Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

September 23, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Slideshow For ELLs: “Cline” or “Spectrum” On Temperature

Clines, also known as spectrums, are a good way to teach English Language Learners various vocabulary “gradations.”

We’re starting a unit on “Descriptions” this week in my ELL Beginner’s class, and here’s slideshow I put together in a few minutes to teach “boiling, hot, cool, cold, freezing” using both climate and food/beverages. The “answer key” is on the last slide.

After I do some quick initial teaching of the words, I place them on sticky notes around the world. I show an image, and then students go to the area they think it represents. Later, student write the words using a diagonal line (see lots of examples here).

Here’s both the PowerPoint itself, and the embedded Slideshare version:

September 23, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Impressive Fall Slate Of Free Webinars From NY Times Learning Network

The New York Times Learning Network has just announced an impressive fall calendar of free webinars for teachers.

You can see the list here.

The next one is coming up this week:

Wednesday, Sept. 27: Picture This: Teaching Critical Thinking Skills With New York Times Photos, Videos, and Infographics

And, speaking of the Learning Network, I’ll be writing a few posts from them this year on teaching English Language Learners as soon as I’m done putting the final touches on my next book about teaching ELLs (probably in a week or two).

In the meantime, you can explore All My NY Times Posts For English Language Learners – Linked With Descriptions.

September 23, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

James Baldwin On Teaching

Former high school teacher Clint Smith has a a good – and short – essay in The New Yorker today headlined James Baldwin’s Lesson for Teachers in a Time of Turmoil.

He talks about Baldwin’s “A Talk To Teachers,” which you can read in its entirety here.

Here’s an excerpt Smith highlights:

You can learn more about Baldwin at The Zinn Education Project and also watch this recent movie:


You might also be interested in A Collection Of Advice On Talking To Students About Race, Police & Racism.

September 22, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

“Simplish” Automatically Simplifies And/Or Summarizes Text

The Best Places To Get The “Same” Text Written For Different “Levels” is one of my most popular “Best” lists and, thanks to reader Kev, I learned about a new site I’m adding to it.  It’s called Simplish.

Simplish will “simplify” and/or summarize any text up to  2,500 words for free (you have to pay for longer documents) and, though I’m not entirely sure of this feature, it also apparently will do the same for translation (e.g. input a document in one language and then simplify or summarize it into another language).

In many ways it’s similar to Rewordify, another tool on that list, though Rewordify is free for longer documents and, I think, works better (though it, too, has its limitations).

I was much more impressed with Simplish’s ability to summarize than its simplification skills.  Here’s a partial example of how it “simplified” a paragraph from this article in today’s New York Times (its “footnoting” of  more difficult words was interesting):


For me, the bottom line – for me –  is that there are so many other resources on that “Best” list of human-assisted simplified articles that I question if having imperfectly-done automatic versions are really worth it.  But I’m sure there will be technological advancements in the coming years that will have sites like Simplish and Rewordify much better at their jobs.

September 21, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

“Apps 4 EFL” Looks Like An Excellent Site For English Language Learners & Their Teachers


Thanks to Nik Peachey, I just learned about an excellent free site called Apps 4 EFL.

The site has a huge variety of ready-to-use interactives and games for English Language Learners. In addition, teachers can use the site’s tools to create their own.

Even better, teachers can create free virtual classrooms where students can enroll.

You can read more about it in Nik’s post.

I’m adding this info to:

The Best Sites Where Students Can Work Independently & Let Teachers Check On Progress

The Best Websites For Creating Online Learning Games

September 20, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Students Can Research Holocaust News Coverage With “History Unfolded”


History Unfolded is a project of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Here’s how they describe it:

What could Americans have known about the Nazi threat from reading their local newspapers in the 1930s and 1940s? You can help the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum find out. Join our team of citizen historians whose research will be shared with scholars, curators, and the public.

They have a special page for educators, including lesson plans and resources. Students research newspaper archives to identify articles to contribute to the museum’s database.

I’m adding it to The Best Sites Where Students Can Transcribe Historical Texts.

September 19, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Using “Spot The Difference” Pictures With ELLs

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

I like to use “Spot The Difference” pictures with my Beginning English Language Learners.

There are plenty online, and I’m usually able to find one related to the theme we’re studying at the time (just search “Spot The Difference +[theme] )

For example, we’re learning about “School” right now, and I found this Spot The Difference picture of a classroom.  Students first labeled objects in the picture that they already knew.

Students will use these sentence frames tomorrow, share with partners and then share with the class.  It’s a fun way to review and practice writing, speaking and listening.  The sentence frames obviously be modified in many different ways:

Are there any other ways you use Spot The Difference images?

You might also be interested in The Best “I Spy” (Hidden Object) Games For Vocabulary Development.  I use those in in a similar way.

I’m adding this info to The Best Ways To Use Photos In Lessons.

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