is required. You’re give the poll’s url address, but it’s not embeddable. It has no frills, but it’s easy as pie.

Zoho has unveiled a nice new survey tool called…Zoho Survey. The free version includes unlimited surveys and up to 15 questions and 150 responses per survey. You can read more about it at TechCrunch. Here’s a video about it:

You can find links to these sites, as well as to many others that didn’t make this list, on my website under Student Surveys.

As always, feedback is welcome.

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

August 6, 2007
by Larry Ferlazzo

Even More Online Surveys

I’ve posted twice before about using online surveys and polls with English Language Learners as a language development tool — Create an Online Survey/Poll and Another Online Survey Application.

If the ones I listed there and on my website weren’t enough for you, Mashable has just written a post about forty online survey tools.

I’m happy with the ones I’ve already written about, but there might be some gems in Mashable’s list if you get a chance to look through them.

February 2, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Around The Web In ESL/EFL/ELL

'netvibes' photo (c) 2006, Graham Stanley - license:

I’ve started a somewhat regular feature where I share a few posts and resources from around the Web related to ESL/EFL or to language in general that have caught my attention:

Top 10 Tools for Creating Teaching Materials is from Talk2Me English.

Gratitude: a free downloadable lesson is from ELT Resourceful. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On “Gratitude.”

States Weigh How to Revamp Surveys to Identify Potential English-Learners is from Learning The Language at Education Week. This should be helpful to everyone, but it’s probably going to especially helpful to Washington, D.C. schools (see Um, I Think The D.C. School District Is A Little Unclear On The Concept Of A “Home Language Survey”…..).

The Economic Case for a Clear, Quick Pathway to Citizenship is from The Center For American Progress.

January 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

It’s That Time Of Year Again: Here’s How My Ninth-Graders Evaluated The Class & Me


My ninth-grade English class last year was a tough one, as you can see from my report on how they evaluated me a year ago — which happened to be reprinted in The Washington Post.

This year, happily, though my two mainstream ninth-grade English classes are not without their challenges, things are much better and similar to previous years. And you can see all of my previous year’s evaluations at The Best Posts On Students Evaluating Classes (And Teachers). As regular readers know, I announce to students in all my classes that I will publish the results of these anonymous surveys — warts and all — as well as send them directly to colleagues and administrators at our school. I think doing so enhances how seriously students take doing them (by the way, I’ll be sharing evaluations from my other classes over the weekend).

Here’s the evaluation form I use.

I list each question, followed by the results, ending with a short commentary:

1. In this class, I learned…. some a lot a little

Two-thirds in both classes said “a lot” and one-third said “some.” No one said “a little”

I usually get higher than two-thirds saying “a lot,” and even had ninety percent saying it last year in my tough class. The overall academic ability of my students this year is higher than in previous years when I’ve taught a “double-block” of students who generally faced more challenges, so I wonder if my teacher “mindset” might still be in those past classes and underestimating some students who I have this year? Something for me to ponder…

2. I tried my best in this class….a lot of the time all the time some of the time

Half said either a lot of the time or all of the time; the other half said some of the time. Looks like it might be time to review the concept of grit, as well as looking at if perhaps I need to up the challenge level of my lessons.

3. My favorite unit was…. New Orleans Natural Disasters Latin Studies

Here, there was a difference of opinion between classes. My first period class preferred New Orleans, while my fifth period liked Natural Disasters (since I only have them for one period each this year, we haven’t yet gotten to Latin Studies).

I just don’t know the reason behind those preferences.

4. As a teacher, I think Mr. Ferlazzo is… okay good excellent bad

Two-thirds said I was excellent and one-third said I was okay or good. One student said I was bad.

I’m pleased with that rating, which was substantially higher than the one I received last year and is comparable to what I received in previous years.

5. Did you feel that Mr. Ferlazzo was concerned about what was happening in your life? yes no

Four-fifths said yes and one-fifth said no.

I work hard at learning what is happening with students
in other classes and at home. It pays off in lots of ways, and clearly students see that.

6. Mr. Ferlazzo is patient…. some of the time a lot of the time all of the time

Half said some of the time; one-fourth said a lot of the time and one-fourth said all of the time.

I feel I’m pretty patient though, of course, I have some days when I’m more patient than others….

7. Did you like this class? Yes No

Ninety-percent said yes and ten percent said no.

Boy, what a difference a year makes…..

8. Would you want to take another class taught by Mr. Ferlazzo? Yes No

Two-thirds said yes and one-third said no.

I’m a little surprised that the percentage that said yes to this question was lower than the percentage of students who said they liked the class, but I think it’s fine and certainly higher than last year’s responses.

