MONTHLY TOP TEN LISTS
FERLAZZO'S WEBSITE NEWSLETTER
PART TWO -- JUNE,
With the usual end-of-school year craziness, I
haven't had time yet to prepare a complete email newsletter.
However, I did want to send-out links to some new
"The Best..." lists because I thought they might be helpful to teachers during
the final weeks of school.
LARRY FERLAZZO'S WEBSITE
JUNE, 2009 EDITION - PART ONE
school is nearing the end of the year for many of us, I thought I'd send a short
June edition out early so you'd have these resources to use (especially "The
Best." list on the Swine Flu).
you can subscribe to receive daily email updates by using this
can also see this newsletter and all past newsletters by going
are some recent "The Best." lists:
The Best Sites Sites For Discussing The Morality of
The Best Resources For Learning About World Malaria Day
The Best Online Examples of My Students' Work
The Best Sites For Learning About
The Swine Flu Outbreak
The Best Places To Find New Educational Websites
The Best Places To Read & Write "Choose Your Own Adventure"
The Best Websites For Learning About Memorial Day
Part Thirty-Five Of The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily &
What Do You Do To Keep Students (And You!) Focused Near The End Of The
Ferlazzo's Website Newsletter
promised, here are sites I've written about in April that I think might be
particularly useful to educators.
I've written a couple of more "The Best." lists since I emailed "Part One," and
have included direct links to those lengthy posts.
Best Sites For Learning About The Holocaust
Thirty-Four Of The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily &
Do You Do When You're Having A Bad Day At School?
I've posted several times about Tikatok
(http://www.tikatok.com/) and Tar Heel Reader,( http://tarheelreader.org/) but for some reasons didn't think until
now of including them in The Best Places Where Students Can Write For An "Authentic
Audience" list. It's a natural fit, and I've just
added them to that list. (By the way, both are on The Best Places Where Students Can Write Online list).
Titatok a site that is a real find for English Language Learners (and
lots of other students). Users can create online books that they write and
illustrate (they can also use lots of images available on the site). It has a
number of features that really make it stand-out. You can make a book from
scratch, or you can use one of their many story frames that contain "prompts" to
help the story-writer along. In addition, you can invite others to collaborate
online with you to develop the book.
Once the book is done you can email the link to a friend, teacher, or
yourself for posting on a blog, website, or online journal and the site
is available on Titatok for others to read. You can create the online version
for free, but have to pay if you want them to print a hard-copy
Tar Heel Reader has two great features: 1) It has
1,000 simple books with audio support for the text immediately accessible to
Beginning English Language Learners and 2) It makes it as simple as you can get
for students to create their own "talking" books using images from
Anybody can read the books on the site. However, in order to have
your students create talking books using their "easy as pie" (and free) process,
you need to register and have to have a code. They're rightfully concerned
about publishing the code because of spammers. Gary Bishop from the site,
though, is happy to provide it to teachers. Just write him at firstname.lastname@example.org and he'll send it to
Is A Winner - Big Time!
Wallwisher (http://www.wallwisher.com/) lets you, with very, very
minimal registration, create a "wall" where you can place virtual sticky-notes.
You can allow others to also place notes on the board, or keep it so that only
you can do so (which is what I would recommend for students). The sticky-notes
can include images you grab off the web, videos, or websites, and you can add
text to them (you can also just include text without adding anything else). Each
sticky has a 160 character limit for text.
appears to me to be one of the most useful Web 2.0 sites I've found in awhile.
It can be a great place for students to use higher-order thinking by creating
categories of images (and descriptions) or short texts they copy and paste (or
write themselves). It can also be used as a site for social bookmarking of
websites if you just right-click the website you put inside the sticky-note and
then click on "open in a new window."
explained in The
Best Social Bookmarking Applications For English Language Learners & Other
Students more details on how a site like Wallwisher can be used by English
Language Learners for categorization and website bookmarking applications, and
I'd encourage you to take a look. The other sites listed there can
be used for similar purposes, but Wallwisher appears to be the easiest and most
user friendly of the bunch.
do have to share one caveat - the first couple of times I tried it I couldn't
get the sticky-notes to appear. However, it worked everytime
afterwards. It's a new site, so it's possible there are just a few
glitches they're still working out.
On, Our Schools Aren't That Bad."
On, Our Schools Aren't That Bad.(
is the title of my newest post in
our group blog, "In Practice." It's written by several of us who teach in
post is about some public reaction to Education Secretary Duncan's recent speech
where he said U.S. students should spend more time in
I Really Like "Next Stop" For Student
Next Stop (http://www.nextstop.com/) is a new travel
recommendation site - people write about places they like near where they live
or places they have visited.
already included other travel sites where people can write similar reviews in The
Best Places Where Students Can Write For An "Authentic
Next Stop has - by far - the easiest writing process among them and, plus, they
make it very simple to grab an image off the Web to include in the review.
On top of all that, users can actually create their own online guides comprised
of written reviews. Individual students, or groups of students, can easily
create what could, in effect, be an online portfolio.
obviously added Next Stop to that "The Best." list.
Pub Might Work Great For Publishing Student Work
going to teach Beginning English Language Learners during the summer, and I've
been trying to figure out which of the tools I have listed on Part
Two Of The Best Sites For Students To Easily Create & Display Online
Projects list would be the most simple for them to display their work - urls
or embeds from Part
Thirty-Three Of The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly
and its previous editions, copy and pasting images and writing about them,
had seen Note Pub (http://notepub.com/) before, but ignored it
because it required downloading an application to upload photos. But a post in
Tidbits prompted me to take another look.
liked what I found after spending a little more time on the
extremely easy to register and, it's very easy to write text. Plus, like Posterous, you can
just copy and past images off the web. But it seems even easier than Posterous.
Of course, it won't look as pretty and it's not really in a blog format. But I
think if you're working with students who have very little technology
experience, and you just want them to have an easy place where they can paste
their work (and where other students can view it, too, after the links to all
student sites are posted on a teacher page), Note Pub might just be the web
application to use. Obviously, they won't be able to post comments, but that can
all happen orally.
going to experiment with it a bit further, and I am going to add it to The Best
list I mentioned at the beginning of this post.
years ago this week, NASA introduced the first American astronauts. To recognize
the event, NASA has created an unusual interactive
The 50th Anniversary
Of The Mercury 7 Press Announcement (http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/50th_announcement/)
has two elements.
just shows video of the press conference, and it also includes
closed-captioning. That obviously helps English Language Learners, but not
nearly as much as the other element.
also has what it calls an Interactive Press Conference. It, too, has closed
captioning, but instead of just listening to people speak, users can click on a
menu of the questions asked and just listen to those responses instead of having
to listen to the whole thing.
second feature makes it much more accessible to ELL's - both for just listening
and for other exercises - like having to answer a series of questions developed
by an instructor or other students.
features are accessed by the main link.
adding it to the Planets and Space
section of my website.
For Career Exploration
Mindopia (http://www.mindopia.com/) is the newest
addition to The
Best Websites For Students Exploring Jobs and Careers.
clicking on a career you might be interested in, you're led to a page of simple
interviews with people working in that profession, along with other resources
(including salary projections).
particularly like that the videos are divided into separate sections answering
specific questions, which makes it a lot easier for English Language Learners to
follow. In addition to that, you can see the transcript of the interview
right below the video. Ordinarily, I don't think video transcripts are
that helpful to ELL's who also need the visual clues being shown - it's hard to
look at both (which is why closed captioning is so much better). However,
these interviews are just "talking heads," so students really don't need to
watch the videos and, instead, can just listen to the audio as they follow along
on the transcript.
site is just beginning, so it doesn't have a huge list of careers, but they
promise to be adding more.
though I haven't gotten a chance to try it yet, PodOmatic (http://www.podomatic.com/) looks like an
extraordinarily easy way to create a podcast. Sign-up and your class has your
own channel - all you need is a computer microphone.
adding it to The
Best Sites To Practice Speaking English.
also adding it to The
Best Places Where Students Can Create Online Learning/Teaching Objects For An
might also want to check-out the Podcasting
Resources section of my website.
never had my students actually try podcasting, though it's in the cards for
summer school. If you have more experience with it, and have a different opinion
about PodOmatic, please let me know.
new LIFE site (http://www.life.com/)
shares millions of photos from the LIFE Magazine archives and Getty
great about this new site is that, unlike Google's
previous hosting of many of the same photos (which are just listed by
decades), LIFE's site shows them in thematic slideshows with accessible
captions. Plus, they include daily updates of slideshows about current
events. You can also subscribe to a weekly email newsletter that gives you
updates on new content.
the historical and current slideshows are fabulous. I'm adding the site to The
Best Online Slideshows About Current Events, The
Best news/current events websites for English Language Learners , and
probably to a bunch of other "The Best.." lists, too.
Word Ahead (http://www.wordahead.com/) is one of the
best vocabulary-learning sites I've seen for advanced English Language Learners
and mainstream students.
uses SAT words, and shows the word and representative image, plus provides audio
support for text showing the word being used in context.
be adding it to the SAT
Preparation section on my website.
Art Of Storytelling"
could have sworn I had posted about the extraordinary The Art of
Storytelling (http://www.artofstorytelling.org/) site last year, but
I was searching through the blog and couldn't find it.
I'm writing about it today - better late than never!
Art of Storytelling is a site from the Delaware Art Museum that allows you pick
a painting, write a short story about it, record it with your computer
microphone, and email the url address for posting on a student website or blog.
It's extraordinarily simple, and extraordinarily accessible to any level of
English Language Learner. No registration is
only will I be adding it to a future Part
Thirty-Three Of The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly
list, but I'm also adding it to The
Best Sites To Practice Speaking English.
May, 2009 (Part
I'm sending out two sections of this most
This one will consist of links to many "The
Best..." lists that I've posted over the past month. Since many of them
are very timely, I thought it might be useful to get them out as soon as
possible. I'll follow-up with a few specific sites in a week or
Here are links to the most recent "The
I hope you find them
FERLAZZO'S WEBSITE NEWSLETTER
are the latest "The Best." lists, along with a few other selected
as a reminder, you can receive posts about the 200 new sites added to the
website each month by subscribing to my blog for free at http://www.feedblitz.com/f/?Sub=168021
Best Places To Create (And Find) Internet Scavenger Hunts & Webquests
The Best Sites For Free ESL/EFL Hand-Outs &
Best Non-Web Resources, Online Tools, & Websites I Use Most Often With My
The Best Sites To Learn About Mardi Gras &
Best Tools To Make Online Flashcards
Bests Places To Find Good Education Blogs
You Ever Taught A Class That "Got Out Of Control"?
Part Thirty-One Of The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily
Best Sites For Learning About Women's History
Best Sites For Learning About Easter & Passover(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2009/03/08/the-best-sites-for-learning-about-easter-and-passover/)
Best Sites For Learning About Cesar Chavez
Best Online Slideshows About Current Events
Best Online Science, Nature, & History Slideshows
Best Sites To Learn About Diego Rivera
Best Articles That I've Written
Thirty-Two Of The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily &
Best Places To Find Theatrical Movies On Science, Math & History
Best Tools To Help Develop Global Media Literacy
Best Sites For K-12 Intermediate English Language Learners
Multilingual Glossary Of Academic English
The Best Websites For
Developing Academic English Skills & Vocabulary,
I shared a document prepared by Carolyn
Zierenberg, a talented teacher at our school. It was a simple multilingual
(English/Spanish/Hmong) glossary of academic vocabulary. She had given me
permission to share it on this blog and website.
Glossary of Commonly Used English Academic Vocabulary took an incredible amount
of work to complete, and now it's been updated. Here's the most recent
version a Glossary Of Commonly Used
English Academic Vocabulary - English/Spanish/Hmong. (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/files/2009/03/glossary-of-commonly-used-english-academic-vocabulary1.doc)
also added it to "The Best." list I mentioned earlier.
course, a list like this is only effective as a supplement and follow-up to
multiple classroom activities where these words are used in a meaningful way in
The New York Times has published the Immigration
It shows - by geography and time
period - where immigrants from various countries have settled in the United
States over the past 130 years.
I haven't seen anything that rivals it.
My only disappointment is that, though it includes immigrants from
Vietnam, it doesn't have specific categories for others from different parts of
Nevertheless, it will be a very useful resource. I'll be placing a
link to it on my United States History webpage.
MapBuzz (http://www.mapbuzz.com/) is the newest
addition to The
Best Map-Making Sites On The Web.
As I describe on that list, using an easy mapmaking site like
MapBuzz can be an excellent learning activity for English Language
Learners and all students. "Markers" or "push-pins" can indicate with text and
images places visited and routes taken on a field trip; battles fought in a war;
key milestones in the life of a student or a famous figure; highlighting key
natural disasters around the world - and these are just a few examples.
MapBuzz lets your draw lines, insert images, write text - all in a
very accessible way.
The Birmingham Grid For Learning has a
very accessible test (http://www.bgfl.org/bgfl/custom/resources_ftp/client_ftp/ks3/ict/multiple_int/questions/choose_lang.cfm)
students can take to get an idea of their multiple intelligence profile - in
other words, which learning styles tend to work best for them. It's simple,
audio support is provided for the text, and the results are displayed
With the posting of today's "The Best." list, the total number of
the lists published has now reached two hundred!
Just a reminder that you can access all of them in a few ways:
Of Series" (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/about/my-best-of-series/)
has all of them divided by categories (Social Studies, Web 2.0, etc.)
Of The Year has them listed chronologically.
You can also find links to both of these compilations on the
sidebar of my blog.
I also about twenty of them on a page on my website, The Best Websites. The
version listed there is specifically designed to be a little more accessible to
The Hoover Institution's "Education Next" debates the question "Should the United States have a national curriculum?" in its most
recent issue. (http://www.hoover.org/publications/ednext/E_Pluribus_Unum.html)
Deborah Meier explains the "no" position very
Regular readers know that I'm a fan of Marvin
Marshall and his writings on positive classroom management strategies.
He included this story in a post
today. It's worth visiting his blog to see the entire post, but here's a
story I loved:
There's an old story of a young lady who was taken to dinner
one evening by William Gladstone and then the following evening by Benjamin
Disraeli, both eminent British statesmen in the late nineteenth
"When I left the dining room after sitting next to Mr.
Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest man in England," she said. "But after
sitting next to Mr. Disraeli, I thought I was the cleverest woman in
Resources (http://esl-bits.net/main2.htm) has
nineteen "sets" of five different excellent reading activities focusing on
"signs, details, matching, gist, and gap." It's on The
Best Websites For Intermediate Readers, but the site either went off-line
and/or changed its url address several months ago.
Today - by chance - I located it again. It's a definite
I've placed the link on my website in a few places, including
I've included resources from the Enchanted Learning site in many
of my "The Best." lists. Many of their free materials are
very accessible to English Language Learners.
Today I discovered that they have quite a collection of simple
clozes (fill-in-the-gap) about nonfiction topics (http://www.enchantedlearning.com/cloze/o.shtml)
They can't be completed online at
their site, but they can be printed-out or, as I do in my U.S. History class,
have students copy and past them onto their blog.
To be honest, I wouldn't say the clozes are as strategic in their
location of "gaps" as I would like, but not many clozes I've found on the Web
are, either. But they are decent materials that I don't have to make, provide
good vocabulary/reading reinforcement, and offer new expository information.
I don't know if you can reasonably ask for more than that.
LARRY FERLAZZO'S WEBSITE
two quick reminders:
can receive posts about the 200 new sites added to the website each month by
subscribing to my blog for free at http://www.feedblitz.com/f/?Sub=168021
you no longer want to receive this newsletter, just reply to this email and
write "Unsubscribe" either in the subject line or in the body of the
are links to the latest "The Best." lists:
The Best Sites For Learning About St.
Patrick's Day (and April Fool's Day)
The Best Educational Web Resources Worth
The Best Sites To Learn About The
The Best Online Games Students Can Play In
Private Virtual "Rooms"
Not "The Best," But "A List" Of Mindmapping,
Flow Chart Tools, & Graphic Organizers
The Best Places To Buy ESL/EFL Books.
Software & Multimedia
The Best Sites To Learn About The Fires In
The Best Sites For Learning About The Hudson
River Plane Crash
The Best ESL/EFL
The Best Sites To Learn
About San Francisco
The Best Places To Find Free (And Good)
Lesson Plans On The Internet
Not "The Best," But "A List" Of Search
Engines For Social Media
The Best Sites For ELL's To Learn About The
Dangers Of Smoking
The Best Sites Where ELL's Can Learn About
The Super Bowl
Part Thirty Of The Best Ways To Create Online
Content Easily & Quickly
The Best Resources For Chinese New
The Best Resources For Groundhog
here are a few new selected websites:
Miniature Earth (http://www.miniature-earth.com/me_english.htm)
is a pretty amazing site. It's slideshow that uses statistics to reduce the
world to 100 inhabitants, and shows how that plays out demographically, who uses
what resources, etc. They periodically update the
placed the link on my website under Towards The
Stories (http://www.awesomestories.com/) has made it on to
many of my "The Best." lists over the past
It has an incredibly impressive collection of materials - on
just about any topic imaginable - that are very accessible to English Language
Learners. Over past few months they've even added audio support to much of their
text resources, which made them even more accessible.
They just completely revamped the site, and now have hundreds of
resources hosted by the site itself, slideshows, a much better internal search
engine, and a bunch of other features.
You do have to register to use the site, but it's free and easy
to do so. You can register on behalf of an entire school, or on an individual
It has over 2400 grammar activities, and teachers can create a
free account so that they can track student progress.
Favthumbs (http://favthumbs.com/) provides thumbnail images
(and links) of bookmarks saved on your del.icio.us account.
Thumbnail images are always useful to English Language Learners,
but Favthumbs is unlikely to be used by students because, in order to use it,
they have to use del.icio.us, and there are a number of better bookmarking sites
for ELL's that don't require any download (see The Best Social Bookmarking Applications For English Language Learners
& Other Students)
However, Favthumbs might just be the easiest way for a teacher
to create an accessible webpage for students doing an Internet "scavenger hunt"
or Webquest, or if they just want their students to focus on a few specific
webpages for an assignment. All a teacher has to do is create a tag on
their del.icio.us account and give students this url address -
favthumbs.com/ (your del.icio.us username)/ (the tag you gave the links).
Students will see thumbnail images and links to the sites you've
Themes (http://lunarr.com/themes/) is a nifty application that has
apparently been around for a year, but I just recently learned about it. I'm
immediately adding it to The Best Places Where Students Can Write Online,
Part Two Of The Best Sites For Students To Easily Create & Display
Online Projects and The Best Social Bookmarking Applications For English Language Learners
& Other Students.
It allows you to basically create individual webpages
(theoretically based on "themes") and very easily add maps, images, documents,
text, and even RSS feeds.
It's not perfect, since it doesn't have an embed option, and it
doesn't have a "drag-and-drop" functionality for images and webpages that some
of the other sites on the best Bookmarking list have, but its ease of use makes
it very attractive. Students could certainly use it to create categories
of images or texts, for example, which is something I explain a bit more in the
best bookmarking sites list.
The History Channel has a very nicely-designed Citizenship Quiz (http://www.history.com/genericContent.do?id=57117) that lets people try their hand at answering the 96 questions that the
Immigration Service draws from for the U.S. Citizenship exam.
Actually, I should say that these are the questions they
used draw from, since a new test was recently instituted and only
includes some of these old questions.
However, for my purposes the test is still good. I'm using the
History channel test site as a small part of the pre-and-post assessments
in my two U.S. History classes this year. This is the project I've mentioned
before where I'm teaching one class primarily using technology and the other the
way I would ordinarily teach it (though I would say that was was very engaging).
I'm using a variety of assessments to compare results from the two, including
projects demonstrating higher-order thinking skills, self-assessments, and
recall of facts.
I've placed a link to the test on my website under Citizenship.
Here's another online civics quiz that's considerably harder
designed by the Intercollegiate Studies
I had tried out an application called Simply Box (http://www.simplybox.com/) awhile ago, but once I realized that I
would have to install a toolbar to use it, I didn't explore it any further. Any
kind of installation makes it problematic for school use.
Today, though, I saw it bookmarked on Langwitches' links, and decided to take another
look. I'm glad I did.
I need to experiment with it a bit more, but Simply Box might be
one of the very applications out there that I think is useful to download for at
least my personal use. It seems to me that it will be a great tool for research
on the web.
It's basically a bookmarking program. The key difference,
however, between Simply Box and everything else out there is that you can very,
very easily just draw a line around anything you see on the web and save it in a
Here's a link to a very good video
explaining how to use it. It's actually understandable,
which is more than I can say about a lot of screencasts that sites have about
how to use their applications.
I'd be interested in hearing from other people if they think
this tool can be as helpful as I think it can be, or if I'm overlooking
By the way, you might also be interested in The Best Social Bookmarking Applications For English Language Learners
& Other Students.
I recently learned about the Kid Rex search engine (http://www.kidrex.org/) from the Alt Search Engines blog. It's supposed to
be a "kid-friendly" search engine.
I was actually pretty impressed when I tested it out on a few
queries (Abraham Lincoln, Roman Gladiator). The results that it delivered
were accessible to Intermediate English Language Learners.
The results are text-only, so it's not as good as some of the
search engines on The Best Search Engines For ESL/EFL Learners - 2008 list that provide thumbnail images, but its selective listing does make it a
decent option for students.
I've placed the link on my website under Search
USA Today has a very good collection of interactive graphics on weather and climate
This one on global warming is just one
I've placed the entire collection on the Science page of my website, but I'm also placing
some direct links under Natural
Larry Ferlazzo's Website
are the latest highlights from my blog and
The Best Sites For
Learning About The Presidential Inauguration
The Best Sites To Learn About U.S.
The Best Sites To Teach About
Not "The Best," But "A List" Of Music
The Best Sites For News & History Videos
That Won't Be Blocked By Content Filter (At Least, Not By Ours!)
The Best Collections Of Educational
The Best Sites That Use
Movie Trailers To Teach English
The Best Sites To Learn About Street
The Best Resources About
Best Sites About Valentine's Day
160 plus "The Best..." lists can be found here (categorized by topic):
Is Now Open To The Public
posted in the past about how the ability to make easy screencasts - with
audio- could be an excellent learning opportunity for English Language Learners
(you might want to take a look at that post). The online tool that has been
works okay for this purpose, but seems a little too
now a similar tool called Screentoaster (http://www.screentoaster.com/) that
couldn't be more simple to use, and they've just added both the ability to
record audio and add subtitles. All you do after you log-in is click on a
button, open up the window on your screen that you want to record, and it starts
recording your screen. After that's been recorded, you can provide audio
or subtitles. And it's free.
posted about Screentoaster in the past, but it just opened to the public this
placed it on The Best Sites To Practice Speaking
Shahi (http://blachan.com/shahi/) is a dictionary that combines simple
definitions with quite a few Flickr photos. The combination of the two makes it
pretty accessible to English Language Learners.
I'm placing the link on my website under Dictionaries.
Zoo (http://www.melzoo.com/en_US/search) is the newest
addition to The Best Search Engines For ESL/EFL Learners - 2008 and is definitely near the top of the list. It may not have
all the features of some of the other search engines I've ranked at the top, but
its simplicity makes it very attractive for English Language
After you type in your query at Mel Zoo, you see what appears to
be - more or less - the typical kind of text results you'd find in other search
engines. The key advantage the engine has - for both ELL's and others - is
that as you move the cursor down the text listing on the left side, the website
itself is shown on the right side.
This capability makes it very accessible to English
You can also find this link, and others, on my website under
Thanks, once again, to Alt Search
Engines for the tip.
I've just learned about Custom
Guides . (http://www.customguide.com/quick_references.htm)
These are simple, double-sided "cheat sheets" that can be
printed out for many software applications. I really liked the ones I
checked-out, though Kelly thought the ones on Macs were a bit outdated. I can't
comment, though, since I'm a PC-guy.
I'm adding Custom Guides to The Best Places To Learn Computer Basics & How To Fix Tech
Pixcetra (http://www.pixcetera.com/) has a huge amount of
photos and slideshows about current news and other topics. It appears to be
connected to AOL, but, to tell you the truth, I'm just not sure who's started
it. But their images are great and the captions are accessible to English
For lack of a better place, I've put the link on my website
under Multimedia Resources From News Outlets.
PowerPoint Station (http://www.pppst.com/index.html) is a treasure
trove of freely available PowerPoint presentations on all subjects, and most of
them appear very accessible to English Language Learners.
I'm particularly excited about the ones on United States History. Most of the other sites
I've found that have history PowerPoints are much more advanced, and not very
I'm adding this site to The Best Websites For Teaching & Learning About U.S.
In fact, I'm also adding it to The Best Websites For Teaching & Learning About World
I just learned about FinAid (http://www.finaid.org/) through an article in the
Wall Street Journal. It appears to be one of the most complete, if not
the most complete, resource on the web for college financial
It could be accessible to advanced Intermediate English
Language Learners with guided assistance from a teacher, but even then it would
be difficult. However, it's such a great resource that I'm still going to
add it to The Best Sites For Encouraging ELL's To Attend College.
Words.( http://www.capitolwords.org/) uses the Congressional Record to develop
ongoing "word clouds" for each member of Congress, and can show clouds
representing each state,too.
For English Language Learners, it would be a great real-world
exercise in vocabulary development combined with civics.
I've placed the link on my website under Citizenship.
LARRY FERLAZZO'S WEBSITE UPDATE -- JANUARY 2009 --
I hope your holidays are going well.
I've prepared quite a few "The Best..." lists over the
past few weeks, and thought I'd just send out a quick update on them. I
hope you find them helpful.
January, 2009 Edition
Before the holiday break, I thought I'd send out a final batch of the
newest "The Best..." lists -- with tiny urls this time. I'll send out the
next update in mid-to-late January.
I hope your holidays are restful and enjoyable!
LARRY FERLAZZO'S WEBSITE UPDATE
I published so many new "The Best." lists recently, I thought I'd send out this
update a bit early.
As a reminder,
you can subscribe (for free) by email to learn, and get more frequent updates,
about one hundred or so additional sites each month by going here: http://www.feedblitz.com/f/?Sub=168021
are links to "The Best." lists, followed by news about a few other new
The Best Science & Math Sites --
The Best Search Engines For ESL/EFL Learners --
Best Websites To Learn About Veterans Day
The Best Reference Websites For English Language Learners --
Twenty-Seven Of The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly -
The Best Social Studies WebSites - 2008
The Best Sites To Teach and Learn About Thanksgiving
Best Online Sources For Images
Best." Lists Reorganized
finally gotten around to creating a page that has all my "The Best." lists
separated by topic (Science, Web 2.0, etc). You can find them at "My Best Of Series" page (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/about/my-best-of-series/).
Websites Of The Year page, on the other hand, has these
lists in the chronological order in which they've been written. Please
note that I continually update and revise all of the
Best Websites page on my website shows versions of these same lists
that are designed for student self-access.
Voice of America Special English is a wonderful
resource for English Language Learners. It broadcasts news using a simple and
limited vocabulary, and is very accessible to ELL's. Not only does it provide
reports on current events, but it also has special series on U.S. History,
geography, and many other particular areas of interest. You can access
both the audio and transcript on the Web.
It's made several of my "The Best." lists, including
The Best Websites For Teaching & Learning About U.S.
History and The Best News/Current Events Websites For English Language Learners -
However, it has two major problems. One, they only keep a
limited number of their programs accessible with audio for a certain period of
time before they seem to eliminate the audio portion and, two, their "search"
system is terrible so it's difficult to find all the programs in a series in one
Different Asian-based websites have tried to rectify these two
problems by maintaining their own much-better organized versions of the Special
English broadcasts (I don't know, however, if they've done this with permission
or not, but I assume VOA doesn't really care either way). I have had
direct links to specific history broadcasts from one Asian site on my U.S.
History website for quite awhile, but they seem to go
off-line quite a bit.
I just learned about a site that appears much better organized
and more technologically advanced called 51
VOA. (http://www.51voa.com/The_Making_of_a_Nation_1.html) It has all the VOA Special
English broadcasts organized well, and they all still have audio.
I don't quite have it in me right now to change the large number
of direct links I have on my website to specific broadcasts on the other site,
but I will at some point in the future. For now, though, it's easy enough
to direct students to the main page and then to the specific
Good Question For Classroom Management
Marshall, who writes on positive classroom management strategies and
who I have quoted often here, just wrote something in his monthly newsletter
that struck me.
known that when there's a behavior issue in class asking the student, "Why?"
never is helpful. Now Marvin has a better suggestion. Instead, ask the student,
""What do you think we should do now?"
sense to me.
might also be interested in a series of posts I wrote earlier this year about
A "Good" Class Goes "Bad" (And Back To "Good" Again!) - April,
A "Good" Class - April, 2008
About Maintaining a "Good" Class - May, 2008
Do You Let Others Control You?" - September, 2008
Learns (http://usalearns.org/index/welcome.cfm?CFID=158752&CFTOKEN=24742556&jsessionid=2030640e69fadf75fc171a522eb2a70797d5TR) is an incredible website
to help users learn English, and it just launched today (November
It's free to use. Students can register if they want to save
their work and evaluate their progress.
It's a joint effort of the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE), Internet and Media Services Department and the
IDEAL Support Center at the University of Michigan's
Institute for Social Research.
The Tar Heel
Reader (http://tarheelreader.org/) is on The Best Places Where Students Can Write Online
list. It's a great place where Beginning English Language Learners can
read "talking books" and write/speak them, too.
Anybody can read the books on the site. However, in order
to have your students create talking books using their "easy as pie" (and free)
process, you need to register and have to have a code. They're rightfully
concerned about publishing the code because of spammers.
Gary Bishop from the site, though, is happy to provide it to
teachers. Just write him at email@example.com
and he'll send it to you.
Shmoop (http://www.shmoop.com/literature/) is sort of a Cliff's Notes - but a whole
It has a literature and poetry section, but I'm less interested
in those since I'm not convinced that using the "classics" in any kind of class
- mainstream or ELL - is the best tool for teaching and learning. However, I
like its History
section. It's probably only accessible to advanced
English Language Learners, but teachers could certainly easily modify parts to
create more usable materials. It also offers links to additional good
posted about a new online Spelling Bee earlier this week
that I thought would have some value for English Language Learners. Now, I've
just learned about another one that looks very good. Marc Tinkler, one of its
developers, alerted me about its existence.
It's the Visual
Thesaurus Spelling Bee( http://www.visualthesaurus.com/bee/).
You don't have to register to play, and it automatically adapts
to your spelling ability. It remembers which words you got right and wrong and
quizzes you periodically on words at your spelling level that you spelled
incorrectly in the past. A human voice, and not a computerized one, says the
words. Plus, it shows you a diagram of similar words.
It doesn't give you a sentence example using the word, but I
guess you can't have everything.
I'll be adding the link to my website under Spelling.
I've posted in the past about how the ability to make easy
screencasts - with audio- could be an excellent learning
opportunity for English Language Learners (you might want to take a look at that
post). The online tool that has been available, Screencast-O-Matic, works okay for this purpose,
but seems a little too complicated.
There's now a similar tool called Screentoaster (http://www.screentoaster.com/) that couldn't be more simple to use, and
they've just added both the ability to record audio and add subtitles. All you
do after you log-in is click on a button, open up the window on your screen that
you want to record, and it starts recording your screen. After that's been
recorded, you can provide audio or subtitles.
It's not open yet to the public, but I was able to get an
invitation pretty quickly after I requested one. Once it's open to the public
I'll be adding it to The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English and
will probably be adding it to other "The Best." lists, too.
LARRY FERLAZZO'S WEBSITE UPDATE - NOVEMBER,
Here are my choices for the best additions to my blog and
website over the past month. As
usual, I'm just including links to new "The Best." lists. After those, I've included more
information about specific websites.
As a reminder, you can subscribe (for free) by email to learn
about the additional one hundred or so new sites each month by going here:
The Best Sites For Encouraging ELL's To Attend
College (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/09/23/the-best-sites-for-encouraging-ells-to-attend-college/) - September, 2008
The Best Online Sites For Creating Music
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/10/01/the-best-online-sites-for-creating-music/) - October, 2008
The Best Multilingual & Bilingual Sites For Math,
Social Studies, & Science (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/10/03/the-best-multilingual-bilingual-sites-for-math-social-studies-science/) - October, 2008
The Best Websites For Learning About
Halloween (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/10/05/the-best-websites-for-learning-about-halloween/) - October, 2008
The Best Online Resources About Christopher
Columbus (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/10/06/the-best-online-resources-about-christopher-columbus/) - October, 2008
The Best "Unusual" Sites To Create Online Presentations (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/10/08/the-best-unusual-ways-to-create-online-presentations/) - October, 2008
The Best Sites For Making Crossword Puzzles & Hangman
Games (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/10/10/the-best-sites-for-making-crossword-puzzles-hangman-games/) - October, 2008
The Best Online Sources For Images
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/10/11/the-best-online-sources-for-images/) - October, 2008
The Best Web Resources On The Iraq War (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/10/14/the-best-web-resources-on-the-iraq-war/) - October, 2008
The Best Online Karaoke Sites For English Language
Learners (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/10/15/the-best-online-karaoke-sites-for-english-language-learners/) - October, 2008
Part Twenty-Four Of The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily &
Quickly (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/10/05/part-twenty-four-of-the-best-ways-to-create-online-content-easily-quickly/) - October, 2008
Part Twenty-Five Of The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily &
Quickly (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/10/15/part-twenty-five-of-the-best-ways-to-create-online-content-easily-quickly/) - October, 2008
Open Road TV
(http://openroad.tv/index.php) has a lot of nice and
short videos highlighting popular tourist attractions in the western United
pretty accessible to English Language Learners, and you can choose them from an
interactive map. The videos don't have closed-captioning, but Intermediate-level
students should be able to get their gist.
placed the link on my website under The United State and
(http://www.wectar.com/) is a new tool that
generates website recommendations. You paste in the url address of one site, and
it generates both the addresses and screenshots of similar sites. I found some
interesting ESL/EFL sites once I typed in my the address of my
It seems similar to other tools on The Best Places To Get Blog, Website, Book, Movie & Music
Recommendations, and I've added Wectar to that
I think Your Disease
Risk (http://www.yourdiseaserisk.siteman.wustl.edu/) is
a great site for both teenage and adult English Language Learners. It's from the
Siteman Cancer Center, and leads you through simple questionnaires on various
illnesses to determine.your disease risk.
I think the best way to teach English is to find-out what people
want to learn about, and then help them develop their language skills in the
process of learning about that topic. This seems to be a pretty high-interest
area to me. Even if it's less personally relevant to teenage students, they can
certainly answer the questions playing the role of their older
I'm adding this link to The Best Health Sites For English Language Learners.
Why Do You Let Others Control You?"
This is part four of a series of posts I've written over the
past several months on my ongoing efforts at
using positive classroom management strategies at our inner-city
school. The previous three have been:
When A "Good" Class Goes "Bad" (And Back To "Good"
Again!) - April, 2008
Maintaining A "Good" Class - April,
More About Maintaining a "Good" Class - May,
This most recent post is prompted by a major struggle I've been
having with my mainstream ninth-grade English class this year, who are
with me for two full-hours each day (the rest of the time I teach Intermediate
English Language Learners). My students are very smart, and many come from
I've been trying most of the classroom management strategies
I've shared in those previous three posts but, to be truthful, few of them have
been particularly effective in creating better classroom management this
year. One thing they have been successful in doing, however, has
been in helping me develop strong, trusting relationships with all of my
students. This is the foundation that has allowed me to finally begin to
create a more orderly classroom through using some new strategies. Of
course, the primary reason to create this kind of orderliness is to enhance
student learning, not for the sake of orderliness.
Here are some of the actions I've taken that have finally begun
"DON'T LET OTHERS CONTROL YOU": I had been
spending a lot of time "putting out lots of little fires" - students reacting to
what other students would say or do to them (throw little pieces of paper, say
something about their mother, etc.) My reaction had typically been to go
over to each student involved and ask them quietly to not repeat the
action. Sometimes I would send a student out of the classroom for a few
minutes to "cool down." Punitive measures would typically just escalate
the problem, so I seldom, if ever, implemented them (except in extreme
cases). I also used many of the positive actions I've mentioned in my
previous posts, but improvement was minimal.
What I have begun to do now, instead, is when students react to
provocations is to just ask them "Why are you letting __________
control you? He/She is doing it just to get your reaction - don't
you want to be in control of you?" I tell them that I'll
deal with the instigator firmly while the reacting student needs to
work on his/her self-control.
This strategy has had a profound effect on how students act in
the classroom now, and on how I respond to disruptions. When issues arise,
I continue to have short, quiet conversations with those involved. But
now, I don't say, "Please be quiet." I say, "Why are you letting him/her
control you?" This stance has clearly resonated with students,
particularly boys (who are a large majority in my class). I feel much
better about my stance, too. And the number of disruptions has fallen
I assume I picked-up this idea from something I read
somewhere, so I'm not claiming it as original. I just can't believe I
haven't used it earlier.
I'm also working students to think about how this strategy
relates to the rest of their challenging lives.
This first strategy has been, by far, the most important one
I've used to get a handle on this class this year. Here are a couple of
others that have helped, too:
"YOU MAY GET OUT OF YOUR DESK DURING CLASS - JUST ASK FOR
PERMISSION FIRST: Usually, as long as I'm not talking to the class, I
let students get-up to sharpen their pencils, get supplies, throw-out garbage,
etc., without asking for permission. However, with this class, that
ability was often an excuse for unhelpful student-to-student interactions
(intentionally bumping into each other). I've begun enforcing this rule
very strictly, with students having to be very clear with me what they want to
Framing it in a positive way -"You may get out of your desk -
just ask for permission first" is something I've learned from Marvin
Marshall, my favorite writer on positive classroom
management strategies. It sends a different message than "Don't get up
"YOU'LL HAVE THE SAME PARTNERS FOR SEVERAL WEEKS, AND
HAVE A PERMANENT ASSIGNED LOCATION FOR YOUR PARTNER WORK": I always
have a lot of partner work going on in my classes, and, typically, I mix-them-up
frequently and let students seat where they want. This also was
problematic with this class, and resulted in more classroom
After consulting with students about their partner preferences,
I assigned groups that will work together for several weeks, and have a
classroom map where everyone knows where they will be when we do work in
partners. The group locations are strategically placed to minimize
problems, with certain students far away from others.
I'll keep readers posted as the year continues.
One good week does not a semester make, but at least it's a
The San Francisco Chronicle has been running a great
weekly feature called the Three Panel Book Review (http://www.sfgate.com/columns/threepanel/archive/) , drawn and written by Lisa Brown.
She develops a book review in three cartoon panels with a short
amount of text. They're very funny and creative.
Using her concept as a model, it's a great way for English
Language Learners to practice the reading strategy of summarizing.
The Chronicle just today began creating an archive of past Three
Panel Book Reviews (I really don't understand why they didn't make them
available earlier), but they have a large number still to add. The link in
this post will take you to the archive.
Scribblar (http://www.scribblar.com/) has immediately joined
other applications on The Best Online Tools For Real-Time
It allows you to create a virtual "room" in seconds - without
having to register - where you can collaborate for writing or drawing, with the
ability to have a text chatboard or audio/webcam communication. It
couldn't be easier to use. If, and when, we can ever coordinate time
zones, it would be a neat tool to use for collaborating with others in the
International Sister Classes Project.
Voran contacted Scribblar after she read this post, and
learned that there is no limit to users in a room, except what is practical in
that type of meeting, and the url does last indefinitely, but you have to
bookmark it because it is not retrievable from their website. Thanks,
Larry Ferlazzo's Website
are my picks for the best posts from my blog over the past month. Remember, you can also subscribe and
receive free daily email updates here: http://www.feedblitz.com/f/?Sub=168021
usual, I will just be posting links to recent "The Best." lists since they're so
long. They are followed by
additional highlights from my blog:
The Best Sites For Students To Create Budgets
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/08/22/the-best-sites-for-students-to-create-budgets/) - August, 2008
The Best Internet Sites For English Language Learners -
The Best Websites For Teaching & Learning About New
Orleans (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/09/01/the-best-websites-for-teaching-learning-about-new-orleans/) - September,
The Best Resources For Hispanic Heritage Month
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/09/03/the-best-resources-for-hispanic-heritage-month/) - September,
The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education -
The Best Places To Learn Computer Basics & How To Fix Tech
Problems (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/09/19/the-best-places-to-learn-computer-basics-how-to-fix-tech-problems/) - September, 2008
The Best Sites To Learn About The U.S. Financial Crisis (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/09/20/the-best-sites-to-learn-about-the-us-financial-crisis/) - September,
Contrapunctus Variations (what a name!)
(http://contrapunctus.thirdangle.org/) lets you create musical compositions with
your computer mouse. It's difficult to explain in a post, but once you go there
it will become clear. You can save your composition, describe it, and email the
link for posting in a blog or teacher's website. No registration is
Not only can English Language Learners use it to
practice descriptive writing, but they can also learn some English names of
I'm very tempted to add this link to The Best Music Websites For Learning English
. However, instead, I think I'm going to
create another "The Best." list called The Best
Online Sites To Create Music. Look for it in the coming
Know How 2
Go (http://knowhow2go.org/index.php) is really quite
an impressive site designed to encourage middle and high school students to
attend college. It's been created by the American Council on Education and the
It's quite informative, and accessible to high
Intermediate English Language Learners. Part of the site is a very interactive
visit to a virtual college campus. While there, the user can collect information
for a "notebook" that they can then email to themselves.
I've placed it on my website under Careers.
10 (http://www.nextten.org/) is a nonprofit group in
our state that has developed some excellent online learning tools that relate to
California, particularly related to the environment.
One of them is a Carbon
Footprint Calculator (http://www.coolcalifornia.org/calculator.html)
and a Home Energy
Saver (http://hes.lbl.gov/) that includes California data.
They also have an extraordinary tool that lets you
discover the carbon footprint of your community based on your
I all three of these tools are accessible to
Intermediate English Language Learners, and I'm adding them to The Best Sites To Introduce Environmental Issues Into The
They also have a California Budget Challenge activity where users
make decisions about our state budget (which is several months late
already!). It's a good exercise, but probably not accessible to any but
the most advanced English Language Learners.
I thought people might be interested in seeing this
short (fourteen slides) slideshow that includes my commentary. It's a
presentation I'll be making to some of my colleagues this Wednesday called
"Web 2.0 For Dummies" (http://www.jogtheweb.com/reader/index.php?trackId=511 ) (I include myself in that
It also includes some of my skepticism about how
technology is often used in schools, which is reflected in many of my posts in
our group blog, In Practice.
iKnow! (http://www.iknow.co.jp/) appears to have the
potential to be one of the best online sites for English language learning out
iKnow! is free, and offers various learning
strategies with a lot of audio support. Their "learning English with English
support" is fairly limited right now - it's presently focused on
English-to-Japanese and Japanese-to-English - but there is some good stuff for
advanced English Language Learners. Once they beef-up that section this site is
going to be a real winner and probably a student and teacher
Cambridge University Press has extraordinary online
support activities for their ESL/EFL textbooks, and they're freely available to
anyone. Several of their sites are on The Best Listening Sites For English Language Learners.
Now they've just come-out with a site for adult
learners (which I think would also be fine for high school students). It's
called the Ventures Arcade, (http://www.cambridge.org/us/esl/venturesadulted/venturesarcade/index.html) and it's really
I've placed the link on my website under Favorite
Scholastic has been publishing excellent "Listen and
Read" nonfiction stories (with audio support for the text) for several years on
their website. They're accessible to Beginning English Language Learners. It's
not easy to find expository text that's accessible to Beginning
The problem has been that each story hasn't had a
permanent url address - they've kept changing it as they've published the
stories in their monthly online newsletters. It's been pretty
However, now they've compiled permanent links to all
of them on one page. Explore all fifty of them now at Listen and Read.( http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/collection.jsp?id=376)
I've put direct links to many of them under various
sections of my website.
My first year in teaching was spent with a
self-contained class of retained seventh-graders. Right above the
whiteboard in our classroom I wrote this question on a poster: "Is what you're
doing, or is what you're thinking about doing, going to help you get what you
want?" I think periodically reflecting on that question in class was
Marshall, who is my favorite (by far) writer/thinker on
positive classroom management, wrote a different (and, I think, better) question
that we as teachers might want to consider asking ourselves regularly. He
Will what I am about to do or say bring me closer
or will it push me away farther from the person with whom I am
Of course, that's not a bad question for us to
consider in all our interpersonal relationships, either.
Pic-Lits (http://piclits.com/compose_dragdrop.aspx) is an intriguing new site that lets users
pick an image from selection and then "drag-and-drop" words onto the image. The
user's creation can then be saved with a link posted, or it can be
It has some elements that might make it particularly
useful to English Language Learners.
The words you can choose from are labeled by their
parts of speech, and once you drop the word on the image you can see all the
different verb conjugations and choose one. You can write a poem or describe the
You also have the option of writing whatever words
you want if you don't want to be limited by the words available to
Jake Peters from Pic-Lits sent me an email letting me
know about the site and saying they are doing a pilot project with a local
school using it with their English Language Learners. Given that interest, one
would assume the images available on the site will be classroom appropriate
another advantage of the application
Larry Ferlazzo's Website Update
sending this update out a little early so I can get it "out of the way" before
the craziness of preparation for the new school year
usual, in addition to highlighting specific sites, I'm also just listing the
links to some new "The Best." lists I've compiled.
The World Geo Games
The World has a couple of Geo
Games (http://reachtheworld.org/geogames/index.html) that are
a little different from many of the other map games you can find on my Geography page.
these timed games, which also have various levels of difficulty, you drag
countries, continents, and cities onto a globe - not a flat surface. You
can also rotate the globe to find the right place. In addition, you can
ask for, and get, clues.
a nice little twist..
The Human Footprint
Interactive (http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/human-footprint/consumption-interactive.html) is an engaging activity that helps the user
determine how much they consume each year, and how that compares with residents
of different countries.
The language is accessible to
Intermediate English Language Learners.
I'm adding this site to The Best Sites To Introduce
Environmental Issues Into The Classroom.
A.D. New Orleans After The
Deluge (http://www.smithmag.net/afterthedeluge/2007/01/01/prologue-1/) is
a pretty impressive multi-part, web-based graphic novel about Hurricane Katrina
and its aftermath.
We teach a unit on New Orleans in our
ninth-grade mainstream English classes, including advanced English Language
Learners. This comic is certainly accessible to ELL's and enticing to reluctant
readers as well.
You can find a ton of resources about New
Orleans on my website under..New Orleans,
including a very quick VoiceThread slideshow I
made after my family's visit there four months ago..
If I had learned about Talking
Pets (http://www.talkingpets.org/) earlier, I would have included it on my year-end The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily
& Quickly - 2008.
You can choose a pet picture, or upload
your own. Then, using the text-to-speech feature, you can have it say a short
message, then email the link for posting on a blog or website.
It's a good activity for English Language
Learners to hear what they write.
Thanks to the excellent blog Alt Search Engines, I've learned about about a neat new site called
Green Planet Search (http://www.greenplanetsearch.com/)
It's a search engine for environmental
websites, plus the site and its host is solar-powered. It's very attractively
designed, and, even though they're just starting, I've been able to find a
number of sites that are new to me on it and that are accessible to English
I'm so impressed with it that I'm adding
it to my surprisingly (at least to me) popular The Best Sites To Introduce Environmental Issues
Into The Classroom.
Planet Science (http://www.planet-science.com/home.html) has a ton of resources about teaching,
learning, and using science in the classroom.
I've put the main link to the site on my
Teacher's Page under Science Ideas. However, it had one interactive activity
that I thought was particularly good for English Language Learners called
Get Clobbered, and I put that link on my Science
In the game, players have to
"dress" the scientist with the appropriate safety equipment he/she needs for the
experiment they're about to conduct. It's an excellent opportunity for
vocabulary development, and designed so it's accessible to Early Intermediate
English Language Learners.
LARRY FERLAZZO'S WEBSITE UPDATE - AUGUST,
Here are the latest highlights from my blog and website (many of
them are just links to new "The Best." lists I've compiled - the lists are too
lengthy to reprint in their entirety here):
For Google Reader & Bloglines Subscribers -Please Re-Subscribe
Some of the people who receive this newsletter also subscribe to
daily updates from my blog through an RSS feedreader. If you are one of those, you might have
stopped receiving posts if you use Google Reader or Bloglines and subscribed
prior to January. If you are
experiencing this problem, please re-subscribe using the newer Feedburner feed (http://feeds.feedburner.com/LarryFerlazzosWebsitesOfTheDayForTeachingEllEslEfl) This issue only
relates to people who have subscribed prior to January - anyone who has
subscribed since then is already using the Feedburner feed and shouldn't be
having any problems. Other RSS Readers don't appear to be having any issues,
so I think this only relates to "older" Google and Bloglines subscribers.
Sorry for the inconvenience, but the problem appears to be out of my
The Best Ways To Create Simple Screenshots
The Best Teacher Resource Sites For Social Justice
Best Websites To Learn About Various Religions &
The Best Online Learning Games - 2008
The Best Websites For Learning About Natural
The Best Sites To Teach & Learn About The
Part Twenty Of The Best Ways To Create Online Content
Easily & Quickly
Broth Is A Great Find!
During the past several months I've been on the "look-out" for a
"community" art-making application on the web. I thought it would be neat if
students in our international Sister Classes Project could easily share their artwork.
Unfortunately, even though there are quite a few web tools out
there that let people cooperate on creating art, I couldn't find one that had
safeguards that would allow allow them to be used in the
Now, though, I've found The
It lets you create password-protected private "rooms" where people
can cooperate on creating a piece of art. In addition, it has a chat component
that lets you talk with people who are in the room at the same time. With our
Sister Classes project, it's unlikely because of time zone differences that we
can make that happen. However, the chat messages remain, so students can leave
messages about what and why they've contributed to the community art
Ferlazzo's Website Update
sending this update out a little early, and it might be the last one for the
summer. The next update might not
be sent out until late August.
might want to consider subscribing to my blog if you'd like to get more frequent
updates over the next two months:
are the top posts from this past month:
The Best Online Video Sites For Learning English
The Best Ways To Make Comic Strips Online
The Best Websites For Teaching & Learning About U.S.
The Best "Today In History" Sites
The Best Websites To Learn About California
Part Eighteen Of The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily
Part Nineteen Of The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily
posted in the past
(http://www.icue.com/) , the new site recently launched
launched an extraordinary new section to the site focused on U.S. History. It's
so good that I've added it to The Best Websites For
Teaching And Learning About U.S. History that I posted earlier
enormous number, and quality, of video clips (with transcripts), plus
interactive games and exercises, make this a great site for English Language
Learners and other students.
written before about the excellent free bi-weekly email newsletter from Middle Web called "Of Particular Interest." You
can subscribe to it by sending a note to firstname.lastname@example.org with SUBSCRIBE in
the subject line.
was a preface to an interesting piece in the most recent edition. Quoting
John Norton, Middleweb's editor: "A recent "practice guide" from the
federal National Center for Education Research (http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/pdf/20072004.pdf)
what its panel of scholarly authors believe are seven of the best research-based
instructional strategies teachers can use to improve student learning.Don't be
put off by the lengthy scholarly introduction - skim and skip to
followed John's advice and thought that page was interesting. I'll be
sharing it with colleagues.
Wordle (http://wordle.net/) lets you either copy and paste or upload
text. It then produces a word cloud that give greater prominence to words that
appear more frequently. You choose from different formats about how you want
your word cloud displayed, and then have them displayed on the website with its
own url address.
could be a fascinating exercise for English Language Learners and other
students. Beginning ELL's could use it to see the importance of learning sight
words. Social Studies students could upload speeches by Barack Obama and John
McCain and compare the two.
know there have been other ways to identify high-frequency words from text, but
I think Wordle is the easiest and has the most elegant
Alt Search Engines
blog just posted about a different kind of "search" than they
usually do. This one is called Tox
Mystery (http://toxmystery.nlm.nih.gov/) , is from the National
Library of Medicine, and has the user search for hazardous chemicals within a
animated, with audio support for all the text, and is an interactive game. It's
very accessible to English Language Learners.
placed the link under Health
on my website.
280 Slides (http://280slides.com/) looks like it might
be the newest addition to my The Best Ways To Create
need to explore it further, but I especially like its feature that lets you
search for images and videos off the web right inside the slide-show creation
process. Except for the wonderful Bookr
tool, which is still by far the easiest way to make an online slideshow, all the
other sites on my list require that you open up a separate window to search for
images in order to get their url address first before you "plug" it in. This
feature just makes it easier for English Language Learners and everybody else to
create their shows. And 280 Slides has far more "bells and whistles" than
have to register if you want 280 Slides to save your presentation, but the
process is simple and quick.
Mingoville (http://www.de.mingoville.com/content/view/13/29/) is an exceptional site from Denmark
designed to teach Beginning English Language Learners. There are many
interactive exercises and games, it's very colorful, and there are both
listening and speaking activities. I haven't explored the site fully, but it has
an easy voice recording feature.
can experiment with it as a guest for a few minutes, but then you have to
register. It's completely free, and registration took about twenty
so good I've placed in on my website under Favorite
Sites. In fact, if your students are a little intimidated by
having 8,000 categorized sites to choose from on my site, going to Favorite
Sites is a good place to start.
Larry Ferlazzo's Website
June 2008 (Part
I'm not including any of my "The Best..." lists (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/about/websites-of-the-year/) in this update, but you
might want to check-out the latest ones.
Here are my choices for May (they're not in any order of
Tutpup Math & Spelling Games
Tutpup (http://tutpup.com/) is a new site where students can compete
in math or spelling games against other students from around the world
anonymously - either with a made-up name or no name at all.
There are a number of sites where users can compete in learning
games like these. The problem I've had with them is that there is no way to
"level the playing the field." In other words, an English Language Learner might
be playing against a native-English speaker. A situation like that does not
create much encouragement for an ELLer if they are going to lose all the
However, the key difference between Tutpup and these other sites
is that Tutpup has multiple levels of play to choose from going from extremely
easy to extremely hard. This ability to choose your level helps a
Plus, there's some sort of teacher's option that allows students
to sign-up in a class. It's not clearly explained on the website what this means
exactly - can students choose to play online with their classmates? If that were
the case, my opinion of Tutpup would increase even more. I've emailed them for
clarification, and will post their response (assuming I receive one).
Users can register a nickname or they can play without
registering. Their spelling game is a good listening exercise, since audio for
the word is voiced and the player has to then type the word
For now, I've just placed the link on my Math page.
More About Maintaining A "Good" Class
This is the third in a series of posts on various positive
classroom management strategies and tactics. You can see the rest of the series
by clicking here. Though this series is a little different
from the rest of my "The Best." series, they have enough in common for me to
include these classroom management posts withing that category.
These are just a few more ways I try to keep my classroom as a
close to being a "community of learners" as possible. As I've stated in the
other two posts on this same topic, I really don't have to devote much effort to
classroom management in my high school ESL classes. However, my mainstream ninth
grade English classes are a different story.
Teaching ninth-grade mainstream students in an inner-city high
school provides different kinds of challenges than teaching English Language
Learners - no better, no worse, just different. And class management can be one
Of course, even with my list of over twenty-five different tools
I use, sometimes none of them work. I might just not be using them effectively
enough, or maybe there are issues beyond my control that are contributing to the
problem (for example, my gender). In my five years of teaching, I've had to move
two students out to another class because nothing seemed to work. I've also had
more than two moved into my classroom because of behavior issues elsewhere, and
those have worked out fine.
Here are a few more ideas from my classroom management
HAVING STUDENTS PUT POST-IT NOTES ON THEIR
DESKS: For students who have particular challenges, like
difficulty focusing or not having much self-control when it comes to speaking
without thinking first, I offer the suggestion (which they are free to reject)
of their putting a reminder post-it on their desk at the beginning of each
class. I have multi-colored post-its that they can choose each day, and they can
spend the first two minutes of class (which is usually a time for silent
reading) writing and decorating it. Depending on their issue, they might write
"FOCUS!" or "THINK!".
Other times, after a discussion, they might decide on another
optional use of post-its. One strategy I've used at times is having students
write a hash mark on a post-it for every ten or fifteen minutes they feel
they've been "on-task" and carrying their weight in class. On occasion, I've
felt like I've had to offer a reward of some kind as an incentive, but the vast
majority of time this has worked because the student has just wanted to develop
SAYING I"M SORRY: It's not unusual for
me to show impatience, make a mistake, accuse a student of doing something when
he/she did not, or just have a bad day. My sense is that many of my students
have not experienced many adults apologizing to them. Not only does my apology
depolarize tension, but I think it's good modeling behavior as well.
TRYING TO INVOLVE STUDENTS IN DECISIONS TO CHANGE
SEATS: I'm often tempted to arbitrarily change a student's
seat because of behavior issues. Sometimes I succumb to that temptation.
However, what I try to do instead is engage the student in a
conversation about how he or she is doing in class, where he/she wants to be at
the end of the school year, and wonder if changing seats might be a tool to help
them reach their goal. Generally, after that conversation, they agree, and then
I ask them for their suggestions about what they think would be a good place for
them to be and why. Usually it works out pretty well.
RECOGNIZING STUDENTS: I don't
know if this activity can be correctly defined as part of a class management
strategy, but it does help maintain a positive classroom atmosphere. I can't
remember where I first read about this idea, but every Friday I have a "What I
See In You" time. I pick a student, ask him/her to stand, and spend a few
minutes sharing what I see in them, examples of their actions, etc. Every
student is recognized during the course of the school year, and they seem to
like it a lot.
DEVELOPING STUDENT CONTRACTS:
Sometimes, particularly when a student's behavior is worsening, I'll sit down
with him/her to discuss what would make the class work better for him/her and,
in turn, what he/she could do to make it work better for me. We'll then write
out a contract which we both sign.
I hope you've found these ideas useful. Feel free to contribute
classroom management suggestions based on your experience, too.
Beat The Clock
Beat The Clock (http://www.go4english.com/qg/archive.php?cid=10031001) is a British Council game where the player has to complete a
sentence by choosing the right word before the timer runs out.
The games are categorized by theme, and there are tons of
them. They are also labeled by the appropriate English level (beginner,
early intermediate, etc.).
I've placed the link on my Intermediate English page under Word
and Video Games.
Listen And Write
Listen and Write (http://www.listen-and-write.com/audio) is a new web tool that I think has a lot
of potential for English Language Learners.
A user first chooses a text he/she wants to hear read to
him/her. Many of the choices are from the Voice of America, and are both
high-interest and accessible. Their levels of difficulty are also
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.
I've placed the link on my website under Listening.
Webon (http://www.webon.com/) appears to be,
next to Jottit, the easiest website-builder I've come
across. I've emailed some questions to the company about their
features, and until I get those answers I'm not ready to say its better then
Jottit, but it is certainly easier to make it look attractive. It's
unclear to me, though, if you can embed presentations into it. I'll let
you know what I learn.
(I just heard from Webon, and you can indeed easily used
It's very easy to grab images off the web and write
captions. One of its features that I like a lot is that your images
automatically become a slideshow. It doesn't have all the bells and
whistles that other slideshow creators have, but it seems to work well
I wrote a post a few days ago about Middlespot (http://www.middlespot.com/) , a neat new
combination bookmarking and search engine application. I like it a lot, and
included a few questions in my post (which I also sent to them) about additional
features that would make it great for English Language Learners (and
They are planning to add the ability to search and save images,
and they hope to do so in the next thirty days. They also are planning on adding
an embedding option, so you won't just have to link to the url of your saved
They also graciously pointed out that they already had the
biggest option I was concerned about - the ability to write comments on each
saved screenshot. Scott Brownlee from Middlespot wrote:
..you can also make a personal comment (annotation) on each
screenshot in theworkpad. If you place your mouse cursor over a screenshot in a
workpad, a small m will appear that provides you with the ability to comment and
delete that result.
Assuming their plans to allow images happen, it's a safe bet
that Middlespot will be ending up on one of my "The Best." lists soon.
Mapdango (http://www.mapdango.com/) is called a "mash-up" - a combination of
a variety of web applications. It's a neat geographical and map search engine
that, after you enter the location you're interested in, will show you the
area's weather, areas of interest from Wikipedia, Flickr photos, and other
One particularly useful feature is that it shows all of the
above connected to its geographical location on a map, too.
It's a easy way to get a sense of a community. My students will
be using it tomorrow to learn a little more about the places where our
international sister classes are
I've placed the link on my website under Sites That Cover Many Areas.
Splashcast & Qlipboard
Ronaldo Lima, Jr., a very talented EFL
teacher in Brazil, and my colleague in our growing international Sister Classes Project,
wrote a great post in February comparing VoiceThread, Splashcast (http://splashcastmedia.com/) , and Qlipboard
(http://www.qlipmedia.com/) . These are three web
applications that, as Ronaldo wrote, "unite pictures and voice in
I'd strongly encourage you to read his comparison of the three sites. I, for one,
clearly did not read it very closely.
I say that because I just saw a Splashcast by Sudanese students taught by
Hala Fawzi, another participant in the
Sister Classes project. It's a great presentation, and I was surprised to find
that you could easily leave audio comments on it. Of course, if I had carefully
read Ronaldo's post from a few months ago, I wouldn't have been
I agree with Ronaldo that Splashcast doesn't seem quite as easy
to use as VoiceThread, but it's nevertheless another viable alternative. One
advantage it does have is that you don't have to be registered with Splashcast
in order to leave an audio comment (like you do with VoiceThread). So it's
easier to leave comments. However, it also doesn't have comment moderation. You
can easily delete comments that are left, but you can't review them before
Ronaldo also wrote about Qlipboard. The last time I had looked at
the site, it required a download to use. However, as Ronaldo pointed out, and
which I missed, they have since added an online version.
In the online version, you can only use one photo. A
major advantage, however, is that you don't have to register for the
site at all. You can just grab the url of an image off the Web, leave a voice
commentary (it has a few other features, too), and you get an embed code and a
url. Others can leave comments, too, though it doesn't appear to me to
be quite as obvious how to do that as with VoiceThread or Splashcast.
I'll be posting links to both Splashcast and Qlipboard on
Examples of Student Work page. Of course,
VoiceThread has been there for quite awhile.
Interested In Joining Our Sister Classes Project In The
I've posted before about our Sister Classes Project (http://www.sacbee.com/220/story/846880.html) ,
where classes of Intermediate English Language Learners ranging from the early
teens to the early twenties have exchanged presentations (VoiceThreads,
slideshows, etc.) and comments at our Student
Showcase blog. We have teachers from seven
countries who participated this semester.
It's been fairly low-key, hasn't taken up an enormous
amount of time and been a great experience for students and teachers
It looks like we'll be starting-up again in the fall, and we'll
be open to additional classes joining us. Let me know if you might be
I recently learned, through the blog Primary Teacher UK, about a
wonderful new learning game called Gut Instinct (http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/ks2bitesize/games/gut_instinct/pop.shtml) . It's from the BBC.
It has questions divided into three categories - English, Math
and Science, and is accessible to Intermediate English Language Learners, and
maybe even Early Intermediates.
But the exciting feature of the game is that students can
super-easily create their own virtual "rooms" for between two-and-thirty people
where they can compete with their peers. Players also can compete with everyone
who's playing at the same time. However, it's probably going to be less
energizing for English Language Learners to compete with native
English-speakers, so getting to choose to play with their friends is a a great
All they have to do is all type in the name of their room (or
"league"), choose their avatar and nickname, and the game begins.
I'm placing the link under Word and Video Games on my website.
Explore A Pyramid
National Geographic has an interactive exercise where the
"player" operates a robot to remotely Explore A Pyramid (http://www.mywonderfulworld.org/toolsforadventure/games/pyramid.html) .
I've placed the link on my World
History page under The First Civilized People.
Ferlazzo's Website Update
The craziness of the end of the
school year is rapidly approaching, and I thought I'd get this newsletter out
I've compiled quite a few new "The
Best." lists since the last update went-out, all of which are too lengthy to
include in an email. Instead, below
you'll find links to fifteen of the newest "The Best."
I'll try to get out another update later in
June that's a more typical update with ten specific new websites I've posted
The Best Websites For Creating Online Learning
The Best Sites For Students To Easily Create & Display
Online Projects (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/04/23/the-best-sites-for-students-to-easily-create-display-online-projects/)
The Best Popular Movies/TV Shows For
The Best Sites To Learn About U.S. Presidential
The Best Resource Sites For ESL/EFL Teachers
The Best Ways To Keep-Up With Current Education
The Best Ways To Keep-Up With Current ELL/ESL/EFL News
The Best Sites For Learning Economics & Practical Money
The Best Websites To Teach & Learn Life
The Best Ways To Create Online
The Best Ways For Students To Create Online
Part Fifteen Of The Best Ways To Create Online Content
Easily & Quickly
Part Sixteen Of The Best Ways To Create Online Content
Easily & Quickly
The Best Ways For Students To Create Online Videos (Using
Someone Else's Content)
The Best Websites For Teaching & Learning About World
LARRY FERLAZZO'S WEBSITE
Here's the latest update sharing what I think are my best blog posts from
the past month. I wrote quite a few
"The Best." lists, and since they are too lengthy to include in an email I've
just included the url links to them.
I've also included more information about five additional new sites that
I think you'll find useful.
You can also receive daily updates by email for free if you go here:
If you would like to stop receiving this monthly email newsletter, just
email me back with "Stop Newsletter" in the subject line.
The Best Websites For Learning English
The Best Sites For Developing English Conversational
The Best Websites For Developing Academic English Skills
& Vocabulary (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/04/06/the-best-websites-for-developing-academic-english-skills-vocabulary/)
The Best Eleven Websites For Students To Learn About
The Best Online Tools For Collaboration - NOT In Real
The Best "Fun" Sites You Can Use For Learning,
The Best Social Bookmarking Applications For English
Language Learners & Other Students
The Best Books For Teaching & Learning
Part Eleven Of The Best Ways To Create Online Content
Easily & Quickly
Part Twelve Of The Best Ways To Create Online Content
Easily & Quickly
Part Thirteen Of The Best Ways To Create Online Content
Easily & Quickly
The Best Websites For Creating Online Learning
These next two are a
little different from the previous "The Best." lists. They include my favorite
21 positive actions I take for effective classroom management:
When A "Good" Class Goes "Bad" (And Back To "Good"
Maintaining A "Good" Class
YAKIToME (http://www.yakitome.com/) seems almost to good to be true for
English Language Learners. It lets you copy and paste pretty much anything you
want and the convert the text to speech.
