Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

November 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Incredibox” Gets Even Better!

incred

Incredibox, the incredibly easy music-creating site that’s been on The Best Online Sites For Creating Music list for years, has just announced its annual update.

Version Four has even more sounds to mix, and will only make it more fun for students to use. I have my English Language Learners create their tracks and then describe — verbally and in writing — why they made their particular composition and what they want people to visualize when they listen to it.

November 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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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:

Using Pair and Group Work to Develop ELLs’ Oral Language Skills is from Colorin Colorado. I’m adding it to The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English.

Key Strategies for Developing Oral Language is from The Teaching Channel. I’m adding it to the same list.

How To Start Academic Conversations is a useful article. I’m adding it to The Best Websites For Developing Academic English Skills & Vocabulary.

Teaching learning strategies to ELLs: What, why, when, how is an excellent article from Multi Briefs.

When Language and Learning Get Tough is from Language Magazine. It’s about English Learners with learning difficulties.

I’m adding this tweet to The Best Popular Movies/TV Shows For ESL/EFL (& How To Use Them):

Teacher talk – Error correction is a video from The British Council. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On ESL/EFL/ELL Error Correction.

Narrowing the Language Gap: The Case for Explicit Vocabulary Instruction is from Scholastic. I’m adding it to The Best Sites Where ELL’s Can Learn Vocabulary.

On a journey to think critically is from Oxford Press. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Teaching & Learning Critical Thinking In The Classroom.

November 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Three Useful Anti-Bullying Resources

Here are three new additions to A Very, Very Beginning List Of The Best Resources On Bullying:

How to teach … anti-bullying is from The Guardian.

How do other countries tackle bullying? is also from The Guardian.

Am I A Bully? is from The BBC.

November 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Write About” May Be The Education Site Of The Year

writeabout

Write About is a new site co-founded by educator John Spencer (his name may be familiar with readers since I’ve previously shared his work many times here). His co-founder is Brad Wilson.

And they’ve created what might be the Education Site of 2014.

Write About provides many (and I mean many) images with writing prompts. Students can write their response and do an audio recording of it. Teachers can create virtual classrooms and provide individual written feedback to student writing. Student creations can be shared publicly or just with their classmates. Teachers can change prompts or upload their own photos.

There’s a lot more, too.

Plus, you can’t beat the cost (or non-cost):

Teachers can sign up and participate in the Write About community for free. Up to 40 free student accounts can be created with up to 3 posts each. Unlimited posts can be added with a Classroom account for $4.95/month. Teachers with multiple classes can add up to 250 students with unlimited posts for $7.95/month.

I asked John why he created Write About and here’s his response:

“Brad and I met and had a similar vision for what we wanted. I wanted something that would allow my students to share their work more easily with layers of groups and have hundreds of writing ideas. I’ve been doing visual prompts for a long time and Brad had been using visual prompts in his app in order to promote student choice in writing. In short, I wanted to make something that my students would want to use.”

I think Write About is going to be an exceptional site, in particular for English Language Learners. It combines visual imagery, writing, speaking and listening – not to mention an authentic audience.

I’m adding it to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress and to The Best Places Where Students Can Write Online.

Here’s a video introduction to the site:

I should point out that I had some trouble using the recording function on my home computer with a Windows 7 Operating System. I alerted John to the issue, and I’m sure it will fixed very quickly. It’s a minor issue for a brand-new site. It should work fine with other systems.

November 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Classroom Instruction Resources Of The Week – Special Edition!

Each week, I publish a post containing three or four particularly useful resources on classroom instruction, and you can see them all here.

I’ve got quite a few good ones to share, so this the second post this week (you could call it a “special edition):

Chicago Public Schools students react to Obama’s immigration executive order: teaching controversial issues in the classroom is by Ray Salazar. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On How To Teach “Controversial” Topics.

This Teacher Taught His Class A Powerful Lesson About Privilege is from BuzzFeed. I’m adding it to The Best Teacher Resource Sites For Social Justice Issues.

