Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

December 5, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Two Neat Contests From The NY Times Learning Network

The New York Times Learning Network has just announced the student winners of one neat contest and unveiled the beginning of another one.

The one just completed was the Second Annual 15-Second Vocabulary Video Contest, which is a great idea for English Language Learners and, in fact, all students. My ELLs have been doing this kind of project for awhile and you can see lots of their examples at The Best Resources For Learning To Use The Video Apps “Vine” & Instagram (in fact, the Learning Network used one of them as a model when they first began the contest).

Here’s one of The Times’ winners from this year:

The contest they’re just beginning is their fourth annual Our Year in Rap Student Contest. It’s probably not that feasible for ELLs to participate — other than those who are Advanced — but it’s fun one for everybody else. You can learn more about it at the link.

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October 14, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

“Emoji Finder” Could Be A Fun & Different Picture Dictionary For English Language Learners


The Emoji Finder invites you to “Search for emoticons, then copy & paste.”

I tried a number of words, and it came up with a variety of emoji icons for all of them.

I wouldn’t make it a central tool for my teaching, but I could see inviting my Beginning English Language Learners to have fun with it sometime if we had a few minutes left in the computer lab.

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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 8, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

U.S. Department Of Ed Releases Useful Guide On Teaching Academic Language To ELLs


The What Works Clearinghouse at the U.S. Department of Education has just released an updated Guide for Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School.

The recommendations are good ones, and it’s always nice to be able to tell one’s administrator that you’re following the recommendations of the U.S. Department of Education :) .

Even though they say it’s for elementary and middle school, I think it’s safe to say the ideas make sense in high school, too.

I’m adding it to The Best Websites For Developing Academic English Skills & Vocabulary.

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February 15, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

“Emotions Of Sound” Is A Great Interactive For ELLs & For IB Students!


Emotions Of Sound is a neat interactive that plays different sounds, along with images. You’re then show several different “emotional” words and have to pick the one that the sound and image elicits from you. After each answer, results are shown for how many people have chosen each word. At the end of the all the questions, the site tells you, overall, how alike or different your responses were from others visiting the site.

It’s a great site for English Language Learners to use for learning feelings-related vocabulary, and would be a fun interactive for IB Theory of Knowledge students to use when studying perception.

I’m adding it to The Best Sites To Learn “Feelings” Words.

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December 19, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo

Winners Of 15 Second Vocabulary Video Contest Announced By NY Times

The New York Times Learning Network has just announced the winners of their 15 Second Vocabulary Contest.

See the great videos at Words Gone Wild: The Student Winners of Our 15-Second Vocabulary Video Contest.

They’re excellent examples to use with your own students. I’ve embedded one below and you can see the rest at their post.

I’m adding this info to The Best Resources For Learning To Use The Video Apps “Vine” & Instagram (where you can also see examples from my ELL students).

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November 10, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Having English Language Learners Use Cellphones To Identify High-Interest Vocabulary

Taking an idea I learned from Heather Barikmo at a New York Times Learning Network post, I’ve begun asking my Beginning English Language Learners to take photos with their phones of signs and/or words they see outside of school but don’t know what they mean.

To paraphrase what was in that Times post, one of the benefits of doing this is that it helps students remember that they need to be intentional about learning English all the time — not just when they’re in the classroom

We’re just beginning, and I’m planning on asking each of them to take three photo each, and then text them to me.

Here’s the first batch. I’m sure there are many apps that would do the job, but I used one called Photo Slideshow Director HD Pro to make a slideshow of the images, upload it to YouTube, and then embed it on our class blog. I was going to use Animoto, but if you pause it, the video shows a big arrow in the middle, so that wouldn’t work.

I figure we’ll show the video all the way through first without having students say anything — that way, they’d have time to see and think about them. Next, we’ll go through them one at a time to see first if other students have any idea what it might mean, and then see if they can identify any clues. Finally, we’ll clarify what it means and discuss where we might see those signs.

Here’s our first video:

Do you do anything like this? If so, how do you handle it?

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