Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

July 25, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

A Look Back: “What ELLs Taught Our School In A Week-Long Empathy Project”

This summer, I will be taking a break now-and-then from blogging to both take some R & R and to also finish-up our next book on teaching English Language Learners.

During those short breaks, I’ll be re-posting some of my favorite posts of 2017 so far.

You might also be interested in:

 A Look Back: Best Posts From 2007 To 2009 

 A Look Back: 2010’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2011’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2012’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2013’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2014’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2015’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2016’s Best Posts From This Blog

Editor’s Note: My talented colleague Pam Buric led an extraordinarily successful – on a number of levels – project at our school this month. She agreed to write about it in this guest post. I’ve added a few comments and links that might be helpful if you’d like to do something similar at your school.

Pam Buric has been teaching at Luther Burbank High School for 18 years and has teaching English learners for most of that time. In addition to teaching, she is the lead teacher of a small learning community and the multilingual coordinator for the school site.

A few weeks ago, my EL students were given the opportunity to share their stories with the “mainstream” students at our school.  The idea was dropped in my lap by administration as a means to promote empathy, our school social-emotional learning focus for the month of March.  I was slightly annoyed by the short turn-around time, the fact that my seniors would have to postpone their work on senior projects, and that it was a great idea that wasn’t mine.  I took a deep breath, adjusted my attitude and embarked on one of the highlights of my teaching career.

 “…We are not rich.  My mom doesn’t have a job. What matters most is to have something to eat before going to school….I don’t care if I go to school with an empty stomach.  I can survive a day without meals.  But to my brother, I do care.  He’s just six years old and that’s too young to go to school starving.  I would go to my friends’ houses and ask them if they have any spare food for my brother.  They always help.  But asking someone for something is what I don’t like. I don’t want to owe people.  I don’t have anything to give back.”  — Erisa, Marshall Islands

The stories of the lives of my students are heart-wrenching, poignant, incomprehensible.  They are stories of the harshness of this world and the resiliency of the human spirit.  To observe these students, you would never know… They laugh, they tease each other, they come to school, they work…. On the outside, the seem to be “normal” kids, but they have lived bigger lives than most of us. Almost all of the students expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to receive an education that could lead to endless possibilities.

“Almost every child is involved with the gang…. At this time, if I was in El Salvador, maybe I will not exist anymore in this world…. It was hard coming here.  I had to cross three borders walking, sometimes in a car, but I had a lot of difficulties in Guatemala and in Mexico with immigration.  But this country gave me a lot of opportunities to go to school to prepare me if I want to be something…. I want to change everything to a better life for my family and make them proud of me.” — Ronald came to the US alone at the age of 14.

For one week, my students shared their stories during our class period.  We organized this in the library.  My students sat one-on-one with students from other classes for about seven minutes, then, they moved to another table and another group of students.  During the class period, they told their stories six or seven times. It was gruelling, and we were asking a lot from them.  Their vulnerability and transparency took an emotional toll, and by Friday, a few of them bowed out.  I couldn’t blame them.  Every day, they had been asked to relive tragic and painful memories, and express them in a language that is not the language of their hearts.

(Editor’s Note: Our colleague Nichole Scrivner prepared very useful note-taking sheets for listeners, as well as a prep sheet for teachers of the visiting listeners).

“There were some people who put poison gas around the school, and no one knew about it. After a few minutes, I smelled a really hurtful smell.  And I started feeling dizzy, and all the students were the same as me.  A few minutes after this happened, I was in a situation that I wasn’t able to see around me and I fainted.  When I opened my eyes, I was in the hospital with other students.  I started crying, and I felt really afraid.  My mom was there, and she hugged me.” — Maria, Afghanistan

The effect the students’ stories had on their listeners was profound.  As students and teachers interacted with my students, many wiped away tears as they listened.  The conversation didn’t stop with the ending of the story.  The listeners asked questions that lead to more questions that lead to connections to their own lives.  Everyone involved, storytellers and listeners, came away with a better understanding of the humans at our school.

