Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

April 10, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The British Council Has Excellent Leveled Reading Resources

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One of my most popular posts is The Best Places To Get The “Same” Text Written For Different “Levels.” It’s filled with free sources where you can get the similar versions of the same text that have been edited for different levels of readers.

For some reason, however, I have neglected to put the modified readings from the great British Council on that list, and I am fixing that oversight now.

They have a number of readings in three or four levels each. They seem to have them in two different places — stories in three levels here and four levels here.

Please check out that “Best” list to see if I’m missing anything — these kinds of readings are gold to ELL teachers and others!

March 24, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Excellent “Listen & Read” Nonfiction From National Geographic

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Judie Haynes has a very useful TESOL post titled 10 Online Resources to Improve EL Literacy that’s worth reading.

One resource she mentions that I thought was particularly good was from National Geographic. They have quite a few simple “Listen & Read” nonfiction stories that would be great for English Language Learners. You can find them here and here.

I’m adding them to The Best Websites To Help Beginning Readers.

March 1, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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World Book Day Is Either March 3rd Or April 23rd (Depending Where You Live) – Here Are Related Resources

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April 23rd has been declared “World Book Day” by UNESCO, though it’s celebrated on the first Thursday of March in the United Kingdom.

I’ve just updated The Best Resources For World Book Day — April 23rd or First Thursday Of March (Depending Where You Live).

February 25, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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New “Open eBooks” App Unveiled By White House Looks Like A HUGE Benefit To Students & Schools

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Through a tweet by Katherine Schulten earlier this week, I learned about an announcement by the White House about the new free Open eBooks app and program.

If you teach at a Title One school, on a military base, or are a special education teacher anywhere in the U.S., you can gain access for your students to the Open eBooks app. That app allows students to upload up to ten books at a time, which can continually be replenished. And the book catalog looks extraordinary. Here’s the list:

  • Bloomsbury: Providing unlimited access to over 1,000 of its most popular titles.
  • Candlewick: Providing unlimited access to all relevant children’s and young-adult eBook titles in their catalog.
  • Cricket Media: Offering full digital access to all of its market-leading magazines for children and young adults, including Ladybug and Cricket.
  • Hachette: Offering access to a robust catalog of their popular and award-winning titles.
  • HarperCollins: Providing a vast selection of their award-winning and popular titles.
  • Lee & Low: Providing unlimited access to over 700 titles from this leading independent publisher of multicultural books.
  • Macmillan: Providing unlimited access to all of the K-12 age-appropriate titles in their catalog of approximately 2,500 books.
  • National Geographic: Providing unlimited access to all of their age-appropriate content.
  • Penguin Random House: Committing to provide an extensive offering of their popular and award-winning books.
  • Simon & Schuster: Providing access to their entire e-catalog of books for children ages 4-14, comprised of 3,000 titles.

Students can read them on a tablet or smartphone, and a web version is coming later this year.

This seems to me like an amazing opportunity. You can sign-up for it here and read more about it at Ed Surge’s article, The White House and Michelle Obama Release $250M ‘Open eBooks’ App for Title I and Special Education Teachers.

I’ve embedded a video from Michelle Obama announcing the app at the bottom of this post.

I’m adding this info to:

February 12, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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A Useful Lesson When Teaching Problem/Solution Essays – & Other Topics

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Sequencing activities are great lessons for teaching language and higher-order thinking, particularly if students are challenged to explain their reasons for putting texts or pictures in the order they choose.

Chronological order is the typical sequence that is used, and it works great.

There’s also a different twist on this kind of sequencing, one which I learned from my teaching mentor, Kelly Young.

Instead of cutting-up sections of text and having students put it in chronological order, another option is to list questions, mix-up the answers, and have students have to identify which ones go with the other. The texts can be complex, including having multiple paragraphs making-up the answers, or can be very simple.

Here’s a simple version I used when introducing Problem/Solution essays to my Intermediate English Language Learners. As you can see from the image below, there are a list of problems that are then followed by a list of solutions (that are not in order). Students had to match the problem with the solution (you can download it here).

problem solution

Another fun way to use this list is to call out the items under “Solutions” (without sharing the items under Problems) and have students come-up with different types of problems they could solve.

While I was preparing this post, I realized that, though I have “Best” lists for tons of other kinds of essays, for some reason I don’t have one for Problem/Solution.

However, I do have quite a few related resources at our class blog.

You can find links to lists on the other essays at The Best Posts On Writing Instruction.

February 7, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Video: “Close Reading” A Super Bowl Commercial

Carol Jago shared this great video from Poynter from Poynter “close reading” this popular 2014 Super Bowl commercial.

It’s pretty sophisticated, but does provide a nice example of the sort of thing educators can have students do with video:

I’m adding it to The Best Sites Where ELL’s Can Learn About The Super Bowl and to The Best Resources On Close Reading Paintings, Photos & Videos.

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