I’m adding this tweet to The Best Posts & Articles On Student Engagement:

November 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Two More Sites To Get The “Same” Text Written For Different “Levels”

Here are two new additions to the wildly popular The Best Places To Get The “Same” Text Written For Different “Levels” list:

Reader Laurie suggests Embedded Reading, which has these kinds of similar “leveled” texts in English, as well as in other languages.

I learned about CommonLit from the amazing educator Suzie Boss at her recent Edutopia post. It’s a neat site that doesn’t actually provide the “same” text written for different “levels.” What it does do, however, is provide leveled readings – with prompts — on the same theme. It’s pretty neat.

November 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
3 Comments

Two Important Posts On ClassDojo

You may be aware of The New York Times article earlier this week about the classroom management tool ClassDojo — I wrote about it in my post, One Of The More Depressing Passages You’ll Read This Week.

You can also find other posts about the app at The Best Posts & Articles On “Motivating” Students.

Two posts have been written this week about the app that I think are important for educators to read:

6 reasons to reject ClassDojo is by Joe Bower, who lays-out the critiques of ClassDojo clearly and articulately.

Bill Ferriter, a teacher who I respect very much, has written a very thoughtful post about he uses ClassDojo. It sounds like he applies it in a very careful and effective way, and not just as a blunt extrinsic motivation weapon. Based on how I read other teachers are using it, however, it sounds like Bill is more the exception than the rule. I think the creators of an app need to take responsibility for how people use the products of their work in destructive ways, just as education researchers need to do the same for their studies,

What do you think?

November 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Resources For Using Chromebooks In The Classroom – Help Me Find More

I’ve become increasingly disappointed with our District’s decision to not purchase Chromebooks and, instead, purchase far more expensive and far fewer MacBooks.

I did think, though, that readers might find a Chromebooks “Best” list useful and, perhaps, someday, so will I.

Before I share those links (and I hope readers will contribute more), here are a few other Best lists you might find useful:

The Best Resources On “One-To-One” Laptop/Tablet Programs — Please Suggest More!

The Best Advice On Using Education Technology

The Best Sources For Ideas On How To Use Technology With English Language Learners

The Best Research Available On The Use Of Technology In Schools

The Best Good, Inexpensive & Simple Classroom Technology Tools

The Best Places To Find Research On Technology & Language Teaching/Learning

The Best Sites For Learning About The History Of Technology

My Best Posts For Tech Novices (Plus A Few From Other People)

The Best Resources For Beginning iPad Users

The Best Sites For Beginning iPhone Users Like Me

Now, here are my choices for The Best Resources For Using Chromebooks In The Classroom:

Chromebooks beat iPads as top education device is from The San Francisco Chronicle.

30 Ways to Use Chromebooks in the Classroom is a useful slide presentation.

Using Chromebooks in the Classroom is from Reading Today.

Here’s a Live Binder created by Maureen Davis full of related resources.

10 Chromebook uses: How Google-powered laptops are enhancing classrooms is from Education Dive.

3 Reasons Why Chromebook Beats iPad in 1:1 Programs is from edSurge.

Six Reasons Educators Say They Are Choosing Chromebooks Over iPads, Netbooks And PCs is from Forbes.

Why Chromebooks Are Beating MacBooks is from Mashable.

November 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Updated Thanksgiving Resources

November 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“‘Doing’ Geography Instead Of ‘Studying’ It”

‘Doing’ Geography Instead Of ‘Studying’ It is my latest post at Education Week Teacher.

In it, four educators share their thoughts on teaching geography: Kelly Young, from whom I’ve learned more about teaching than from anyone else; Elisabeth Johnson, who is the best social studies teacher I’ve ever seen; middle school educator Lisa Butler; and Matt Podbury, who teaches Geography at an International School in France.

Here are some excerpts:

For-a-class-that-can-be

I-find-it-helpful-to

Images-speak-a-universal

In-an-age-where-we-we

I’m adding it to The Best Websites For Learning & Teaching Geography.

