Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

July 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

“FluencyTutor” Could Be A Useful Tool For Students To See Their Reading Progress

fluency

Richard Byrne posted yesterday about an intriguing new site that would be useful for emerging readers and English Language Learners called FluencyTutor For Google.

It’s a web app only usable with a Chrome browser that provides a large selection of leveled reading passages that students can read, record, and store on Google Drive. Teachers can then listen at their convenience and correct and note students’ reading fluency. The reading passages provide quite a few supportive features that make them particularly accessible to English Language Learners.

Most of the features are free, but teachers have to pay $99 per year for some “dashboard” services like tracking student progress.

If I was teaching an online class of motivated adult English Language Learners, I could see FluencyTutor’s whole package as an excellent tool.

However, I definitely wouldn’t recommend a classroom teacher using it as a way to track a readers’ progress. I have the same concerns about using it for that as I have about Literably, a web tool in the same vein — having students read to us is as much about building the relationship (if not more so) than getting the data.

On the other hand, though, a site like FluencyTutor could be a super tool for students to practice on their own and compare their reading progress during a school year. It’s less about them tracking exactly how many words they read each minute and more about them seeing how their reading prosody — expressiveness, smoothness — improves. Just having the free features should be enough for accomplishing that goal.

Here’s a video explaining how it works — keep in the mind that some of the features it talks about the end are the ones you have to pay for:

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July 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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12 MORE New Yorker Articles On Ed To Read While The Archives Are Free

Yesterday, I posted “12 New Yorker education articles to read while the archives are free,” a link to a a great collection of links that Vox identified.

Now, today, Alexander Russo published links to his own choices at 12 New Yorker Ed Articles Vox Missed/Got Wrong.

All twenty-four are worth reading this summer….

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July 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Open Curriculum” Has Math Lessons & An Easy Lesson Plan Builder

open

Open Curriculum is a new free site that right now shares lots of math lessons, and plans to expand to English and Science lessons soon.

I looked at a couple of the math lessons, and they seemed relatively decent, but I’m definitely no judge of math lesson plans. Because of that, I’m not ready to consider adding it to The Best Places To Find Free (And Good) Lesson Plans On The Internet.

However, their lesson plan builder seems pretty easy and useful, so I am adding it to The Best Places On The Web To Write Lesson Plans.

I’ll be interested to see what eventually share for English and Science.

You can read more about the site at TechCrunch.

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July 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Has Race To The Top Been A Success, A Fiasco, Or Something In Between?”

Has Race To The Top Been A Success, A Fiasco, Or Something In Between? is a special question of the week at my Education Week Teacher blog.

This week is the fifth anniversary of the Obama Administration announcing the program.

Feel free to leave comments here or there…

Has-Race-To-The-Top-been

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July 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Liberio Says It Lets You Create eBooks From Google Drive

librero />

Liberio is a new tool that says it will let you turn any Google Drive document into an eBook. It also says it lets you upload and use a document from your computer.

That could be a very useful. However, I was not able to successfully upload any document. That may have been because of their being overwhelmed by new users after being written-up in TechCrunch, or it might be a technical problem with Liberio, or something wrong that I was doing (granted, I’m not super technically-knowledgeable, but I do know how to upload a file).

Let me know if you have better luck. Until that problem doesn’t exist, though, I won’t be adding Liberio to The Best Places Where Students Can Write Online.

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July 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Wash. Post Unveils New “Storyline” Site — Great Content, Confusing Lay-Out

storylinle

I’ve previously posted about The Washington Post’s announcement that they were joining the data-journalism party with a new site called Storyline (See The Washington Post Joins The Party Of Data-Journalism With “Storyline”).

Today, Storyline opened up for business.

The content looks great, and will be very accessible to students — unlike Vox (which I like a lot), Storyline’s pieces look like they’ll be very short — almost “bitesize.” They say they’ll be focusing on a few themes each day with several short pieces, including infographics, on each theme.

The only negative I see, and it’s a sizable one, is that the lay-out is atrocious. They have a separate post trying to explain it, but it’s all just too confusing. In fact, once you click on one story, I couldn’t even find a way to get back to the home page. I think this is an example of designers being too cute for their own good in a misguided effort to differentiate themselves from other sites.

However, I expect that they’ll get enough negative feedback to make corrections pretty soon.

I’m sure it will be a source of useful classroom material in the upcoming year.

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July 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Seven Good “Reads” On Ed Tech

Here are several recent good pieces related to educational technology:

10 Things Every Teacher Should Know How To Do With Google Docs is from Edudemic.

Will Computers Ever Replace Teachers? appeared in The New Yorker.

