Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

November 11, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Resources For Geography Awareness Week

Dynamic lead STACKED_no date

Thanks to Richard Byrne, I’ve been reminded that Geography Awareness Week is November 17th through the 23rd this year.

Here’s a description of the week’s origin:

Each year more than 100,000 Americans actively participate in Geography Awareness Week (GeoWeek). Established by presidential proclamation more than 25 years ago, this annual public awareness program organized by National Geographic Education Programs (NGEP) encourages citizens young and old to think and learn about the significance of place and how we affect and are affected by it. Each third week of November, students, families and community members focus on the importance of geography by hosting events; using lessons, games, and challenges in the classroom; and often meeting with policymakers and business leaders as part of that year’s activities.

Here are geography-related “Best” lists I’ve previously posted:

The Best Websites For Learning & Teaching Geography

The Best Geography Sites For Beginning & Intermediate English Language Learners
 (which includes several other “The Best” lists I just don’t have time this morning to include here).

The Best Map-Making Sites On The Web

The Best Resources For Google Earth Beginners Like Me

The Best Online Geography Games

The Best Sites Where Students Can Plan Virtual Trips

The Best Sites For Learning About The World’s Different Cultures

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November 7, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Sites For Learning About France

'Eiffel Tower' photo (c) 2011, Kimberly Vardeman - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

We’re just beginning a unit on France in my ELL Geography class. I have a number of related resources in The Best Geography Sites For Learning About Europe, but wanted to supplement it with this more specialized list:

France Geography is from KidPort.

France Facts

World Fact Book — France

Global Trek France is from Scholastic.

National Geographic For Kids — France

France Homework Links

France: A Children’s Guide

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November 6, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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English Language Learners Using Screencast-o-matic For Folktale Presentations

screen

This year, our School District loosened our Internet filter, so there are now many more options for tools we can use (though, of course, our antiquated tech does create some barriers).

Because of this new freedom of access without having to battle for individual sites to be unblocked, I’ve been pretty aggressive in experimenting with Web 2.0 tools to determine which ones provide the most benefit with the least “hassle” for all involved, especially with my English Language Learner students.

I’ve previously posted about some of them already this year:

Making Instagram Videos With English Language Learners

Using Freire & Fotobabble With English Language Learners

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

Literably Is An Excellent Reading Site — If Used With Caution (I tried this out today, and I think it will work well as a formative assessment — check them out here).

The ones I’ve listed above have all gone very well — easy to use, free-of-charge, higher-order thinking, multiple language domains (reading,writing,speaking, listening), authentic audience, high levels of student engagement, minimal time commitment.

And, now, we’ve had another student success with with Screencast-o-matic.

I had previously posted about it, but hadn’t visited the site in quite awhile. Jose Rodriguez, one of the coordinators of the impressive K-12 Online Conference, recommended I try using it for the keynote address I gave for the conference in October on teacher leadership (you can see it here). I was quite impressed at the changes they had made since I had last tried it out.

All you do is register for the site, show a slideshow, and record audio — you don’t even have to upload your slides prior to recording. You only upload your entire slideshow and audio narration at the time it’s finished. You can publish it to the site and/or to YouTube, and you’re provided with an embed code.

I thought this would be perfect to my students — some knew PowerPoint and they could teach the rest quickly, so there wouldn’t really be much new to learn — I suspect, and I ended up being correct, that it would take less than a minute for students to learn how to use Screencast-o-matic.

We had just finished our Latin American unit in Geography by reading a Mexican folktale, so I thought it would be a good time to experiment. I had students create a simple storyboard (just a piece of paper divided into ten or so boxes) and asked them to tell a folktale from their own culture. They needed to end it with the “lesson” of the story. It took one class period for them to create the storyboard, about two periods to make the PowerPoint, and then they recorded on Screencast-o-matic today. We’ll watch them in class tomorrow.

Here are a few of them:

It’s been a positive experience, and we’ll definitely be using Screencast-o-matic again.

Have you had your students try it out?

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October 24, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Terrific New Videos: Using English “Sister Classes” From Throughout The World In Our ELL Geography Class

'Globes to withdraw' photo (c) 2010, Jeffrey Beall - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Earlier this month, I posted videos my Beginning/Intermediate ELL Geography class made asking questions to English classes in Brazil and invited other classes from throughout the world to participate, too (see Do You Teach An English Class Outside The U.S. & Want To Have Your Students Answer Our Questions About Your Country?).

