Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

July 20, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources & Ideas For Using Sound Effects In ELL Lessons

I sometimes use sound effects with my English Language Learner classes as a game (playing sounds, let’s say, of animals and having groups having to identify its name) or as story-writing prompts (play some sounds in sequence and have students write parts of a related story).

Generally, I find Free Sound as the easiest place to find them, but I have lots of others sites at The Best Places To Get Royalty-Free Music & Sound Effects.

Here are some posts other ELL (and non-ELL) teachers have written about how they’ve used sound effects with their students:

Teaching With Sound Effects by Hall Houston.

The Sound Book by Mike Harrison.

Using sound in the classroom is from Learn NC.

ESL Halloween Lesson Plan – Scary video and sounds

Here’s an animal sound quiz.

July 18, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources On Developing A Sense Of Community In The Classroom

Several studies have been published over the past month related to the idea of how individual members of a group (co-workers, students) can do better cooperating in a supportive atmosphere than if everybody is working on their own.

I’ve published several posts about them and, as I’ve said in those posts, they go along with a push I made late in the last school year on “Everybody Is A Teacher.”

Here are links to those posts, along with some other related resources (I’ll be putting them all together into a lesson that I’ll share at a later date):

Bingo! There Are Issues With This Study On Grit & ELLs, But I Am Sure Going To Use It With My Students

“Everyone Is A Teacher” Is A New Engagement Strategy I’m Using & It Seems To Be Working

Intriguing Research On How To Increase Intrinsic Motivation

Focusing On The Impact Classroom Disruptions Have On Others, Not On The Students Doing The Disrupting

Here is an article I wrote for Education Week (which was later reprinted in The Washington Post) that includes an activity I do at the beginning of each school year to help students decide if they want to be a “classroom of students” or a “community of learners.”

Another related resource is The Best Resources For Teaching & Learning About The “Helper’s High.”

You might also be interested in The Best Resources On Students Having A “Purpose For Learning”

Feel free to make other suggestions….

July 16, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources On The Idea Of Evaluating Teacher “Input” Instead Of Student “Output”

I’ve shared a lot about teacher evaluations, including:

The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments

The Best Resources For Learning About The “Value-Added” Approach Towards Teacher Evaluation

The Best Resources On Peer Assistance & Review (PAR) Programs

I’ve also shared a few posts on the idea of looking at teacher “input” instead of student “output” when considering what strategies to look at for teacher evaluations, and I thought it would be worth bringing them together in a “Best” list.

The idea is that we teachers may very well have less control over student outcomes that is believed.

Here are the resources worth reviewing on the idea:

This Is One Of The Best Pieces I’ve Read On Teacher Evaluation: “The Problem with Outcome-Oriented Evaluations” is my post about a great piece Ben Spielberg wrote about the topic.

Ben talked more about it in my Education Week Teacher column, Using Teacher Evaluations ‘to Promote Growth.’

Can We Evaluate Teachers Based on Factors Teachers Completely Control? is the title of one of my BAM! Radio Shows. It’s a ten-minute conversation I had with Ben Spielberg and Ted Appel, the principal of the school where I teach. Our talk focuses on the idea of measuring inputs — in other words, identifying what practices we know make up good teaching and evaluating educators on whether they are implementing those practices.

Seven Fallacies about Teaching is by Jack Marwood.

Did The Obama Administration Signal A Major Shift In Teacher Evaluation Policies Today?

Let me know if you have other suggestions for posts to add to this list….

July 15, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Sites For ELLs To Practice Online Dictation


Dictation exercises in class, where English Language Learners need to listen and write down what they hear, is an excellent language-learning practice (you can learn more about these classroom lessons at The Best Resources For Learning How To Use The Dictogloss Strategy With English Language Learners).

I have had online dictation sites on The Best Listening Sites For English Language Learners, but several no longer exist.  So I though I’d create a separate “Best” list.

I’ve only included sites where students can type in what they hear and have their responses automatically assessed.

Here are my choices:

Listen and Write is a great free site.  After a quick registration and log-on,  A user first chooses a text he/she wants to hear read to him/her. There are lots of different choices and features – in fact, so many that you probably want to review the site with students before they try it.  Many of the choices are from the Voice of America, and are both high-interest and accessible. Their levels of difficulty are also indicated. Then the story is dictated to you, and you have to type it correctly. You can choose the speed of the reading and how often it’s repeated. When you type, only the correct letters actually show-up on the screen, and you can ask for hints.

The English Club has a series of simple and effective dictation exercises. They’re well organized, simple, don’t require registration, and have ones for a variety of English levels.

Quizlet is on The Best Tools To Make Online Flashcards list. They’ve added the great ability to have users listen to a word and then have to spell it. This dictation feature is excellent for ELL’s, and EFL Classroom has created a list of links to the best Quizlet dictation activities.

