Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

July 31, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Create Free Virtual Classrooms & Monitor Student Progress At

vocabularydotcom lets teachers create free virtual classrooms and assign vocabulary lists to learn.

They’re not the most exciting online activities for students to do, but it could used periodically in class, and I suspect some students might like to do it at home.

I’m adding this info to The Best Sites Where Students Can Work Independently & Let Teachers Check On Progress.

I’d like to thank Catlin Tucker for the tip – her blog is always a source of great ideas!

July 4, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

“Word Bucket” Lets Students Learn Vocabulary In A New Language & Teachers Can Set Up Virtual Classrooms


Word Bucket has been a mobile language-learning app and has just now unveiled a website version.

It has several different languages available, and the exercises and games appear pretty similar to ones found in other sites.

The nice feature it has that many others do not is the ability for teachers to create virtual classrooms and monitor student progress. That tool, as well as the entire site, seems to be free.

I’m adding this info to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress, which has grown to an insane length.

April 5, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

WordSift Is Back & It’s Better Than Ever!


WordSift came out several years ago as a great tool to help English Language Learners develop academic vocabulary knowledge. Mary Ann Zehr wrote an excellent description of it at Ed Week, and I put it on The Best Websites For Developing Academic English Skills & Vocabulary. It was created by Stanford Professor Kenji Hakuta.

Then, it seemed to disappear. I started getting requests from educators for alternatives.

Now, it’s back! WordSift 2 has launched.

Paste in a text, and you get all sorts of stuff in return — word clouds sorted in various categories, images of words to enhance understanding, sentences showing the words in context, word webs, and more!

Check it out!

March 8, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

How Many Repetitions Do You Need In Order To Learn A New Word?

Over the years, I’ve heard different numbers thrown around when discussing how many times a student needs to see it/use it before they truly learn it.

Today, in literacy expert Timothy Shanahan’s blog, he wrote this in response to a reader asking How Many Times Should They Copy the Spelling Words?


I have a lot of respect for Shanahan’s work, and I’d encourage you to read his entire response.

I’m adding this info to The Best Sites Where ELL’s Can Learn Vocabulary.

January 17, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Interesting Study On Teaching Vocabulary


Thanks to Nicole Howard, I learned about a pretty ambitious review of vocabulary-teaching studies titled Vocabulary Instruction in Fifth Grade and Beyond.

In one way, I’m not sure exactly how helpful it will be to teachers, since the studies it reviews don’t appear to narrow down effective teaching strategies very much. On the other hand, though, its conclusion that doing lots of different kinds seems to be best could also be used by many of us to support what we’re already doing.

It does come down firmly on the side of teaching context clues, and specifically mentions using clozes (which is one of my favorite instructional strategies (see The Best Tools For Creating Clozes (Gap-Fills) ). It also supports explicit instruction of words that students will encounter in a specific text, though it doesn’t seem to specify if it’s better to pre-teach them or teach them as they come-up (I do both).

I also noted that it highlighted the effectiveness of teaching up to twelve new academic words each week to English Language Learners, which is what I do but which is in conflict with Robert Marzano’s recommendation of a substantially smaller number.

I’d say it’s worth a look. I also was impressed with its ample bibliography, which includes easy-to-access links.

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

January 14, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Great Student Video Vocabulary Contest At NY Times Learning Network


Each year, The New York Times Learning Network invites students to create a fifteen second video using one of the 1,500 words the Network has featured in their posts.

They’ve just announced the opening of their 2016 contest. The deadline is February 23rd.

I think it’s an excellent learning activity, particularly for English Language Learners. In fact, the Network used a video created by one of my students as a model when they began the first year of the contest.

You can see many examples at The Best Resources For Learning To Use The Video Apps “Vine” & Instagram.

November 15, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Three New & Good Vocabulary Resources


I’ve recently read some good posts on vocabulary instruction. I’m adding these to The Best Sites Where ELL’s Can Learn Vocabulary:

ROOT MAP: A Vocabulary Instruction Model is from Literacy SENse.

March 7, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

“Ten Principles For Vocabulary Instruction”

Ten Principles For Vocabulary Instruction is the last post of a three-part series I’ve published in Education Week Teacher.

In this segment, Laura Robb and Amy Benjamin share their thoughts, and I also include readers’ comments.

Here are some excerpts:




I’m adding a link to my series to A Collection Of “Best…” Lists On Vocabulary Development.

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