Larry Ferlazzo
Teacher

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                                     MONTHLY TOP TEN LISTS
February, 2008
January, 2008
December, 2007
November, 2007
October, 2007
September, 2007
August, 2007

Summer, 2007
June, 2007
May, 2007

Larry Ferlazzo’s Website Update

February, 2008

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 too long.

 

NEW WEBSITES OF THE YEAR:

The Best Of The Best — 2007/08  (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/12/27/the-best-of-the-best-2007/)

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 Instruction/Reinforcment
(
http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/01/11/the-best-websites-for-k-12-writing-instructionreinforcment/)


The Best Websites For Learning About Civic Participation & Citizenship
(
http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/01/16/the-best-websites-for-learning-about-civic-participation-citizenship/)


The Best Health Sites For English Language Learners
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/01/03/the-best-health-sites-for-english-language-learners/)

The Best Places To Learn Web 2.0 Basics — 2007
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/12/27/the-best-places-to-learn-web-20-basics-2007/)

OTHER NEW LINKS:

Make a Face (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/01/08/make-a-face/)
Mr. 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
(http://www.techlearning.com/story/showArticle.php?articleID=196604915)

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 UpdateJanuary, 2008

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
(
http://larryferlazzo.com/english.html):
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 well-worth reading. Wordmaster (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/12/13/wordmaster/)
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 & Instructify
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/12/14/physics-life-instructify/)
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/) I’ve posted 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/) In2English has 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
(
http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/12/03/show-beyond-audio-slideshows-again/)
Show Beyond is a great web application, and they fixed their audio problem.I posted a few weeks ago about Show Beyond, (http://www.showbeyond.com/show/home)  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/) Flashback 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/) I’ve recently 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 yourself.

To Filter, Or Not To Filter? Is That The Question?
(
http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/11/26/to-filter-or-not-to-filter-is-that-the-question/)
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.

 

  Larry Ferlazzo’s Website UpdateDecember, 2007

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 are:
Browser Books Again
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/11/22/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 blog.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 Kid-Friendly Simon Sez Santa
(
http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/11/19/kid-friendly-simon-sez-santa/) I
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.( http://www.simonsezsanta.com/friendly.php)

Another Fantastic Service From Daft Doggy
(
http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/11/14/another-fantastic-service-from-daft-doggy/)
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 Project
The Sacramento 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 project.  
One True Media (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/11/11/one-true-media/)
I learned about another easy online slideshow creator, It’s called One True Media (http://www.onetruemedia.com/otm_site/home?) and you can see a sample slideshow:
(http://www.onetruemedia.com/otm_site/view_shared?p=42c5f2de484fa7c1c09317&skin_id=601&utm_source=otm&utm_medium=email) 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
(http://larryferlazzo.com/Student%20Work.html#slideshow)
Does Using Technology Add Value To The Classroom?
The title of this post is also the title of a new post
 
(http://inpractice.edublogs.org/2007/11/10/does-using-technology-add-value-to-the-classroom/?)
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 trick.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 Maps (http://www.fieldmuseum.org/maps/about.asp),  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) .
Launchball
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/10/25/launchball/)
Launchball (http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/launchpad/launchball/)  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 NewsletterNovember, 2007

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 blog: (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/)
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.

Joe Thompson

Free Rice Game (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/10/17/free-rice-game/)
I just 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
(http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishint.html#word) .

AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget

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.”

AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget Kindersay (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/10/11/kindersay/)

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
(http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishthemes.html#fav) .

“In Practice” Post (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/10/10/in-practice-post/) How Did A Guy Like Me End Up Blogging In A Place Like This? (http://inpractice.edublogs.org/2007/10/11/how-did-a-guy-like-me-end-up-blogging-in-a-place-like-this/)  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 feedback.

AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget

News For English Language Learners
(
http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/10/09/news-for-english-language-learners/)
Darby Patterson 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 Calculator
(
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)  page. 

AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget

Everyday Life (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.
(
http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishthemes.html#life)

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Create A Talking Picture
(
http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/10/03/create-a-talking-picture/)
Blabberize (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!)

AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget

Wonderful Panoramas
(
http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/09/27/wonderful-panoramas/)
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) .

Sketchcast (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/09/24/sketchcast/)
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 Cubed (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/04/08/make-the-solar-system/) .  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 Student Sketches.

