Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

April 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

British Pathé Makes 85,000 Historical Clips Available On YouTube


I’m just going to begin with a quote from Open Culture:

British Pathé was one of the leading producers of newsreels and documentaries during the 20th Century. This week, the company, now an archive, is turning over its entire collection — over 85,000 historical films – to YouTube.

The archive — which spans from 1896 to 1976 – is a goldmine of footage, containing movies of some of the most important moments of the last 100 years.

It’s an amazing collection that will be gold mine to U.S. and World History teachers everywhere. And, in a bonus to teachers of English Language Learners, many appear to be close-captioned (not using YouTube’s error-plagued automatic system).

I’m adding this info to both The Best Websites For Teaching & Learning About World History and to The Best Websites For Teaching & Learning About U.S. History.

Here’s a sampling:

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April 15, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

ELL Teachers & Students Will Love MusiXmatch – It Provides Karaoke-Style Lyrics To Most YouTube Music Videos


MusiXmatch is a free Chrome extension that will provide karaoke-style lyrics to most YouTube music videos. It can be used very easily on desktop and mobile devices.

Using songs, and using lyrics karaoke-style, is a longstanding and effective language-learning strategy, and you can read about many of them at The Best Music Websites For Learning English.

You can read more about it at TechCrunch.

I think MusiXmatch is a great tool. However, they’re advertising it with a video that pretty much tells you nothing about it, and may be one of the dumbest videos put out by at tech company. Because it’s so weird, I couldn’t resist embedding it below, but don’t plan on learning anything about how it works by watching it:

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April 14, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Fun Video Useful To ELLs: “One Man Does 30 Animal Sounds”

This is a great video of a voice actor making 30 animal sounds. Even better, the name of the animal is displayed after each sound.

One way I reinforce new vocabulary is by playing sound effects games where I play sounds representing words we have recently learned (water dripping from a faucet, door opening, etc) and have students use small whiteboards to get points (that are just for fun) for the correct word. I use it when we learn animals, too. It’s easy to find these sound effects online, but playing a video like this and stopping it prior to the name showing up on the screen could be a lot more fun.

I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning About Animals.

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April 9, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

“What Is This Animal Thinking or Saying (If It Could Talk)?” Is A Fun Language Development Exercise

'Totally Tweet.' photo (c) 2010, SEO - license:

Having English Language Learners put words in the mouth (or thoughts in the mind) of puppets, animals, or photographs of people is a common activity in the classroom. It can be fun and less-threatening when it’s something/someone else who’s talking (or, at least, it can feel that way to the student).

You can learn specific strategies to use at:

The Best Resources For Using Puppets In Class

The Best Sites For Online Photo-Editing & Photo Effects, which includes a number of sites where you can choose photos and add “speech bubbles” to them.

The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English, which includes sites you can use online to actually provide audio to images or animations.

Another engaging strategy is show short animal videos and have students develop a dialogue or a series of sentences the animals might be thinking.

There are lots of suitable videos online, and you can start at The Best Video Clips Of Sneaky Critters. Students can simply act them out when showing videos on a screen with the sound turned-off, or you can be more sophisticated and dub the videos themselves.

Here’s an example that an environmental campaign created (several others will play through if you want):

Do you have any suggestions of similar good animal video collections?

I’m adding this post to The Best Popular Movies/TV Shows For ESL/EFL (& How To Use Them).

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March 29, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

“Tools for flipping your class”

'back flip' photo (c) 2007, Rachelle Meyer - license:

Ana Maria Menezes, whose Life Feast blog is a must-read for any ESL/EFL/ELL teacher, has just put together an excellent list of “Tools For Flipping Your Class.”

I’m embedding it below, though I’m not sure if it will show up in an RSS Reader.

It’s a pretty exhaustive list, but she’s inviting others to add to it. All you have to do is click “ADD TO LIST.” I’m not sure if you have to go directly to the website to make those additions, or if you can do it with the embedded version in this post. Ana will be checking it regularly to avoid duplications.

I, too, have various “flipped” tools listed on two “Best” lists — The Best Posts On The “Flipped Classroom” Idea and A Potpourri Of The Best & Most Useful Video Sites. I haven’t gotten a chance yet to compare Ana’s list to mine.

Check it out!

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March 29, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Great Interactive Video: “Sounds Of GREAT Britain”

'Great Britain' photo (c) 2010, Brian Suda - license:

Sounds of GREAT Britain is a very cool series of interactive videos that allow viewers to take a customized audio and visual tour of…Great Britain. It’s very creative. I’ve embedded the first video below…

The creators of the video also have a very engaging site called LoveWall – Visit Britain which provides excellent categorized images from around the country.

I’m adding both to The Best Sites For Learning About The United Kingdom.

Thanks to Michelle Henry for the tip.

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March 26, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Origami & The Language Experience Approach

'Origami 3/365' photo (c) 2012, Cali4beach - license:

In the Language Experience Approach, students do an activity and then used the shared experience to develop a group written description of what just happened, as well as using it as a good speaking, listening, and reading opportunity. It’s a great language learning activity.

Making origami can be a good task for students to do, with students either all doing the same thing or choosing different ones.

We’re very fortunate, since Johnny Doolittle, an art teacher at our school, gives up his free period each year to spend two days with my class of English Language Learners to teach us origami. Afterwards, Beginners write about what we did, and Intermediates in my Geography class do it as part of our studying Japan (see The Best Sites For Learning About Japan, which includes links to good sites on the history of origami).

Of course, you don’t have to have an art teacher show your students how to do it — their are plenty of online sites. The Origami Club, I think, may be the best site on the web for origami instructions. Both a diagram and animation is provided for each model, and they’re divided into leveled activities.

Today was the first day of our origami lessons, and you can see the video of our efforts below. Tomorrow, Mr. Doolittle will show us how to make the most famous origami creation (which we studied as part of our Japan unit) — paper cranes.


Here’s our video from the second day, and here is a comment from Mr. Doolittle sharing other suggestions for teachers who want to try this:

From John Doolittle:

The instructions I use are from:

I like the way the site is laid out. Their printable instructions are fairly easy to follow. I’ve been able to work them all out… except the “rose,” which only two of my past students have ever been able to do… after studying the youtube video.
I’m sorry to say I have ruined many fine pieces of paper in failing to complete the “rose!”

I would definitely advise teachers to make the origami model themselves before trying it with a class full of students, but it is a fun activity, and I love doing it with your students, Larry!

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