Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

November 10, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo

New Viral Hit “It’s Thanksgiving” Could Work For ELL’s

This new viral hit “It’s Thanksgiving” by Nicole Westbrook could be a fun song to play and sing with English Language Learners. It’s pretty fast, but students could just focus on certain lines. The song highlights other holidays, too, which is a nice bonus. It’s not like there are that many pop songs about Turkey Day.

I couldn’t find a closed-captioned version, but the lyrics are here. You can read about specific music-related instructional strategies at The Best Music Websites For Learning English.

I’m adding it to The Best Sites To Learn & Teach About Thanksgiving.

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July 19, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo

“FlockDraw” Is One Of The Best Online Drawing Tools Around

FlockDraw, with no registration required, lets you create a virtual room where up to ten people can draw in addition to being able to “chat.” You can save your drawing on the Web. It can’t get much easier than what they’ve set-up.

I’m adding it to The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration and to The Best Art Websites For Learning English.

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July 11, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo

“An Abridged History of Western Music in 16 Genres”

The music video, An Abridged History of Western Music in 16 Genres, lets you hear Louie Armstrong’s famous “It’s A Wonderful World” song, a favorite of ESL teachers and students, in a way you’ve never heard it before. Below that video, I’ve embedded the version that I use with my students:

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June 30, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

“More Than A Number”

“More Than A Number” is a song written by educator Barry Lane (author of numerous books about teaching writing); Lyrics by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater (if the SoundCloud embed doesn’t come through on an RSS Reader, you’ll need to click through to the post).

Here’s a message from them:

The minds and spirits of children will always rise above numbers. Let us hold this truth and use it to guide our policy and our decisions.

We are making a YouTube slideshow version of this song and will need about 50 photographs to do so. If you have a photo of your child doing anything in the song – or a photo of play, creation, exploration, joy, learning, immersion in activities of the child’s own initiative – we would love to see it!

To submit a photograph, please send your picture (landscape preferable) with a note of “permission to use this photo as a part of the MORE THAN A NUMBER slideshow” to amy at amylv dot com

We hope for the slideshow to be a true multicultural mix of beautiful children in love with life….

Many thanks!

- Barry & Amy

Here are the lyrics:

Music by Barry Lane & Lyrics by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater (2012)
Cover art by Georgia VanDerwater (2005) copyright 2012

More Than a Number (lyrics)
I am quiet in the classroom.
I don’t always raise my hand.
I don’t always answer questions.
I don’t always understand.
But I always have ideas
when I stare up at the sky.
My sister likes to tease me
for always asking, “Why?”

I am more than a number.
I am more than a grade.
I know the constellations.
Here’s a painting that I made.
I read books in my closet.
I will not be a ‘2’.
I am more than a number.
I’m a person just like you.

I speak one language here
and another in my home.
I daydream in both languages
whenever I’m alone.
I’m good at climbing trees.
Mom’s teaching me to sew.
I am full of secrets
a test can never know.

I am more than a number.
Watch me fold this plane.
I snuggle with my beagle.
There’s music in my brain.
Someday I’ll go to Egypt.
I will never be a ‘2’.
I am more than a number.
I’m a person just like you.

If you think I can be measured
by numbers on a screen…
…if my whole school becomes a test
where will I learn to dream?
I love to do hard problems.
I write stories, and I laugh.
My gifts are so much greater
than the data on your graph.

I’m more than a number.
I invent things when I play.
I collect shells and fossils.
Please hear me when I say
I will not be a ‘1’–
a ‘2’, a ‘3’, or a ‘4’.
I am me. I’m a mystery.
I’m a child – not a score.

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April 5, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Easiest & Most Fun Tool To Create Music On The Web Just Got Even Better!

If you’ve ever tried Incredibox, you know why I call it the easiest and most fun tool to create music on the Web.

If you haven’t tried it yet, do it now! They announced major improvements today, including letting you save your compositions. You can now give them a title and post a link on your blog or website, or share in other ways.

I’m adding it to The Best Online Sites For Creating Music.

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March 1, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo

My Class Had A Very Musical Thursday Today….