After the students’ week of telling their stories to students who are not English learners, they had the opportunity to teach the beginning English learners how to write their own stories.  They enjoyed passing on what they had learned and helping the beginners to put their stories into English. After they told their stories to the beginners, my students helped the beginners with scaffolding in the form of sentence starters. After the beginners wrote their own stories, they had the opportunity to read them one-on-one to the students in my class in a rotation similar to the one we used in the library.  

(Editor’s Note: You can see all the stories written by the Beginners at our class blog. Here’s the graphic organizer they used to plan their stories.).

As the teacher of these courageous students, I was blown away.  I know that they participated so readily because I asked this of them.  They trusted me that their stories would be heard with respect and that they would be protected.  They trusted that the students who were listeners would be prepared for what they would hear.  They trusted that their stories would make a difference.  I am humbled by my students’ trust in me.

(Editor’s Note: I’m adding this post to The Best Resources On Helping To Build Empathy In The Classroom – Help Me Find More)

ADDENDUM: Here are all the personal stories written by Pam’s Intermediate students…

July 24, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

July’s “Best” Lists – There Are Now 1,746 Of Them


Here’s my regular round-up of new “The Best…” lists I posted this month (you can see all 1,746 of them categorized here):

The Best Resources & Ideas For Using Sound Effects In ELL Lessons

The Best Sites For ELLs To Practice Online Dictation

The Best Videos For Content Teachers With ELLs In Their Classes – Please Suggest More

The Best Resources On Co-Teaching With ELLs – Please Suggest More

The Best Resources For Learning About The 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

The Best – Or, At Least, The Most Interesting – Resources About Ben Franklin

The Best Sites Where Students Can Transcribe Historical Texts

The Best Resources On Developing A Sense Of Community In The Classroom

The Best Resources On The Idea Of Evaluating Teacher “Input” Instead Of Student “Output”

The Best Harry Potter Teaching & Learning Resources


July 24, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Most Popular Posts Of The Month


As regular readers know, at the end of each week I share the five most popular posts from the previous seven days.

I thought people might find it interesting to see a list of the ten most popular posts from the previous thirty days.

You might also be interested in Most Popular Posts From This Blog In 2017 – So FarTenth Anniversary Of This Blog — What Have Been My Most Popular Posts? (Part One) and Part Two: Tenth Anniversary Of This Blog — What Have Been My Most Popular Posts?

1. Amazon Makes Its Teacher Resource-Sharing Site Public Today

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

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

4. New Study On Cellphones Helpful To Teachers Everywhere

5. The Best Sites For ELLs To Practice Online Dictation

6. “Factitious” Is An Online Game To Teach About Fake News

7. Focusing On The Impact Classroom Disruptions Have On Others, Not On The Students Doing The Disrupting

8. The Best Websites For Creating Online Learning Games

9. The Best Online Virtual “Corkboards” (or “Bulletin Boards”)

10. Easily Create Vocabulary Quizzes With “Wordsmyth”

July 23, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The NY Times Published Its First Report About The Srebrenica Genocide On This Day In 1995 – Here Are Related Resources

The Srebrenica Genocide Memorial is pictured above.

On this day in 1995, The New York Times published its first story on the massacre of Muslims there.

You might be interested in The Best Resources For Learning About Genocide , which includes resources on this and other similar crimes.

July 23, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

August 6th Is The Anniversary Of The Hiroshima Atomic Bombing – Here Are Related Resources

August 6th marks the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

You might be interested in:

The Best Resources For Learning About The Atomic Bombings Of Japan

The Best Sites For Learning About Nuclear Weapons

A Beginning List Of The Best Resources For Teaching & Learning About The North Korea Missile Crisis

July 22, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

July’s (2017) Best Tweets – Part Four

'Twitter' photo (c) 2010, West McGowan - license:

Every month I make a few short lists highlighting my choices of the best resources I through (and learned from) Twitter, but didn’t necessarily include them in posts here on my blog.

I’ve already shared in earlier posts several new resources I found on Twitter — and where I gave credit to those from whom I learned about them. Those are not included again in post.

If you don’t use Twitter, you can also check-out all of my “tweets” on Twitter profile page.

You might also be interested in New & Updated: Recommendations For Who To Follow On Twitter In 2017.

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