November 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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For Email Subscribers Only

For some reason, Feedblitz did not email all the posts I published yesterday to the 3,000 readers who subscribe to this blog by email.

So, if you do read this blog via once-daily emails, you might want to go to the blog directly to see what you missed!

November 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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What Is “Personalized Learning”?

Here are two new additions to The Best Resources For Understanding “Personalized Learning”:

What do you mean by Personalization? is by Elliot Washor (thanks to Barbara Bray for the tip). Here’s an excerpt:

Much-more-than-a

5 Things You Should Know About Personalized Learning is from The Gates Foundation.

November 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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I’ve Now Done Thirty BAM! Radio Shows On Education Issues

bambambam

I’ve now done thirty ten-minute BAM! Radio Shows on education topics covered in my Education Week Teacher column.

Each week, one or two guests who have contributed written responses to the “question-of-the-week” has a short conversation with me on the show. It’s been a great opportunity for me to get to know people a little better whom I’ve just known online, and I’m able to ask them follow-up questions about what they’ve written. And they’re short-and-sweet — my attention spam while listening to a show doesn’t exceed ten minutes, so we rarely go overtime. BAM! makes it easy and my guests and I always sound much more articulate than we ever are :) Jeannette, the producer, does a terrific job!

If you’ve missed any of the shows, you might want to listen to them online or via download.

November 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Five Most Popular Posts Of The Week

November 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Resources For Learning How To Use Google Docs/Google Drive

My knowledge of Google Docs has been more limited than it should be, and I’ve been getting up to speed.

I thought readers might find the resources I’ve been using helpful, too (let me know if you have suggestions of links to add to this list):

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

10 Things Every Teacher Should Know How To Do With Google Docs is from Edudemic.

Teacher Training Videos has an excellent video tutorial on using Google Docs/Google Drive.

Google Drive Basics for the Complete Beginner and Some Recommended Apps is a very useful post.

An Updated 63 Page Guide to Google Drive and Docs is from Richard Byrne.

10 Things Every Teacher Should be able to do on Google Docs is from Indiana Jen.

Docs & Drive Level 1: The Basics is from Google.

Kaizena lets you provide audio feedback to students on their work. You can use it with Google Drive, though it also appears that you can use it outside of Google Docs (let me know if I’m wrong on that).

November 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Resources For Teaching The Next Generation Science Standards To English Language Learners

I’ve just posted The Best Resources For Teaching Common Core Math To English Language Learners, and thought I’d publish this companion post, too.

Just as I’m interested in interviewing teachers who have had success teaching Common Core Math to ELLs, I’d like to talk with teachers who are effectively teaching the Next Generation Science Standards to them. Please leave a comment if you’re open to talking with me.

You might also be interested in The “All-Time” Best Science Sites . Of course, I also have a ton of other science-related “Best” lists, too.

Here are my choices for The Best Resources For Teaching The Next Generation Science Standards To English Language Learners (please suggest more):

Next Generation Science Standards and English-Learners is from Ed Week.

Teaching Science to English Language Learners: What do the NGSS Tell Us? is from Diane Staehr Fenner.

Language Demands and Opportunities in Relation to Next Generation Science Standards for English Language Learners: What Teachers Need to Know is from Understanding Language.

English Language Learners and the Next Generation Science Standards is from Next Generation Science.

Next Generation Science Standards and English Language Learners is from Project CORE.

Framework for English Language Proficiency Development Standards corresponding to the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards is from CCSSO.

November 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

The Best “Lists Of Lists” Of Influential People, Events & Ideas

I know the title of this list sounds a bit “meta,” but there are a number of useful articles out there sharing ranked lists of influential people and events. I use them as models for my student assignments where they have develop their own while providing evidence to back-up their positions. I’ve posted a few of these in the past, and thought it would be helpful to readers and to me to bring them together into one place.

