Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

November 13, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo

Nice Spanish-Language Instructional Math Video Collection

'All About Math' photo (c) 2008, aleonmail - license:

Yesterday, I posted how I was working with our Geometry teacher to help support math instruction for my Beginning English Language Learners.

As part of that post, I referred to The Best Multilingual & Bilingual Sites For Math, Social Studies, & Science.

Today, that talented Geometry teacher, Wendy Jennings, found a collection of about fifty Spanish-language instructional videos for Algebra 1 and Geometry. They’ve been created by the Northeast Arkansas Education Cooperative, and can be found on their site and on their YouTube channel.

No matter what language they’re in, any math video is going to be “Greek” to me. But, Wendy likes them, so I’m adding the collection to The Best Multilingual & Bilingual Sites For Math, Social Studies, & Science.

Here’s a sample:

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January 6, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo

Nice Bilingual Interactive On Citizenship Preparation

Pumarosa has long been on The Best Multilingual & Bilingual Sites For Learning English list.

Now, though, Paul Rogers, the site’s creator, has decided to allow free access to its Civics and U.S. History section. Because of that, I’m also adding the site to The Best Websites For Learning About Civic Participation & Citizenship list.

Paul also sells some very good text materials that go along with all of his online interactives. You can find out more by contacting him at [email protected]

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June 25, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo

Vocre Looks Like A Nice Translating App For iPhones

Vocre is the latest in an increasing number of SmartPhone translating apps that can help you communicate in another language. It can come in handy if you just have to communicate something to an ELL student in their native language, or if you need to communicate to family members.

I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Beginning iPhone Users Like Me.

Here’s a video about it focusing on its business applications:

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May 25, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Wow! Voice Of America Dramatically Redesigns & Expands Its Learning English Features

Voice Of America has long been known for its many English-learning features, especially what they called “Special English.” However, relatively recently (I can’t be sure exactly when, but I just discovered it today) they dramatically redesigned and expanding their offerings. And, boy oh boy, they are terrific!

Where should I start?

First, they now have a very attractive page where you can access all of their leveled interactive exercises, as well as their “Special English” news stories.

Their Go English site has long had specific excellent English-learning bilingual programs in Chinese, Farsi, Russian and Indonesian. But now they’ve also added Vietnamese.

The VOA Newsroom videos have all been integrated with English Central, which, in my opinion, is the best site on the web for learning English. What was particularly surprising to me, though, was that you don’t have to register on English Central in order to watch, listen, and practice speaking (and get graded on it) with all the videos. Maybe that’s the way English Central has been all along, or maybe its a new development just for VOA, but I had always assumed the speaking feature was only available once you sign-in to the site. Not having to register just makes it that more accessible.

And they also have a brand new Learning English main site.

Whew! That’s a lot of stuff….

I’m adding all these sites to The Best Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced English Language Learner Sites.

I’m adding the new Vietnamese site to The Best Multilingual & Bilingual Sites For Learning English.

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April 28, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

New Translation Apps For Smartphones

Here are some “new to me” smartphone apps I’ve found for translation. Though the last one is not iPhone-related, I’ll still add them all to The Best Sites For Beginning iPhone Users Like Me:

SayHi Translate is an iPhone app that translates what you speak into a language of your choice. It’s very similar to Google Translate, though has fewer choices. It may have some advantages, though — it seemed to work more accurately than Google Translate when I tried it out this morning. It costs 99 cents. I’m going to have my students try-out both next week and give me feedback on which one they like better.

7 Language Translation iPhone Apps for the Digital Traveler is a useful post from Mashable.

The Microsoft Translator app for Windows Phone has recently added an augmented reality feature to translate signs, menus, etc. You just point the phone at it.

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April 25, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Big News If You Work With Students Who Speak A Language NOT Supported By Google Translate — Especially Hmong

The quality of online translation systems is obviously dicey, but they can be very useful to teachers, students and parents. As I’ve previously posted, Google Translate (the most popular tool) has been found best for longer pieces, while Microsoft and Yahoo appear to be best for text with less than 140 characters.

