Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

September 30, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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A Look Back: What Is The “Zeigarnik Effect” & How Did I Apply It In The Classroom Today?

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Next February, this blog will be celebrating its ten-year anniversary! Leading up to it, I’m re-starting a series I tried to do in the past called “A Look Back.” Each week, I’ll be re-posting a few of my favorite posts from the past ten years.

You might also be interested in A Look Back: Best Posts From 2007 To 2009. and A Look Back: 2010’s Best Posts From This Blog.

I originally shared this post in 2011. You might also be interested in another post I wrote about the same topic: More On The “Zeigarnik Effect”

Bluma Zeigarnik was a Russian psychologist who identified what came to be called the “Zeigarnik Effect.” You can read more about it here, but, basically, it means that once we start doing something, we’re going to tend to want to finish it.

I’m sure many teachers have never heard of the Zeigarnik Effect, but often apply it. We might have students who just tend to procrastinate when doing an assignment, or are afraid of getting something wrong and are reluctant to start, or have a hard time getting going for other reasons . So we encourage students to get started by just answering the first question, or writing the first paragraph, or give reading the first page a try.

I’ve certainly done that often in the past, but recently learning that the strategy actually has a name and scientific evidence to back it up now makes me more conscious of it as another component of my “toolbox.”

One of my students does have a strong tendency toward procrastination. Today, we were completing a short “book talk” form (see My Best Posts On Books: Why They’re Important & How To Help Students Select, Read, Write & Discuss Them for more information on the idea), and everybody was working away on it except for “John” (not his real name). He said he didn’t know what to write. The article I read about the Zeigarnik Effect immediately came to mind, and I asked him to complete the first question, which just asked for the title of the book and the author’s name. I pointed out that all he had to do was copy it from the cover of his book.

He immediately did so, and then went on to complete the entire form. Would I have made that same suggestion if I hadn’t read about Zeigarnik yesterday? Maybe, maybe not. But it has now made me more conscious of thinking about what might be easy tasks or questions that would be good ways to start challenging assignments (or to use to get students who face a variety of challenges starting on doing any assignments)….

September 30, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Five Most Popular Posts Of The Week

Here’s the latest edition of this regular feature . These are the posts appearing this blog that received the most “hits” in the preceding seven days (though they may have originally been published on an earlier date).

You might also be interested in The Twenty Most Popular Posts In 2016 – So Far and Ninth Anniversary Of This Blog — What Have Been My Most Popular Posts?

1. The Best Sites For Teaching About Latitude & Longitude

2. The Best Resources For Helping Teachers Use Bloom’s Taxonomy In The Classroom

3. The Best Websites For Creating Online Learning Games

4. The Best Popular Movies/TV Shows For ESL/EFL (& How To Use Them)

5. The Best Sites For Learning About The World’s Different Cultures

September 28, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Important New PBS News Hour Segment: “How and why we need to get the lead out of our lives”

The PBS News Hour aired an important segment tonight:

You might also be interested in the multi-part series I published about the Flint crisis. You can find links to all my eleven related “Best” lists at Part 11 – Best Resources For Learning About Flint Water Crisis.

September 28, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

A Look Back: What Can We Learn About Classroom Management From Abraham Lincoln?

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Next February, this blog will be celebrating its ten-year anniversary! Leading up to it, I’m re-starting a series I tried to do in the past called “A Look Back.” Each week, I’ll be re-posting a few of my favorite posts from the past ten years.

You might also be interested in A Look Back: Best Posts From 2007 To 2009. and A Look Back: 2010’s Best Posts From This Blog.

I originally shared this post in 2011. You might also find Best Posts On Classroom Management useful.

The New York Times has a fascinating article about Lincoln and The Mormons. It explains that he basically made a deal to leave them alone and they left him alone. This is what he told a Mormon leader:

When I was a boy on the farm in Illinois there was a great deal of timber on the farm which we had to clear away. Occasionally we would come to a log which had fallen down. It was too hard to split, too wet to burn, and too heavy to move, so we plowed around it.

In other words, there are some battles not worth fighting, which also happens to be a community organizing axiom.

I also think it’s also a good classroom management guide. We need to “keep on our eyes on the prize” and not get sucked into distracting conflicts.

If a student just keeps on forgetting to bring a pencil to class, I just give him one from a big box of golf pencils I buy at the beginning of each school year. If they don’t have paper, I have stack. I’ve got bigger fish to fry, like helping them developing intrinsic motivation to read the first book in their lives and develop an appetite for learning.

September 28, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Please Share Your Thoughts On The Role Of The Smarter Balanced Tests

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The EdSource Symposium 2016 is a major ed event in California next week, and I will be on a panel titled “Smarter Balanced Assessment and Beyond: What’s Next?”

I’ve posted a lot about Smarter Balanced and PARCC (see The Best Resources For Learning About The “Next Generation” Of State Testing) and have lots of thoughts, but I would love to hear from other educators – from everywhere, but especially from California.

Here are some questions I’d love to hear you answer – pick as many or as few as you want.  You can leave a comment (I won’t make any of the comments on this post public so you can remain anonymous).  Or you can email me at mrferlazzo at aol dot com:

1. How accurately do think the Smarter Balanced tests measure what you think students should know?

2. Can you easily gain access to the results, and do they inform your instruction?

3. What have your students said about the Smarter Balanced tests?

4. How much of a role, if any, should the test results have in school or teacher accountability?

5. What would be better alternatives to a test like Smarter Balanced?

6. How does Smarter Balanced compare to previous state tests like STAR?

7. Is there anything else you’d like to share that I haven’t asked?

 

Thanks!

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