9. What was your favorite activity in this class?
Practice Reading Data Sets Make-and-Breaks Read Alouds Clozes Writing essays Working in groups

As usual, working in groups was the winner — by far.

10. What activity do you think helped you learn the most?
Practice Reading Data Sets Make-and-Breaks Read Alouds Clozes Writing essays Working in groups

Students usually show impressive judgement here in separating what they “like” from what “helps them learn,” and these classes did the same. Data Sets and writing essays topped the list here.

The big surprise, though, was that NO ONE in both classes listed working in groups. I think working in groups can be very helpful, but I think I should rethink how I’m having students do it. Perhaps I’m not maximizing its benefit.

All in all, I’m happy with the results. I think I particularly need to think about doing more challenging lessons, and it appears that I have built up enough relationship “collateral” and goodwill to help make that “step-up” successful.

January 15, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

This Week’s Round-Up Of Good Posts & Articles On Education Policy

'Oct. 17, 2011' photo (c) 2011, Mario Garcia-Baeza - license:

Here are some recent useful posts on education policy issues:

Garbage In, Garbage Out: Or, How to Lie with Bad Data is from Medium. I’m adding it to The Best Resources Showing Why We Need To Be “Data-Informed” & Not “Data-Driven.”

Fight over school funding starts Thursday is from The San Francisco Chronicle, and gives an excellent overview of California ed policy issues.

On Listing Education Innovators and Intellectuals is by Audrey Watters.

L.A. Unified surveys prices others pay for iPads, similar devices is from the L.A. Times. Don’t you think they should have done this a little earlier? I’m adding it to A Very Beginning List Of The Best Articles On The iPad Debacle In Los Angeles Schools.

New Advocacy Group Seeks to Expose Corporate Ties to Ed. Department is from Education Week.

The Bunkum Awards 2013 is from The Education Policy Center. Here is a description:

This marks our eighth year of handing out the Bunkum Awards, recognizing the lowlights in educational research over the past year. As long as the bunk keeps flowing, the awards will keep coming. It’s the least we can do. This year’s deserving awardees join a pantheon of divine purveyors of weak data, shoddy analyses, and overblown recommendations from years past. Congratulations, we guess—to whatever extent congratulations are due.

How Schools Can Succeed Without Tests is from The Hechinger Report. I’m adding it to The Best Articles Describing Alternatives To High-Stakes Testing.

The Problem With Sec. Duncan Playing HR Guru is by Rick Hess at Ed Week.

Are We Learning From Evaluations? is from Education Week. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments.

The Global Search for Education: The World Test? is from The Huffington Post. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On 2012 PISA Test Results.

December 7, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2013


It’s time for my most popular post each year — the one on new Web 2.0 applications.

There are over 1,200 lists now that are categorize and updated regularly.  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 (I occasionally make an exception to this rule).

It’s possible that a few of these sites began in 2012, but, if so, I’m including them in this list because they were “new to me” in 2013.

You might want to visit previous editions:

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

(You might also find The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly In 2012 — So Far useful,as well as Here Are All Of My “Best Of 2013″ Lists)

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

Here are my fifty choices for The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2013 (in the past, I’ve published a list ranked from top-to-bottom.  This year, however, it was harder for me to make that kind of selection.  Instead, I’ve posted a “top ten” — not in order — and then a second tier of thirty sites that I’ve divided into specific categories):

The Top Ten (not in order of preference)

Mosey lets you pick a location, easily choose places in the area that you’d like to “visit,” grab images off the web, shows the places on map, and lets you add notes. You’re then give a unique url address to your creation. It’s a good tool for geography class or for planning a real field trip.

I use Pinterest daily. However, in the vast majority of schools, it is never going to make it past Internet content filters for students. eduClipper is basically a Pinterest for schools (and I confirmed today that it is not blocked at our school — if it’s not blocked by our district, it’s unlikely to be blocked by most others). It has the potential of sort of being an “all in one” tool for the classroom, serving the same purposes as sites on The Best Social Bookmarking Applications For English Language Learners & Other Students list and on The Best Online Virtual “Corkboards” (or “Bulletin Boards”) list, as well as serving other functions.

Haiku Deck, an iPad app which now has a Web version, may very well be the best tool for creating online slideshows that are out there. It’s  on The Best Ways To Create Online Slideshows list. Now Richard Byrne has made a tutorial explaining how to use the web version. It’s not yet open to the public, but I received my invitation less than twenty-four hours after requesting one.

