Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

October 20, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

More Useful Resources On Race and Racism

October 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Around The Web In ESL/EFL/ELL

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:

Teaching English Through Art:Reflection on a MOOC session is from Art Least. Thanks to Michelle Henry for the tip. I’m adding it to The Best Ways To Use Photos In Lessons.

Making reading communicative is a very good post from The British Council.

Is math a universal language or a foreign language for ELLs? is from MultiBriefs via Judie Haynes. I’m adding it to All My Math-Related “The Best…” Lists In One Place.

For some international students, ‘plagiarism’ is a foreign word is from Minnesota Public Radio. I’m adding it to The Best Online Resources To Teach About Plagiarism.

EL Reading Comprehension Strategy: Visualization is by Judie Haynes at TESOL.

English Learners and Project-Based Learning is from Ed Week. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Cooperative Learning Ideas.

Using First Language (L1) in the ELT Classroom is from Oxford University Press.

8 Major Trends in the Global ELT Field is from TESOL.

Charter sector launches marketing campaign to attract more English language learners is from Chalkbeat.

October 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Three Useful Posts About Ed Tech

Here are three recent useful posts on ed tech:

Why I Now Friend Students On Social Media is by Vicki Davis. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Teacher/Student Use Of Social Media.

15 Effective Ways to Use Google Docs in Class is from Ed Tech and Mobile Learning.

The Downside of Being a Connected Educator is from Edutopia. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Connected Educators Month.

October 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Video Clip From “Up The Down Staircase” Shows One Of The Worst Teachers Ever

I watched a great move, Up The Down Staircase, this weekend (I wrote about it last month).

I couldn’t find any video clips that showed the excellent examples of teaching and learning from the movie, but I did find one of one teacher being extraordinarily cruel. It’s a perfect example of how NOT to teach.

I won’t add it to The Best Funny Movie/TV Clips Of Bad Teachers because it’s not funny. I will, however, add the movie to The Best Places To Learn About (And View Video Clips Of) Teachers In The Movies.

October 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Here’s A Headline I Like: “School standardized testing is under growing attack”

It appears that some officials are beginning to take some baby steps to reduce the impact of standardized testing on students and their teachers.

Here are a couple of recent articles about these actions:

School standardized testing is under growing attack, leaders pledge changes is from The Washington Post.

Push to Limit Federal Test Mandates Gains Steam is from Education Week.

And here’s a statement
from our National Education Association President on these changes:


I’m adding this post to The Best Posts On How To Prepare For Standardized Tests (And Why They’re Bad).

October 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Five Most Popular Posts Of The Week

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

Here they are:

1. Students Will Love The BBC’s “Your Life On Earth” Interactive!

2. Very Useful Infographic: “Cheat Sheet For Public Speaking”

3. Wash. Post Article Wonders If Test Scores Might Not Accurately Evaluate Teachers — Ya’ Think?

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

5. The Best Comic Strips For Students & Teachers In 2012 — So Far

October 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

All My NY Times Posts For English Language Learners – Linked With Descriptions


I’ve been writing posts for The New York Times Learning Network for three years on teaching English Language Learners, and that adds-up to a lot of posts! Many include online student interactives and all include multiple teaching ideas.

I thought readers would find it helpful if I put links to them all together, along with short descriptions.

And, as I post new ones, I’ll add them here, too…

Teach academic writing through civics and citizenship lessons around the legal voting age.  In addition, use surveys and polls to provoke listening and speaking practice.

Students put “scrambled” sentences in order to correctly re-create a paragraph from a story about schools, and are encouraged to create their own sequencing activities.    Another teaching activity is having students identify their visions for their own school and write an argumentative essay about it, as well as meeting with their principal.

Students complete a cloze (fill-in-the-gap) activity in an article about the World Cup, and use the same passage and other teaching ideas to learn about synonyms.

Learn about “articles” in the English language through a cloze activity about Mexico City and additional exercises.   In addition, a teaching idea provides suggestions on how to have students create their own itineraries for trips around the world.

This Mother’s Day interactive and supplemental activities focus on conjunctions and having students do writing about their mothers or other key family members.

Students separate run-on sentences in this interactive about International Dance Day, and use it as a model for creating their own.  In addition, they can view a variety of dance videos and write a compare/contrast essay.

Learn about punctuation in this interactive on body language and supplemental exercises, and then have students do some fun listening activities with different videos to see if people are being truthful or not.