ESL Fast has some nice online dictations for ELLs.

Agenda Web also has links to some nice and simple dictations.

July 14, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Videos For Content Teachers With ELLs In Their Classes – Please Suggest More

Many mainstream content teachers have English Language Learner students in their classrooms. And they often are not sure of the best ways to support them.

I thought it could be useful to bring together a collection of short videos that they might find useful. I hope readers will suggest others.

You might also be interested in The Best Sites For Learning Strategies To Teach ELL’s In Content Classes.

Here are my video picks:

I’ve got to start with this great one from Valentina Gonzalez:

Next up is this one from Carol Salva. It’s designed for volunteers in an ESL classroom, but they’re good ideas for all teachers with ELLs to keep in mind:

There are so many good things to say about it and how it provides a glimpse into the challenges facing our English Language Learners. It’s a little longer than most other videos on this list, but it’s well worth the extra few minutes:

Here are some words of wisdom from Dr. Jim Cummins on scaffolding for ELLs:

Lastly, here’s a short excerpt from a longer interview the the Time of Remembrance Project did with me:

Here’s a video suggested by Carol Salva where a science teacher is offering her thoughts and examples:

Here’s another one from Carol where one of her students shares what has helped him in the classroom:

Again, I hope readers will suggest more short videos, especially ones that show scaffolding in action…

July 7, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources On Co-Teaching With ELLs – Please Suggest More

The only time I’ve co-taught a class was an ELL Beginners/Intermediate combo that my co-author and colleague Katie Hull and I did several years ago.

I do know, however, that many ELL teachers are in situations where they either go in to a class to support students when the content teacher is teaching, or pull ELLs out to support content instruction.

I thought it would be useful to start a list with related resources and invite readers to suggest more:

How To Make the BEST of Co-Teaching is by Valentina Gonzalez.

The Far Reaching Benefits of Co-Teaching for ELLs is from The Teaching Channel.

ESL and Classroom Teachers Team Up to Teach Common Core is from Ed Week.

Collaboration and Co-Teaching: Strategies for English Learners is a great site from Drs. Maria G. Dove and Andrea Honigsfeld.

Tan Huynh has written a series of posts:

Four Teacher Collaboration FAQs

The Collaboration Continuum: Forms of Teacher Co-Planning

One-Off Collaboration: How To Win Friends and Collaborate with Content Teachers

Informal Co-Planning: “Yes, And” & “What If”

July 4, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best – Or, At Least, The Most Interesting – Resources About Ben Franklin

In the past, I’ve shared some interesting (at least, to me!) tidbits about Ben Franklin, and I thought I’d bring them all together. This “Best” list isn’t like many of others – you won’t find a lot of the basic info about him (however, you can find all that info at our U.S. History class blog). But you might find some resources you wouldn’t typically find in other places:

This copy of Ben Franklin’s Daily Schedule has been floating around the blogosphere and Twitterverse for awhile. Ben’s morning and evening questions are a pretty good framework for anybody’s day.

Benjamin Franklin's daily schedule

Thanks Nick Bilton

Here’s a newer video about his schedule:


The Ben Franklin Timeline is an interactive exhibition on Franklin’s life. It includes images, text, and some very good animations. It’s certainly accessible to English Language Learners, but not all parts of it would be good for Beginners.

Variations On “The Benjamin Franklin Effect”

Study: “Asking for Advice Makes You Seem More Competent, Not Less”

The Best Resources For Learning About “Psychological Effects” Useful To Teachers

Here’s more from Farnam Street on The Ben Franklin Effect.

A history of American anti-immigrant bias, starting with Benjamin Franklin’s hatred of the Germans is from Quartz.

“The Benjamin Franklin Effect” In The Classroom

Benjamin Franklin and deliberate practice is from Anecdote.

June 29, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The Best Resources For Learning About The 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

You’ve probably already heard about the upcoming Total Solar Eclipse that will take place on August 21st and be viewable in the United States.

I thought it would be useful to collect a few related resources.

You might also be interested in:

The Best Sites For Learning About A Lunar Eclipse

The Best Images Of The Ring Of Fire Eclipse

Here are my choices for The Best Resources For Learning About The 2017 Total Solar Eclipse:

NASA has created a special site on the eclipse and, really, I don’t think you need to go anywhere else. It seems to have everything!

However, you might still want to check out these other resources:

You’ll need special glasses to see the solar eclipse. Here’s where to get them free. is from The Washington Post.

A solar eclipse is coming in August. Here’s what it will look like where you are. is from The L.A. Times.

Gizmodo has a nice map at The Best Place to View the Total Solar Eclipse This Summer, According to Science.

2017 Total Solar Eclipse: A Guide to Totality on August 21, 2017 is from Sky and Telescope.

National Eclipse and Eclipse 2017 are similar sites with lots of information.

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