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

EDpuzzle is a new innovative site that lets you take just about any video off the web, edit it down to the portions you want, add audio notes and questions for students, and create virtual classrooms where you can monitor individual student work. For free. Though I’m not a big fan of the flipped classroom (see The Best Posts On The “Flipped Classroom” Idea), I would imagine the site might be an ideal tool for that strategy.

You can see a quick example I created here (unfortunately, the videos are not embeddable).

For my own classroom, I see it less useful as a creation vehicle for me, and potentially much more useful as a tool that students can use for creation. For example, I think both my mainstream and English Language Learner students could watch a video and annotate them using the same kind of reading strategies they use with a “regular” text (ask questions, make connections, evaluate, etc.). Common Core talks about “multimodal texts” and videos, especially if they’re subtitled, would certainly fit into their category.

Huzzaz lets you create video collections that you can embed in your website. I’m adding it to The Best Ways To Create Online Video Playlists.

UTellStory is sort of a streamlined VoiceThread that I think is easier for both teachers and students to use.  You can make slideshows with your own images or grab ones off the web and easily add a audio you record, as well as text, to it. You can make them private or public, and they’re embeddable. You can also let your slideshows be re-used and mixed by others.

buncee lets you easily create simple multimedia creations — almost like an extended virtual postcard. You can grab media off the web and add text.

emaze is a new slideshow creation tool that looks neat and pretty darn easy. TechCrunch says it hits the “Sweet Spot Between PowerPoint And Prezi.”

Sketchlot lets students…sketch and draw online. Teachers sign-up and can create a class roster letting students log-in, and drawings are embeddable.


The Rest (Not in order of preference)


MashMe TV lets you create a free video conference with up to ten people. In addition, you can all watch a video and/or draw together.

Wideo is a new tool for making online animations.  I wouldn’t say it’s as intuitive to use as some others on The Best Ways For Students To Create Online Animations list, but it does seem decent.

HapYak lets you annotate any YouTube or Vimeo video with text (including url addresses) or freestyle drawing. The Adventures With Technology blog has an interesting lesson plan using HapYak with second language learners.

Reflap is a free tool for online video chats. You can have up to five people on the same chat.


RealtimeBoard is an online whiteboard that is a good tool for real-time collaboration. It’s easy to use, and lets you upload images from your computer or by its url address. They’ve had a limited free plan for everybody, but they recently announced a free “Pro” account for educators. It’s easy to register for it here.


Quip is a new online word processing tool that is free to non-business users, adapts its look to the kind of device you’re using (tablet, desktop, smartphone), and lets you collaborate with others on your document. You can read more about it at TechCrunch.

Editorially lets you collaboratively create documents.

On my The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration list, I have quite a few tools that let you create documents with others, including some that allow instant text chat. Notepad is a new tool that has both of those features and, unlike most other sites, also provides an audio chat feature. No registration is required to use all its features.

Draft is a new free collaborative word processor that looks pretty useful. You can read a lengthy post about it at TechCrunch.

Editorially lets you collaboratively create documents. I’m adding it to The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration.


GeoGuessr is one of my favorite games on The Best Online Geography Games list.  It’s now gotten even better. You can now create your own GeoGuessr game at GeoSettr.

Quizdini is a simple and free tool for creating multiple-choice or “drag-and-drop” quizzes. There is no way right now to monitor student results, but they are working developing such a system.

I learned about BrainRush from Eric Sheninger. Right now, it only lets you create flash card activities, but it has plans in the near future for several other learning activities. What’s really nice about the site is that you can create virtual classrooms and monitor student progress. You can assign students activities you or other users create. I personally prefer to also have students make their own interactives on sites like this and then have classmates try them out

Image Quiz lets you easily grab images off the web (or upload your own) and create quizzes with them. No registration is required to create or take them, and there are quite a few already there.

As regular readers know, I’m a big fan of having my English Language Learner students play online video games as a language development activity (see POINTING AND CLICKING FOR ESL: Using Video Games To Promote English Language Development).

Escape The Room games are one of my favorite game “genres,” where players have to…escape from a room by clicking on objects and using them in a certain way and/or order. Most of these games also have a text component.

Now, a new free tool has come online, the Room Escape Maker, that lets anybody create their own….escape the room games. It requires a little more of a learning curve than I would like, but I think it has some potential.

PHOTOS: lets you easily add speech bubbles with your text to photos. You can upload your own, or choose a random image from the site. You’re then given a link to your creation.

Stipple is another tool that lets you annotate photos with links to other sites or text. I’ve posted about others in The Best Ways To Use Photos In Lessons (Thinglink being the most prominent).

Photolist is a new tool that seems like a very easy way to make a slideshow (that’s also embeddable) and that lets you also add expanded captions.