So, here are my choices for The Best Lists Of Lists Of Influential People, Events & Ideas (feel free to contribute more):

The 10 greatest changes of the past 1,000 years is an excellent article in The Guardian. In it, a historian describes shares his opinion of the greatest change that occurred in each of the last ten centuries (note: please see an important critique of this list in the comments section).

It’s a fascinating article, I think, for anyone to read. The real reason I’m posting about it, though, is because I’ll be using the idea in my World History class for English Language Learners. We’re just finishing up a unit on the “First Civilizations,” and I think I’ll ask them to identify what they think is the greatest change that happened during that period and why they chose it. If it goes well, I might make it a regular assignment at the end of each unit.

TIME has published an accessible feature called The 20 Most Influential Americans of All Time.

The Discovery Channel published a similar project a few years back (that link is to its Wikipedia page that shows their list — they took the original neat website off-line).

Here’s the simple assignment I gave my students using it (and, the next time I teach U.S. History, I’ll add the TIME piece, too):

A television channel did a poll to find out who people thought were the Greatest Americans, and then ranked them from the most important to the one hundredth most important.

Think about all the Americans we have studied so far. Pick who you think are the top five Americans and rank them one-through-five. Find a picture of them, write about what you think was their major accomplishment, and explain why you ranked them where you did.

Meet the 100 Most Significant Americans of All Time is from Smithsonian Magazine.

80 Moments That Changed The World is from The British Council.

100 Years; 100 Thinkers: The New Republic Ranks The Minds Who’ve Defined Our Century.

The 100 Most Influential Figures in American History is from The Atlantic.

I’m sure I’ve posted other similar lists over the years, but just can’t find them right now. Again, feel free to share suggestions of others to include…

November 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Resources For Teaching Common Core Math To English Language Learners

I’m hearing that many math teachers, at least in the secondary level, are finding it very challenging to teach Common Core math to English Language Learners.

I thought I’d start bringing together some potentially useful resources, and hope readers will contribute more.

In addition, I’d love to interview teachers who are having success teaching Common Core math to ELLs, so please leave a comment if you’d be open to talking with me. Please leave a comment if you’re open to talking.

Before I share resources specifically related to Common Core math, here are some math-related “Best” lists I’ve previously posted:

The Best Math Websites For English Language Learners
The Best Science & Math Sites — 2008

The Best Science & Math Sites — 2009
The Best MATH Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress

You might also be interested in this article: Is math a universal language or a foreign language for ELLs? from MultiBriefs.

And then there’s The Best Resources For Learning About Common Core Standards & English Language Learners.

Okay, now here are some Common Core-connected math resources:

Common-Core Math Standards Put New Focus on English-Learners is an important article from Education Week.

Diane Staehr Fenner has put together an excellent post, Resources for Teaching the CCSS in Mathematics to ELLs.

Laura Stevens has also compiled a very useful list.

Check out the resources at Understanding Language at Stanford.

Common Core Math for English Language Learners

Again, I hope that readers will contribute more!

November 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Updated Resources On President Obama’s Executive Action On Immigration (Including New Important Website For Potential Applicants)

Here are the latest updates to The Best Resources On President Obama’s Executive Order On Immigration:

Many of the major national organizations working with immigrants have created iAmerica as a “one-stop” bilingual site to get verified information on the executive order.

A Closer Look At Obama’s Immigration Plan: What’s In It, Who’s Affected is from NPR.

Flow chart: Who qualifies for Obama’s immigration offer? is from The Washington Post.

As Obama hands many immigrants a reprieve, hucksters wait to defraud them is from The Washington Post.

How many K-12 students are illegal immigrants? is from The Washington Post.

Undocumented Immigrants Aren’t Who You Think They Are is from Five Thirty Eight.

Maps: States Where Lots Of Students With Undocumented Parents Attend School is from Alexander Russo.

Obama’s huge new immigration plan, explained is from Vox.

Children key to deportation relief is from Ed Source.

What Is President Obama’s Immigration Plan? is from The NY Times.

November 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Two Useful Resources On Educator Professional Development