Excellent Online Language Program
(
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 exercises (http://www.livemocha.com/subscriptions/view/3)  and
these samples (http://www.livemocha.com/subscriptions/view/4) . I’m going to put the link under
Favorite Sites (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishthemes.html#fav)  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 computer project.

 

Larry Ferlazzo’s Website NewsletterOctober, 2007

This 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 Learning
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/09/21/home-computers-english-language-learning/

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.

Extraordinary Research Site
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/09/17/extraordinary-research-site/)

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.

Trading Cards
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/09/16/trading-cards/)

Big Huge 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

Online ESL Journals
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/09/15/online-esl-journals/)

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 Page (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishdetails.html)  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/ .

A Zillion More Talking Stories
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/09/11/a-zillion-more-talking-stories/)

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, etc.

What Do You Do In The Computer Lab?
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/09/09/what-do-you-do-in-the-computer-lab/)

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.

Wordbuilder
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/09/09/wordbuilder/)

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.

Bite Size Math and Literacy
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/09/06/bite-size-math-and-literacy/)

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 page.

HippoCampus For History, Government & Math
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/09/05/hippocampus-for-history-government-math/)

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.

Another TechLearning Article
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/09/04/another-techlearning-article/)

TechLearning has just published a short article I put together for them called “You’ve Got Mail — A Dozen Educators’ Newsletters.”
(
http://techlearning.com/story/showArticle.php?articleID=196604662

Fantastic Cambridge Sites!
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/08/28/fantastic-sites/)

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?
(
http://www2.cambridge.org/connectarcade/launch.do?activityID=590&sortbytype=a&level=3&unit=1&type=Cup_word_up  and
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 Vocabulary.

Awesome Stories
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/08/27/awesome-stories/)

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 on the
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
(http://www.rmpbs.org/resources/files/education/learningline/page01.htm),
 
from 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 living skills.
International Reading Association Award
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/08/15/international-reading-association-award 2/) Reading 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 Technology.Reading Today 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 ESL(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/08/09/using-online-video-games-for-esl/)
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 sooner.

More Talking Stories

(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/08/07/more-talking-stories/)
Marshall Adult Education has created Reading Skills Stories
(http://www.marshalladulteducation.org/stories1.htm),  
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 Article
(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 Learners. (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/relationships.html
The Best Online Slideshow Creator Yet!
(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 post.
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/2007/07/30/great-new-slideshow-creator/)
I’ve written
(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 use.
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)

Top Ten Tools

(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/07/28/top-ten-tools/) Jane 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
(http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/recommended/index.html)
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.
(http://dns.satonishi.town.satosho.okayama.jp/vg/english/resources/gamelist.htm
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
(http://www.dfes.gov.uk/readwriteplus/embeddedlearning/interactivesearchresults.cfm)  
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 site.


LARRY FERLAZZO’S WEBSITE UPDATEAUGUST, 2007

I hope your summer is going well.  Here are the latest Top Ten new sites you’ll find on my website and my blog.Great Site For U.S. History Projects (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/07/12/great-site-for-us-history-projects/) Footnote (http://www.footnote.com/index.php)  is an incredible site for students to create projects about U.S. History.  It provides access (free) to thousands of primary images and documents, which students can easily include in an online report.  The report will then be hosted by Footnote.  You can see a very rudimentary sample I made in five minutes here. (http://www.footnote.com/index.phphttp://www.footnote.com/page/1379) It’s easy to differentiate projects based on the English level of your students. I’ll certainly be using it in my U.S. History, Government, and World History classes next year.I’ve placed in on my Examples of Student Work (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/Student%20Work.html#amhistory) under Student American History Reports.Musical Game Room (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/07/09/musical-game-room/) I recently discovered the wonderful New York Philharmonic Game Room.( http://www.nyphilkids.org/games/main.phtm)    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 page.

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 me.

New TechLearning Article (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/07/01/new-techlearning-article/) Techlearning has just published a short article I wrote entitled Keeping Up-To-Date on Web Resources.( http://techlearning.com/story/showArticle.php?articleID=196604532)   It lists a number of people and organizations that send out email newsletters reviewing new websites useful to educators

Literactive (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/06/29/literactive/) 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. 

Twenty Questions Game (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/07/19/twenty-questions-game/)

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 great warm-up.

I’ve placed the link on my Intermediate/Advanced page near the bottom of the
Word Games (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishint.html#word) category.

 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 page. 