Every Stock Photo is an impressive search engine for images and, what’s particularly nice about it, is that it provides the embed code with the necessary attribution for any image you pick.


Pinwords lets you create visually attractive quotations and is especially nice because it’s web-based and lets you grab images off the web to use.

Quozio is another super-easy way to create visually attractive quotations.

OTHER: is an easy tool for creating websites.

Brainscape is a flashcard-creating site that lets you add images and allows you to record sound simply by clicking on the “Advanced Editor.” It’s easy to add both, and those features make Brainscape stand out a bit from some of the other flashcard sites out there.

Presenter is a new free online tool for creating online presentations, animations and — at least in my mind — most importantly, infographics. Most of the options on Presenter all look impressive but, for my technologically incompetent tastes, are just slightly more complicated than I would like (though I’m sure they all would be fine for most readers of this blog). I, though, particularly like their infographic tool.  Once you register and sign-on, you have the option to click on the Presenter tool or a tool to create websites. The Presenter tool is free, and the website one costs money. After you click on Presenter, you’re offered different features within it, including infographics. They only offer a few templates now, but I’m sure more will become available soon.

I Wish You To lets you easily draw and create your own Ecards, which you can post, embed, and/or send to someone — and no registration is required.

Map Tales is a pretty cool application that lets you create “map-based stories.” Students can easily use them to document historical eras, literary journey, even their own immigration saga. It’s very easy to use.

Dio is a new interactive tool from Linden Labs, the creators of Second Life (which, apart from hearing from people with physical disabilities that it was very helpful to them, I have yet to figure out its usefulness). Dio, on the other hand, allows you to create what is basically a public or private network that has a lot of interactivity. There is no shortage of social network sites that teachers can set up for their students to use (see Not “The Best,” But “A List” Of Social Network Sites), but Dio seems to have a lot more engaging features.

Russel Tarr has created lots of great online learning tools, and I’ve blogged about many of them. His latest is called Brainy Box, and it lets you easily create a 3-D animated cube with any content you want to include in it. Students will love it.

Mighty Meeting is a free site that lets you create free online meetings where a slide presentation or documents can be shared. It seems to work quite simply, which is always a plus.

Zoho has unveiled a nice new survey tool called…Zoho Survey. The free version includes unlimited surveys and up to 15 questions and 150 responses per survey. You can read more about it at TechCrunch.

I look forward to hearing your feedback!

December 6, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo

This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Good Posts On Education Policy

December 3, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The Best Posts & Articles On 2012 PISA Test Results

'Pisa2008_Pisa tower' photo (c) 2008, Wit Suphamungmee - license:

Sorry, I couldn’t resist adding this photo


The Internet is awash with articles about this morning’s release of the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, test results.

I’m just quickly posting the best resources I’ve seen this morning (the last portion of this post has newly added important commentaries), and articles offering real insightful commentary will be coming later. However, I’ve included a few pieces that came out prior to this morning and, of course, you can also check out The Best Sites For Getting Some Perspective On International Test Comparison Demagoguery.

Here are choices, and please suggest more in the comments:

How public opinion about new PISA test scores is being manipulated is by Richard Rothstein.

Reading the PISA Tea Leaves: Who Is Responsible for Finland’s Decline and the Asian Magic is by Yong Zhao.

Randi On PISA: Time to End Failed Policies of NCLB & RTTT is from Diane Ravitch’s blog.

Key PISA test results for U.S. students is from The Washington Post.

Are Finland’s vaunted schools slipping? is by Pasi Sahlberg.

Tom Loveless: Why Shanghai Leads the World on International Tests Like PISA is from Diane Ravitch’s blog.

U.S. students lag around average on international science, math and reading test is from The Washington Post.

OECD education report: Lessons for the UK from other nations is an exhaustive series of articles from The Telegraph.

American 15-Year-Olds Lag, Mainly in Math, on International Standardized Tests is from The New York Times.

Take-away Pisa for busy people is from The BBC.

Are you Smarter Than a 15-Year-Old? is from Smithsonian Magazine.

Here are a number of resources from OECD, which administers the test:

PISA 2012 Results: What Makes Schools Successful? ReSouRceS, PolIcIeS And PRActIceS

PISA 2012 Results in Focus: What 15-year-olds know and what they can do with what they know

PISA 2012 Results: Ready to Learn: Students’ Engagement, Drive and Self-Beliefs (Volume III)

PISA 2012 Results

NASSP Statement on PISA Results: Despite Fervor Over Scores, US Continues to Ignore Lessons

My View of the PISA Scores is by Diane Ravitch.