You can choose the type of voice (it uses ATT technology, which
I've had a link on my website to for a longtime because it's so good), the rate
of speed (there are numerous settings), and even customize pronunciation for
certain words. You choose to see the text when you're listening to it being
spoken. And you can create private groups if you want.
Most importantly, unlike some other well-intentioned similar
applications I've posted about it, it seems to work without any technical
difficulties. Plus, it's free.
Tikatok Is Great!
Tikatok (http://beta.tikatok.net/) is a new site that is a real find for
English Language Learners (and lots of other students). Users can create online
books that they write and illustrate (they can also use lots of images available
on the site).
It has a number of features that really make it stand-out. You
can make a book from scratch, or you can use one of their many story frames that
contain "prompts" to help the story-writer along. In addition, you can invite
others to collaborate online with you to develop the book.
Once the book is done you can email the link to a friend,
teacher, or yourself for posting on a blog, website, or online journal. You can
create the online version for free, but have to pay if you want them to print a
The Zip Code Census Dashboard
(http://www.cynergysystems.com/blogs/blogs/andrew.trice/strikeiron/Dashboard.html) is a very simple and
informative site that shows you demographic data for any zip code you
It's very accessible to English Language Learners, and would be
helpful to my students when they develop their annual project analyzing
different neighborhoods. I've placed the link under Student Neighborhood Maps, along
with other useful data collection sites.
Play The News (http://www.playthenewsgame.com) is a new, and continually updated, series
of role-playing games about current events. Each game highlights a different
news event - the Olympics, elections, etc. A short accessible video is shown
with background information. Players then decide, of the different key roles
involved in the event, which one do they want to be. After you pick it, you
choose from various options about which action you think should be
taken. You then see how many other players chose that and the other
Then you choose which action you think will actually take place,
and see the overall results there, too.
In order to play, you have to register (for free), and an
overall leaderboard keeps track of what percentage of the time your predictions
It's intriguing. I might have my Intermediate English students
try it out as a way for them to become familiar with current news. They could
also use the game as a model to create their own version with
(At the time I'm mailing
out this newsletter the Play The News site appears to be down. I'm sure it will be back up
Burbank Students Use Blog To Learn English
(http://www.sacbee.com/220/story/846880.html) is the title of a nice
article in The Sacramento Bee today.
It tells about our ESL/EFL Sister Classes Project
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/03/26/eslefl-sister-classes-project/) , where teachers from seven countries are having our students
communicate with one another.
Larry Ferlazzo's Website Update
are the latest "Top Ten" posts from my blog over the past month. Please remember these are only about
one-tenth of the sites I highlight in the blog every month. You can subscribe (quickly and easily)
for free to receive all of them by email if you go to the Feedblitz site (http://www.feedblitz.com/f/?Sub=168021) . On the other hand, if you no longer want
to receive this email newsletter just click reply and write "Unsubscribe" in the
subject line. I promise I won't
the sites highlighted here can also be found, along with 8,000 other categorized
links, on my website (http://larryferlazzo.com/english.html).
are the Top Ten picks (there's actually more than ten this month) for the month
(please note that I've written several of my "The Best." lists this past
month. Because they are too lengthy
to fit in this email, I've just included the links here):
Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/?s=best+ways+to+create+online+content+easily%2C+quickly)
actually created several new parts in this series over the past few weeks. By going to the above link, you can find
over one hundred sites where even Beginning English Language Learner can create
engaging online content in a matter of minutes - with no registration, computer
knowledge, or even typing ability needed.
Best Websites For Students Exploring Jobs & Careers (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/02/28/the-best-websites-for-students-exploring-jobs-careers/)
Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/03/02/the-best-online-tools-for-real-time-collaboration/)
Best Websites For Learning & Teaching Geography (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/03/07/the-best-websites-for-learning-teaching-geography/)
Best Sites To Practice Speaking English (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/03/17/the-best-sites-to-practice-speaking-english/)
Sister Classes Project (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/03/26/eslefl-sister-classes-project/)
ESL/EFL teachers from seven countries
(Kuwait, Brazil, Argentina, the United States, Sudan, Hungary, and Romania) have
brought our classes together online to correspond and to develop joint projects.
You can see some of the first efforts by our students in their introductory
slideshows, VoiceThreads, animated movies and videos at our Student
Showcase (http://esleflstudents.edublogs.org/) . Feel free
to leave audio or written comments on the VoiceThreads, and written comments on
the blog itself.
We're also open to other teachers of
Intermediate English classes comprised of 15-20 year-olds joining us. You can
leave a comment or contact me (or any of the other teachers who are now
participating) directly if you're interested.
We're exploring a variety of future
projects, including creating a Ning-like network (but we can't use Ning since my
School District blocks it) and possibly studying and sharing presentations on
topics like how our governments work, the effects of globalization on each of
our countries, and our countries' histories.
The teachers participating now are Dot
MacKenzie, Hala Fawzi, Ronaldo, Ana Maria, Tibor Prievara, Rita
Zeinstejer, Mona Bran and
The Packard Children's Hospital has a
wonderful site for kids which I've entitled Hospital Connection.(
It's animated with text and audio support
(be sure to click on the closed-captioning "on"), and helps children understand
how to get ready to go to the hospital and what happens once they're
There are lots of games and opportunities
for vocabulary development. It's very accessible to English Language
Learners at all levels.
I've placed the link on my English For Beginners page under
Visual Geography (http://www.visualgeography.com/) is a nice site with images, information,
and quizzes about 85 countries around the world. .
The text is accessible to Intermediate
English Language Learners, and the images are obviously good for students of all
levels. I like the quizzes it has about each country, and I also really like a
neat feature called "Compare." You can pick any two countries and easily compare
their demographic data with a click of the mouse.
I've placed the link on my Geography page under Sites That Cover Many
About Our School Getting Out Of Program Improvement (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/03/10/article-about-our-school-getting-out-of-program-improvement/)
The Sacramento Bee today has a
short, but nice, article (http://www.sacbee.com/education/story/773070.html) about our school, Luther Burbank High School, getting out of the fourth
year of Program Improvement.
You might want to check it
"Best Search Engine" For English Language Learners (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/03/09/new-best-engine-for-english-language-learners/)
Pagebull was number one in my The Best Search Engines For ESL/EFL Learners -
2007. However, it looks like Pagebull is the first web
application that has appeared on any of my
"The Best." lists to go out of
Charles Knight from the excellent blog
Search Engines quickly and graciously responded to my request for suggestions of
other similar search engines. Page Bull was great because it displayed
screenshots of the search results and not just text, which works so much better
for English Language Learners.
Charles recommended viewfour (http://viewfour.com/) , which does as good of a
job as Pagebull did, if not better.
Computer Project Update (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/03/03/home-computer-project-update-2/)
TechLearning has just published an update on
our Family Literacy Project, where we provide home computers and Internet
service to recent immigrants. Check out the article, entitled Even More Success With English Language
"Digital Vaults" Are An Incredible Find! (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/02/29/the-digital-vaults-are-an-incredible-find/)
I just discovered an unbelievable resource
from the National Archives called "The Digital
Vaults." (http://www.digitalvaults.org/#) I know the year
is young, but, so far at least, this is the Find Of The
It's an entry into the vast resources of the
National Archives, and allows you to use those resources to create your own
movies, posters, and what it calls "Pathway Challenges" to. challenge others to
find connections between a series of images, documents, and other resources you
It's such a huge resource I haven't quite
yet figured out where I'll put it on my website - probably in multiple pages and
sections. You just have to check it out!
Ferlazzo's Website Update
Here's the latest update highlighting what I think are the best posts
from my blog (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/)
in the past month. Remember, if you
want to receive daily updates, since these "Top Ten" are just a small fraction
of the new content I add to my website (http://www.larryferlazzo.com/english.html) each month, you can subscribe for free to
receive all of them at http://www.feedblitz.com/f/?Sub=168021 .
Several of the Top Ten posts for this month are more of my "The Best.."
Lists (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/about/websites-of-the-year/) . In those
cases, I've just included the link in this newsletter since including the list
would make this email much too long.
Here they are:
Best Art Websites For Learning English (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/02/01/the-best-art-websites-for-learning-english/)
Best Music Websites For Learning English (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/01/30/the-best-music-websites-for-learning-english/)
Best Websites For Intermediate Readers (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/01/26/the-best-websites-for-intermediate-readers/)
Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily and Quickly (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/?s=best+ways+to+create+online+content+easily%2C+quickly)
This is actually a four-part series. The link will take you to all four
Are You Doing In The Computer Lab?" is the title of an article (http://techlearning.com/story/showArticle.php?articleID=196604984)
I wrote for TechLearning. In it, I discuss guidelines that I use and that I
recommend to other teachers for how to effectively work with students in
readers might find it helpful for me to quickly summarize them
computers more to reinforce key concepts, and less to teach them.
* Students can be producers of content and not just
* Computers can be used to help student develop and deepen
relationships with each other, not just with the computer screen.
* Use time in the computer lab to help develop leadership
among students, and not just have them be your followers.
* Spend less time being the controller and more time
helping students develop self control.
more on these points in the article.
6) Pixton Comic Strips (http://www.pixton.com/home) I really like this new site I recently
discovered called Pixton. It allows you to very easily create comic
strips with dialogue. You can also group a series you make into a virtual
They seem to have a very pro-active
policy about keeping inappropriate materials
off the site, too.
Plagiarism. I've placed two links about plagiarism on
my English Themes For Intermediate/Advanced
The first one, called
Plagiarism (http://library.acadiau.ca/tutorials/plagiarism/) , is from Acadia University, and should be accessible to
Intermediate English Language Learners. It's an animated slideshow
reviewing the problem.
The second one, called
Academic Integrity (http://www.ryerson.ca/academicintegrity/tutorial.html) , is from Ryerson University. It's very well put
together, and is basically a series of animated stories with text and audio
support. The language, though, might only be accessible to advanced
English Language Learners.
Wizard. Scholastic has recently started the Teacher Book Wizard (http://bookwizard.scholastic.com/tbw/homePage.do)
. It's a data base of over 50,000 books that's searchable by keyword,
title or author. You can also type in the title of book and indicate
if you are looking for similar books at the same, lower, or higher
I typed in
the keyword "immigration" and was able to find quite a few that I know my
students would consider "high-interest" ones. I certainly got
a better selection that I did when I typed the same word at Amazon's site.
I think this might end up being quite useful to teachers of English Language
9) The Breathing Earth. Breathing
Earth (http://www.breathingearth.net/) is an intriguing
visual representation of the effect each country has on climate change.
You move the cursor to a nation on a world map, and then see the number of CO2
emissions that country makes each minute. It also shows total population,
and the birth and death rate of each
guidance, English Language Learners could certainly use this website to make
some comparisons between countries and draw conclusions from the
I've placed the link both
on my World History page
and my Geography and United States page. It's with a group of other links
related to global warming near the bottom of each page.
Online Scavenger Hunt With Zunal. Zunal (http://www.zunal.com/) is an easy way for teachers (and
students) to create webquests. I know there are some specific
parameters involved in using the term "webquest," so you can also
use Zunal to create much simpler "online scavenger
At their most basic, it can be a series of questions
students have to
along with links to websites where the information can be
acts as the host for the webquest or scavenger hunt after its been
Larry Ferlazzo's Website Update
I hope the New
Year has begun well for everyone. Here is my usual "Top Ten" list of the
best links I've written about this past month in my blog. This month is a
little different though. I'm going to be listing my "Top
Ten," but five of them
will be links to some additional lists of "Websites of The Year" I've created
since I sent out the last "Website Update." If I shared the links to each
of the individual sites I wrote about in these lists now this email would be far
WEBSITES OF THE YEAR:The Best Of The Best - 2007/08
I thought I would put the number-one ranked sites
from all of my Websites Of The Year
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/about/websites-of-the-year/) into one list of their own. Links to each entire list are
also included in this post.
The Best Websites For K-12 Writing
The Best Websites For Learning About Civic Participation
The Best Health Sites For English Language
The Best Places To Learn Web 2.0 Basics -
Make a Face (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/01/08/make-a-face/)
Picassohead (http://www.mrpicassohead.com/create.html)has been a fairly well-known and acclaimed web
application for quite awhile. However, everytime I had tried it in the
past the ability to save and email my creation wasn't working, so I never put a
link to it on my website. I'm happy to report that the last few times
I experimented with it I was able to save and email the url of my
"masterpieces." So I've now put a link to it on my Examples of Student Work
(http://larryferlazzo.com/Student%20Work.html). Let me give a brief
explanation of what Mr. Picassohead is for those of you who haven't
heard about this wonderful web tool. Basically, you can create a face in
the style of Pablo Picasso and then email the link to their creation. It's an
excellent tool for beginning English Language Learners to become familiar with
face-related vocabulary .
Spelling City ( http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/01/02/spelling-city/) I learned about an excellent new site called Spelling City (http://www.spellingcity.com/) through receiving an email from its
creator, John Edelson. You can use sample lists on
the site, or you can develop your own lists of words to learn.
The site will convert the lists into different stages - learn, play, test.
It provides audio support as well as text. One of the exceptional
features of the site is that it teaches the words in the context of an audio
sentence instead of in isolation. I'm continually amazed at technology -
the site came up with appropriate sentences for all the words on the list I came
up with. The site stores the lists that you make.
It's free, and he says he plans to keep it that way. John also
writes, "I'm aiming to create the most useful and entertaining set of language
learning games yet seen."
Scribble States Game (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/12/29/scribble-states-game/)
You can find lots of
geography-related games on my Geography (http://larryferlazzo.com/geography.html) page. You sort of figure that there are only
so many ways you can design a map-related game, right? Well, a very
creative game designer just developed a new map game that is amazing. I
don't how how people can come up with stuff like this. In
Scribble States (http://jmtb02.com/flash/scribblestates.htm) you
first are shown numbered dots that you have to connect. Then, after you've
connected them all, you have to choose which U.S. state your drawing
shows. You're timed, and after you finish one it shows another.
TechLearning Article on ESL & Video Games
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/01/02/techlearning-article-on-esl-video-games/) TechLearning has just published an
article I wrote about using online video games with English Language Learners as
a language-development activity. They've titled it Free Online Games Develop ESL Students' Language Skills
Traveler IQ Challenge ( http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/01/07/traveler-iq-challenge/) I learned about a great
series of geography games called the Traveler IQ Challenge (http://www.travelpod.com/traveler-iq/game1?da21=e586) and they're different from any other geography
games I've seen on the Internet. You're given a location, you click
where you think it is, and you get points depending on how close you are from
its accurate location. This description, however, doesn't get near to
giving justice to the games. Just check them out and you'll see what I
mean. I've placed the link on my
Geography (http://larryferlazzo.com/geography.html) page under Sites That
Cover Many Areas .
Larry Ferlazzo's Website
Obviously, this edition is being sent out a little early. I thought
it would be helpful to people before everyone left for Winter Break. Have
a great vacation! Here are the latest Top Ten additions to my website
Excellent Web 2.0 Guides
( http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/12/16/excellent-web-20-guides/) I think Sue Waters' blog, Mobile Technology in TAFE,
consistently provides the best and most simple instructions for using
various Web tools. Today she wrote about a series of one-page guides (http://www.timdavies.org.uk/tags/onepage)
to applications like VoiceThread, wikis, blogs, Google Earth, etc. They've
been written by Tim Davies. They're
Wordmaster ( http://english.enorth.com.cn/bbcenglish/wordmaster/) is a wonderful site from the BBC. You're shown a sentence with a
word missing (indicated by a blank). Then you have to click on an
on-screen keyboard to type the correct word "hangman" style. You can ask
for clues, and you're competing against the clock. You can also choose
various levels of difficulty, and the game has thousands of words.
The best thing about the game is that after you've either guessed the
correct work or the timer is up, you can have the sentence read to you.
It's great for all levels of English Language Learners, though even
the "easy" version might be challenging for Beginners. I've placed
the link on several areas of my site, including Bilingual Exercises (it's designed for Chinese
speakers learning English but can be played by anyone) and on my English Themes For Intermediate under Favorite Sites.
Physics Life &
Physics Life (http://www.physics.org/interact/physics-life/web/physics_life/) is a surprisingly accessible site about..physics. It's a series
of interactive cartoons where students can learn about the role of physics in
their everyday lives. The basic language is accessible to Intermediate
English Language Learners. If users want, they can click on areas to find
out more detailed information, but that info is probably beyond all but the most
advanced English Language Learners. I've placed the link on my
Science page. I learned about it from
a newer blog that I like a lot called Instructify. It's a project of LEARNNC,
which is a University of North Carolina-based program that develops a lot of
online resources. I've mentioned Instructify before, and it's been on my
blogroll, but I wanted to highlight it more explicitly today. I also want
to thank Alice Mercer for bringing it to my attention.
Instructify posts about online resources useful to educators.