LARRY FERLAZZO’S WEBSITE UPDATE

Summer, 2007 Edition The 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 particular order):1) Talk Dog (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/06/11/talk-dog/)

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 site.


2) Screencasts & ESL (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/06/05/screencasts-esl/)

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 Screencasts (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/Student%20Work.html#screencast)

3) Another Online Video Game (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/06/04/another-online-video-game/)

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 games. 

4) Favorite Game Sites (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/06/01/favorite-game-sites/)

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.

  

5) Create a Medieval Tapestry (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/05/30/create-a-medieval-tapestry/)

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.

  

6) E-Cards (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/05/28/e-cards/)

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.

  

7) Student Trips (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/05/28/student-trips/)

Several travel-planning 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 (http://triptie.com/)  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.

  

8) Online Talking Stories

I’ve put a new link at the bottom of the Favorite Sites section of my English Themes For Beginners and Early Intermediate (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishthemes.html)  page.  It’s Online Talking Stories (http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/interactive/onlinestory.htm#talk) from Woodlands Junior School (who, by the way, have lots of other interactive educational activities on their site).I already have all the stories shown on their site listed individually and scattered throughout the Stories (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishbeg.html#stories)  section on the English For Beginners page.  However, since they have so many of them displayed attractively on their page, I thought it would be worth posting separately.

9) Picture Sentences (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/05/24/picture-sentences/)

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 Sentences.

  

10) Be a Detective (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/05/23/be-a-detective/)

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).

The links are at the bottom of the Word Games   http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishint.html#word) section of my English For Intermediate/Advanced page

 

  Larry Ferlazzo’s English Website June, 2007 Newsletter

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 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
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/05/20/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
http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishdetails.html#video


2)
Temporary Student Email Addresses (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/05/18/temporary-student-email-addresses/)

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
(http://10minutemail.com/10MinuteMail/index.html) and
Guerrilla Mail
(http://www.guerrillamail.com/).


3) FOSSweb Online Science (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/05/03/fossweb-online-science/)

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 Space”).


4) Free E-Mail Newsletters on Education (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/05/03/free-e-mail-newsletters-on-education/)

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 Articles (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/articles.html).


5) Make a Slideshow Online
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/05/22/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
Student Slideshows
(http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/Student%20Work.html#slideshow).
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/) . 
I’d encourage you to check it out.  Registration is quick and free.  It’s one of the links in the Student Slideshow section.

6) Profile America
(
http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/05/07/profile-america/)

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
(http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/geography.html#sites) 
on my United States History page.


7, 8, and 9) Make a Virtual “You”
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/05/15/make-a-virtual-you/)

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
(http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/Student%20Work.html#host)
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.
The first one, The V Host Workshop (http://host-d.oddcast.com/) , is the one with the fewest features. 
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 “virtual” classmates.


10) Making Faces
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/05/21/making-faces/)

Making Faces
(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 Newsletter

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 Learners
(http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/04/21/creating-online-videos-with-english-language-learners/)

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
Student Videos (http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/Student%20Work.html#video) section of my website. 
These links include
BubblePLY (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 effects.Mojiti (http://mojiti.com/)  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 (http://www.vuvox.com/)  is yet one more.  All these applications host your creation so they can be viewed on the web by others.

2) Hello World English (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/04/17/hello-world-english/)

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.”

3) Easy Online Film-Making (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/04/10/easy-online-film-making/)

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  Student 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 site.

5) Easy Geography (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/04/07/easy-geography/)

Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/)  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.

6) Face Match (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/04/06/face-match/)

Face 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.

7) Many Math Activities (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/04/03/many-math-activities/)

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.

8) Mixing Colors (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/04/02/mixing-colors/)

Mixing 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 site. 

9) Citizenship (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/04/02/citizenship/)

 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.

10) English 180 (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/03/22/english-180/)

I’ve added a new link to the Favorite Sites  
(http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/englishthemes.html#fav )
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.

11) Talking Stories (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2007/03/11/talking-stories/)

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
Student Talking Stories
(
http://www.bayworld.net/ferlazzo/Student%20Work.html#talkingstories) .  You can also see student examples there.

12) Samuel L. Jackson, My ESL Students, And Me
(http://techlearning.com/story/showArticle.php?articleID=196604338)

Samuel L. Jackson, My ESL Students, And Me 
(http://techlearning.com/story/showArticle.php?articleID=196604338) 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


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