Of course, none of these tools are useful for the huge number of languages that are not supported by them.

Hmong, the primary language spoken by many students and families here in Sacramento and elsewhere, has been in that list of non-supported languages.

Until this month.

Now, with a push from the Hmong community
in Fresno, California, Microsoft Translator (also known as Bing Translator), has just begun supporting the Hmong language.

Here’s how Microsoft describes the process
that was used to add Hmong to the system, and the ability to use a similar system to add others:

“All these years, the language has been preserved, despite efforts to eradicate it,” said Will Lewis, a Microsoft program manager who worked on the Hmong translator. “Now, the irony is that in the United States, a country where they’re free to speak it, the thing that never happened in Hmong history is happening; some children are not learning Hmong.”

The translator uses a statistical model to find patterns and assign probability to words in context. Since November, when the project started, community members and researchers have fed a computer with hundreds of documents in the two languages, as well as with entries from an online Hmong-English dictionary. Since dictionaries offer no context, community members entered sentences for each word.

A similar concept could be applied to benefit other minority and indigenous languages, most of which aren’t covered by automatic translators such as Microsoft’s Bing Translator or Google Translate, Lewis said. Less than 100 languages — mostly the dominant, widely-used ones — are currently covered, out of the more than 7,000 languages world-wide.

I’m adding this info to:

The Best Reference Websites For English Language Learners

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March 12, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

“New” Multilingual Site For Learning English

GCF Learn Free’s reading site has been on several “The Best..” lists for its simple reading instruction, which is excellent for English Language Learners and new readers.

They’ve kept that site, and have also added several multilingual features to specifically help ELL’s. You can visit their Learn English site here. They plan on adding many new activities there in the coming months.

I’m adding it to The Best Multilingual & Bilingual Sites For Learning English.

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March 11, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo

Lots Of Useful History & Science Resources In Spanish

I do a lot of Preview/View/Review in my U.S. History classes — give a preview of the content in Spanish, then have the primary lesson in English, followed by a short review in Spanish. I use many of the resources in The Best Multilingual & Bilingual Sites For Math, Social Studies, & Science for the “preview” part of that sequence, as well as provide those resources for students and their parents to review at home.

Here are new additions to that list:

utubersidad has many Spanish-language videos in history and in other content areas.

Mundo from the BBC also has many resources in Spanish.

Also, searching for “history channel en español documentales” on YouTube generates many results, as does searching for “bbc en español documentales.”

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October 19, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo

Even More Great Resources For English Language Learners In Content Classes

I’ve written extensively about bilingual and monolingual resources I’ve used in Social Studies classes as part of a “preview/view/review” teaching and learning strategy with Beginning English Language Learners (see Great Resources For English Language Learners In Content Classes and The Best Multilingual & Bilingual Sites For Math, Social Studies, & Science).

Here are three more sites I’m adding to the list:

CNN Espanol is an excellent site to use to connect what we’re learning in U.S. History to today.

These next sites are not particularly useful to the U.S. History classes I’m teaching now, but I think could be useful in other content classes:

National Geographic en Espanol

National Geographic Kids Video en Espanol

Discovery Latinoamerica

Let me know if I’m missing some important sites.

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October 2, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo

Great Bilingual Materials From The St. Paul Public Schools

The St. Paul’s Public Schools produces some great bilingual materials in English and in Khmer (Cambodia), Hmong, Oromo, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese. They’re not online, and you have to purchase them, but the prices are very reasonable. I’ve used their materials for years.

Even though they aren’t online, I’ll still adding the resource to The Best Multilingual & Bilingual Sites For Learning English just because they’re so useful.

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September 22, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Great Resources For English Language Learners In Content Classes

Sometimes I can be pretty dumb, as I wrote in How I Milked A Lesson For Every Last Ounce Of Learning And Why I’m An Idiot For Not Thinking Of It Earlier.

I have demonstrated that cluelessness yet again….

