Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

April 15, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

“Spacehopper” Is One Of The Best Geography Games I’ve Seen

geo2

There are quite a few online geography games out there, and you can see them at The Best Online Geography Games. Many of them are pretty hard, and can be frustrating to students.

Spacehopper is a new online game that isn’t easy but, after showing you a Google Street View image of a location, provides clues that make it less difficult. You’re shown a map with various dots on it, as well as the map outline of the country. After three guesses, you’re given the answer along with information on the location.

Thanks to Google Maps Mania for the tip.

Print Friendly

March 26, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Billionaire’s Ballot Initiative To Divide California Into Six States Is Insane, But It’s A Gift To Geography Teachers

Venture capitalist and billionaire Tim Draper is getting tired of paying taxes to help the rest of us, so he wants to divide California into six states. And he’s bankrolling an initiative that’s close to getting on the ballot to do just that.

A billionaire meddling into things he knows little about but that would have a major impact on a lot of low-and-moderate income people. There seems to be a lot of that going around.

If it does make it to the ballot, and even if it doesn’t, I do suspect that it might make our upcoming unit on California in my ELL Geography class a trifle more engaging. And I think I speak for all California Geography teachers!

Here’s a video and an infographic on what the San Jose Mercury News — and most other sane people — call a “crazy” idea:

2

Six Californias
by johnmnelson.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

Print Friendly

March 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The Best Sites For Learning About Japan

March 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

The Best Sites For Learning About India

'Image taken from page 17 of 'A E I. Arabia, Egypt, India. A narrative of travel. With fifteen illustrations and two maps'' photo (c) 2013, The British Library - license: http://www.flickr.com/commons/usage/

We’re going to be studying India next week in my Geography class for English Language Learners.

I’ll be adding this to A Beginning List Of The Best Geography Sites For Learning About Asia & The Middle East.

Here are my choices for The Best Sites For Learning About India (additional suggestions are welcome):

The Best Sites To Learn About The Hindu Festival Of Holi

National Geographic For Kids: India

TIME For Kids: India

Snaith Primary School: India

Mr. Donn’s India

Woodlands India

Primary Homework Help India

Fact Monster India

Print Friendly

March 11, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Our Latest Response From A Sister Class — This Time From South Africa!

'south africa flag' photo (c) 2011, Matthias Mueller - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I’ve been sharing about an ongoing project my ELL Geography class has been doing — studying different countries, developing questions about them, and then recording videos of themselves asking those questions that we’d send to an English class in that country.

It’s been a great experience for everyone involved, and I’ve previously shared some of those videos:

Terrific New Videos: Using English “Sister Classes” From Throughout The World In Our ELL Geography Class (from Brazil)

Great Video Response From English Class In Italy To Our Questions

More Video Responses From Sister Classes — This Time From Latvia!

The latest response is from our sister class in South Africa.

You can see our videotaped questions at our class blog here.

I’ve embedded the great response from our sister class in South Africa below. Here’s a description of that class and its teacher, Sven Glietenberg:

I’m a second-year teacher of Grade 10 English (First Additional Language) at Ntswane Secondary School in Hammanskraal near Pretoria, South Africa.

We’re a semi-rural government school – learners only pay $10 a year to attend. Most learners speak Setswana as a home language but every class contains home-language speakers of all 11 South African official languages.

The learners are very enthusiastic to learn and we make the most of things and try to be creative and active as much as possible, even though we lack some facilities (no electricity in classes/computers/proper sanitation etc.)

A lot of great things can and do happen despite the challenges, mostly all you need is enthusiastic teachers and learners, and a bit of creativity and patience.

Print Friendly

March 1, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Wash. Post Does It Again With “25 maps and charts that explain America today”

post2

The Washington Post keeps on coming up with excellent collections of maps and charts.

Last year they published 40 maps that explain the world. It linked to another site called 40 Maps They Didn’t Teach You In School that also has a number of other good maps. However, that second site also includes a few maps with topics and language that wouldn’t be appropriate for the classroom.

Then, The Post published a sequel: 40 more maps that explain the world.

I added both to The Best Websites For Learning & Teaching Geography.

The Post hasn’t stopped there. They’ve also published 40 charts that explain the world, which I added to The Best Multimedia Resources For Introducing Students To The Advantages Of Charts, Graphs & Infographics.

And, today, they just published yet another exceptional collection titled 25 maps and charts that explain America today.

Of course, I’m adding this one the Best Geography list….

Print Friendly

January 26, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Latest Videos From Our Sister Class Geography Project — This Time, From Spain!

I’ve been posting about the short-and-sweet video exchanges my English Language Learner Geography classes have been doing with English classes from around the world — we videotape questions about their countries and they respond.