Terrific things have happened since that time, including the fact that our Brazilian sister classes have posted videos in response.

You can read about how it went with Ana Maria Menezes’ class here, and see many written and video responses from the classes in Carla Arena’s school here.

Here’s just one example of their video response:

My students love them!

The other great news is that teachers from around the globe responded to my earlier post, and my students will be preparing video questions for many as we student different regions and countries throughout the school year. Of course, we can always use more! Some of these classes are also preparing to asking my students about life in the United States.

Speaking and listening practice, plus learning about geography and cultures — Not a bad combination!

Thanks to Ana Maria Menezes and Carla Arena for their support…

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October 23, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Wide Angle’s “Video Bank” Is An Excellent Social Studies Resource

wide

Thanks to my talented colleague, Elisabeth Johnson, I’ve learned about “Wide Angle: Window Into Global History,” a project of Channel Thirteen in New York.

It has a collection of multimedia social studies lessons and a “video bank,” which I think is particularly impressive. The videos are divided by themes (power, conflict, migrations, etc.) and each video has suggested guiding classroom questions, a transcript and more.

I’m finding that the page they have listing the videos “by location” particularly useful for my Geography class.

I’m adding the site to The Best Geography Sites For Beginning & Intermediate English Language Learners.

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October 20, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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More Resources On Brazil

Here are new additions to The Best Sites For Learning About Brazil:

Pickup Soccer in Brazil Has an Allure All Its Own is from The New York Times.

World Cup 2014: Brazil’s stadiums – interactive is from The Guardian.

Here’s a great Prezi created by my talented colleague Elisabeth Johnson. Bear in mind her comment: “I created a Prezi to introduce Brazil because I don’t think our kids realize how prevalent it is in pop culture. I will warn you that I would probably only show the first minute or so of the “beautiful” video with Snoop Dogg and Pharrell as there are lots of Tanga bikini shots after that.”

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October 9, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Do You Teach An English Class Outside The U.S. & Want To Have Your Students Answer Our Questions About Your Country?

'World map' photo (c) 2010, Martyn Wright - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

One of the variety of classes I teach every year is a Geography course for Beginning and Intermediate students.

As we study different countries and regions, my students are videotaping questions they have and sharing them with English classes in those areas of the world. Students in both of our classes get experience with an authentic audience, and my students generate more geography knowledge. Of course, if students in those other countries have questions about the U.S., we’d be happy to answer them, too.

It’s a simple short-term activity that only requires each class to produce short simple videos once or twice (I’m not a big fan of longer-term “pen pal” relationships — in my experience, at least, they can become a bit of a burden).

We’re starting off studying Latin and South America, and have created our first videos for English classes in Brazil taught or mentored by Ana Maria Menezes and by Carla Arena.

I’ve embedded a couple of our videos below, and you can see them all here at our class blog.

If you are teaching an English class of secondary or above students in any country other than the United States and are interested in doing something like this with us, please let me know in the comments section….

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October 3, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Trippin” Is An Innovative Site For Learning English

trippin

Trippin is an engaging and innovative site for English language-learning that combines “edgy” videos (classroom appropriate — just “hip” enough to be particularly attractive to teenage learners), quizzes, and geography. Though I obviously didn’t view all the videos and try-out all the interactives, they seem to be laid-out sequentially (and, I assume, with graduated levels of difficulty) — in other words, players are not allowed to do them out of order

It’s been created by Mau Buchler, a twenty-year veteran of teaching English. He’s been developing the site for three years….

It’s free (though there are indications on the site they at some point there might be a cost), and I’m looking forward to having my students try it out next week.

I’m adding it to The Best Geography Sites For Beginning & Intermediate English Language Learners and may add it to other “Best” lists, depending on what my students and blog readers tell me.

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September 28, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Sites For Learning About Brazil

'Mapa dos Estados Brasileiros (Brazilian states map)' photo (c) 2007, Douglas - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

As regular readers know, in addition to teaching English to ELLs, I always teach a Social Studies class to them, too. This year, I’m teaching Geography to a multi-level class, and am using many of the resources at The Best Geography Sites For Beginning & Intermediate English Language Learners.