Have students learn about nouns in this interactive on the popularity of soccer in China.  Then, have students complete (and then create their own) “scrambled” exercise where they have to place answers with the correct questions in re-creating interviews.

Students learn to categorize words in this interactive on eating insects, and then broaden their categories further.  In addition, they can watch engaging insect videos and describe — verbally and in writing — what they see.

Fill-in-the-blanks in this story about “chewing gum art” and have students create their own artwork online, which they then describe both verbally and in writing.

Complete a cloze about how animals can impact children’s heath, and then students can draw, write or even create a video about pets that are or have been in their lives.

Use a passage about fossils and dinosaurs to learn new vocabulary, practice pronunciation with tongue twisters, and practice a simple paragraph-writing framework.

Learn about comparatives and superlatives while learning about skyscrapers, as well as having students building their own as part of the Language Experience Approach.  In addition, students can use “close reading” techniques as they watch a documentary about the history of tall buildings.

Practice prediction with students as they reading about Valentine’s Day and learn about idioms at the same time.  Plus, have students create Valentine’s cards and share about romantic traditions in their home countries.

Fill-in-the-blanks in this passage about preparation for the Sochi Olympic Games, and use the event as an opportunity to practice writing and listening with a Picture Dictation activity.

Students learn about the progressive tense in this passage about the changing nature of families, and use the article as a stepping-stone to a lesson of creating family trees — with a twist!

Use this fun activity to learn about prepositions through reading incorrectly translated passages and street signs.

Learn about holiday food traditions from different cultures though a fill-in-the-blank passage and different lesson ideas.

Have students watch videos about current events and craft higher-order thinking questions about them.

Students practice the reading strategy of summarization while, at the same time, practice using humor as a language-development activity.

Students watch a short video and have to list the scenes in the correct sequence.  They can then create their own similar “quiz” for classmates and even create their own videos.

Choose the most accurate description of a picture taken at a United Farmworkers Union demonstration  and have students reflect on protest movements in their home countries and in the United States.  Use the lesson to expand to other historical photos and use them for language-development activities.

Teach and learn the past tense through a passage about John F. Kennedy, and use a text data set for an inductive lesson about his life.

Watch a video about the Mexican wrestling style called “lucha libre” and use it in a sequencing lesson.  Then have students create their own wrestling personas.

Watch a clip from West Side Story and use it for a musical sequencing activity.  Then, have students research and write about gangs today.

Learn about The Day of The Dead and Halloween, and use it as a lesson in developing  literal and interpretative questions.

Learn pronouns and the importance of learning from failures and mistakes through this interactive on J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series.

Watch a video and read a passage about a girls soccer team in Mexico to learn about punctuation, and have students create punctuation games and practice reading strategies, too.

Teach the vocabulary of colors by a fill-in-the-blank passage, a discussion of their cultural significance, and the use of a Times’ “grid” of different photos that students have to describe in a game-like activity.

Learn about magic in a sequencing activity and develop academic vocabulary while exploring different illusions.

Study the use of “articles” and learn about the concept of “grit” (perseverance) through online interactive exercises.

Study the 9/11 terrorist attacks through a K-W-L chart and Venn Diagrams that lead to writing a compare and contrast essay.

Learn about mariachis and use them to kick-off an exploration of the different aspects of students’ home cultures.

Use a passage about soccer star Lionel Messi  to encourage students to create their own fill-in-the-blank exercises for classmates to complete.

Encourage students to reflect back on their class year, and provide them with suggestions on how to continue their study during the coming months.

Teaching and learning strategies about the environment and Earth Day.

Using videos, photographs and music for language-development activities, including ones to practice descriptive language and make a connection between art and activism.

Lessons that explore citizenship, including considering if there is a difference between “citizenship” and “active citizenship.”

Learn about the Picture Word Inductive Model as a teaching/learning strategy, as well as sequencing activities with videos and a fun language-learning game.

Multiple lessons focused on different holidays and holiday traditions.

Using video clips for language-development, learning about Malala Yousafsai, discussing the length of the school year and more!

Many lesson ideas about politics and elections.

A mixture of activities, including ones on idioms, recipes,  developing neighborhood tours and writing a compare/contrast essay.

Ideas on using students’ personal stories to maximize the effectiveness English-language development lessons.