Here are a few of my past posts on the project:

More Video Responses From Sister Classes — Time From Latvia!

Terrific New Videos: Using English “Sister Classes” From Throughout The World In Our ELL Geography Class (from Brazil)

Great Video Response From English Class In Italy To Our Questions

We’ve connected with other countries, too, though they have asked to keep their videos private.

The latest response we’ve received has been from the English class taught by Mireia Xorto Prados in Catalonia. I’ve embedded one of their great videos below, and you can see the rest of them at their class blog.

You can see the video questions at our class blog.

Print Friendly

January 25, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The Best Sites For Learning About South Africa

'You are here' photo (c) 2008, Chris Eason - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

As regular readers know, my ELL Geography class has been working with sister classes from throughout the world.

We’re studying Africa now, and will be exchanging videos with classes in that country. Though we’ll be doing other forms of study about that country, one of the simple projects will be having students use “inductive learning” to identify information from this “The Best…” list (probably five pieces of info for each category) that fits into these categories: climate, attractions, economy, culture, history and Nelson Mandela. They will then turn each category into a paragraph, add an introduction and conclusion, and have an essay. In addition, they will be identifying questions in each category that they will be asking our sister classes there. Depending on our time, students might also create online posters, either using Tackk or doing it in Word and uploading it to TxtBear.

I’m also adding this post to The Best Geography Sites For Beginning & Intermediate English Language Learners.

Here is what I have so far — suggestions are welcome:

The Best Sites For Learning About Nelson Mandela (there is a ton of resources there that I won’t duplicate here, which is why you won’t find many specific apartheid resources on this list)

Around The World: South Africa from TIME for Kids.

The 11 Languages of South Africa (thanks to Michelle Henry for the tip)

South Africa under apartheid in the 1970s is an audio slideshow from the BBC with some excellent photos.

National Geographic For Kids: South Africa

Our Africa: South Africa

South Africa For Kids

Fact Monster South Africa

A Fighter With a Camera in Apartheid-Era South Africa is a New York Times slideshow.

Here’s a short, touching NY Times video on the life of a child going to school in South Africa:

Print Friendly

January 20, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Home Culture Presentations With English Language Learners

'Pyeongtaek City Cultural Tour - 24 September 2011 - Republic of South Korea' photo (c) 2011, USAG- Humphreys - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Having English Language Learners give reports about about their home countries is a fairly typical class assignment. And, for students who are not newcomers, it gets pretty old for them to have to do it every year.

I have students in my ELL Geography class do similar presentations each year, though I try to make it a little different from what they’ve done in the past.

I introduce it as a lesson on “culture” — we discuss what culture is and what would be included as its primary components in any country.

After we make a list, we view this simple slideshow I found on Slideshare:

Then, students create a poster or slideshow highlighting those elements (and any of other ones of their choice that we might have brainstormed) from their home country:

A planning hand-out usually looks something like this:

Make a report on the culture of your home country. Include these elements (feel free to add other ones, too):

Language:
• Spoken & Written
• Gestures

Social Organization:
• Who are the most important people in a community and why
• What are the most important groups in a community and why

Traditions

Food

Arts

Religion

Form of Government

Last year, students made posters and short oral presentations, which included responding to questions from their classmates:

This year, they made PowerPoints. Here are a few samples, and you can see all of them at our class blog:

I’d love to hear ideas on how to make this lesson better!

Print Friendly

January 7, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Anyone Teaching A Class In Africa Where Students Would Like To Answer Our Questions?

'African stability map' photo (c) 2010, futureatlas.com - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I’ve previously posted about the series of videos my English Language Learner Geography class has been creating with questions for English classes in countries we’ve been studying.

So far, we’ve done this short-and-simple process (we create a video, post them on our class blog, and then the other class creates videos responding to them — of course, we’re also open to answering questions ourselves) with classes in Brazil, France, Italy Latvia and the United Kingdom. We’ve got classes lined-up in Asia and in Australia to do the same thing, but we’re studying Africa now and haven’t connected with any class on that continent.

Anybody interested?

Print Friendly

January 4, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Here’s What I’m Having My ELL Geography Students Do As Their Semester “Final”

geo1

Our Winter Break ends on Monday, and our first semester comes to an end in two weeks.

As regular readers know, one of my classes is a Geography class for Intermediate English Language Learners, and I thought I’d share with readers what I plan on having them do as a “final.”

This final obviously builds on what we’ve studied in class, including all the work we’ve done with “sister classes” around the world and the upcoming project they’ll be doing about their own cultures next week. Plus, it builds on the academic writing we’ve been doing.