One of those resources links is to another list, The Best Sites For Learning About Mexico, Central & South America. That post has a number of Brazil-related links. However, I’m doing something a little different this year and teaching a much more advanced Geography curriculum to a number of my students, and right now we’re studying Brazil. As part of that unit, I decided to create a supplemental list to the Brazil links on that other post.

I’m also trying to find a class in Brazil that might be interested in exchanging a few messages over the Web with my students. If you’re a teacher in Brazil and are interested, please let me known.

Here is a beginning list of The Best Sites For Learning About Brazil:

Kids Corner Brazil

National Geographic Brazil for Kids

Brazil Country Profile — BBC

National Geographic Brazil profile

Brazil Guide

Fact Monster Brazil

Brazil Atlas

Many videos about Brazil from How Stuff Works

Play Amazon Explorer

Amazon Interactive

Google Maps Amazon

Rain Forest Talking Book

Brazil Tour 360

Here is a video you might not be able to view in an RSS Reader:

Here’s a YouTube version of the same video:

The Signs Of Brazilian Protests

The BBC has a collection of Brazil videos.

Pickup Soccer in Brazil Has an Allure All Its Own is from The New York Times.

World Cup 2014: Brazil’s stadiums – interactive is from The Guardian.

Here’s a great Prezi created by my talented colleague Elisabeth Johnson. Bear in mind her comment: “I created a Prezi to introduce Brazil because I don’t think our kids realize how prevalent it is in pop culture. I will warn you that I would probably only show the first minute or so of the “beautiful” video with Snoop Dogg and Pharrell as there are lots of Tanga bikini shots after that.”

24 Traditional Brazilian Foods You Need To Eat Right Now

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September 26, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Two New Ways To Create Geography Games

Here are two new additions to The Best Online Geography Games:

At Quiz Geo, you can easily create your own geography game as well as play ones created by others. It didn’t seem to work for me on Firefox, though, and I could only play it on the Google Chrome Browser.

Class Tools lets you easily create a Map “treasure hunt” with no registration necessary.

classtools

Thanks to Google Maps Mania for the tip.

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August 30, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Earth-Picker Is A New Online Geography Game

geo

Earth-Picker is a new online geography games that’s somewhat similar to other ones using Google Street View that can be found on The Best Online Geography Games list.

You’re shown a location and have to identify on a map where you think it is in the world. You’re told how close you are, and how your guess compares to the ones made by other players.

I’m adding it to that games list.

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August 14, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Wow, Google Street View “Treks” Site Is Impressive!

treks

Google has just created a special site for the Street Views they’ve done in remote and/or unusual sites, including Burj Khalifa, Iqaluit, Mt. Everest, the Grand Canyon, the Great Barrier Reef, the Amazon Basin and the Kennedy Space Center. More are on the way.

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

Thanks to TechCrunch for the tip.

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August 12, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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This May Be The Best Geography Site Of The Year: “40 maps that explain the world”

map

40 maps that explain the world is a great collection from the Washington Post that may be the best geography site of the year. It links to another site called 40 Maps They Didn’t Teach You In School that 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.

I’m adding the link to The Best Websites For Learning & Teaching Geography and to The Best Geography Sites For Beginning & Intermediate English Language Learners.

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August 2, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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A Site For Teaching ELLs About Adjectives & TOK Students About Perception

place

Place Pulse is a site from MIT that shows you two Google Street View images from around the world, and then asks you to “vote” on which one looks “livelier”; “safer” or any number of other comparative adjectives (you can switch them by clicking on the question mark).

It’s an intriguing way to teach comparative adjectives to English Language Learners, as well as having IB Theory of Knowledge students explore perception.

I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Gaining A Basic Understanding Of Adjectives.

Thanks to Google Maps Mania for the tip.

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July 13, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Poverty and Race in America, Then and Now” Is A Useful Mapping Site

Poverty and Race in America, Then and Now lets you look at any metropolitan area in the United States and compare poverty in it in 1980, 190, 2000 or 2010. You can view the comparison on a “sliding” map, though I wish it just showed you the same locations in two screens — that would make it a little easier to compare to the two views (you’ll see what I mean when you visit the site).

I’m adding it to The Best Tools For Analyzing Census Data (even though the data also comes from additional sources).

Thanks to Google Maps Mania for the tip.

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