Saturday, September 29, 2007

Speaking Activities

This month's focus is on sites that promote speaking activities. You can find hundreds of links that relate to this topic on my English For Beginners page under Audio Conversations and on my English Themes for Beginners/Early Intermediate page under Conversations.

However, since the best way to encourage speaking in English is by having students.....speak, I'd really like to highlight the hundreds of links I have on my Examples of Student Work page. There, you can find countless activities where students have to actively participate in speaking instead of passively listening. The best of this category include:

* Ones where students sing karaoke and record their masterpieces. Two of these site are Sims On Stage (formerly known as Singshot) and KSolo.

* Links where students record messages that virtual alter-egos of themselves speak, such as Voki.

* And, of course, there's Voicethread, which allows students to create narrated slideshows.

Larry Ferlazzo

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Reading Treasures Show

This is a wonderful recording of an Alado session which took place some time in August 2007, called "Reading Treasures Show". Teachers from various countries talk about what they do to create reading opportunities for their students. I'd like to congratulate all of them on this wonderful work!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Developing Reading Skills

This month in Learning with computers we'll be sharing links to develop reading in English. (Gladys's suggestion)(Enchanting!)

Some of Larry's links: Put cartoon strips in order and answer comprehension questions. (Great!) It's not fully ready yet but focusses on reading strategies. a collection of online reading stories. Drawing conclusions. (simple but interesting) Predicting meaning Using a dictionary Reading Street signs a collection of stories from BBC collection of stories stories for kids the same TRUE story in English and portuguese side by side. SHORT stories. short stories graded by level.

These ones I found in Libardo´s blog: You can read, listen and watch a very exciting story. You are even asked to interact with the events. SUPERB! another interactive DETECTIVE story. Different stories to read and listen, 3 different levels. this story explains about opposites in an interesting way. Great stories. The time machine. I had great fun travelling in time!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Using Computers To Teach Reading

I wanted to share a few of the favorite sites I use to help my English Language Learner students develop their reading skills.

They are basically divided into two categories -- sites that explicitly teach reading strategies and test comprehension, and sites that offer fiction or non-fiction stories that have text with audio and visual support.

For the former, my favorites include:

* Reading Ring, an activity on the excellent Professor Garfield site. In this game, players have to correctly unscramble a comic strip and then answer questions about it.

* Into The Book is a work-in-progress that will eventually have interactive exercises helping students learn multiple reading strategies. Right now only the one of "visualizing" is complete. It's extraordinarily well-done.

* There are two sites that have multiple activities to help teach reading strategies. I have links to many of these specific activities, and the ones I mentioned earlier, under the English For Beginners -- Reading section of my website. However, it's worth checking-out the two sites that host them all, too. They are Study Zone Test Prep Center of New York and the United Kingdom's Embedded Learning Portal.

I have links to thousands of online stories that offer text with audio and visual support on the English For Beginners- Stories and English For Beginners Non-Fiction sections of my website. My favorite, though, is:

* Woodlands Junior School in the United Kingdom. They have many of the same stories I have on my pages. However, there's is much better-designed and attractive.

Finally, I'd encourage people to read here about my school's use of computers to teach reading to English Language Learners, which was awarded the 2007 International Reading Association Grand Prize Presidential Award for Reading and Technology.

Larry Ferlazzo

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Favorite Vocabulary Activities

I've sent an email to the group pointing-out the two links to hundreds, if not thousands, of vocabulary sites that I've linked to my website. In case you missed the email, the links are:

Vocabulary Sites For Beginners and Early Intermediate

Vocabulary Sites For Intermediate and Advanced

I'd also like to highlight a few of my favorites.

Learning Vocabulary Can Be Fun has numerous games, including many with audio, which are fun and effective with my ESL students. Students don't learn the words in context of sentences, but you can't necessarily expect everything from one site.

The Language Guide is an extraordinary picture and audio dictionary that is organized well and covers the basics.

Basic Sight Words covers the most commonly used words in the English language. On particularly great element of this site is that words are taught in the context of sentences. You won't find this link in my Vocabulary sections, though. I have a completely separate category called Sight Words that has a zillion links about.....Sight Words.