The final will be a simple reading followed by a prompt. They’ll be reading How to Respect Other Cultures, followed by this prompt:

According to the authors, why is it important to learn about other cultures and what are the best ways to do it? Do you agree with what the authors are saying? To support your opinion you may use examples from your own experiences (including what has taken place in our class this year), your observations of others, and any of your reading.

You can see similar prompts and the reasons for their wording at My Best Posts On Writing Instruction.

Feedback on this final, including ideas on how I can make it better, are welcome!

Print Friendly

December 24, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

More Video Responses From Sister Classes — This Time From Latvia!

'Latvia on map' photo (c) 2008, www.guigo.eu - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

I’ve been sharing about an ongoing project my ELL Geography class has been doing — studying different countries, developing questions about them, and then recording videos of themselves asking those questions that we’d send to an English class in that country.

It’s been a great experience for everyone involved, and I’ve previously some of those videos:

Terrific New Videos: Using English “Sister Classes” From Throughout The World In Our ELL Geography Class (from Brazil)

Great Video Response From English Class In Italy To Our Questions

Our latest connection is with Kristīne Karele‘s class in Latvia.

You can see videos of our questions at our class blog, and here are his students’ responses.

By the way, even though I connected up with classes through the fairly extensive ESL/EFL social media presence, there are plenty of other avenues to make similar connections. You can check out The Best Ways To Find Other Classes For Joint Online Projects for more info.

Print Friendly

December 15, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

The Best Sites For Learning About The United Kingdom

'Cartoon UK' photo (c) 2008, Alistair Marshall - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I’m continuing to create specific “The Best…” lists corresponding to the countries and regions we’re studying in my ELL Geography class.

You can see all them at The Best Geography Sites For Beginning & Intermediate English Language Learners.

Today, I’m in a little bit of a rush, so I’ll try to quickly pull together some resources on the United Kingdom (we’re studying it this week and then making a video with questions for a sister class there). I’ll be adding more, and invite others to make suggestions:

National Geographic For Kids — United Kingdom

Kids Ask Questions About England

Fact Monster United Kingdom

TIME For Kids — England

Visual Geography — United Kingdom

Manchester, England

Where To Next?

Wales

Project Britain
(via Lynne Blackburn)

The view from the top of the Shard: London panorama of sights and sounds – interactive

Scotland

London At Night

The Little Red Hen — An English Folktale

Chicken Little — An English Folktale

Myths from England

Sounds of GREAT Britain is a very cool series of interactive videos that allow viewers to take a customized audio and visual tour of…Great Britain. It’s very creative. I’ve embedded the first video below…

The creators of the video also have a very engaging site called LoveWall – Visit Britain which provides excellent categorized images from around the country.

Print Friendly

November 19, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Geography Students Use “Stay.com” To Create Virtual Trips

stay

As I’ve previously posted, I’ve been energized to try-out a fair amount of Web 2.0 tools this year with my English Language Learners. I’ve been wanting to do a number of these projects for years, but the Internet filter our District had been using made often made doing it quite difficult — if not impossible.

You can see what I’ve been doing in just the first three two-and-a-half months here and here.

Today, we tried another experiment that seemed to go well.

I’ve had a “Best” list titled The Best Sites Where Students Can Plan Virtual Trips. On it, you can find a number of sites where users can learn about different cities around the world and then plan trips there, which they can then save online. I’ve had students use some of them in the past and then they would describe why they picked the places they did, but, until this year, the District blocked the site that I consider the best to use for this purpose — Stay.com. It’s very easy and accessible to use.

Fortunately, this year it’s unblocked, and today students created virtual trips to Paris (we’re just finishing up our unit on France — on Thursday we make videos of students asking questions to our sister classes in that country!).

I had students pick at least six places they wanted to visit and write one sentence each about why they wanted to visit them. Tomorrow, students will review what they classmates wrote and write their own comments.

You can see several of them at our class blog, and I’ll share a few examples here:

Kou’s Guide

A.Jay’s Guide

Selina’s Guide

Lee’s Guide

Print Friendly

November 17, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Sites For Learning About Italy

'earthquakes-area-italy' photo (c) 2009, Massy Biagio - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Later this week, my ELL Geography class will be finishing up our unit on France by videotaping questions we have for our “sister” English classes in that country.

Next on our list is Italy.

Here’s a very beginning collection of resources I’ve collected (I hope you’ll suggest more!), and I’ll be adding this post to The Best Geography Sites For Beginning & Intermediate English Language Learners:

Italy For Kids

Ducksters Italy

Italy Facts

Explore Venice with Google Street View

Italy with National Geographic for Kids

Fact Monster Italy

Tour the Ruins of Pompeii

Italy: Enchanted Learning

Print Friendly