3 Reasons Why Chromebook Beats iPad in 1:1 Programs is from edSurge.

My Flipped Classroom Experience is by Kenneth Headley. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On The “Flipped Classroom” Idea.

Classroom Management and the Flipped Class is from Edutopia. I’m adding it to the same list.

Ed tech that needs nothing but a TV and VCR? is from The Hechinger Report.

Betting Big on Personalized Learning is from Education Week. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Understanding “Personalized Learning.”

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July 21, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Good Overviews Of Israel-Gaza Crisis

Vox has created two useful resources for understanding the present Israel-Gaza crisis. I’m adding them both to The “Best” Resources For Learning About The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:

11 crucial facts to understand the Israel-Gaza crisis is from Vox.

And Vox has created this two minute video explainer:

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July 21, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Contribute A Post To The Next ELT Carnival — It’s On Humor In Language Teaching

'Carnival by the River' photo (c) 2004, Out.of.Focus - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

The next ELT Blog Carnival, formerly known as the ESL/EFL/ELL Blog Carnival, will be hosted by Carissa Peck at her blog.

She writes:

I am a teacher who strongly believes that humor makes classrooms better! This Blog Carnival is designed to let other teachers share how they use humor in the class, so that other teachers may be inspired from them!

To submit your blog you have three options:

1. Tweet it to Carissa Peck (@eslcarissa)
2. Use the general ELT Blog Carnival submission form.
3. Leave your link in the comments of her post on the Carnival

You can see all the previous Blog Carnivals here.

And you can express your interest in hosting a future edition of one here.

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July 21, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

The Best Movie Scenes, Stories, & Quotations About “Transfer Of Learning” – Help Me Find More!

I’ve been doing some thinking and writing about the idea of “transfer of learning” — helping students be able to apply what they learn in one situation to other contexts. I’ve previously posted The Best Resources For Learning About The Concept Of “Transfer” — Help Me Find More.

I think I have a pretty good understanding of it now as I prepare a lesson plan. However, I’d like to spice it up with videos of movie or TV scenes, stories from real-life or from literature, and pithy quotes and hope readers will contribute suggestions.

Obviously, this science from Apollo 13 and other clips from The Best Videos Showing “Thinking Outside The Box” — Help Me Find More could apply, but I’m hoping for a lot more.

I happened upon a comment in a paper about transfer saying the Karate Kid was a good example, and they sure were right.

Pat Morita having the kid do a variety of tasks like waxing a car and painting a fence helps him develop skills that he is then able to apply in a totally different situation. If you don’t remember the movie, here is the progression of scenes:

Here are some great MacGyver videos where he demonstrates transfer of learning — he has to remember what he learned in the past and apply that knowledge to entirely new situations in order to save his life:

Two kinds of transfers of learning are called “backward-reaching” and “forward-thinking.” In “backward-reaching,” you’re applying what you have previously learned to a new situation — that is demonstrated in the Karate Kid and MacGyver videos.

In a TEDx talk by Marc Chun about transfer, he talked about James Bond being a good example of “forward-thinking transfer.” In other words, when the scientist Q would give him his deadline gadgets prior to a mission, he would need to think about what situations he might use them in.

Here are some clips of Bond getting those gadgets from Q. The first one is probably the best one. The last two are compilations that include getting the gadgets prior to a mission and using gadgets. Unfortunately, they’re out of order so you might see a clip of him getting one followed by a clip of his using another. Too bad they’re not coordinated.

I discovered a MacGyver wiki that has a List of problems solved by MacGyver. It lists all the episodes, along with the problems he solved in each one and how he solved them. In addition, I discovered that CBS has put all the MacGyver episodes on YouTube.

Based on quick review, here are a few more clips I’m adding to this list. On some of them, I have included quotes from the wiki. I was originally going to use TubeChop to just share the clips themselves, but it didn’t seem to be working well today. So, I’ve embedded some of the entire episodes with instructions of when to start them:

On this one, the Pilot Episode, “”MacGyver plugs a sulfuric acid leak with chocolate. He states that chocolate contains sucrose and glucose. The acid reacts with the sugars to form elemental carbon and a thick gummy residue (proved to be correct on Mythbusters).” Start at 35:40 and end at 38:20

On this next one, Fire and Ice, “MacGyver opens a vault and steals back some diamonds first dusting the buttons for fingerprints with graphite from a pencil. The vault has a three-digit combination with unique digits and six buttons. The dusting narrows down the 120 combinations to 6 and the vault is easily opened. He then neatly gets the diamonds in a small bag using a paper as a funnel. (31.30) “Math and science do prove useful.” Start at 32:30 and end at 34:15.