The PISA Puzzle is by Dana Goldstein. Here are a couple of excerpts from her Slate piece:

There’s another PISA result that should be heeded just as much as, if not more than, the rankings themselves: The OECD found that school systems with greater teacher leadership opportunities, like Canada’s, outperform those like ours, in which administrators and policymakers exert more top-down control over the classroom, through scripted lessons or teacher evaluation systems that heavily weigh student test scores. Yet you won’t hear about that much on PISA Day, because those have both become popular interventions during the Obama era of education reform…..

Maybe the takeaway from PISA shouldn’t be that Common Core is the answer, but rather that we need a comprehensive approach to educating and caring for our poorest children in order to close the achievement gap between rich and poor in this country, and between American students and their developed-nation peers.


Four lessons on new PISA scores — Ravitch is from The Washington Post.

So…what can we DO about those low PISA scores? is by Barnett Berry.

Could Changes in School Culture Make U.S. Schools More Competitive? is from Ed Week.

10 things teachers need to know about the Pisa results is from The Guardian.

7 Reasons I Don’t Care About the PISA Results is by Rick Hess at Education Week.

Quote Of The Day: “Our Kids — Coddled or Confident?”

Want to Look Great on Global Education Surveys? Test Only the Top Students is from Business Week.

The Meaning of PISA is by Marc Tucker at Ed Week.

“PISA Day”—An Ideological and Hyperventilated Exercise is by Richard Rothstein.

Attention OECD-PISA: Your Silence on China is Wrong is by Tom Loveless.

The New York Times Editorializes on Teachers and PISA, with Multiple Errors is from Diane Ravitch.

A PISA contradiction is by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post.

Why Arne Duncan’s PISA Comments Miss the Mark is from Education Week.

The Global Search for Education: The World Test? is from The Huffington Post.

Beware Chinese data: Its schools might not be so great is by Jay Mathews at The Washington Post.

How Does PISA Put the World at Risk (Part 1): Romanticizing Misery is by Yong Zhao.

David Berliner on PISA and Poverty is from Diane Ravitch’s blog.

How Does PISA Put the World at Risk (Part 5): Racing to the Past is by Yong Zhao.

September 30, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo

A Very Beginning List Of The Best Articles On The iPad Debacle In Los Angeles Schools

'ipad' photo (c) 2010, Sean MacEntee - license:

I’m looking — granted, from afar — at the unfolding debacle of the iPad program in the Los Angeles schools. Based on what I know, I’m almost viewing it with awe — the district has seemed to make every mistake imaginable. It’s almost laughable, if you didn’t think of the huge amounts of money involved, the thousands of classroom hours lost to the fiasco, and the fear that it will instill in other districts around the country to even think of expanding technology to their students.

If only they had read just a few of the articles on The Best Resources For Beginning iPad Users list, along with the countless other ones available written by educators who actually have had experience with rolling out tech programs (not to mention The Best Advice On Using Education Technology).

I’m just beginning list with a couple of articles (many more have been written, but I think these two are the best I’ve seen so far), but I’m sure it will grow quickly:

The inside story on LA schools’ iPad rollout: “a colossal disaster” is from The Hechinger Report.

New problems surface in L.A. Unified’s iPad program is from The Los Angeles Times.

The L.A. schools’ excellent iPad adventure is a very good piece from The Los Angeles Times.

Students Are ‘Hacking’ Their School-Issued iPads: Good for Them may be the best piece written on so far on what’s going on. It’s written by Audrey Watters, and appears in The Atlantic.

iPads in the Classroom: How Did Lewisville Independent School District Get It So Right and Los Angeles Unified Get It So Wrong? is from the K-12 News Network.

LA schools and iPads: Big promises but where’s the research? is from Southern California Public Radio.

Here’s how she ends it:

In the days since the story broke about the Indiana and California students’ “hacking” their iPads, the districts’ poor planning and preparation has been roundly criticized. But more important perhaps than pointing a finger at any one security or administrative issue here, we should recognize that the real failure may be more widespread and more insidious: a profound lack of vision about how students themselves could use—want to use—these new technologies to live and to learn at their fullest potential.

LAUSD looking to delay iPad distribution is from The LA Daily News.

LA Unified School District has no Plan B for iPad project is from Southern California Public Radio.

More questions on L.A. Unified’s iPad program, but few answers

Curriculum Prompts New Concerns in L.A. iPad Plan is from Ed Week.

Critics See Risks in Use of Bonds for School Tech Projects is from Education Week.

Funding for L.A. Unified’s iPad program uncertain after three years is from The Los Angeles Times.