October 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

“Pearls Before Swine” Shares Its Own Version Of “Who’s On First?”

The old Abbott and Costello “Who’s On First?” routine is used by Theory of Knowledge teachers around the world to illustrate how language can be used to discourage understanding.

The comic Pearls Before Swine shared its own version (I’ve pinned it below). In addition, I’ve also embedded a Jimmy Fallon version, as well as the original Abbot and Costello one.

I’ve embedded both the remake and the original below:

October 18, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Nov. 9th Is The 25th Anniversary Of The Berlin Wall Coming Down – Here Are Related Resources

The Berlin Wall came down on November 9th, 25 years ago.

You might be interested in The Best Sites To Learn About Walls That Separate Us, which includes a number of links related to The Berlin Wall.

I’m sure there will be a ton of resources on the anniversary, and I’ll add the best ones to that list.

October 18, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Singing, Recording & Authentic Audiences For English Language Learners

All teachers of English Language Learners know that encouraging speaking is always a “tough nut to crack.” I’ve written a lot about how I try to do it in the classroom, and how I’ve used technology to help with it.

Those tech resources and strategies have included using Instagram videos, narrated Fotobabbles to promote speaking and metcognition, iPhone apps for creating audio puppet shows, and videos for sister classes around the world.

Having students sing is a staple for ELL teachers and students, too (see The Best Music Websites For Learning English). I’ve just tried an experiment with music and tech that I think I’ll be making a regular part of my class routine now.

One of my classes is a combined Beginning and Intermediate English Language Learner one. This past week, the Beginners learned “You Are So Beautiful” (the number one song, in my humble opinion, out there for ELLs). It’s part of our unit on description words. They then performed it for the Intermediate ELLs, agreed to let me record it with my iPhone, and I uploaded it to SoundCloud and posted the recording on our class blog.

Here it is for your enjoyment:

My Beginning students developed new vocabulary, had fun, practiced listening, speaking and reading, and performed for an authentic audience. And are very motivated to do it again! What more can I ask from a lesson?

It was easy to record on my iPhone and upload to SoundCloud.

Unfortunately, its iPhone app eliminated the recording function. However, another app, Audio Copy, is set up to record and provides an easy feature to upload to SoundCloud.

I’m sure plenty of other teachers have done this before, but it was a first — though not the last– for me!

October 18, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

“Poor kids who do everything right don’t do better than rich kids who do everything wrong”

October 18, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

My New BAM! Show: “What is the Best Way to Train Student Teachers?”


What is the Best Way to Train Student Teachers? is the topic of my ten minute conversation with Linda Rief and Emily Geltz on my recently posted BAM! radio show. Emily was Linda’s student teacher two years ago.

They co-authored a piece in my recent Ed Week series on working with student teachers.

October 18, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Threats — Real & Imagined — Around The World

What is the greatest threat to the world? Depends on where you live is a very interesting report from Pew. Here’s a tweet with a simple infographic showing their results:

Then, compare those results with Vox’s Threats to Americans, ranked (by actual threat instead of media hype).

I’m adding this post to The Best Sites For Learning About The World’s Different Cultures.

October 18, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Useful Posts & Articles On Ed Policy

October 18, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Check Out Slideshare’s Most Popular Presentations

Slideshare, the online presentation site, has an enormous number of slideshows. They also have a feature highlighting their most popular ones — both overall and by categories (including education).

Here’s a nice one I found after taking a quick look:

You might also be interested in The “All-Time” Best Places To Find The Most Popular (& Useful) Resources For Educators.

October 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

October’s (2014) Best Tweets — Part Three

'Twitter' photo (c) 2010, West McGowan - license:

Every month I make a few short lists highlighting my choices of the best resources I through (and learned from) Twitter, but didn’t necessarily include them in posts here on my blog.

I’ve already shared in earlier posts several new resources I found on Twitter — and where I gave credit to those from whom I learned about them. Those are not included again in post.

If you don’t use Twitter, you can also check-out all of my “tweets” on Twitter profile page.

You might also be interested in The Best Tweets Of 2014 — So Far.

October 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Examples Of School Hysteria Over Ebola

I’m sure the vast majority of schools are not-overreacting to concerns over Ebola. But a few are, and are are some examples (I’ll add this post to The Best Resources For Learning About The Ebola Virus):

This one isn’t school-related, but I can’t resist sharing: