Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

August 29, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Here’s A Cloze (Gap-Fill) Essay My ELL Students Will Complete On The First Day Of School

This coming Thursday is the first day of our school year.

One of the many classes I will be teaching is for Beginning/Intermediate English Language Learners. I’ll begin the year (though we’ll get many new students as time progresses) primarily with high Beginners from last year.

I thought readers might find it useful to see a “fill-in-the-gap” essay they’ll be completing on the first day of school. It’s titled “My Summer Vacation.” You can download it here.

I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Planning The First Days Of School.

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August 24, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Two Good Articles – & A Student Writing Prompt – On The Importance Of Reading

I recently discovered two short and accessible articles on the importance of reading:

10 Benefits of Reading: Why You Should Read Every Day

The surprising benefits of reading before bed (thanks to Jennifer Serravallo).

Here’s a writing prompt I plan to use with students after they read the two of them:

What are at least three reasons the authors of these two articles say why reading is good for you? To what extent do you agree or disagree with what the authors are saying? To support your opinion, be sure to include specific examples drawn from your own experience, your observations of others, or any of your readings.

I’m adding this post to The Best Posts On Writing Instruction.

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August 23, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Video: Ta-Nehisi Coates On The Importance Of Revision

Dave Stuart Jr., who writes just about the most useful blog on the Common Core and English Language Arts that’s out there, shared this video on Twitter today.

I think the most useful part begins at about the two-minute mark. It’s definitely something I’d show to students when we start talking about the importance of revising one’s work.

I’m adding this post to The Best Resources On Getting Student Writers To “Buy-Into” Revision – Help Me Find More.

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August 18, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

A Great Piece On Student Boredom & The Writing Prompt I’m Using With It

How to Never Succumb to Boredom is a very good piece over at Bright. I’m going to have students read it and then answer this prompt:

What is the author saying about boredom? Do you agree with his view? To support your opinion, be sure to include specific examples drawn from your own experience, your observations of others, or any of your readings.

I’m adding this post to:

The Best Posts & Articles On Boredom & How Students & Teachers Can Deal With It

The Best Posts On Writing Instruction

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August 12, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

A Cornucopia Of Useful Resources For Teaching Writing

Here are a number of great resources for teaching writing. I’m adding most to The Best Posts On Writing Instruction:

Richard Byrne writes about the Hemingway App might have turned itself into a useful writing tool and not just a gimmick. I’m adding it to The Best Online Tools That Can Help Students Write An Essay.

Speaking of those kinds of online tools, one that’s already on that list, Write Well, today just announced some useful improvements.

Dylan Wiliam advises: Forget the Rubric; Use Work Samples Instead is a pretty important post by Doug Lemov. Be sure to also check out Dylan William’s comment on it. In addition to adding it to my “Writing” Best list, I’m also adding it to The Best Rubric Sites (And A Beginning Discussion About Their Use).

The Moving Writers have created a great collection of mentor texts. I’m adding it to The Best Websites For K-12 Writing Instruction/Reinforcement.

WISE EYES: Prompting for Meaningful Student Writing is from The National Writing Project. I’m adding it to the same list.

School Writing Vs. Authentic Writing is by Ken Lindblom.

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August 1, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources For Teaching/Learning About How To Write Compare/Contrast Essays

I recently realized that I have specific “Best” lists for many different types of essays (see All My “Best” Lists On Teaching & Learning How To Write – In One Place!), but I’ve never created one for Compare/Contrast.

So, here goes:

Here are instructions for a compare/contrast unit project from one of my class blog.

Writing to Compare and Contrast from Citelighter on Vimeo.

When you are writing to compare, how should you organize your writing? What types of words should you use to make comparisons? Learn more about how to write engaging compare and contrast essays.

I use a lesson comparing/contrasting photos to introduce the concept to Beginning English Language Learners. Here are some posts specifically related to that activity:

“Blog challenge: compare and contrast photo”

Blog challenge: compare and contrast photo – this is from EduLang.

Finding Similar Images To Use For Compare/Contrast Prompts

Describing photos (comparing, contrasting and speculating) is from EFL Smart.

Here are some NY Times posts for ELLs where I’ve discussed writing compare/contrast essays:

Students separate run-on sentences in this interactive about International Dance Day, and use it as a model for creating their own.  In addition, they can view a variety of dance videos and write a compare/contrast essay.

Study the 9/11 terrorist attacks through a K-W-L chart and Venn Diagrams that lead to writing a compare and contrast essay.

A mixture of activities, including ones on idioms, recipes,  developing neighborhood tours and writing a compare/contrast essay.

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August 1, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources For Using “If This Animal Or Image Could Talk” Lesson Idea In Class

A fun writing lesson for English Language Learners is showing videos or images of animals and asking them to write down what they think they believe the animal might be thinking. I’ve written a number of posts related to these kinds of lessons and variations on it (having paintings or parts of the earth talk) and thought I’d bring them, and additional resources, all together in one “Best” list (feel free to contribute your own ideas!):

Video Challenge For Students: What Is This Lion Thinking?

“What Is This Animal Thinking or Saying (If It Could Talk)?” Is A Fun Language Development Exercise

What Would This Animal Be Saying And/Or Thinking?

What Are People In This Painting Thinking?

I share similar ideas in my New York Times post headlined Teaching and Learning About Animals.

Nature Is Speaking is an amazing series of videos where celebrities give voice to parts of nature that are being threatened, including the ocean, coral reefs, etc. The could be good models for a more serious use of this instructional strategy.

There is a YouTube channel by Chris Cohen that he calls Animal Translations, where he puts his voice to animal thoughts. The accent is a bit thick, so it might be difficult for ELLs to hear everything, but they’d certainly get the idea. Then, students could create their own internal dialogue they could perform while the video was shown on a screen without sound.

Here the two samples:

I’m adding this post to The Best Ways To Use Photos In Lessons.

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July 28, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Tools & Lessons For Teaching Information Literacy – Help Me Find More

As a companion “Best” list to The Best Resources For Learning Research & Citation Skills, I thought it would be useful to create this one.

I’m using the term “information literacy” here to describe assisting our students developing critical thinking skills to evaluate both web and content in other media forms. I’ve seen the term used to describe broader skills, too. Let me know if you think I’m off-based with my definition.

So, using that definition, here is a beginning Best list, and I hope readers will contribute more:

Show Me Information Literacy Modules


Sarah Bolanos made a great suggestion – Education Resources For Web Literacy from November Learning.

Guest Post: A List Of Useful Resources On Teaching Information & Digital Literacy

How to Teach Students to Evaluate the Quality of Online Information is from Edudemic.

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