Let me explain:

As I’ve previously posted, one of my U.S. History classes this year is a combined Intermediate and Beginning ELL one. The range of students’ English level is pretty vast, as is its native language diversity.

One of the instructional strategies I’m using is a variation of the tried-and-true technique called Preview/View/Review — offer a brief preview of the lesson in the native language, do the main lesson in English, and then follow it with a brief review in the native language.

I can’t use this strategy “by the book” because of the multiple languages and the large class size. But, at the beginning of the period when the Intermediates are reading a U.S. History book of their choice, I have been able to manage — with the help of aides and peer tutors — the “Preview” stage fairly well, and it has really helped with the overall lessons.

I use many of the resources found in The Best Multilingual & Bilingual Sites For Math, Social Studies, & Science.

Last week, though, I had an epiphany and realized that I had completely overlooked two extraordinary sources of materials for the “Preview” section of my lessons. In fact, they would be great resources for the “Preview” of any lesson in any class!

The first “duh!” moment is when I thought of Wikipedia and how it’s available in multiple languages. At the beginning of each class, I tell them what we are studying that day, they type the topic into their electronic translator, then go next door to call up Wikipedia on a colleague’s computer for ten minutes. Their comprehension of the subsequent lesson in English has improved dramatically.

The second “duh!” moment was when I realized that there must be videos in Spanish about U.S. History. I went to Yahoo’s Mexico site, clicked on Video, typed in “historia estados unidos” and found a huge number of U.S. History documentaries and re-enactments in Spanish. Many look very good. My Spanish-speaking students go to an adjoining classroom to watch video clips at the beginning of each lesson.

These two resources, as well as others on the previously mentioned “The Best…” list, can be used in similar ways for all content classes.

I wonder when my next major “duh!” will be?

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September 2, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo

Holt Puts Their Multilingual U.S. History Resources Back Online!

As I’ve previously written, I think textbook publishers Holt, Rinehart and Winston clearly provide the best online multilingual resources of all the major publishers. Earlier in August, though, they inexplicably took much of them off-line.

After some frustrating attempts at communicating with them online, this afternoon I gave them a call. After spending an hour on the phone with them, they discovered that it was a technical glitch. The resources are now back online and available!

You can read the specifics about how to access them at The Best Multilingual & Bilingual Sites For Math, Social Studies, & Science.

Many thanks to Holt!

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August 16, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo

Fascinating Video Explaining How Google Translate Works

I have written a lot in my blog and in my book on teaching English Language Learners on how I use inductive learning in the classroom. Teaching “inductively” generally means providing students with a number of examples from which they can create a pattern and form a concept or rule. Teaching “deductively” is first providing the rule or concept and then having students practice applying it.

This two-and-one-half minute video below explains that this is how Google Translate learns, too. It’s definitely worth watching.

By the way, Google Translate is on The Best Reference Websites For English Language Learners list.

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April 12, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo

Best Multilingual Sites

Here’s another review of some of my “The Best…” lists.As I’ve mentioned before, the links to these list might not work if you’re subscribing to this blog via email, or if you’re reading it on Facebook. There won’t be any problems if you’re reading it off an RSS Reader. And if you go directly to the blog post you’ll be able to access them, too.

Today, here are lists related to multilingual sites:

The Best Multilingual & Bilingual Sites For Learning English
The Best Multilingual & Bilingual Sites For Math, Social Studies, & Science

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November 16, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo

Google Translate Gets Even Better

Google Translate, which is on The Best Reference Websites For English Language Learners — 2008 list, has just gotten better by adding a text-to-speech ability. Unfortunately, though, it doesn’t seem to function for lengthy passages.

You can read more about their improvements at Richard Byrne’s Free Technology for Teachers blog.

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June 9, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo

Google Translator Toolkit

Google has just announced their Google Translator Toolkit. It builds on their great Google Translate tool, which is on The Best Reference Websites For English Language Learners — 2008 list.

I’d encourage you to read the post at The English Blog, which gives an excellent explanation of the new application.

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