Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

March 26, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

Origami & The Language Experience Approach

'Origami 3/365' photo (c) 2012, Cali4beach - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

In the Language Experience Approach, students do an activity and then used the shared experience to develop a group written description of what just happened, as well as using it as a good speaking, listening, and reading opportunity. It’s a great language learning activity.

Making origami can be a good task for students to do, with students either all doing the same thing or choosing different ones.

We’re very fortunate, since Johnny Doolittle, an art teacher at our school, gives up his free period each year to spend two days with my class of English Language Learners to teach us origami. Afterwards, Beginners write about what we did, and Intermediates in my Geography class do it as part of our studying Japan (see The Best Sites For Learning About Japan, which includes links to good sites on the history of origami).

Of course, you don’t have to have an art teacher show your students how to do it — their are plenty of online sites. The Origami Club, I think, may be the best site on the web for origami instructions. Both a diagram and animation is provided for each model, and they’re divided into leveled activities.

Today was the first day of our origami lessons, and you can see the video of our efforts below. Tomorrow, Mr. Doolittle will show us how to make the most famous origami creation (which we studied as part of our Japan unit) — paper cranes.

UPDATE:

Here’s our video from the second day, and here is a comment from Mr. Doolittle sharing other suggestions for teachers who want to try this:

From John Doolittle:

The instructions I use are from:

http://www.origami-fun.com/

I like the way the site is laid out. Their printable instructions are fairly easy to follow. I’ve been able to work them all out… except the “rose,” which only two of my past students have ever been able to do… after studying the youtube video.
I’m sorry to say I have ruined many fine pieces of paper in failing to complete the “rose!”

I would definitely advise teachers to make the origami model themselves before trying it with a class full of students, but it is a fun activity, and I love doing it with your students, Larry!

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December 13, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

“PixiClip” Is A Neat Drawing Tool For English Language Learners

pixiclip

PixiClip is a neat drawing tool I just learned about at Richard Byrne’s blog. I’d strongly encourage you to go there and read more details about the site and see his example but, basically, it lets you make a drawing and record either audio-only or a video to go along with it. It also lets you upload an image from the web and “mark it up,” but I think there are plenty of other web tools that let you do that easily enough — and let you grab images off the web with photo url addresses (PixiClip just lets you upload one from your computer) — so I don’t think that feature particularly stands out (you can see those other tools at The Best Online Tools For Using Photos In Lessons).

But the audio-plus-drawing capability could really come in handy for English Language Learners.

For example, my Beginners are studying the theme of “Home” right now. After doing some pre-planning for a rough “script,” I could see them doing something like the recording I’ve embedded below as a novel summative assessment and may try that out next week. If we do, I’ll post examples on this blog.

Here’s my model:

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

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November 20, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Using The Amazing New Bob Dylan Video With English Language Learners (& Make Your Own!)

dylan

As you might have heard, Bob Dylan released an amazing interactive video of his song, Like A Rolling Stone, today.

You can see it here, and read about it here.

It has sixteen different tracks, like television channels (including a cooking channel as the above image shows), synchronized with different people in different locations mouthing words to the song. It’s got to be seen and heard to be believed.

I’m trying to figure out if and how it could be used with English Language Learners. I’ve never used the song before — the lyrics, I think, would generally be too confusing. However, the chorus is usable. I wonder if students could learn the chorus, sing it at appropriate times, and use the different tracks for Venn Diagrams and compare/contrast paragraphs?

Even more interesting, though, is that Interlude, the actual creator of the video, lets people use their site — for free — to create their own interactive videos. Here’s what I’ve previously posted about them:

Interlude lets you create sort of a “Create Your Own Adventure” video. It’s a little too complicated for me, but you can read more about it at TechCrunch.

Let me know your ideas about using the video in class — and if you’ve used the site to create your own…

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November 4, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

My NY Times Post On Using Music With ELLs

west

My latest New York Times post for English Language Learners focuses on using music for language development and includes a student interactive, video, and teaching ideas. One of those ideas relates to using West Side Story to initiate a discussion of gangs.

I’m adding it to:

The Best Music Websites For Learning English

The Best Sites To Learn About Street Gangs

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October 29, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Easiest & Most Fun Tool On The Web For Creating Music Got Even Better — Again!

music

I’ve previously posted about Incredibox, and I continue to think it’s the easiest and most fun tool on the web for creating music. You can save your creation, give it a title, and share it.

Today, they announced that they completely updated the site (again), including giving it a new url address.

Of course, it continues to be on The Best Online Sites For Creating Music.

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