L.A. Unified schools to move forward with trimmed-down iPad plan is from the Los Angeles Times.

iPad software licenses expire in three years, L.A. Unified says is from The Los Angeles Times.

Many of L.A. Unified’s iPad project wounds are self-inflicted is from The L.A. Times.

iHave a Dream: The unanswered questions behind LA’s ed tech fiasco is from Pando Daily.

Larry Cuban has published an insightful critique of the the iPad disaster in Los Angeles, A Second Look at iPads in Los Angeles.

Here’s an excerpt:


Mixed reaction to iPad rollout from L.A. teachers and administrators is from The Los Angeles Times.

IPads for L.A. teachers to be postponed under new plan is from The Los Angeles Times.

Miami-Dade Pauses 1-to-1 Computing Initiative, Considers Big Changes is from Education Week.

After bungled iPad rollout, lessons from LA put tablet technology in a time out is from The Hechinger Report.

L.A. Unified slashes number of iPads deemed needed for student tests is from The L.A. Times.

The iPad Goes to School is from Business Week.

As schools give students computers, price of L.A.’s program stands out is from The LA Times.

LA Unified staff received free iPad before contract is from Southern California Public Radio.

L.A. Unified surveys prices others pay for iPads, similar devices is from the L.A. Times. Don’t you think they should have done a little earlier?

L.A. schools’ iPad watchdog committee set to disband is from the LA Times.

L.A. Unified gets reduction on iPads price is from The LA Times.

LAUSD’s quest to see full iPad curriculum comes up short is from The LA Times.

Public denied access to LA school officials’ iPad software demonstration is from Southern California Public Radio.

September 2, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo

This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Good Posts & Articles On Education Policy

'Occupy the Schools Feb 1, 2012' photo (c) 2012, Michael Fleshman - license:

Here are some recent good posts on education policy issues:

Five bad education assumptions the media keeps recycling is by Alfie Kohn, and is a response to a NY Times review of Amanda Ripley’s new book. Though I haven’t read her book, I’ve certainly had issues with articles she’s written about school issues.

E.D. Hirsch, Jr. comes out against Value Added Assessment for teachers, at least for those who teach language arts. I’m adding this to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Value-Added” Approach Towards Teacher Evaluation.

Check out Empathy is What Education Looks Like at the Metapedagogy blog.

Tenure crunch continues, but just 41 teachers denied on first try is from Gotham Schools, and the last two paragraphs are of particular note:

UFT President Michael Mulgrew, who has said the teachers union supports “a rigorous but fair” system for awarding tenure, said the new data mask the reality that the city loses many teachers well before they come up for tenure, a reality that he blamed on the Bloomberg administration’s emphasis on test scores.

The department’s “self-congratulatory announcement ignores a more important issue,” Mulgrew said. “In the teeth of the worst recession in decades, more than one-third of the over 6,800 teachers hired in 2006-2007 left New York City public schools of their own accord.”

The Condensed Classroom is from The Atlantic. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On The “Flipped Classroom” Idea.

New Research Shows Why Sacramento School Benefits From Statewide ‘QEIA’ Reforms is a new report on how students in California schools have benefited from the millions in extra QEIA funds gained by the California Teachers Association. Our school is one of them.

What We Know Now (and How It Doesn’t Matter) is an excellent post by P.L. Thomas.

July 30, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Best and Worst Education News of 2013 — So Far


I need to add one more “Best Of 2013 – So Far” list to the ones I’ve posted so far, and that’s my annual “The Best And Worst Education News Of 2013 — So Far.”

As usual, I don’t presume to say it’s all-encompassing, so I hope you’ll take time to share your own choices in the comment section. I’ll list the ones I think are the best first, followed by the worst. It’s too hard to rank them within those categories, so I’m not listing them in any order.

You might also be interested in previous editions of this list:

The best — and worst — education news of 2012

The Best (and Worst) Education News of 2011

The Best (and Worst) Education News of 2010

The Best Education News Of 2013 — So Far:

* The successful boycott of the unnecessary MAP standardized test by teachers at Garfield High School in Seattle that spread to six other local schools and inspired educators everywhere.  Teachers who participated in the boycott were not disciplined (as had been threatened) and using the MAP tests have now been made optional.  Garfield teachers’ strategy of organizing a united front of teachers, parents and students demonstrated that collective action can have a major impact on education policy that affects our classrooms.

* Passage and approval of California Governor Jerry Brown’s new funding formula that not only increases school funding across the board, but provides more monies to districts with higher numbers of low-income students.  We can only hope that it will be a model for other states to follow.