Finally, I love a site called Willing to Try. It's hard to explain what it is. Try it out (be sure to have your pop-up block turned-off, though). I think you, and your students, will enjoy it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Summary: "Teaching Grammar".

A SUMMARY OF THE ARTICLE "Teaching Grammar" by Larsen-Freeman.

To watch this presentation, FIRST click on the audio and THEN click to change the slides.

The original article can be found in the book "Teaching English as a Foreign Language" by Mariane Celce Murcia.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Grammar For Beginners

I've been asked to provide a "guest" post once a month. I understand that June's focus will be on grammar. Since June is going to be a bit crazy for me, I'm getting a little bit of a head start....

There are a ton of sites that focus on grammar. Many of them are mind-numbing lists of exercises and are almost as bad as the useless grammar worksheets that many textbook publishers put out.

Today I'd like to highlight two sites that I think are the best, especially for beginner English Language Learners. They stand-out for both providing text with audio support, and also provide a variety of different activities. My high school students here in Sacramento, California, seem to like them, too.

One is Grammarman Comics, which teaches grammar through the use of attractive online.........comics.

The other is Grammar Gold, which provides a series of fun exercises that teach and provide opportunities to practice English grammar.

For more grammar sites accessible to Beginner students, you can go to the Grammar section on my website's Beginner's page.

For grammar sites appropriate for Intermediate or Advanced English Language Learners, check-out the Intermediate Grammar category on my webpage.

I hope these are helpful links.

Larry Ferlazzo

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

PROJECT: Listening Sites

This is an e-mail written by Mary Hillis suggesting a project we could develop with our students. Read her e-mail and leave your comments.

Hi LwCers!Jen made a good point that many schools don't have the necessaryequipment to do activities with online listening sites. As this is often the case, I would like to propose two assignment ideas:

Extensive Listening Journal Students choose an appropriate listening site, then create a journal about their experience. For instance, they should write a short report detailing the name of the site, the date, the topic of the listening, a summary of the listening, a list of new vocab plus meanings, and a reaction to the listening. I've done the extensive listening journal before, then had students share their reports with others, discussing listening sources, etc. It was a good way to encourage students to listen to materials of their choice outside of class.

Oral Presentation on an online listening site. Students choose an appropriate listening site, analyze it, and give an oral presentation on their findings. Analysis of a listening site can be based on criteria such as interest, difficulty level, visual appeal of the site, available exercises, links provided, etc. (In this way,evaluating a listening site is kind of like writing a movie review,which many students are already familiar with.) Another plus-- after finishing this assignment, you'll have a clear idea about which types of listening sites are useful and interesting for your students!!

Sorry for the long post! I'm looking forward to hearing other members' ideas on how to use these fabulous listening resources we've found!!



Would you like to join our Yack Pack group?

With Yack Pack, Learning with Computer members will be able to have synchronous meetings and also leave each other written or voice messages. We know there are other tools that offer the same thing but this time we´re trying Yack Pack. If you´d like to join us, post a message in the Yahoo LWC community and we´ll send you an invitation. Hope you can join us.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


We´ve barely started the topic and we already have a long list of suggested sites in our WIKI. Wow, it´s sure overwhelming! We´ll try to organize a list of special features from some of the sites in order to guide us through this discovery.

Let´s start with ELLO, my favourite. It offers interesting activities I haven´t found anywhere else, for instance:

  • Interviews : The interviews integrate image which is known to help understanding.
  • Mixer: Six different people talk about the same topic. It also offers comprehension questions at the end.
  • News game: A news programme in cartoons.Great for beginner levels!

Free online EFL listening exercises has other interesting features: is also interesting.

Breaking News English


  • Learning English through MOVIES (check out the tri-view method clicking the "How to use button") (wonderful template) (beginnners/ intermediate)

Carla Arena´s page for listening activities.

Let´s leave our impressions in the comments area.

Larry Ferlazzo´s blog is amazing. These are some of the sites I selected from his suggestions.
LISTENING DICTATION (movie sounds and clips) (really good!)
Listening to different speakers This is from Tokyo International University and has faculty members talking about themselves, followed by questions that need to be answered by students.(very good!)
ESL VIDEOS is incredible. Not only does it offer video with quizzes at various levels but also offers us the opportunity to create quizzes for videos of our choice.