A few times each year, I bring my Beginning and Intermediate English Language Learner students to music and art classes at our school. Since most have to take extra periods of English during their high school career, they don’t have time on their schedules for elective classes. So this is a way for them to get exposure to these other activities, provide our class lots of activities for later use in speaking and writing lessons (and authentic speaking practice when we actually visit the classes), and it gives students in the music and art classes opportunities to be “teachers.”

Here’s our video from today:

I also just got around to making one from our last visit to Mr. Doolittle’s art class:

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January 30, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo

Easily Create A Musical Playlist With Choruzz

Choruzz lets you — without needing to register — search for music videos and create a playlist of them. You’re then given a unique url address for your list that you can share.

It’s very easy to use, and it meets my “Raffi” test — in other words, plenty of songs are accessible that you can use with English Language Learners.

I’m adding it to Not “The Best,” But “A List” Of Music Sites.

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January 24, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Music Shake

Music Shake lets you create….musical tracks quite easily, which you can then embed or post a link to it. You can do those things for free. However, you have to pay if you want to download your music for use in a video or other presentation. In fact, they just created an education arm where schools could purchase licenses for all their students to do just that.

I think it’s fine to just have students, especially English Language Learners, use it to quickly create music and then describe it and have students comment their classmate’s creations.

I’m adding it to The Best Online Sites For Creating Music.

You can learn about Music Shake at TechCrunch.

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December 9, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Art & Music Sites Of 2011

Here’s the latest end-of-the-year “The Best…” list.

You might also be interested in:

The Best Art & Music Sites Of 2011 — So Far

The Best Art & Music Sites — 2010

The Best Art & Music Sites — 2009

Here are my choices for The Best Art & Music Sites Of 2011:


Number seven:

AWW lets you draw with others or on your own, and does let you save the creation on the web. It doesn’t have a chatboard, however. You can read more about it at Richard Byrne’s blog.

Number six:

Number five:

ArtFinder is a new web tool that lets you discover new art and build your own virtual collections. You can take a survey identifying pieces of art you like and it will help you discover more like them.

Number four:

Disapainted may be just about the easiest tools out there to make simple “stickman” animations. Registration takes less than twenty seconds, and you are given a link to your creation. ELL’s can make an animation and then share — in writing and/or verbally — a story about it.

Number three:

Draw It Live lets you create virtual “rooms” where you can collaborate with people of your choices to draw. It also includes a chat window. You can save the image to your desktop, but it doesn’t appear to let you save it on the web.

Number two:

The Google Art Project puts some of the most important art museums, and their collections, online with amazing features, including being able to create your own art collection. I’ve embedded a very short video from the site that shows what it can do — I can’t do justice to it just with words.

Number one:

Artpad is a great simple application that lets you paint and draw, and then save your creation (not to mention letting you replay your creative process). It’s been on The Best Art Websites For Learning English list. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been functioning for the past year or two. I should rephrase that — you have been able to draw and paint with it for that time, but it hasn’t been able to save your creation. However, I recently checked it, and it all seems to be working again, and paintings are saved — each one is given a unique url address. With luck, it will continue to work….


Number Four:

LyricsNMusic is a nice site that lets you easily search for lyrics and you can a very clean and accessible copy. It also finds music videos of the song. What I particularly like about it, though, is that is shows the lyrics at the top and the video at the bottom, so you can play the music and show the lyrics without students getting distracted by the video. Other sites show the lyrics right next to the video.

Number three:

Instalyrics is a new site that shows you the lyrics to any song very, very quickly, along with a music video that goes along with it.

Number two:

American Sabor is a neat new site from The Smithsonian that’s designed to celebrate Latino music heritage. It has tons of multimedia features and a nice interactive.

Number one:

Lyrics Gaps lets you choose a song and the language you want it sung in and then gives you the option of seeing/hearing it in different modes — karaoke, beginner, intermediate, expert. Apart from karaoke mode, you’re then shown a YouTube video of the singer, along with the lyrics on the side including blanks (fill-in-the-gap). I especially like the beginner mode, which provides several options to chose to complete the sentences. The higher levels don’t give any hints.

Feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at the 800 other “The Best…” lists and consider subscribing to this blog for free.

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