Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

October 22, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Using Examples Of The World’s Oldest Music In History Class


Earlier this month, I posted about the annual lesson I do in my English Language Learner World History class with the oldest written story ever found (see ELL World History Video Project: The Epic Of Gilgamesh).

Today, Open Culture shared a post with examples of the oldest surviving written music (see Hear the World’s Oldest Surviving Written Song (200 BC), Originally Composed by Euripides, the Ancient Greek Playwright).

It got me wondering if my students could do a project researching and sharing the oldest examples of their home culture’s music?

I did a quick online search, and there certainly are many examples. At the bottom of this post, I’ve embedded videos of ancient Mesoamerican and Arab music.

So, I’m thinking of asking students to research their culture’s music, make a short report on the instruments used and the role of music in their ancient culture, explain what it sounds like to them and what they visualize when they hear it, and then play it for the class.

What do you think? Do you have ideas on how I can make the lesson a better one for both learning about history and for language development?

August 30, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

“I Could Do That” Is A Great Video For Anyone Interested In Close Reading (& For TOK Teachers)

John Spencer just shared this great video on Twitter.

It’s from PBS, and is a great one for IB Theory of Knowledge teachers when exploring the arts.

Even more interesting – to me, at least – is how it can applied to an understanding of “close reading.” I suspect David Coleman, the primary author of the Common Core Standards, would not necessarily agree with what the video says about the critical importance of context…

I’m adding this to The Best Resources On Close Reading Paintings, Photos & Videos.

August 12, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Video: “Mona Lisa Smile” Clip Is Great For “Thinking Outside Of Box”

This scene from the movie Mona Lisa Smile, suggested by reader Alexandra Duarte, is a new addition to The Best Videos Showing “Thinking Outside The Box.”

It would also be a great video to show to IB Theory of Knowledge classes when learning about the arts…

August 1, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

This Is An Unusual Music Video: “Distance From Home: Translating four decades of global refugee movement to song”

Distance From Home: Translating four decades of global refugee movement to song is one of the more unusual music videos you’ll ever see:

This song was generated using refugee data from the United Nations from 1975 to 2012. The quantity, length, and pitch of the song’s instruments are controlled by the volume of refugee movement and distance traveled between their countries of origin and asylum.

I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning About World Refugee Day.

July 8, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources For Using Art As A Way To Teach & Learn English – Help Me Find More

I have periodically shared links to lessons on using art as a language-learning activity, and have published some of my own. I thought it would be useful to start compiling them here, and to invite readers to contribute what I hope are a whole lot more.

I’m excluding music lessons from this list since I have several separate ones for them:

A Collection Of “The Best…” Lists For Sites Where ELL’s Can Create Art
The Best Music Websites For Learning English
The Best Online Sites For Creating Music
The Best Online Karaoke Sites For English Language Learners
Not “The Best,” But “A List” Of Music Sites
The Best Places To Find Lyrics On The Web
The Best Sites For Ideas On Making Simple Musical Instruments

You might also be interested in The Best Resources Discussing The Importance Of Art In Education — Help Me Find More.

Here is a beginning Best Resources For Using Art As A Way To Teach & Learn English:

Videos: Using Art As A Language-Learning Activity

Using art in the classroom is from ELT-Cation.

Five Reasons to Teach English Using Art

Art Least is “A site that explores art & creativity in ELT.”

Chain Drawings is a nice lesson from The British Council.

Create to Communicate: Art Activities for the EFL Classroom is from the United States Department of State.

From my NY Times posts for ELLs: Students separate run-on sentences in this interactive about International Dance Day, and use it as a model for creating their own.  In addition, they can view a variety of dance videos and write a compare/contrast essay.

Developing English Language Skills through Dance from ArtsConnection on Vimeo.

Teaching English Through Art:Reflection on a MOOC session is from Art Least. Thanks toMichelle Henry for the tip.

I’m looking forward to lots of new suggestions from readers!

May 10, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Here’s A Successful Music Lesson We Did With Beginning ELLs (Hand-Outs & Student Examples Included)

Here’s a two-week-long music-related lesson that, thanks to my extraordinary colleague, Alma Avalos, was a very successful one that took about a week. It includes all the domains — listening, reading, writing and speaking.

First, students were introduced to the Black-Eyed Peas song, “Where is the love?” (lyrics video embedded below). The song is sung fairly fast but, just like the saying goes that the best book for a student is not one on their lexile level but, instead, one they want to read, the same hold true for a introducing a popular song.

Students were given copies of the lyrics, asked to highlight new words, which were reviewed in class. They also practiced the song in the wonderful Lyrics Training site.

Students also practiced reading the lyrics out loud. Once comprehension was solid, it was time for Step Two.

, they began completing this Where Is The Love? worksheet. It includes a number of questions and tasks, including picking ten of their favorite lines, translating them into their language, and explaining why they chose the lyrics and what feelings they generated.

Third, Students used the online tool Canva to create an online poster of those ten favorite lyrics, using images to help illustrate their meaning. You can see some of their creations here.

All of the previous tasks made up the first section of the unit lesson. Now it was time for students to apply what they learned to higher-order and more complex tasks.

First, students were asked to choose their favorite song that had classroom appropriate lyrics, and then to complete this form, which included choosing their favorite ten lines.

Secondly, they went back to Canva and created a similar slideshow to their first one — this time, though, using the lines from their song. You can see student examples here (the first one or two links might be for the Where is the Love? song, but the rest are for their favorite songs).

Thirdly, students presented their Canva slideshow, explained in what the lyrics meant, and showed a video of their song.

Students really enjoyed the unit and, as you can see, it was filled with high-interest language-development activities.

It was a great piece of work by Alma!

If we had more time, we would have had the students choose one of the favorite songs and practice singing a portion of it as a group. Then, as we’ve done before, they would have performed for our ELL Intermediates (see how that worked before at Singing, Recording & Authentic Audiences For English Language Learners).

But the school year is ending soon, and we couldn’t afford to use any more time on the unit.

Feel free to offer suggestions on how you think we could have made it better!

I’m adding this post to:

The Best Music Websites For Learning English

The “All-Time” Best 2.0 Tools For Beginning English Language Learners
(because of our use of Canva)

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