Here, “MacGyver created a diversion and a surprise attack using an inner tube, pressured air, chloride, a catalyst, two glass jars and a gas mask. The inflatable boat was put in a truck and filled with air until the glass broke creating a loud noise. Meanwhile MacGyver filled the two gas bombs filling one glass jar with chloride and the other with a catalyst. Then he threw them at the bad guys resulting in a reaction producing toxic chlorine gas when the two liquids mixed. (36.00) When I was a kid my grandpa gave me two things I’ll never forget; a subscription of popular mechanics and a chemistry set. And this place was one BIG chemistry set! – MacGyver” Start at 36:00 and ends at 44:00

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July 21, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

“12 New Yorker education articles to read while the archives are free”

Last week, I wrote a post about The New Yorker preparing to make all its archives available free for a few months (see “The New Yorker” Makes All Articles Available For Free Until November).

That time has arrived this week!

And Vox has just published a nice guide titled 12 New Yorker education articles to read while the archives are free.

Their guide includes the recent excellent article on the Atlanta cheating scandal (see The New Yorker’s “Wrong Answer” Feature Is The Must-Read Education Article Of The Summer).

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July 21, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Quote Of The Day: “Do Students Learn More When Their Teachers Work Together?”

Do Students Learn More When Their Teachers Work Together? is an excellent post by Esther Quintero at The Shanker Blog.

I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles About The Importance Of Teacher (& Student) Working Conditions.

Here’s an excerpt:

The-big-message-is-that

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July 21, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

More Resources On Race & Racism

July 21, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Latest Resources On The Child Refugee Crisis

July 20, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

July’s Infographics & Interactives Galore – Part Three

There are just so many good infographics and interactives out there that I’ve begun a new semi-regular feature called “Infographics & Interactives Galore.”

You can see others at A Collection Of “The Best…” Lists On Infographics and by searching “infographics” on this blog.

I’ll still be publishing separate posts to individually highlight especially useful infographics and interactives, but you’ll find others in this regular feature.

Here goes:

Every Second Counts: an interactive story by Sophie McKenzie is a “choose your own adventure” story from The Guardian. I’m adding it to The Best Places To Read & Write “Choose Your Own Adventure” Stories.

Best in class: 25 inspiring school improvement ideas – interactive is also from The Guardian.

Average weekly wages in majority of U.S. counties were below national average in 2013
is the headline of an interactive map from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It shows wages from every county in the United States.

Here’s a useful infographic on Alzheimer’s:

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July 20, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Around The Web In ESL/EFL/ELL

I’ve started a somewhat regular feature where I share a few posts and resources from around the Web related to ESL/EFL or to language in general that have caught my attention:

You Can Learn a New Language While You Sleep, Study Finds is an article from PsyBlog. Learn Dutch In Your Sleep is another report on the same study.

Inventive, Cheaper Tools for Learning a Language is from The New York Times.

What makes a language attractive – its sound, national identity or familiarity?
is from The Guardian.

Adam Simpson – Homework: Should we give it or not? is a useful post at the British Council. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Homework Issues.

Mathematics in English is an interactive from Engames. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning Strategies To Teach ELL’s In Content Classes.

allatc offers an ELL lesson plan for the Wonderful World song. I’m adding it to The Best Music Videos Of “What A Wonderful World.”

Adapting materials for mixed ability classes is from The British Council. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Teaching Multilevel ESL/EFL Classes.

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July 20, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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All My Ed Week Posts On Parent Engagement In One Place!

Q & A Collections: Parent Engagement In Schools is my latest post at Education Week Teacher.

It brings together all my Ed Week posts related to parent engagement from the past three years.

Here’s an excerpt:

Simply-put-parent

I’m adding it to My Best Posts, Articles & Interviews On Parent Engagement.

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July 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Big New Study On Deliberate Practice

As you may have heard by now, a new study was recently released raising questions about the importance of deliberate practice to success. Here are some articles about the study. I’m adding this post to The Best Resources For Learning About The 10,000 Hour Rule & Deliberate Practice.

There’s little question that Talent vs. Practice: Why Are We Still Debating This? by Scott Barry Kaufman is the best piece on the study. It appeared in Scientific American.

How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall? Talent is from The New York Times.

Does practice really make perfect? is from Science Daily.

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