Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

August 5, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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This Would Be Great For ELLs: Play – Or Create – A “Listening & Speaking” Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Story

echo

As regular readers know, I’m a big fan of both having students create and read (or, in the case of videos, watch-and-play) choose your own adventure stories (see The Best Places To Read & Write “Choose Your Own Adventure” Stories). Many students find them very engaging to read, they can be quite accessible, and even low-Intermediate ELLs can create simple ones.

I’ve been a fan of them for quite awhile, and thought I was aware of all their different permutations.

Once again, however, I was wrong.

You might be aware of Amazon’s popular home voice assistant called Echo, which uses the Alexa voice software. I don’t have it, but do have the Amazon Fire TV plugin, which I like a lot (I used to be a fan of Google Chromecast, but now favor Fire).

Apparently, a few months ago, they created a listening choose-your-own-adventure game connected to the terrible Batman vs. Superman movie. In it, Alexa describes physical surrounds, provides choices, and assists players in making them. The game received a much better critical reception than the film.

Today, Amazon released software to developers so that they could more easily create these kinds of games.

So, one, this means that there will be many more of these kinds of professionally-produced “listening-and-speaking” choose your own adventure games, which would seem to me to offer exceptionally engaging opportunities for English Language Learners to practice listening and speaking. All we’d have to do is bring an Amazon Fire TV plugin to the classroom.

But, more importantly, I think, is the idea of a listening & speaking Choose Your Own Adventure story!

Teacher can create simple or more complex ones by just writing them out and saying it like this (it’s a sample from Amazon’s software instructions):

sample

On top of that, English Language Learner can also create their own. It would seem to me that these versions would need to be more simple than ones that are typically written so that players don’t have to remember as much, which should make them even easier for ELLs.

I have plenty of templates like this one at my previously-mentioned “Best” list.

Do you think this kind of thing could have as much potential as I do?

December 22, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The American Archive of Public Broadcasting Is A Treasure Trove Of Public Radio & TV Shows

archive

The American Archive of Public Broadcasting is a joint project of the Library of Congress and WGBH in Boston. It has tens of thousands of hours of programming from local public radio and TV stations across the country.

It has a few organized sections, including one on the Civil Rights Movement (which includes interviews with major Civil Rights leaders) and also a very friendly search function. I was excited to see it contained several interviews and lectures by Saul Alinsky that I’m looking forward to exploring (see The Best Sites To Learn About Saul Alinsky).

It also contains a number of interviews with Cesar Chavez.

The sound quality of the shows I’ve listened to are excellent, too.

It’s definitely worth a visit….

Thanks to Slate for the tip.

July 9, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Malcolm Gladwell’s New Story On The Importance Of Being A Good Listener

dual-head-mounted-listening-device
Photo Credit: James Vaughan via Compfight

In my books, I have useful classroom lessons on helping students become better listeners, and I also have The Best Ideas To Help Students Become Better Listeners here on this blog.

The newest addition to that list is the transcript of a talk journalist Malcolm Gladwell gave on BBC radio. The BBC just published it, and its title is Viewpoint: Could one man have shortened the Vietnam War?

The story is about Konrad Kellen, who, among other things, did interviews with captured Viet Cong guerrillas for the United States to try to figure out what the “enemy” was thinking. It’s a short enough piece that students could read.

Here’s an excerpt:

he would say that his rethinking began with one memorable interview with a senior Vietcong captain. He was asked very early in the interview if he thought the Vietcong could win the war, and he said no.

But pages later, he was asked if he thought that the US could win the war, and he said no.

The second answer profoundly changes the meaning of the first. He didn’t think in terms of winning or losing at all, which is a very different proposition. An enemy who is indifferent to the outcome of a battle is the most dangerous enemy of all.

Now why did Kellen see this and Goure did not? Because Goure didn’t have the gift [of being a good listener].

Goure was someone who filtered what he heard through his own biases.

March 19, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Excellent Post On The Different “Levels” Of Listening

For Real Influence, Listen Past Your Blind Spots is an excellent post at the Harvard Business Review and discusses research related to different “levels” of listening.

I’ll definitely be adding it to the lesson on listening that’s in my new book, and I’m certainly adding it to The Best Ideas To Help Students Become Better Listeners.

Here’s a quote from the article:

March 7, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Great StoryCorps Video Animations

The wonderful StoryCorps stories on NPR are great pieces to read and listen to on the radio. They also have converted a number of them into short video animations, and many of them (though not the one I’ve embedded below) are closed-captioned.

Here is one of my favorites — with the late, great Studs Terkel:

February 5, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Video: “The Chinese New Year: From Fear to Festivity”

The Chinese New Year: From Fear to Festivity is the title of this video from English Central that I’m adding to The Best Resources For Chinese New Year.

More importantly, though, it’s the first English Central video that I’m embedding in my blog. It’s easy to do, and I just learned it was possible through David Deubelbeiss’ blog — check out his post with screenshots.

July 23, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

The Best Ideas To Help Students Become Better Listeners — Contribute More

'090/365: String telephone' photo (c) 2008, Ben Smith - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

This is a very short “The Best…” list. It’s different from The Best Listening Sites For English Language Learners, and is focused on ideas we can use to help all our students develop better listening skills.

I shared my best ideas, and many readers shared theirs, in my Education Week Teacher piece titled Several Ways To Help Students Become Better Listeners.

The Power of Smart Listening by Annie Murphy Paul is another good resource.

Here’s a quote from The Harvard Business Review:

For leaders, listening is a central competence for success. At its core, listening is connecting. Your ability to understand the true spirit of a message as it is intended to be communicated, and demonstrate your understanding, is paramount in forming connections and leading effectively. This is why, in 2010, General Electric—long considered the preeminent company for producing leaders—redefined what it seeks in its leaders. Now it places “listening” among the most desirable traits in potential leaders. Indeed, GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt has said that “humble listening” is among the top four characteristics in leaders.

Excellent Post On The Different “Levels” Of Listening

Here’s a playlist from TED Talks on the topic of listening.

Malcolm Gladwell’s New Story On The Importance Of Being A Good Listener

Say What? 5 Ways to Get Students to Listen is from Edutopia.

Here’s The Form I Have Students Complete When They’re Listening To Their Classmate’s Presentations

Everything You Need to Know About Becoming a Better Listener is another excellent article from The Harvard Business Review. It’s short and accessible, and will be a great addition to the lesson plan I have about becoming better listeners in my Self-Driven Learning book. Here’s a tweet about the article:

Excellent Article On Listening AND Writing Prompt I’ll Be Having Students Use With It

What Great Listeners Actually Do is from The Harvard Business Review.

I hope readers can contribute other good ideas….

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