Daft Doggy Does It Again! (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/12/12/daft-doggy-does-it-again/)
twice in the past about Daft Doggy, the super easy-to-use site for English
Language Learners (and others) to create online webpage tours and to make voice recordings.Now, one day after I made a
suggestion to Joe Thompson, the site's creator, he has made it even easier for
English Language Learners to use Daft Doggy to practice their speaking
skills.Now, if you go to Daft
Doggy Voice Recording (http://www.daftdoggy.com/recorder/record.php) , not
only can students record very lengthy comments, but now it has an automatic
email option so they can send the url to a teacher for posting on a blog or
webpage. You don't have to log-on or register to be able to use
recording function. It's great!You can find the link on my Examples
of Student Work page under Student Audio Messages.
Animated Idioms (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/12/05/animated-idioms/)
an excellent series of
Animated Idioms (http://www.in2english.com.cn/working/archive.php?cid=10021028)
exercises. They include an animated cartoon with text and audio
explanations of each idiom.I've placed the link on my Intermediate
English page under.Idioms.
Show Beyond Audio Slideshows Again
is a great web application, and they fixed their audio problem.I posted a few weeks ago about Show
a free web application that allows you to create slideshows
with audio. I wrote about how it seemed like an
absolutely extraordinary web application - one of the best I've seen for
English Language Learners. However, I commented at the time that the
recorded audio was very low quality, and that I couldn't recommend it because of
that problem.Now that the audio problem has been fixed, I
can't wait to have my students start using it.It's very similar to VoiceThread. However, there are two big
differences. The main reason I'm so excited about Show Beyond is that you
can easily use images straight off the web when creating a slideshow - that's a
huge advantage over Voice Thread. For the life of me, I don't understand
why they don't add that feature.One advantage that Voice Thread still
does have, however, is that it allows you to leave audio comments. Show Beyond
doesn't have that feature yet, though. I'll ask them if they might be
planning to add that in the future. Show Beyond does allow you to leave
written comments, though.Give it try and let me know what you, and
your students, think.
Flashback History Movies (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/12/01/flashback-history-movies/)
Movies (http://www.flashones.com/top_movies.php) are very
short animated movies about historical events from a company called Flash
Ones. Each well-done movie is followed by a brief text explanation
of the event. They have a small collection now, which they expect to
increase.Right now the movies are accessible to Intermediate English
Language Learners. I've made several suggestions to the creators of the
site about how they could make them even more accessible, and they say they're
considering them.These movies have the potential of being very
helpful - sort of a free series of Brainpop
Movies.I've placed the link on my World History
page under Sites That
Cover Many Periods of World History.
Neat Music Sites (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/11/28/neat-music-sites/)
added two very neat sites to the Students
Songs section of my Examples of Student
Work page. They were both created by a creative designer named Luke
Whittaker.His latest creation is an amazing online video game called
Sound Factory. (http://www.lukewhittaker.co.uk/soundfactory/index.php)
It's very hard for me to explain. Basically, you role-play a
man in a factory who get to create music. That description, however, does
not in any way do the game justice. There are a lot of instructions given
in simple English, and students can email their final musical creation after
they've finished the game. I also have listed the "Walkthrough" (answers)
to the game on my website so students can doubly use it as a language
development exercise.In Sound Factory, and the next game I'll
describe, in addition to posting their musical creation students can write a
description of it.In A Break In The Road (http://www.breakintheroad.com/) students can
again create their own musical composition. It's not quite a game, but I
won't even attempt to describe it. Check it out for
To Filter, Or Not To Filter? Is That The
The title of
this post is the topic of a post I've just written for In Practice (http://inpractice.edublogs.org/2007/11/26/to-filter-or-not-to-filter-is-that-the-question/)
, the blog written by a group of us who teach in lower-income
schools.As always, any feedback is welcome.
Ferlazzo's Website UpdateDecember,
Here are the "Top Ten" posts from my blog over the past month.
Remember, if you want to subscribe to a daily update by email, just go to
http://www.feedblitz.com/f/?Sub=168021 and subscribe. It only takes a few seconds. I add well
over one hundred new links each month, and only highlight ten of them in each
monthly newsletter.Here they
Browser Books Again
I've posted (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/04/29/browser-books/) in the past about Browser Books
(http://staff.prairiesouth.ca/~cassidy.kathy/browserbooks/index.htm) , a great online resource of "talking books." Canadian teacher
Kathy Cassidy developed them. A couple of months ago I found that the
original link was broken, so removed it from my website. This week, I
learned through Teachersfirst about the new url, and have
now put it back on my English For Beginners page under Stories. (http://larryferlazzo.com/englishbeg.html#stories)
It's near the bottom of that section. While you're there, you
might want to check out the links to several hundred new stories I've placed
there over the past month, but haven't gotten a chance to post about in this
Translating and Listening
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/11/20/translating-and-listening/) I have multiple links at the top of most of
my websites that allow students to "copy-and-paste" words that they either don't
understand or aren't sure how they are pronounced. These sites will then
either translate the words or passages; or they will "speak" the words or
passages.I've just added two more helpful links to those
lists. Both have "twists" that make them a little different from the ones
that are already there.One is called Lingro.( http://lingro.com/) You first paste the
url of a webpage into it. Then, as you read that webpage all the words on
it become "clickable." In other words, when you find a word that you don't
understand, you click on it and its translation in the language of your choice
pops-up. In addition, if you register (for free), the site will keep a
list of all the words you click on every time you use the site and will convert
them into a flashcard word game you can use to study. I learned about this
site through a listserv posting by Nik
Peachey.Another helpful link I've added is
called VozMe.( http://vozme.com/index.php?lang=en) This
site, like others on my pages, will provide audio for the words you paste into
it. This site, though, will also convert it into an mp3 file if you
want. That could be useful to upload into a number of the Web 2.0
slideshow applications I've blogged about, though there are obviously a number
of other ways to create those kinds of files.
Kid-Friendly Simon Sez Santa posted over the weekend about the great Simon Sez Santa site, where you type in
a command and Santa performs the action. I'm happy to say that the
site creator, Charles Marshall, liked my suggestion that the "Kid-Friendly"
section have its own url, and quickly implemented it. You can now link
directly to the Kid-Friendly Simon Sez Santa.(
Another Fantastic Service From Daft
I've posted about Daft Doggy (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/10/17/amazing-webquest-tool/) the fantastic web application that makes it as easy as possible
for students and teachers to create tours of webpages - while leaving comments
on them, too. It has numerous uses, including creating Internet scavenger
hunts.It's now gotten even better, and will become even more so in a
couple of weeks or so.Joe Thompson, the site's creator, has
built a feature that allows you to super-easily make a voice-recording,
provide you with a url, and then post it for others to listen. It's called
Daft Doggy.01 (http://www.daftdoggy.com/recorder/record.php)
and, not only is it free and easy, but the audio quality is excellent.
It'll be great for English Language Learners.But, now, for the best
part. He estimates that in two weeks or so he'll have the two features
connected so that people can make voice comments (along with the text they can
leave now) on the website tours.
Newspaper Article On Our Home Computer
Bee ran a good and substantial story (http://www.sacbee.com/101/story/489709.html)
today on our effort to provide home computers
and DSL service to immigrant families. This Family Literacy Project has
been quite successful.Students were quite excited today to see their
pictures and read their quotes in the story. It's well-written
and gives an excellent sense of the
One True Media
I learned about
another easy online slideshow creator, It's called One True
and you can see a sample slideshow:
I made in about a minute. You can include as many slides as you
want, and can use images off the Internet just by pasting in their url.
You can easily insert text slides. Plus, you can choose music to accompany
it, which my students will love.I've placed it under Student Slideshows
Does Using Technology Add Value To The
The title of
this post is also the title of a new post
I've written for our In Practice blog. It shares some questions,
reflections, and plans I have about approaching this question. You might
find it interesting, and I welcome any feedback.
Tumblr (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/11/04/tumblr/) I had been aware
of Tumblr (http://www.tumblr.com/) and microblogging for
awhile, but hadn't paid much attention to it, even when I recently heard about
Tumblr's upgrade.Then I read Doug Noon's post in Borderland sharing a little more about it, and was
intrigued.After checking it out further, it's clear it has a lot of
potential for the classroom. I'm going to start by having my "mainstream"
students in Ninth Grade English start using it for their online journals (you
can read more about that in a post (http://inpractice.edublogs.org/2007/10/11/how-did-a-guy-like-me-end-up-blogging-in-a-place-like-this/)
I wrote for In Practice). It will replace their using YourDraft (http://yourdraft.com/) The problem with
using Your Draft is that control over comments and images left by others is
limited, and that can be exploited by mischievous students. With Tumbr I'm
just going to have students choose a few "buddies" at a time and with whom they
can share their passwords and leave comments. I can then monitor
them.I want students to be able to very easily use images and
other media, along with writing, and I don't necessarily want to have to check
everything they write before its posted. Tumblr might do the
.Maps Of The World
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/11/03/maps-of-the-world/) The Field Museum
has an impressive online exhibit on Maps of the World. (http://www.fieldmuseum.org/maps/interactive/maps.html)
It combines a world map with a timeline, and you can see
various versions of maps from different periods and of different parts of the
world.The museum also has a section called All About
which is a guided tour through the exhibit.I've
placed both links on my Geography page under Introduction To Maps (http://larryferlazzo.com/geography.html#maps
In addition, as part of the online exhibit, you can send an eCard of a map with a message and then post its url on
a website or blog. I've placed the link under eCards (http://larryferlazzo.com/Student%20Work.html#ecards)
is an online activity from the British Science Museum. You can
create a sort of video game, title it, and then email the url to be posted on an
online journal or blog.I'm looking forward to trying this with my
English Language Learners. There's a fair amount of vocabulary that is
needed to design the game, and I'm amazed at how quickly my students can pick
that up when it's video-game related. Posting this url on a site, along
with an explanation they would write about how to play it, would be another
added language development activity.I've placed it under Student Video Games. (http://larryferlazzo.com/Student%20Work.html#videogame)
Larry Ferlazzo's Website
Here's the latest list of "Top Ten" posts from my blog
over the past month. Again, though, I was only able to keep
it down to twelve. There are a lot of good sites out there
for English Language Learners. Even with twelve, though, that means
over one hundred sites I wrote about in my blog are not included in this
newsletter. You might want to consider subscribing to the
blog itself, either via email or RSS feed. Either one is
free, and you can find easy instructions on how to do it on the sidebar at my
Amazing New Webquest Tool (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/10/17/amazing-webquest-tool/)
A new web
application called Daft Doggy.( http://www.daftdoggy.com/index.php)
allows you, or your students (including Beginning English
Language Learners and above) to easily create a tour of websites. On this
tour you can also leave notes that appear on the screen with instructions or
comments. Each trail then has its own url.
The message (http://groups.google.com/group/googleforeducators_educationresources/browse_thread/thread/90407dbf87dbc4b9?hl=en)
in the discussion group explains it better and has a link to
an example. My students could also easily use it to create a tour of
their favorite links on my website.I've placed the link on my Examples of Student page under Student Webquests (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/Student%20Work.html#webquest)
.I let the creator of the site know I was going to post about it, and
here's his response:But what will
make it *really* useful is after you've initially recorded a session. The, go
back and edit it. When you put something in the description, on playback
this will appear as a lightblue box at the bottom of the page. If you have
filled in the comments section then, when somebody puts the mouse over the blue
box, then the comments will appear as a translucent screen over the page you're
showing. So you can tell people why you want them to see this page. Agree or
disgree with what it's showing etc. This week I'll be putting up an FAQ for the
site, plus forums.
learned about an intriguing vocabulary game called Free
Rice (http://www.freerice.com/index.php) .
If you choose the correct definition of the word, the next word
you're given is "harder." If you answer incorrectly, the next word is
supposed to be "easier." In addition, for every word you get correct, ten
grains of rice are supposedly donated to an international aid
agency.I'm assuming the donation plan is legitimate, but don't know
for sure. One thing I do know, though, is that this is the first time
I've seen a game that adjusts its difficulty level based on the answers the
player gives.This link is now on my Intermediate English page under Word and Video Games
Problem/Solution Essays (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/10/16/problemsolution-essays/)
I've posted (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/03/30/photo-books/)
about the wonderful web application called Bookr before.My
Intermediate English students have recently begun a unit that will culminate in
their completing a Problem/Solution essay. As part of that unit, they've
used Bookr to create slideshows illustrating their thesis
statements.They've given me permission to post them on my Examples of Student Work page under Student Photo Books (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/Student%20Work.html#photo)
. Look under "Intermediate English."
Kindersay(http://www.kindersay.com/words/?s=470de8685eaedf7a&gclid=) is a new free site that offers an excellent multimedia
experience where Beginning English Language Learners can learn about 500 basic
words.I wish the examples included sentences where the words were
used in context, but I guess you can't have everything.I've placed
the link on my English Themes For Beginners under Favorite Sites
Post (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/10/10/in-practice-post/) How Did A Guy Like Me End Up Blogging In A Place Like
is the title of a post I've just written for the blog In
Practice. In Practice is a collective effort by a number of
teachers in lower-income schools, and is being spearheaded by Alice
Mercer.The first line in my post
goes:My name is Larry
Ferlazzo, and I 'm a Luddite.You
might find it interesting. I'll look forward to any and all
News For English Language
is producing ESL
World News Report (http://www.eslworldnews.com/) , a weekly series of
articles about current events geared towards English Language Learners.
I'm looking forward to using it with my students. I've placed the
link under News (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishthemes.html#news)
on my English Themes for Beginners page.
Another Ecological Footprint
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/10/08/another-ecological-footprint-calculator/) Here's another
link, accessible to English Language Learners, where students can calculate the
impact that they have on the environment. Ecologic Games (http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/education/ecologic/games.htm)
, through the use of symbols, pictures, and words, is an excellent
site.I have the link on my Science (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/eslscience.html)
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/10/04/everyday-life/) Today I learned
through some ESL listservs about a site called Everyday
Life (http://www.gcflearnfree.org/everydaylife/) . It's
sponsored by a North Carolina-based organization called GCF Learn
Free.There are seventeen excellent interactive lessons with images,
text, and audio that help English Language Learners with.everyday
life.These lessons include ones about ATMs, jobs applications,
reading a bus map, etc.You have to register for it, but it only takes
seconds. If you have trouble getting the cursor to write in the boxes,
just use the tab key to move down. That seemed to do the
trick.I've placed the link on my English Themes For Beginners under both Favorite Sites and Life Skills.
Create A Talking Picture
(http://www.blabberize.com/main/) allows you to
upload a picture of a person or animal and record a message that the picture
speaks. The lips on the image move in an exaggerated way as your message
is being played.It's just another fun way for English Language
Learners to practice speaking, and hear what they say.I've placed the
link on my Examples of Student Work page under Student Talking Pictures (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/Student%20Work.html#blabber)
.It would be great if they add a feature allowing you to access
pictures that are on the web, and not just ones that are on your computer.
I've sent an email asking if they are planning on adding that capability.
I'll let readers know how they respond.(Well, they responded to my
question about two minutes after I emailed them. Here is their
response:"Yes! We did have that in mind. Currently the way we use
the site is to do an image search on google and save off the pictures we want to
use. But we were thinking that we'd allow for people to search through flickr
photos as well and import them in the site. Thanks so much for the suggestion!
It's interesting you mention you're an ESL teacher because we had another ESL
teacher in France who used the site with her students. She had her class read
english compositions and give voice to animals. *smiles* Let us know how you use
the site and if there are other ways we can make it a better utility for
you."I can't expect a
better answer than that!)
I just learned
about ViewAt (http://www.viewat.org/) from the Webware
blog. It offers extraordinary panoramic photographs from around the world,
and lets you use a special application that shows a 360 degree
view. These images are great for any Geography class, and are
especially good opportunities for English Language Learners to describe them
verbally and in writing. Some of the photos might even be from their
native countries, which makes it doubling appealing.I've placed the
link on my Geography page under Sites That Cover Many Areas (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/geography.html#gsites)
I learned about
Sketchcast(http://sketchcast.com/) from Google
Blogoscoped. It's like "drawing" a video (you can also type
text) that can be replayed. In some ways it's similar to Imagination
. The big difference, however, is that in Sketchcast you can easily
provide audio narration to your sketch. Your completed work has a unique
url, and visitors can leave comments.So it works on several different
levels for English Language Learners.Sometime this week I'll place
the link on my Examples
of Student Work (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/Student%20Work.html#sketch)
page. It'll be in a new category called
Excellent Online Language
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/09/24/excellent-online-language-program/) LiveMocha (http://www.livemocha.com/languages/view) is a new
online free (at least, for now) language learning Internet program. It
looks surprisingly good.You can learn a number of languages,
including English. Students "enroll" in classes and can track their
progress. You can "browse" several sample lessons before you
register. English Language Learners who are just beginning can explore
lessons here (http://www.livemocha.com/subscriptions/view/1) .
