Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

February 12, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Study: Learning About Failures Of Famous Scientists Improves Student Achievement

Learning about struggles of famous scientists may help students succeed in science is the headline of a report on a new study that found student achievement in science increased when students learned about the struggles and failures of famous scientists.

Here’s an excerpt:


In fact, the study found, those that didn’t learn about those failures ended up getting lower-grades than they had received in the previous marking period.

Researchers said that the reason was because those who learned about the mistakes saw the scientists as more like themselves, while the other group saw scientists as having natural talent (growth mindset, anybody?).

I’m adding this info to:

The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset”

The Best Posts, Articles & Videos About Learning From Mistakes & Failures

February 12, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

This Student Presentation Is An Example Of Why The “KnowMe” App Is Perfect For ELL Teachers


Last month, I wrote “KnowMe” Has Immediately Become The Most Useful iPhone App In My Classroom.

I’ve been using this free app a lot in my classroom since that time, and thought I’d share a short and simple video we made in the classroom today.

We’re working on a persuasive essay and, as part of the study, have studied advertising. This particular lesson came from The WRITE Institute, and students had to find ads using six different persuasive methods.

They made a post of their findings, and then made a short presentation. Recording them with KnowMe was so easy!

All I had to do was first take quick photos of the posters with my Smartphone. Then, I went to the app, tapped the photo, and it recorded the presentation as long as I had my finger on the picture. I took my finger off it when the first group was done; then, tapped the photo of the second group during their presentation. I then immediately emailed the link to myself and within a minute was able to show it to the class. Later at home I saved the video to my computer to upload it to our class blog and here – and no hassle with YouTube Safety Mode restrictions!

And it’s super-easy to integrate video with photos if you want to!

February 12, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

NY Times Video Of Success Academy Charter School: “Rip & Redo”

You can find links to a number of articles about the Success Academy charter school chain over at The Best Posts & Articles Analyzing Charter Schools.

Today, The New York Times has another one, and it shares a secret video recording of a teacher tearing-up a first graders paper.

Here’s an excerpt:


Listen, I suspect most of us teachers have had sixty seconds of our actions in the classroom where we have been terrible teachers, though I’d like to think that – in my worst moment – I wouldn’t do what that teacher did. What’s most disturbing to me, though, is that it appears the teacher is implementing a practice recommended by the school itself!

This latest news, along with the string of other reporting on Success’ practices, I think certainly takes the shine off the former golden child of charter schools….

February 12, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

A Useful Lesson When Teaching Problem/Solution Essays – & Other Topics


Sequencing activities are great lessons for teaching language and higher-order thinking, particularly if students are challenged to explain their reasons for putting texts or pictures in the order they choose.

Chronological order is the typical sequence that is used, and it works great.

There’s also a different twist on this kind of sequencing, one which I learned from my teaching mentor, Kelly Young.

Instead of cutting-up sections of text and having students put it in chronological order, another option is to list questions, mix-up the answers, and have students have to identify which ones go with the other. The texts can be complex, including having multiple paragraphs making-up the answers, or can be very simple.

Here’s a simple version I used when introducing Problem/Solution essays to my Intermediate English Language Learners. As you can see from the image below, there are a list of problems that are then followed by a list of solutions (that are not in order). Students had to match the problem with the solution (you can download it here).

problem solution

Another fun way to use this list is to call out the items under “Solutions” (without sharing the items under Problems) and have students come-up with different types of problems they could solve.

While I was preparing this post, I realized that, though I have “Best” lists for tons of other kinds of essays, for some reason I don’t have one for Problem/Solution.

However, I do have quite a few related resources at our class blog.

You can find links to lists on the other essays at The Best Posts On Writing Instruction.

February 11, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Five Most Popular Posts Of The Week

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

You might also be interested in The Twenty Most Popular Posts In 2015 and Ninth Anniversary Of This Blog — What Have Been My Most Popular Posts?

1. I Did My Best Job Teaching A “Growth Mindset” Today – Here’s The Lesson Plan (this post was incredibly popular)

2. The Best Resources For Chinese New Year

3. Teachers Can Get A Free DVD Of “He Named Me Malala”

4. The Best Sites To Learn About Valentine’s Day

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

February 11, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Announcing “Question Week 2016″!

Warren Berger, author of “A More Beautiful Question” writes:

It’s always a good time for asking questions, but now there’s an especially good time: the week of March 13 to 19, otherwise known as “Question Week 2016.” I am organizing this event in partnership with the Right Question Institute and other organizations that champion questioning. It’s the 3rd year in a row we’ve done a questioning event timed to Einstein’s birthday, but this year, we plan to expand it–involving many schools from all around the country and even some schools outside the US. 

Here’s the plan: During Question Week, participating schools and classrooms across the US will conduct questioning exercises or activities with students, sharing the results on social media. There is a website already up that provides guidance and tips on possible questioning exercises or activities you can do. But you may also choose to do something different — as long it is question-related, it qualifies as a Question Week activity. Also during that week, live special events will feature public discussion on the power of questioning. Visitors to the Question Week website will discover how “beautiful questions” have changed the world around us; they’ll also learn how to ask better questions themselves. And everyone will be encouraged to share their questions on the site, as well as on Twitter and Facebook.

If all goes as planned, we’ll have lots of schools — of all different types — conducting fun questioning activities, then sharing it all on social media (#QuestionWeek). The goal is to flood the Internet with questions! This is a passion project of mine: ever since my book came out I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see how this issue (the importance of asking questions) resonates with teachers and students. With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to designate a time to try to generate a bit more awareness and momentum around questioning. 

I invite everyone to visit the Question Week site and think about how you can participate when the time comes. And please spread the word about Question Week.

I’ve previously posted many resources from Warren and others at The Best Posts & Articles About Asking Good Questions.