* The deaths of children (and adults) as a result of the terrifying Oklahoma tornado will never be considered anything but awful news.  But the heroic response of local educators risking their own lives to save their students is another reminder that teachers do put the interests of children ahead of their own.

* Two new exciting books, authored by some of the best minds in education policy, were published: Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools by Diane Ravitch and Teacherpreneurs: Innovative Teachers Who Lead But Don’t Leave by Barnett Berry, Ann Byrd and Alan Wieder. These “must-reads” are follow-ups to their previous exceptional books.

* More and more research was published supporting the view that, yes, our students need good schools, but if we’re truly serious about providing them with genuine opportunities,  what really needs to happen are major economic and political changes.  I suspect quite a few of us are tired of hearing the refrain of “No Excuses” when we point out this reality.

* And more and more research was published pointing out that, you know, schools in the United States are generally doing pretty well, though you wouldn’t know that by a lot of public rhetoric.

* Charlotte Danielson is the guru for many districts that are initiating new teacher evaluation programs.  Arthur Goldstein discovered a video of her declaring that standardized test scores should not be used in those teacher evaluations.  I wonder if district administrators are listening?  And, speaking of test scores and their validity in determining teacher quality, an important study determined that teacher success in helping students’ develop non-cognitive skills (an area of high-interest these days) had no relation to their Value Added Measurement (VAM) score.

* In his annual appearance on this list, Harvard professor Roland Fryer failed once again to prove that extrinsic motivation increased student achievement.  One of this year’s failed experiments was giving students cellphones and sending them daily “inspirational” text messages.  It didn’t work, but it did receive an advertising award.

* The millions of students who had great learning experiences in their schools this year.


The Worst Education News Of 2013 — So Far:

 * The North Carolina legislature went off the deep end in a number of areas, including eliminating teacher tenure and pay raises.

* Attacks on low-income communities continued with massive school closures in Chicago, Philadelphia and elsewhere.

* Here we go again — Cleveland’s newspaper published the Value Added ratings of teachers.

* Sadness, on a number of levels, in seeing the indictments of 34 Atlanta educators, including its former Superintendent, as a result of the test-cheating scandal there.

* Two surveys found what many of us knew already — that teacher morale is plummeting in the face of “school reform.”

* Bill Gates’ PBS-televised TED Talk where he announced that billions of dollars should be spent videotaping all teachers.  Almost simultaneously, the teacher he showed a video of in his talk said she disagreed with him.  And, even though his foundation announced at the same time they want to  start listening to teachers more, there was no chorus of “preach on, Bill!” from educators across the U.S.

* The millions of students who are not getting the education they deserve.

Again, feel free to point out what I’ve missed!

July 9, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

This Week In Web 2.0 – June (Part One)

'Web 2.0 paljastaa' photo (c) 2011, Janne Ansaharju - license:

In yet another attempt to get at the enormous backlog I have of sites worth sharing, I’ve recently begin a regular feature called “The Week In Web 2.0.” It’ll be a short compilation of new decent sites that are worth noting, but maybe not necessarily worth a separate post and generally — though not always — not worthy of being on a “The Best…” list (let me know if you think I’m wrong in my assessment, though):

Ranker lets you easily create embeddable surveys (including images, if you like) that people can…rank. It’s really a breeze to use. Unfortunately, some of ranked lists created by other users are a bit risque, the site won’t be usable in the classroom. However, since it’s embeddable, I could see it potentially used by bloggers in social media for surveys. You can read more about it at TechCrunch.

PhotoBlab is yet another Smartphone app for adding audio to your photos. I’m adding it to two lists: The Best Sites For Beginning iPhone Users Like Me and The Best Online Tools For Using Photos In Lessons.

Mixed Ink is a collaborate student writing platform. I’m having some difficulties figuring out exactly how it works, but that may be due to the fact I’m working on this quite late at night. Let me know if you’ve tried it out and what your experience has been…

Roadtrippers lets you type in a starting point and a destination, and then you pick what you’re going to see and do on the way. It’s a good idea, but the site was a big buggy when I tried it, so I’m not yet ready to add it to The Best Sites Where Students Can Plan Virtual Trips. You can read more about the site at the BBC.

June 24, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELLs In 2013 – So Far


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 Two

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

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s In 2011 — Part Two

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s In 2011 — Part One

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s — 2010

The Best Sites For Teachers Of English Language Learners — 2009

Here are my choices for The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s In 2013 – So Far:

Looking For Assets, Not Deficits

Here’s What I Do To Help My Students Combat The “Summer Slide”

Video In The Classroom is by David Deubelbeiss.

