Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

June 7, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Create An Online Abstract Painting With This New York Times Interactive

You Made That is a pretty simple New York Times interactive that lets you create an abstract painting and then share the url address of your creation. No registration is required.

I’m not adding it to The Best Art Websites For Learning English since I’m not sure how long they’ll be keeping the tool online, but you can also see similar art sites there.

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April 2, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Sketchlot” Lets Students….Sketch

Sketchlot lets students…sketch and draw online. Teachers sign-up and can create a class roster letting students log-in, and drawings are embeddable. You can read more about it at Richard Byrne’s blog.

I’m adding it to two lists:

The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress

The Best Art Websites For Learning English

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February 15, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Harlem Shake As A Language-Learning Activity

I was crazy enough to have my English Language Learner students create Gangnam-style videos as a language-learning activity (though no one reading this blog will ever see what we created since students wouldn’t do it unless I participated and, trust me, you don’t want to see me dancing).

So, if Gangnam-style worked so well, why not jump on the Harlem Shake bandwagon?

If you don’t know, the Harlem Shake is the latest music craze. I’m planning on showing some of these videos to my students next week, have them describe what they see in writing and verbally (they can also compare the different versions), and then have them design their own. I’m sure they’ll demand that I participate when it’s time to perform. If so, don’t hold your breath about seeing the final product.

Here are a few versions (you can see more here):

Here are a couple of other helpful links:

Rules for Shooting Your Own ‘Harlem Shake’ Video


Have You Done A Harlem Shake Video Yet?

Free Super-Easy “Create A Harlem Shake App” Comes To iPhones Today

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December 27, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Must-See Video: “Landfill Harmonic”

Cateura, Paraguay is a town essentially built on top of a landfill. Garbage collectors browse the trash for sellable goods, and children are often at risk of getting involved with drugs and gangs. When orchestra director Szaran and music teacher Favio set up a music program for the kids of Cateura, they soon have more students than they have instruments.

That changed when Szaran and Favio were brought something they had never seen before: a violin made out of garbage. Today, there’s an entire orchestra of assembled instruments, now called The Recycled Orchestra.

Our film shows how trash and recycled materials can be transformed into beautiful sounding musical instruments, but more importantly, it brings witness to the transformation of precious human beings.

Here’s a trailer for the movie:

Thanks to Brainiac for the tip.

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December 7, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Excellent Collection Of Songs For English Language Learners

The British Council reorganized their website awhile back, and now that have all their songs for English Language Learners (including closed-captioning) all in one place. It’s an excellent resource.

I’m adding it to The Best Music Websites For Learning English.

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November 10, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
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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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August 3, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

“doSketch” Is Another Nice Online Drawing Tool

Though I’m not convinced the world needs another online drawing tool, doSketch is an easy one where you can draw and save your creation with no registration needed.

I’m adding it to The Best Art Websites For Learning English, where you can find many similar apps.

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July 19, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“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
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“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
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“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
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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
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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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