Author: Larry Ferlazzo

Online Science Activities

The Explorit Science Center in Davis, California (where I live — just outside Sacramento, CA) is a wonderful hands-on place to study science.  They also send staff out to schools to teach science in the classroom, and we’ve brought them to my school several times. They also have some nice online science activities that I’ve placed near the bottom of my website’s Science pag (right above the Planets section). One is called How Old Is That Bone?  The other is entitled Go Fish.  They’re both very accessible to English Language Learners, with audio, text, and images. Share...

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Student-Planned Trips

I’ve posted before (Student Trips) about free web applications that function as travel planners.  English Language Learners, and anyone else, can use them to easily plan a trip (whether real or imaginary) and then save their itinerary online. Today I learned about Tripcart from the Webware blog, which is a new application that is similar to the ones I’ve blogged about in the past. These are especially good for Geography classes. I’ve placed this new link on my Examples of Student Work page under Student Trips. Share...

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Assessments Are In For The Home Computer Project

Many readers of this blog know about our school’s project of providing home computers and DSL service to immigrant families, who then use it to study English.  You can find links to several articles about it on sidebar. We just tabulated the results from the first quarter assessments we did, and the results are very positive. The first year we did this students from fifteen families had almost double the improvement in their cloze scores (that tend to evaluate vocabulary and comprehension) than those who did not have home computers.  This new group of students from thirty families with home computers and the thirty in the control group had exactly the same difference –students from the thirty families with home computers had almost double the improvement in their cloze scores than those without home computers. The real shocker was in their reading fluency scores — the number of words read in a minute (with errors subtracted).  Last year there was no difference between the two groups.  This time around the students with home computers had exactly triple the improvement in reading fluency than those without the home computers. Of course, these are just the results from the first quarter assessment, so we have to see if it continues during the rest of the year.  But it does look positive. Share...

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A Zillion More Talking Stories

I have links on my website to literally thousands of “talking” stories that use simple English, provide audio and text support, and also show animated illustrations.  You can find most of them on my English For Beginners page under the Stories section. I recently added a whole lot more.  A site called KidsFlash has hundreds of these talking stories.  I have them listed near the bottom of the Stories section and title them Flash Stories 1, Flash Stories 2, etc. l Share...

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Scriblink & Group Collaborations

I learned about Scriblink from the Webware blog today.  It’s a free “online whiteboard” where up to five people can simultaneously work on and save a project. A free online application like this, along with others I have on my Examples of Student Work page under Student Collaborative Stories, is ideal for a special project I’ll be doing this year.  Let me first give a little background. Our high school is divided into seven separate Small Learning Communities (SLC) of about 300 students each.  These 300 students will have the same twenty or so teachers during their high school career, and be with those 300 students during the same period of time.  Each SLC has a particular focus.  I teach in the one titled “Information Technology.” All students (who are not in ESL classes) in our SLC need to take one computer applications class each year.  Our tech teacher has graciously agreed to let me give weekly (or more often) assignments for my non-ESL ninth grade English students to do in his class while other students are doing his assigned work.  I plan on having my students do a ton of Web 2.0 – related projects in his class.  They’ve already started their online journals.  Online whiteboards like Scriblink are ideal for small group assignments where students can communicate without disrupting what the computer applications teacher is doing with his other students.  In addition, my students will function...

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