David Deubelbeiss has collected all his ESL/EFL/ELL Teacher Training Presentations in one place.

Thanks to Judie Haynes, I saw this video, Best TV shows for learners of English. I’m adding it to The Best Popular Movies/TV Shows For ESL/EFL (& How To Use Them).

The same people who created this video are creating sixty others related to English-language teaching. It might be worth visiting the video on YouTube and checking out their other ones.

Study Says Ability To Identify Patterns Key To Second Language Learning

TESOL Report: The Changing Role of the ESL Teacher is by Diane Staehr Fenner. Here’s a direct link to the report she writes about. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Common Core Standards & English Language Learners.

The Common Core State Standards and English Learners: A Resource Page is from TESOL. I’m adding it to the same list.

Important Research On Grammar Instruction

The news magazine The Week has a surprisingly interesting collection of articles about language. Here are a few of their recent ones:

How foreign languages mutate English words

14 words that are their own opposites

How the U.S. made war with the language of peace

Ellen DeGeneres’ New iPhone/iPad Game Is Great For ELLs & You Can Use The Idea & Play Without Tech, Too

Ideas for English-Language Learners | Celebrating the End of the School Year is my  post (co-authored by Katherine Schulten) at The New York Times.

Two Infographics On English Language Learners

Math Instructional Videos In Spanish

David Deubelbeiss has put together a great virtual online book of songs and videos for ELLs.

The New York Times has an op-ed piece from two university educators who have done surveys of immigrant youth in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It’s titled Immigrant Kids, Adrift. The column doesn’t paint a completely negative picture, but it is pretty depressing. Here’s what I think is the worst part:

I’m sure that this is not the case at our school. However, we are also divided into Small Learning Communities, where 300 students and 20 teachers stay together for multiple years. Do you think this statistic is truly representative of schools generally?

Jossey-Bass, the publisher of our book, The ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide, recently told us that our book has been selected by Walden University for their Canter Read4Credit™ Courses. You can read more about it here.

Lessons On Movies is a new site created by the incomparable Sean Banville. It’s the latest addition to Sean’s “empire” of free and helpful websites for English language learners and their teachers.

Stemming the Tide of English-Learner Dropouts is an important post from Education Week.

Response: Common Core & ELLs — Part Two is the title of one of my  posts over at Education Week Teacher.

The Best Pink Panther Fight Scenes For English Language Learners

Ideas for English-Language Learners | Earth Day and the Environment is another one of my posts over at The New York Times. I think teachers might find it interesting, and it includes a lesson building on the work of Paulo Freire. is a new addition to The Best Sites For Free ESL/EFL Hand-Outs & Worksheets. It’s free, and no registration is required to download the materials.

One Sentence Project Video

Never Forget a Useful Phrase Again – Introducing Phrasebook for Google Translate is the title of Google’s new post about a neat new feature they’re adding.

It basically allows you “save” frequently used phrases.

It seems to me they’re overhyping the new feature as a language-learning tool:

Phrasebook for Google Translate jumpstarts this slow learning process by allowing you to save the most useful phrases to you, for easy reference later on, exactly when you need them. By revisiting the useful phrases in your Phrasebook from time to time, you can turn any brief translation into lasting knowledge.

What it can be useful for, though, is as a timesaver for teachers who might use it with parents or with very early English Language Learners for basic communication purposes.

Feedback is welcome, including additional suggestions.

Ideas for English Language Learners | The Real Harlem Shake, Mapping Memories and More is a post at The New York Times Learning Network.

Learning Another Language Makes Your Brain Grow Bigger — Literally

Student Neighborhood Asset Essays (& Bonus Slideshow)

ELTchat has a new website where transcripts and summaries of all chats are archived. The old site was and the new one is Links to the old site no longer work.

The Best Sports Videos To Use With English Language Learners

One New Activity I’m Doing To Help ELLs Learn Academic Vocabulary – & Practice Speaking It

How My ESL Class Evaluated Me This Semester

After 31 editions of ESL/EFL/ELL Blog Carnival, it was time for it to be refreshed. So I’ve worked with other bloggers to “re-brand” it as The ELT Blog Carnival and it now has its own permanent site!

A Collection Of “Best…” Lists On Vocabulary Development

What’s the “trick” for motivating more L2 in our #ELT classrooms? is by Brad Patterson.

Ideas for English Language Learners | Labeling Photos, Sequencing Passages and More is another of my posts over at The New York Times.

The ELL Toolbox published Lesson Planning for English Language Learners, which are some useful “cheat sheets” for ELL lesson planning.

Nice Cloze Generating Tool

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

You might also want to explore the 1100 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.