Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

December 8, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Using “Quick, Draw!” With ELLs & Other Students

Quick, Draw! is a tool from Google that tells you an object and then gives you twenty seconds to draw it. People have drawn one billion images using it, and Google uses them to make its “machine learning” better. You are given six items to draw and then it shows them all, along with providing you the ability to compare your creations with others.

Quick, Draw! with Google is a post from the TechNotes blog that offers lots of different ideas on how to use Quick, Draw! with English Language Learners.

Personally, I would just use it as a high-interest way for students to learn new vocabulary (they can figure out what the word means before they start the twenty seconds limit), as well as a nice opportunity for listening practice (the game provides automatic audio narration for the words and sentences it says).

I say I would use it that way because our district content filters presently block the site, and I haven’t yet gotten around to exploring if they would unblock it for us.

Another interesting way it could be used is by exploring the similar and different ways the same objects are drawn in different cultures. You can read about that possibility at today’s post at Google’s blog, A look at one billion drawings from around the world.

I guess Google has been in an artistic mood this year, since they also released a second cool drawing tool. You can about it at Google’s Brand New “AutoDraw” Is Likely To Become A Favorite Place For Those Of Us Who Are Artistically-Challenged.

I’m adding this post to:

The Best Art Websites For Learning English

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

December 8, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

New Big Collection Of Free Music To Use With Facebook & Instagram Videos


Today, Facebook unveiled Sound Collection, a large and growing selection of free music to use with Facebook and Instagram videos.

Obviously, it won’t be very useful for school if you’re using them on Facebook because of district content filters, but many teachers – including me – have students create videos on Instagram and then upload them to unblocked platforms (see The Best Resources For Learning To Use The Video Apps “Vine” & Instagram).

You can read more at TechCrunch’s post, Facebook Sound Collection lets you add no-name music to videos.

I’m adding this info to The Best Places To Get Royalty-Free Music & Sound Effects.

November 13, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

LyricsGaps Gets Even Better – Now ALL Existing Songs Can Be Assigned & Student Progress Monitored


I’ve previously shared about how teachers can create music clozes (gap-fills) for students to complete while they listen to – and watch – popular music videos at LyricsGaps (see Create Customized Exercises & Monitor Student Progress At “LyricsGaps”).

Now, though, you can -in seconds – assign any existing exercise on the site. All you have to do is click the “Share This Exercise” button (see screenshot at the top of this post).

My students have to do five hours each week of homework from any of the sites at The Best Online Homework Sites For English Language Learners – Please Offer Your Own Suggestions.  I’m sure that LyricsGaps will now become a very popular option.

November 7, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Create Customized Exercises & Monitor Student Progress At “LyricsGaps”


LyricsGaps has been on The Best Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced English Language Learner Sites list for awhile.  It’s a great (and free) site that lets students watch/listen to music videos and then fill-in-the-blanks.

Since a fair number of the videos are blocked for students by our District’s Internet content filters (but accessible to teachers), I will show the video on the screen and then students write the word on mini-whiteboards.  They, of course, can also use the site at home.

I recently discovered they added a feature for teachers to create customized exercises. Click “play” for any video and you go to a screen that looks like the image at the top of this post.  You can then click on any words you want left blank (it literally takes seconds).  Next, you’re given a url address you can provide students and your account will list the users that have used your exercise and their scores.

I’m adding this info to:

The Best Online Homework Sites For English Language Learners – Please Offer Your Own Suggestions

The Best Sites Where Students Can Work Independently & Let Teachers Check On Progress


October 19, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

New & Absolutely Delightful Playing For Change Music Video: “Everyday People”

I’ve often shared videos from Playing For Change.

They just released a new one that is absolutely delightful.

Here’s how they describe it:

We are proud and honored to reshare this video, produced by Playing For Change in partnership with Turnaround Arts.

Turnaround Arts infuses struggling schools with arts as a strategy for reform. The program was founded by President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities and is now run by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Turnaround Arts currently works in 73 schools, 38 districts, and 17 states and the District of Columbia.

“Everyday People” features Turnaround Arts students alongside their Turnaround Artists including Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, Paula Abdul, Misty Copeland, Elizabeth Banks, Keb’ Mo, Forest Whitaker,and many more performing this timely song by Sly and the Family Stone.

This video was created to inspire the idea that all children deserve access to the arts in school and that the arts have the power to create change.

Learn more about Turnaround Arts at

October 9, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Video: Playing For Change Releases New Around-The-World Video – “My Own Two Hands”

For years, the organization Playing For Change has been releasing collaborative music videos showing musicians from around the world singing songs.

And, for years, I’ve been sharing them here on this blog.

In addition to the great music, their message, and the important work they support, their songs are usually very accessible to English Language Learners – they are usually sung slow enough from them, and the meaning of the lyrics offer great opportunities for class discussion.

Here’s their brand-new video of “My Own Two Hands.” You can find the lyrics here.

June 28, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Great Strategy For Interacting With Art!

This morning, my wife and I took our granddaughter to visit the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento.

While there, I spotted a neat way to interact with art. Now, I’m not an art museum aficionado, but I’ve been to quite a few over the years, and I had never seen this particular strategy.

Next to a painting was a counter fill with small pieces of paper (a different question was on each paper) and pencils. Viewers could respond to one of the questions (one of the sheets invited viewers to create and answer their own) and place their completed sheet on a board with others.

I thought it would be a neat strategy to use with student art shows at schools (recognizing there might be a few less-than-helpful responses in the bunch). I’m thinking of using it with the art project I do with my IB Theory of Knowledge students and have them create questions about their piece of art (see Play-Doh & IB Theory Of Knowledge: Student Hand-Out & Videos).

Is this a common strategy in museums and I’m just living under a rock?

Here’s what it looked like – the painting, the counter, and the completed sheets:

April 12, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Google’s Brand New “AutoDraw” Is Likely To Become A Favorite Place For Those Of Us Who Are Artistically-Challenged

Google just unveiled AutoDraw, a free site that uses artificial intelligence that provides a series of guesses about what you are drawing. You can choose the right “guess” to pretty-up your artistic creation, write up some description, and then download it or share the link. The image above is an example.

This is perfect for English Language Learners – instead of spending tons of time getting their drawing “just right,” they can, instead, have fun drawing quickly and spend more time on the language part of the exercise.

And it’s great for ESL teachers, too – no more working hard trying to draw images of scenes for vocabulary items to support language acquisition. Now just draw a few lines, project it onto the screen, and you’ll be able to show a masterpiece.

I’m adding this info to The Best Art Websites For Learning English.

You can read more about AutoDraw at Technology Review article, Google’s AI Turns Your Crappy Doodles Into Proper Pictures.

Thanks to Greg Toppo for the tip.

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