Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

October 7, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

PBS Unveils New Useful Teacher Tools


PBS Learning unveiled an iPad app today, but I think the teacher tools they announced are what educators will really find useful.

Once you register, you go to tools. There, you’ll see a screen like the image at the top of this post. The Storybuilder and Puzzle Builder are okay, but lots of other sites provide them (for example, see The Best Sites For Making Crossword Puzzles & Hangman Games).

But its the Lesson Builder that looks like it might have some real potential. It seems pretty easy to mix-and-match a nice lesson with quizzes that you can monitor.

Even more importantly, teachers will be able to share the lessons they create with other people registered on the site (though it’s not really clear to me how you can access them, perhaps because there aren’t any yet since they just opened for business today). So, it looks like I will be able to search for already-created lessons and use them with my own students, including seeing how they do on them.

I’m adding this info to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress.

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October 7, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

“Dreamdo Schools” Is A Platform To Share Project-Based Learning Projects Internationally


Dreamdo Schools
lets teachers and students document project-based learning projects, share them internationally, and communicate with other classes around the world about what everybody is doing. They say it’s being used in twenty-five countries.

It’s free, and looks like it has some potential.

I’ve embedded a video about it below.

I’m adding this post to:

The Best Sites For Cooperative Learning Ideas

The Best Ways To Find Other Classes For Joint Online Projects

The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress

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October 7, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

He Did It! Gov. Brown Eliminates High School Exit Exam Retroactively!


Governor Brown actually did it – he signed the bill eliminating our state’s high school exit exam and made retroactive.

Anyone who did not receive a diploma because they didn’t pass the exam – from the time it began in 2006 – may now graduate if they pass other requirements. We’re talking about between 40,000 and 150,000 people, including thousands of English Language Learners.

You can read about the Governor’s signing at California poised to grant high school diplomas retroactively (from Ed Source) and Gov. Jerry Brown signs measure suspending high school exit exam (LA Times).

You can see many of my previous posts on what’s led up to this at The Best Posts & Articles About Why High School Exit Exams Might Not Be A Good Idea, including my last one, Bill Eliminating CA High School Exit Exam Passes Legislature – Will Result In HUGE Increase In ELL Student Motivation.

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October 7, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Bill Gates’ Big Speech Today On Education


The Gates Foundation hosted a big meeting on education today, and Bill Gates gave a big speech there. He and his wife, Melinda, were also interviewed for the PBS News Hour.

It doesn’t appear that either of them said anything new, and stated that the Foundation is going to continue to do what they have been doing. I did note Melinda’s suggesting to the PBS News Hour that opposition to standardized student testing was equal to opposing tests for drivers licenses or for doctors.

That is not great news for schools, students, their families or teachers.

First, I’ll share links and videos related to their talks today. Following those, I’ll list some previous posts I’ve published related to Bill Gates and education.

On today’s speech:

Gates Foundation Staying the Course on Teacher Effectiveness, High Standards
is from Ed Week, and is the best report.

Improving U.S. schools tougher than global health, Gates says is from The Washington Post

Bill and Melinda Gates on the political debate over Common Core standards is from the PBS News Hour.

Here are some previous posts on Gates:

The Best Resources For Learning About The Role Of Private Foundations In Education Policy

The Best Posts Responding To Bill Gates’ Appallingly Clueless Op-Ed Piece

The Best Posts On The Gates’ Funded Measures Of Effective Teaching Report — January, 2012

A Beginning List Of The Best Posts On Gates’ Final MET “Effective Teaching” Report

Gates Foundation Minimizing Great Tools For Helping Teachers Improve Their Craft

Videotaping teachers the right way (not the Gates way)

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October 7, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

“How Can I Better A Better Teacher For You?”


As I’ve shared on numerous occasions (My Best Posts On Classroom Management), classroom management is a periodic challenge for me – I often teach “intervention” classes and/or classes where students have had limited prior schooling and/or have experienced substantial trauma. And sometimes I teach students with issues.

I try to always respond in positive ways (see More Positive, Not Punitive, Classroom-Management Tips). A couple of weeks ago, I shared one relatively successful strategy I tried (see My New Classroom Management Strategy: “How Are You Going To Use Your Power?”).

Yesterday, students in one of my classes were particularly wild (I suspect having substitute teachers in two previous periods contributed to their conduct). Class behavior had been leaning in that direction for a few days, so I decided it was time for a strong reaction.

Of course, every fiber of my being wanted to lash out at them. However, I also realized that going down that road never works.

So, I made arrangements with one of their other teachers to take out most of them one-by-one during my prep period and bring them into my classroom for a private conversation.

How did I begin those talks? With this question:

“How can I be a better teacher for you?”

That question created an entirely different dynamic for the entire conversation than if I had begun discussing classroom behavior. Most replied that the class is great as it is, while others offered good suggestions about seating and websites they like to use.

We were able to also get into a discussion about classroom behavior, norms, and the things they could do to be a better student, but leading with that question was, I believe, the key to the successful conversations.

It’s possible that coming down on students like a ton of bricks might have resulted in sullen compliance, but it would not have led to the sense of joyful learning that we had today in our classroom.

I have no illusions that all my classroom management issues are in the rear view mirror, but today reinforces my belief that positive beats punitive any day…

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October 7, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

“Students Develop Grit By ‘Taking Charge Of Their Own Learning'”

Students Develop Grit By ‘Taking Charge Of Their Own Learning’ is the title of my latest Education Week Teacher column. It’s part two in my series on grit.

In it, Bryan Harris, Ben Spielberg, Mike Anderson, Gravity Goldberg and Barbara Blackburn discuss grit in the classroom.

Here are some excerpts:






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October 6, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Video: ELLs Learning To Tell Time In English

I’ve previously posted about a project where my Beginning English Language Learners have learned how to tell time in English (see Video: My Beginning ELL Students Learning To Tell Time In English).

This year, we’re doing it a little differently. Here’s an example:

I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning How To Tell Time.

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