High Beginners can try these (http://www.livemocha.com/subscriptions/view/2) .
Early Intermediates can check out these
these samples (http://www.livemocha.com/subscriptions/view/4) .
I'm going to put the link under
on my English Themes For Beginners, at least until and if
they start charging for it.I've asked them if they'll be able to add
a feature that would allow teachers to monitor student progress. It would
be an excellent tool for homework, and would be great to include in our home
Larry Ferlazzo's Website NewsletterOctober,
month I couldn't narrow it down to the "Top Ten" posts.
Instead, I've got the "Top Twelve" posts. I hope you
find them helpful.Home Computers & English Language
Home Computers and English Language
Learning (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/homecomputerupdate.html) is another short article I've written at TechLearning's (http://techlearning.com/)
request. It expands on some blog posts I wrote last
week about the latest news about our home computer project.
ZIPskinny (http://zipskinny.com/) is an amazing
research site. All you have to do is type in a zip code for anywhere in
the United States, and you immediately get information from the 2000 Census,
along with a map of the area.Not only that, but you can also compare the data
with neighboring zip codes.My English Language Learner classes usually do
demographic studies, and Intermediate level students should be able to access
this site. I've placed the link on my Examples of Student Work (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/Student%20Work.html) page under Student Neighborhood Maps. It
may seem like a strange place to put it, but that's where I've put another site
they use to create neighborhood demographic maps. So, I figure, for now
that's a good place for this link, too.
Labs (http://bighugelabs.com/flickr/) has an
incredible number of web tools to use with images from the web.One of my
favorites is the ability to quickly and easily create virtual Trading
Cards. Students can find the url of any image on the web (preferably, of
course, one with a Creative Commons license) and, along with a text description,
turn it into a baseball-like trading card. Here's an example of one I
created in 30 seconds of Abraham Lincoln (http://bighugelabs.com/flickr/viewpostcard.php?id=30811-93961) .Students can create the card, email it to a teacher, and then post the
url on a blog or website.There's a fair amount of space to write text, so
students can use the cards to make mini-reports - about English, Science, or
Social Studies subjects. I've placed the link on my Examples of Student Work page under Student Trading Cards.
I thought readers of this blog might find it useful to hear
about the free online ESL journals I read regularly. I also have them
listed on my Teacher's
under the Online Journals section.These
include Humanising Language Teaching (my personal
favorite)( http://www.hltmag.co.uk/) ; The Internet ESL
Journal (http://iteslj.org/) , sponsors of
the most extensive list of ESL resources on the Web; The
International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching
(http://www.tprstories.com/ijflt/) ; ESL MiniConference (http://www.eslminiconf.net/winter0607/index.html)
; The ELL Outlook (http://www.coursecrafters.com/ELL-Outlook/index.html) ; CAELA Currents (http://www.cal.org/caela/subscribe.html) ;
Teaching English As A Second Language (http://www.cc.kyoto-su.ac.jp/information/tesl-ej/index.html) and the OELA Newsline (http://www.ncela.gwu.edu/newsline/
I have links on my website to literally thousands of
"talking" stories that use simple English, provide audio and text support, and
also show animated illustrations. You can find most of them on my
English For Beginners (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishbeg.html)
page under the Stories section.I recently added a
whole lot more. A site called KidsFlash has hundreds of these talking
stories. I have them listed near the bottom of the Stories section and
title them Flash Stories 1(http://www.kidsflash.cn/flash/?index-60.html , Flash Stories 2,
What Do You Do In The Computer Lab?
(http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/computer%20lab.html is the title of another article I've written for TechLearning. It won't be appearing for a
few months, but they've again given me permission to post it on my website
now.The article shares five key guidelines that I think have helped our ESL
Computer Lab be so successful. Our Special Education Department is
modeling several labs they are starting this year on the same ideas. And
the Sacramento Mutual Housing Association, a large non-profit housing
organization, is starting computer labs at all their developments using a
similar structure. It's also what I do when my native English
speakers go to the lab.
I only put links on the Favorite Sites section
on my English Themes For Beginners page
that I think are very superior English language development activities.
I've just placed a new site in that section.Wordbuilder (http://www.eduplace.com/kids/sv/books/content/wordbuilder/ ) is an excellent spelling, vocabulary, and phonics site from
Houghton Mifflin. Students are told a word, in the context of a sentence,
and then have to spell it. It's designed as a game, and there are
literally hundreds, if not thousands, of opportunities to play. It's
appropriate for beginners through Intermediate English Language Learners.
Audio and text support is provided.
I just learned from the Primary Teacher UK about the
BBC's new version of Bite
Size Math and Literacy (http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/ks1bitesize/).It has a lot great learning games
for Beginning English Language Learners. The Math site also has audio
support for text.I've placed the Literacy link on my Favorite Sites (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishthemes.html#fav) section on the English Themes For Beginners page, and the Math
link under Math on the same
HippoCampus (http://www.hippocampus.org/ is a great site from
the Monterey For Technology and Education. It's recently been
substantially revised.It offers multimedia content from several textbook
publishers and the University of California - none that I've seen
before.The non-AP United States History and Government sections are
accessible to higher Intemediate English Language Learners, and are surprisingly
extensive.The Algebra series offers even more audio support for its text, and
would be accessible to Early Intermediate English Language Learners.The site
also provides teachers with the ability to set-up their own pages with the
specific chapters and exercises they want their students to review.I've recently
found a ton of new links I want to place on my webpages, so I probably won't
actually link to this site until the weekend. I'll be putting the
link on my Geography and United States History (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/geography.html)
page, and to the Math section of the Themes for Beginners page. I'll also
probably add a few direct links from some activities to my World History (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/world%20history.html) page.
TechLearning has just published a short article I put together
for them called "You've Got Mail - A Dozen Educators'
I found "gold" while reading a recent post in the Readable Blog. I learned about
the online support sites for three Cambridge EFL/ESL textbook series
Interchange (http://www2.cambridge.org/interchangearcade/main.do), Touchstone (http://www.cambridge.org/touchstonearcade/ , and
Connect (http://www2.cambridge.org/connectarcade/intro.jsp. There are a ton of excellent activities on these sites, I especially
like the What Do You Hear?
What Do You See? (http://www2.cambridge.org/connectarcade/sortbytype.do?level=3&type=Cup_gallery games (and there are probably well over one hundred of these
alone).I'm actually still in the process of placing the links to these great
sites on my webpages. Some will go on the English Themes for Beginners under Favorite Sites while others will go
on my English For Beginners page under
Awesome Stories http://www.awesomestories.com/history/)
has been a great source of information, particularly
about history, for English Language Learners and other students since it began
in 1999.It has thousands of very accessible stories about countless
subjects. Schools can subscribe to it for free, and the log-in process
takes seconds. And you can access a fair amount of the content even
without registering, but it's free and easy so you might as well subscribe.Now,
however, Awesome Stories has become..really awesome! They have just begun
having the audio available for stories so students can both read and hear the
text being spoken. They only have done this for a few stories so far, but
they say they "are adding audio versions to every story."I've placed links to
Awesome Stories on several of my webpages, and have links in the appropriate
places directly to their new audio stories.Their new audio stories include ones
Star Spangled Banner (http://www.awesomestories.com/history/spangled_banner/spangled_banner_ch1.htm),
Pirates of the Caribbean (http://www.awesomestories.com/movies/pirates_caribbean/pirates_caribbean_ch1.htm),
The Perfect Storm (http://www.awesomestories.com/movies/perfect_storm/perfect_storm_ch1.htm), and
Thomas Jefferson (http://www.awesomestories.com/biography/thomas_jefferson/thomas_jefferson_ch1.htm) .
Larry Ferlazzo's English
Website NewsletterSeptember, 2007
I hope everyone has had a good summer.
Here's my latest "Top Ten" blog posts about new additions to my
website. I hope you find them helpful.
Daily Activities (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/08/18/daily-activities/) Learning Line
Colorado Public Television, is the latest addition to the Favorite Sites
(http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishthemes.html#fav) section on my English Themes For Beginners page.
Once you click on the link, next click on the "Activities"
section. Then you can choose from five different categories, including
Health, Employment and Basic Communication.Each of these five
sections has many good audio and text activities for all levels of English
Language Learners. They are designed to help students learn basic
.International Reading Association
Today, the journal of
the International Reading Association, recently came out with an article
announcing that I was named the Grand Prize Winner of the 2007 International
Reading Association Presidential Award For Reading and
is not available
online, and many of you have asked me how they can read what they wrote about
our program. I've just posted (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/reading%20today.html)
the article on my website.Using Online Video Games For
Pointing and Clicking For ESL: Using Video Games
To Promote English Language Development
(http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/videogamearticle.html) is the title of a new article I've written for Techlearning. It probably
won't appear until January, but they gave me permission to post
it on my website now if you'd like to read it
More Talking Stories
Marshall Adult Education has
created Reading Skills Stories
an excellent resource of
original short stories with expository text (and audio support) that cover
many different topics, including life skills. Their stories are
divided into various levels of fluency.I've placed links to their two
sites in the Favorite Sites
(http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishthemes.html#fav) section of my English Themes For Beginners and Early Intermediate page
Computers and Relationships
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/08/02/computers-and-relationships-article/) Language Magazine just
published an article I wrote about our school's use of computers with English
Language Learners. It focuses on how we use technology to build and deepen
face-to-face relationships.You can't access
the whole article at the magazine's website, but you can read it in its
entirety on mine. My original title was Computers, Relationships, and English Language
The Best Online Slideshow Creator
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/08/01/the-best-online-slideshow-creator-yet/) Two days after I
wrote a post saying how wonderful a new slideshow web
application was, I learned from Webware about an even better one that began
operation today. It's called Vuvox. (http://www.vuvox.com/) English
Language Learners, and anyone else, will be able to quickly find images online
by using "tags," pick one of numerous presentation styles, and add special
effects. It seems to me it's about as easy to do as it can get.
However, there is one big problem with it (that's supposed to be temporary) in
terms of using the application for language development
activities. The site has an icon to use for writing captions,
but also says it's not available yet but will be soon. As soon as they
implement that capability, I'll have my students start using that service.
Until that time, use the two slideshow services I wrote about in my previous
I've placed the
link on my Examples of Student Work page under Student Slide-Shows( http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/Student%20Work.html#slideshow)
Great New Slideshow Creator
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/05/22/make-an-slideshow-online/) in the past about MixerCast and how easy it is
for English Language Learners to make online slideshows using that web
application. Well, I've found a new site that does all the same
things (and more!) and has an even easier interface for students to
It's called ImageLoop (http://www.imageloop.com/index.htm) . You
can easily access other photos on Flickr by just searching with a "tag," you can
write captions, and you can add all sorts of special effects. You can also
test it out first before you register (for free). I've placed the
link on my Examples of Student Work page under Student Slide-Shows.( http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/Student%20Work.html#slideshow)
Hart has an excellent blog called Jane's
E-Learning Pick of the Day. She highlights
technology tools that are helpful to educators.She also has a section
where her readers periodically highlight their top ten tools. You might
find it useful to see my list (http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/recommended/larryferlazzo.html) that I shared with her.I've found it very interesting to see
what her other guest writers
have recommended, too. You might want to consider sending in your
Top Ten, too. I'll certainly highlight ESL teachers who get on Jane Hart's list.
Nishi School Games
http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/08/06/nishi-school-games/) Nishi School in Japan
has developed a number of excellent interactive English-learning
activities. They're great for Beginners.The link is on my
English For Beginners (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishbeg.html)
page under Other Mixed Activities.
It's near the
bottom, and called Nishi Games.
The list includes games for teaching phonics, vocabulary,
and the alphabet. I was particularly impressed by a creative exercise
using a maze to teach "up, down, left, right.
Embedded Learning Portal
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/08/02/embedded-learning-portal/ In the United Kingdom the
Department For Children, Schools and Families has a great site called the
Embedded Learning Portal
It has one hundred excellent interactive
exercises on a variety of useful topics, ranging from the alphabet to using
reading strategies. The exercises use audio, text, and visuals.
I have individual links to most of them scattered throughout my webpages,
particularly under the Reading (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishbeg.html#reading) section on my English For Beginners page.I thought, though, that people might find it useful to
know the address of the main
LARRY FERLAZZO'S WEBSITE UPDATEAUGUST,
I hope your
summer is going well. Here are the latest Top Ten new
sites you'll find on my website and my blog.
.Musical Game Room (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/07/09/musical-game-room/) I recently
discovered the wonderful New York Philharmonic Game
It has eleven games and activities that are accessible to English
Language Learners.These eleven include the Minuet Mixer (http://www.nyphilkids.org/games/minuetmixer/minuet9.php?id=&dist=)
, where students create and play their own minuets. The url for their
compositions can be emailed and posted on a blog or online journal. One
thing I hope to try is to have student compose them, and then have them write
what they visualize when they listen to their minuet and the minuets that others
have posted.Musiquest is another great activity (there's no direct
link to the game, so you have to go the Game Room's central site). It's
another one of those online video games that my students and I are so fond of -
the player is given several tasks to do via text, and then "points-and-clicks"
on things to accomplish the task.I've placed the Game Room on the
bottom of the Music and Art (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishthemes.html#music)
section of my English Themes For Beginners
Amazing Karaoke Site (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/07/07/amazing-karaoke-site/) I recently
learned about a fascinating site called SingShot (http://www.singshot.com/index.html).With
SingShot you can first pick any of a zillion popular songs. Then, the site
will play the instrumental music and show the lyrics on the screen. Each
word is then highlighted during the appropriate time in the recording to sing
it. Next, you sing it into a microphone on your computer and it's
recorded on the site. You can email the url and post it on a teacher's
webpage. Students can sing it alone or in a group. If you're
ambitious, you can create your own slideshow that goes with the
song.Even better, though, instead of showing a slideshow with the
song, when others play your recording the screen can then show the words that
are being sung.If you don't have a mike, or if students are feeling a
little shy, they can also just listen to the other karaoke recordings made by
others. They can listen to a person singing and see the lyrics on the
screen.The extraordinary benefit to English Language Learners is
incredible. They can practice pronunciation in the less threatening
vehicle of a song; they can do it in a group if they want; and they can listen
to other native speakers singing it as a comparison.The songs on the
site range from nursery rhymes to popular music, so even students with
low-levels of English can participate.I've placed the link on my Examples of Student Work page under Student Songs.( http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/Student%20Work.html)
Back-up Storage (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/07/03/back-up-storage/) This post
doesn't quite fit into the pattern of ones I usually write, but I thought it
would be helpful to other teachers.I don't know about you, but I'm
fearful of my computer going sometime going kaput and losing all my data -
lesson plans, articles, class hand-outs, etc. Of course, I copy
files onto CD's or flash drives, but not as often as I should.I
recently learned about two companies that will allow you to back-up all your
computer files, for free, on their own site. I use Mozy (https://mozy.com/) , and
it also automatically updates new data from my computer regularly. The
other company is Mediamax. (http://www.mediamax.com/) I've placed them
both on my Teacher's Page under the new category of Online Back-Up Storage of Files.( http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishdetails.html#storage)
Being able to back-up files this easily online may not be news to
most of you, but it certainly was a pleasant surprise to
Literactive (http://www.literactive.com/Home/index.asp) is a new
addition to the Favorite Sites (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishthemes.html#fav)
section on my English Themes For Beginners page.It has
some great phonics activities and talking stories, and is particularly suitable
for early beginner English Language Learners. You have to register to be
able to use the activities, but it just takes a few seconds to do
so.The only problem with the site is that it's a little difficult to
initially navigate for English Language Learners (even I was a little
confused at first). Once you show your students the section for stories,
or the section for phonics, then they can easily access many of the activities
on their own. However, it might be difficult for some students to find
where they should begin.
What Was There? (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/06/22/what-was-there/) What Was There? (http://www.gamesforthebrain.com/game/whatwasthere/) is
a series of games from Games For the Brain. They show a picture, then you
change the screen to a question asking you something about the picture.
For example, one picture shows a series of billard balls. You are then
asked if the eight ball was on the upper-right of the picture.This
kind of game is great reading practice for English Language Learners.
Obviously, in order to answer the question correctly they have to work to
understand the question to begin with.I've placed in under the Word Games (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishint.html#word)
category on my English For Intermediate/Advanced
Many of us have played the old party game of "20 Questions." In it, one
person thinks of something, and you can ask up to twenty "yes/no" questions in
an effort to guess what it is.There's an entertaining version of this 20 Questions
Game (http://www.20q.net/) online that Intermediate and
Advanced English Language Learners would enjoy. You think of something,
and the computer asks you questions (in addition to "yes/no" you can answer
"sometimes/doubtful/unknown") in an attempt to guess what you're thinking of.I
thought of "Bangkok" and it took the web application 23 questions to determine
it correctly.After students played the game online, they did it in class.
