Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

May 23, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Updated: Here Are The Sites I’m Using For My Summer School “Virtual Classroom”


NOTE: I have added ReadWorks to both Work History and U.S. History – see “ReadWorks Digital” Came Online Today & It Looks Great!

I’ve written a lot about the “summer slide” (see The Best Resources On The “Summer Slide”)  and how I try to combat it by creating virtual online classrooms that students use during vacation time (our district used to have money for summer school, but that time is far in the past).

Even though I’m a big believer in intrinsic motivation, I am not above both offering extra credit for the following year’s classes (either in my classes if they are having me again, or in other classes where I make arrangements with their teachers) and by telling them that they will function as “teaching assistants” in next year’s classes if they complete all the assignments.

Here are the updated sites I’ll be having my students use over the summer (we always spend a couple of classes at the end of the school year familiarizing them with the sites):

My Beginning/Intermediate ELL English Class Students

Of course, Duolingo is number one and is free. It’s very easy to set-up a virtual classroom to monitor student progress.

costs $110 a year for a class, but I’ve always thought it was worth it, and have used it for many years. It has lots of “talking books” and interactives.

USA Learns is for Beginners, Low-Intermediate and Intermediate ELL’s, and has reading, speaking and listening activities. Teachers set up the class, and students enroll themselves after you set up the class.

My ELL Geography Students Who Will Be Taking World History Next Year

I’m creating free virtual World History classrooms on these sites:

Think Circa – you can read my previous post about the site here.

Power My Learning

Hstry – you can read my previous post about the site here (I haven’t yet decided for sure about it, though).

OpenEd – you can read my previous post about this site here.

My ELL World History Students Who Will Be Taking U.S. History Next Year

Zoom-In – you can read my previous post about this site here.  You can create a free virtual classroom.

In the subscription I have for Brainpop, only three log-ins can be used at any one time.

Though I have fifteen students who will be entering U.S. History next year, unfortunately, I think only about six or seven of them will actually do online work over the summer. Part of that small number is due to the fact that some are going to Mexico over the summer and don’t expect to have Internet access.

Because I have such a small number who I think will use the summer sites, however, it means that just having three log-ins to Brainpop should be workable. I’m having them view all the U.S. History videos there and complete the quizzes. They will print-out each quiz they complete and give me a packet at the beginning of next year (I also gave them the option of taking pictures of the quizzes to send me, but they all seem more interesting in the print-out versions).

I’m Adding “Zing” To List Of Sites I’m Having Students Use This Summer

So that’s my list, and I’d love to hear more suggestions!

(FYI, my Beginner and Intermediate ELL students will also be taking my Geography class next year. If they do anything over the summer, though, I want them to work on their English through Duolingo and USA Learns. If I wanted them to get a head-start on Geography, though, I’d pay $100 for a classroom in IKnowThat.)

Also, check out “TIME/Edge” Could Be Useful For Students Over The Summer

May 22, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Nice, But Expensive, Brainpop Feature: You Can Track Student Progress


I’ve been a longtime fan of Brainpop’s Social Studies animations, and often use them in my ELL U.S. & World History classes. I pay for the $220 yearly “classroom” subscription” (which lets you log-in at only three devices at the same time) out of my own pocket.

Brainpop also has an ESL program, which costs $130 annually with the same number of log-on limitations. I don’t subscribe to that because I think there are plenty of free resources of equal or better quality.

They’ve just added the ability for teachers to track student progress to the ESL program (they call it My Brainpop), but only with a school or district subscription, and that’s pretty pricey – $600. They offer that same ability if you have a school or district subscription to their regular program, which is far more expensive. This is a great feature to have. It’s just unfortunate that their prices are so high.

Nevertheless, with the addition of this new feature, I’m adding it to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress.

May 21, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Hillary Clinton & Venn Diagrams


You may have heard about the hullabaloo caused by the Hillary Clinton campaign yesterday when they sent out a tweet showing that at least one campaign staffer doesn’t have a clue about how to correctly used a Venn Diagram:

Here are a couple of useful, and humorous, articles about the aftermath:

Hillary Clinton gets schooled by the internet on how Venn diagrams work is from Quartz.

We fixed Hillary Clinton’s terrible Venn diagram on gun control is from The Washington Post.

I’m adding this info to The Best Multimedia Resources For Introducing Students To The Advantages Of Charts, Graphs & Infographics.

May 20, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Video: “Ferdinand The Bull”

I, and many ELL teachers, use The Story Of Ferdinand in class. It’s particularly useful when teaching the “story” genre (I use it, as well as Teacher From The Black Lagoon, as part of a modified unit from The WRITE Institute).

I just learned that the director of the Ice Age movie is doing a full-length version of Ferdinand, and it’s supposed to be out next year.

Disney did this cartoon version in the late 1930’s:

Many of you may know this, but it’s new to me that it was a very controversial story when it came out prior to World War II and was banned in in countries for it’s alleged promotion of pacifism.

May 18, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

“UnboundEd” Is New Site For Free CCSS Lessons


A new site for free Common Core-aligned lessons opened up today. It’s called UnboundEd.

Right now, most of the lessons they have are the same as those at the popular EngageNY site but, according to Education Week (see Creators of EngageNY Start New Archive of Free Common-Core Materials), they’re running out of money so they started UnboundEd to continue its work.

I know the EngageNY site is very popular among educators. Personally, I tend to get very tired just reading their lessons, but, obviously, I’m in the minority.

UnboundEd says they’re going to add a lot of new materials, so I’ll wait to see what they come up with before I add them to the The Best Places To Find Free (And Good) Lesson Plans On The Internet.

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