It was excellent speaking and listening practice then, and the online game was a
I've placed the link on my Intermediate/Advanced page near the bottom of the
LARRY FERLAZZO'S WEBSITE UPDATE
Summer, 2007 Edition
school-year is just about over, and I thought I'd send out a list of the Top Ten
Websites I've written about during late May and early June.I'll continue to update my
website during the summer, and write in my blog (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/)
about new content, but I won't be doing either in the same quantity as I
do during the school year. I also don't anticipate sending
out another issue of this email newsletter until late August.
You can subscribe to the blog for free if you'd like to get updates prior
to that time.Here is my latest Top Ten list (as usual, they're not listed in any
Talk Dog (http://www.bteducation.org/img/lib/talkdog/talkdog/default.shtml)
is an excellent site from BT Education designed to teaching speaking and
listening skills. Talk Dog, a cartoon character, is the student's
guide. It also provides good vocabulary development opportunities to
English Language Learners.Talk Dog has six "modules" that each have multiple
interactive activities. These modules include ones on Describing,
Listening, Being Fair, Understanding, All About Communicating, and Finding
Out More.I've placed the link to Talk Dog on the bottom of the Non-Fiction
(http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishbeg.html#nonfiction) section of my
A new Web 2.0 product called
Screencast-O-Matic allows you to very easily create
free screencasts, which are audio-narrated "tours" of what you see on your
computer screen (they don't have to narrated, but it works much better if they
are). These would then be hosted by Screencast-O-Matic and easily
accessed online.Screencasts that I have seen are primarily used
to show how to use various computer applications. They are wonderful
teaching tools, especially for technological dummies like myself.Seeing this new
online tool got me wondering about how it could be adapted specifically to
English Language Learners, and some experiments we could try during summer
school.It seems to me that my students could use Screencast-O-Matic in a number
of atypical ways. One way could be to "click" on a number of different
pictures online, have them displayed on the screen, and then have the student
describe them for a screencast. There's another way that's
particularly intriguing to me because of my recent interest in using online
video games for English language development. I'm going to have
students play video games using "walkthroughs" (instructions and hints about how
best to "win") and create instructional screencast "walkthroughs" that
would teach other students how to play the game.I have the link to
Screencast-O-Matic on my Examples of Student Work page under Student
I'm becoming more and more
intrigued by selectively using online video games for English Language
development. In previous posts I've written about some that I've put at
the bottom of the Word Games (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishint.html#word) section I've found another one that requires the
player to click on simple text commands and read simple dialogue to make the
character in the story take action. And, believe it or not, the video game
tells the story of Don Quijote! Sancho's Island (http://www.sanchoisland.com/) is now with the other video
Techlearning this month
published a short article I wrote listing my favorite eight sites for learning
games. It's called Playing Around:
Favorite Educational Game Sites
(http://techlearning.com/story/showArticle.php?articleID=196604471). All of these sites are
linked in multiple places on my web pages. Let me know if you have
difficulty finding them.
I'll be teaching two World
History classes to English Language Learners next year, so I'm keeping my eyes
open for online sites that I can use. One thing I've done is make a
World History (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/world%20history.html) page.I've also found two sites that allow
students to create their own stories and make versions of the famous Bayeux
Tapestry, which tells the story of the Battle of Hastings in Great
Britain. Both links allow students to tell their stories in text and
pictures, which can then be accessed online.One is the Historic
Tale Reconstruction Kit (http://www.adgame-wonderland.de/type/bayeux.php) and the
other is the Bayeux Tapestry Interactive (http://www.bayeuxtapestry.org.uk/interactive/BayeuxCreate.htm)
. You can find both on my Examples of Student
Work page under Student Historic
Tales. Both of these activities can also be used effectively by English Language
Learners even if you're not teaching World History. The Historic
Tale Reconstruction Kit in particular would be easy to use by English Language
Learners to tell any kind of story they want.
I have links to literally
thousands of E-Cards on my Examples of Student
Work (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/Student%20Work.html) page under Student
E-Cards. English Language Learners can send these E-Cards to their
teacher, who can then post them on a class website, or students can post them on
their online journals or blogs.Of course, E-Cards are not particularly difficult
to find on the Web. However, many of them "expire" a short time
after they have been viewed. I've tried to only place links to sites that
will host the E-Cards either indefinitely or, at least, for a very long
time. There are E-Cards for about every occasion and every theme one would
teach in an ESL class, along with history and science classes.Some have audio,
all have pictures, some allow you to send virtual flowers (http://www.flowers2mail.com/) . You can draw (http://www.imaginationcubed.com/launchpage) one, or send one
with music (http://www.aoa.gov/press/multimed/ecard/PowerPage.asp) .
Send one with a picture from just about every
American historical era (http://www.picturehistory.com/find/c/6/mcms.html) . The
choices, while not exactly limitless, are pretty darn big.
websites have cropped up recently, where you can look at itineraries other
people have developed and also easily develop your own from scratch.
I've found them helpful to me on my personal travels. They are also great
learning opportunities for English Language Learners to develop knowledge about
reading, writing, and geography. Student can use these sites to develop
their own travel itineraries (real or imagined) and allow others to see their
plans on the web.TripWiser (http://tripwiser.com/#tripwiser=section%3Dhome%26url%3DmainLayout.do) and TripTie
are two easily navigable sites to make these types of travel plans.
Yahoo! Travel (http://travel.yahoo.com/) is
another one.I've put links to these sites on my Examples of Student Work
(http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/Student%20Work.html) page under Student Trips.
Pimpampun creates many
activities that can be used with Flickr photos. I have several of them on
my site because they're great for English Language Learners.Today, I'd like to
highlight Phrasr (http://www.pimpampum.net/phrasr/) . In this application,
students write a sentence, and Phraser will come up with pictures connected to
each of the words in the sentence. Students can change the pictures if
they want.Then, their picture sentences can be emailed to a teacher who can post
the url on a website. Or the student can paste the url on their blog or
online journal.I've placed Phrasr on the Examples of Student Work
(http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/Student%20Work.html) page under Student Picture
I recently put links to two
pretty neat online games that would definitely function as English language
development opportunities. In both of these games, the player is a
detective who has to solve a crime. The player has to determine each move
of the detective, and all the dialogue is both text and audio.They are both made
by Pinhead Games. One is called A Case of the Crabs
(http://www.otterarchives.com/cotc.html) and the other The Goat in
the Grey Fedora (http://otterarchives.com/bounty2/bounty2.html) (strange
names but fun games).
Larry Ferlazzo's English
Website June, 2007 Newsletter
try to send out a newsletter each month to people who don't necessarily want to
receive daily updates from my blog about new content on my website (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/english.html).
If you'd like to easily and quickly subscribe to the blog itself to
receive free updates on a lot more new content, you can click on this link: http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/how-to-subscribe-to-this-blog/ These top ten sites are not in
order of priority, though. It was hard enough to pick ten,
much less to try to prioritize the ones I chose!The top ten sites for
June are:1) Create Video Quizzes
ESL Video (http://www.eslvideo.com/index.php) is a new
site (to me, at least) that allows teachers and others to easily place videos
from other sites there and create a quiz related to the video. It seems to me
like an ingenius idea and, as technologically illiterate as I am, this Web 2.0
stuff always seems like magic. Teachers can do this, but, of course,
students can as well. Registration is free. You can
find it on my website at
In order to use a number of the activities on
my Examples of Student Work (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/Student%20Work.html) page, students need to show that they have email
addresses. Often times they can just use mine, but quite a few of the Web
2.0 activities require registration of a unique address. Usually a link
will be sent to that address that you then have to click on in order to open a
free account.However, many of my students don't have their own email addresses
and, even if they do, may not want to give it out to these websites. What
can they do?Near the top of the Examples of Student Work page, I have two links
where students can register for email addresses that exist for ten or fifteen
minutes. Students can receive and send email from that address during that
period of time. These two links are 10 Minute Mail
Guerrilla Mail (http://www.guerrillamail.com/).
FOSSweb (http://www.fossweb.com/) is the online
component of the exceptional Science curriculum developed by the University of
California. It has a series of great science experiments that English
Language Learners can explore online. The activities are based on grade
levels - from kindergarten to middle school. You need a password to access
the middle school exercises, but you can obtain that in less than a minute.
I have it listed on my Science
(http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/eslscience.html) Page (just above "Planets and
Techlearning has just published an article I
wrote listing the
Ten Best Education E-Mail Newsletters
(http://www.techlearning.com/story/showArticle.php?articleID=196604411). It lists free email newsletters that provide excellent resources
for my teaching, including policy news, lesson plans, materials,
etc. You can also find it on my website under Published
5) Make a Slideshow Online
There are a ton of free online applications
you can use to make slideshows. You can find links to many of them under
In order for such an application to work easily for my English
Language Learner students and for me, I think that such a slideshow-maker has to
meet three criteria:1) The interface is relatively simple to understand.2) It's
easy to use pictures from other Internet sources so we don't have to deal with
uploading photos from school computers.3) Students have a place to write about
the slideshow itself in the presentation.Unless I'm missing something, which may
very well be the case, I have only been able to find one slideshow maker that
meets all three criteria -MixerCast (http://www.mixercast.com/) .
encourage you to check it out. Registration is quick and free. It's
one of the links in the Student Slideshow section.
I just discovered Profile America
(http://www.census.gov/pubinfo/www/broadcast/radio/profile_america/) , a daily one minute podcast from the United States Census
Bureau. It highlights moments in American history in very simple
language. In addition, you can read the text while you're listening to it.
I'm very impressed with this program. It's professionally done. I
wish more podcasts would have the text online, too.
It's under Sites That Cover Many Periods
on my United States History
Oddcast is an extraordinarly creative company
that develops interactive online activities for a variety of corporations.
Many of the activities you'll find on my Examples of Student Work page have been
made by them.I'm writing here about three specific activities they've created
that allow you to create a "virtual" you online. They're listed under
Student Virtual Hosts
In all three of these links you can choose the physical
characteristics of "you" and have "you" speak, using a text to speech
feature. You can also email "you" and post "yourself" on the Web.
first one, The V Host Workshop (http://host-d.oddcast.com/) , is the one with the
The second one from Gamespot
(http://www.gamespot.com/promos/2006/TestDriveUnlimited/) has several additional things you can do with
it. But the final one, Voki (http://www.voki.com/) , has just been released by
Oddcast and is in an entirely different class from the other two. You have
to register for Voki, unlike the first two, but registration just takes a few
seconds.There are several ways these activities can benefit English
Language Learners. They can design themselves, post their url in an online
journal or a blog, and describe what their "virtual" selves look like and
why. They can use the text to speech feature to write what they want to
say and then listen to it. They can comment (positively) about their
(http://www.bteducation.org/resources/kzoneplay.ikml?id=117) is an excellent game to teach vocabulary related to
feelings and emotions. You're given the word for a particular emotion and
then have to create a face accurately demonstrating it. You can find
it on the Feelings
(http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishthemes.html#feelings) section of my website.
Larry Ferlazzo's English Website May, 2007
I try to send out a newsletter each month to people who
don't necessarily want to receive daily updates from my blog about new
content. I'm going to make these newsletters a "Top Ten" of
the fifty-to-one-hundred new links I highlight in my blog monthly.
I'll also make this Top Ten list a blog entry. Since
this is my first Top Ten list and it covers both March and April, I'm going to
cheat a bit and have a few more than ten highlights.If you'd like to easily and
quickly subscribe to the blog itself to receive free updates on a lot more new
content, you can click on this link: http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/how-to-subscribe-to-this-blog/ I will not list the top ten sites
in order of priority, though. It was hard enough to pick ten,
much less to try to prioritize the ones I chose!The Top Ten (actually, twelve)
are:1) "Creating" Online Videos with English Language
I put quotation marks around "Creating"
in the headline of this post because, even though my students use online videos
to develop their language skills, it's mainly through adapting other people's
creations. I know that there are certainly benefits to students
making their own from scratch, but it requires equipment and technical know-how
that I don't have (and I don't necessarily feel like I need to know).
I think they can learn as much English by doing it this way, especially with the
advent of the many online video sites that are linked to the
(http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/Student%20Work.html#video) section of my website.
includeBubblePLY (http://www.bubbleply.com/default.aspx) allows students to create text "bubbles"
on existing online videos. Cuts (http://www.cuts.com/) does the same, but goes one better - you can actually "cut"
scenes from online videos and edit them, along with adding captions and sound
is one of the newest one of these online applications, and may
be the best and easiest one, though I haven't spent much time with it yet.
Overstream (http://www.overstream.net/) is another one with similar features. Vuvox
is yet one more. All these applications host your creation so they
can be viewed on the web by others.
Hello World English
(http://www.hello-world.com/English/EN_English.php) is a site I highlighted in my last email
newsletter, but I wanted to highlight again for new readers. The site has
an excellent series of audio and visual activities that is great for
someone who is just beginning to learn English. In fact, I'd say that if
you have a beginner student, you couldn't find a better site to start him/her on
than this one. It covers a lot of the "basics" in a fun way.I've put the
link to the site under the Favorite
Sites (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishthemes.html#fav) section of my website.I list
it as "Hello English."
There are several excellent sites that
allow students to easily and quickly make animated films. The best
one is D.Film Moviemaker (http://www.dfilm.com/index_mm2.html) , and you can see many examples of films
my students have made using this online application under
Movies (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/Student%20Work.html#mov). The creators of this site have also
announced that a new version will be released soon.Under the same category you
can find other links to sites that allow you to make online movies. My
students haven't tried those yet, but they, too, look easy enough for
English Language Learners to use.
4) Two Best Beginning To Read Sites (That Are Free!)
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/04/09/two-best-beginning-to-read-sites-that-are-free/) I've just found another great site, in addition to
the wonderful Starfall. (http://www.starfall.com/) . It's apparently been around for a few
years, and, I've got to say, with all of the time I spend "surfing the Net" I'm
pretty surprised I haven't heard of it earlier. It's a site based in Spain
and called Childtopia. (http://www.childtopia.com/index.php) It has hundreds of audio, along with
text, stories and games for the beginning English reader. You can find it
in the Favorite Sites
(http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishthemes.html#fav) category on my
has just unveiled a "My Maps" feature that makes it very easy for people
to create their own maps with placemarks. If you're unclear
what that means, you can see an example (not done with Google, though) of what
I'm talking about by going to Student Maps
(http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/Student%20Work.html#m) on my website.Google's "My
Maps" feature, though, makes it a whole lot easier to create these kinds of
maps. Their url's can then be shared and posted. There are many ways
this kind of tool can be used with English Language Learners and others,
including writing about field trips, their native countries, places they're
learning about and places they want to visit.
Match (http://www.britishcouncil.org/kids-games-face-match.htm) is a new game from the British Council,
which is a source of great ESL activities. In Face Match a student reads
and hears the audio of a description of a person (you can choose to have just
the audio on if you want). They then have to choose who that person is
from a series of pictures. I've put the link to this game under the
Descriptions (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishthemes.html#descriptions) category.
I've recently added a number of new links
to the Math (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishthemes.html#math1) category. The ones I've added all, in my
opinion, contribute both to math and English language development.
In addition to being interactive, most of the new links also show text and have
audio of that same text. A few don't, but I included them anyway because
they just seemed like a lot fun! The new links are at the bottom of the listings
under that category.
Colors (http://www.learnalberta.ca/content/tlfmc/index.html?launch=true) is a nice little online
activity using audio, text, and animation to teach students how to mix colors to
develop different ones. It's located at the bottom of the Colors (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishthemes.html#colors) category on my
I'd like to highlight a whole category of links on my
site and not just one. Over the past few weeks I've added many new links
to the Citizenship (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishthemes.html#citizenship) category . These new links include
ones for online dictation practice and on the proposed
new application fee increases. Students in my Government classes have been
focused on preparing for their Citizenship tests and helping their family
members do the same.
I've added a new link to the
section called English 180 (http://www.english180.com/lessons.do). It's a
neat site with well-produced text, audio and animated lessons for both Beginner
and Intermediate students.The lessons are graduated - beginning with vocabulary
and building to sentences using the learned vocabulary.
There is a new, at least to me, site
called Scribd (http://www.scribd.com/) that I have just discovered, and I'm very excited
about it. This site allows you to type a document on your computer,
easily upload it to Scribd in seconds, and then the site immediately posts
your document on the Internet with audio speaking the text.This, I
believe, is an extraordinary site for English Language Learners. They can
easily post what they write and listen to how it sounds. They can use
pictures and text or just plain textI've put this link under
(http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/Student%20Work.html#talkingstories) . You can also see student examples
Samuel L. Jackson, My ESL Students, And
is the title of an article I wrote that's just been published in the April
issue of TechLearning's Educator's eZine. It shares ideas about how
to use viral marketing and Web 2.0 applications effectively with English
Language Learners and other students