Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

January 16, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

I Can’t Imagine Why Anybody Teaching Shakespeare Would NOT Use “Shakespeare’s World”

Shakespeare’s World is part of Zooniverse, a crowdsourced research platform (see “Zooniverse” Is One Of The Coolest Ed Sites On The Web – I Can’t Believe I’m Just Hearing About It!).

At the site, users can “Transcribe handwritten documents by Shakespeare’s contemporaries and help us understand his life and times. Along the way you’ll find words that have yet to be recorded in the authoritative Oxford English Dictionary, and which will eventually be added to this important resource.”

This project is really neat, as are all of the features at Zooniverse. You don’t have to transcribe sentences or pages – you can just identify words that seem obvious to you.

I can’t imagine a more engaging addition to a unit on Shakespeare then having students give it a go.

I heard about this new project today when reading an article in The New Yorker about it, Crowdsourcing For Shakespeare.

You might also be interested in The Best Resources For Teaching Shakespeare To English Language Learners.

January 16, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Classroom Instruction Resources Of The Week

Each week, I publish a post containing three or four particularly useful resources on classroom instruction, and you can see them all here.

You might also be interested in The Best Articles (& Blog Posts) Offering Practical Advice & Resources To Teachers In 2016 – Part Two and The Best Resources On Class Instruction In 2016 – Part Two.

Here are this week’s picks:

Why I Love This Strategy to Introduce Concepts is from Middleweb. I’m adding it to The Best Resources About Inductive Learning & Teaching.

How to Have Better Student Discussions is by Pernille Ripp. I’m adding it to The Best Resources Sharing The Best Practices For Fruitful Classroom Discussions.

Justice and Equality are Topics for Every Course is from Pear Deck. I’m adding it to The Best Teacher Resource Sites For Social Justice Issues.

How to give writing feedback to students efficiently is by Ray Salazar. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Writing Instruction.

Under Pressure is from The Until I Know Better blog, and has lots of good student engagement ideas. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On Student Engagement.

From Brexit to Trump: should teachers talk politics in the classroom? is from The Guardian. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On How To Teach “Controversial” Topics.

January 16, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

President Obama On The Role Of Stories In Developing Relationships & Making Change

Transcript: President Obama on What Books Mean to Him appeared in today’s New York Times. There’s a lot there to talk about, but I was particularly struck by his talking on more than one occasion about the key work of community organizers (I was one for nineteen years) the importance of eliciting people’s stories.

Here’s one excerpt:

I’ve previously written about that key strategy and how to apply it in the classroom:

English Language Learners and the Power of Personal Stories

Get Organized Around Assets

Students Remember More When They Tell Stories

In one of those pieces, here’s how I described the same organizing perspective that President Obama talked about:

In my twenty years as a community organizer, my job was to listen to people’s stories, then use those stories as a way to light fires.

The process was usually the same: first I encouraged the people I worked with to share their stories publicly and find commonalities with the stories of others, perhaps considering new interpretations along the way. I then challenged them, often collectively, to take action in response to what they frequently discovered were common issues. The final step was always to encourage reflection on the whole process. How could what they learned be applied to future problems?

It’s one of the key skills needed in successful organizing and, I think, can also be very effective while working with students.

I’m adding this post to The Best Posts & Articles On Building Influence & Creating Change.

January 16, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

A Look Back: “I Did A Presentation Today On The Concept Attainment Instructional Strategy – Here Are My Materials”

In 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 

 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

This post was originally published in 2016:


I’m a big fan of using Concept Attainment in teaching grammar and writing, and have shared many examples in blog posts and in my books. You can see previous posts at The Best Resources About Inductive Learning & Teaching.

I gave a short presentation about it to some of my school colleagues this afternoon. I thought readers might find it useful to see the materials I prepared.

First off, though, here’s a quick description of the strategy that comes from our forthcoming book, Navigating The Common Core With English Language Learners:

Another form of inductive learning we use with ELLs to improve their writing is the use of examples and non-examples, known as Concept Attainment. This strategy, originally developed by Jerome Bruner and his colleagues, involves the teacher identifying both “good” or “Yes” and “bad” or “No” examples of the intended learning objective. As the teacher shares the “Yes” and “No” examples with students, they are encouraged to develop the reasoning which supports why an example is a “Yes” or a “No.” This inductive learning strategy is a great way to teach multiple elements of writing including sentence structure, grammar, development, and organization.

This first example, which includes all examples of student writing (that’s one of the keys to success of this strategy) is focused on teaching when to use “is” and when to use “are.” The paper is put on the overhead, with all sentences except for the first one under “yes” covered. The teacher then uncovers the first “no” example, asks students to think for a minute, talk to a partner, and see if students can figure out why one is under “Yes” and the other under “No.” We can continue this process until students have come to a conclusion. They then re-write the “no” examples correctly and formulate a “rule.”

is and are

The next sheet I shared was the one at the top of this post and is designed to teach when to use “have” and when to use “has.” The same process is used.

Those first two are model for how to use concept attainment to teach simple grammatical concepts.

The next example I used shows how to use it to teach more sophistical grammar and writing strategies, and I previously published those examples in an insanely popular post titled Teachers Might Find My “Concept Attainment – Plus” Instructional Strategy Useful.

That post describes in detail the process I developed and which I call “Concept Attainment – Plus.” Here are sheets I used in the three-step process that is designed to teach the even more sophisticated “I Say, They Say” essay framework, as well as verb tense agreement.




Lastly, I shared even more sophisticated examples of using Concept Attainment to teach the “PQC” – Point, Quote, Comment and “ABC”- Answer the Question, Back it up, make a Connection. You can find those examples at my post, Here Are Some Examples Of Using “Concept Attainment” In Writing Instruction. My talented colleague, Lara Hoekstra, prepared those examples.

I remain convinced that there are no more effective and engaging instructional strategies to teach grammar, and few others that are equally successful in developing successful writers.

Let me know experiences you’ve had using this strategy in your classroom in the past or in the future….

January 16, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

More Useful Educational Resources On Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here are new additions to The Best Websites For Learning About Martin Luther King:

This is a great quote to have students respond to in writing – What do they think he means by it? Do they agree? Support your position with your experiences, observations and other readings

King appears to have actually adapted and modified it from both the Bible and a Langston Hughes poem

January 15, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

NBC News Visits Classroom Of My Friend & Co-Author To Learn About Letters Students Wrote To Trump

Katie Hull, my good friend and co-author, had her students write letters to President-Elect Trump late last year.

NBC News is doing a segment on what she did on Monday night, and shared this preview on Facebook today:

You might also be interested in the letters my students also wrote: ‘Dear President-elect Trump’: Immigrant students write letters asking for ‘the opportunity to demonstrate we are good people.’

January 15, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources For Helping Beginner ELLs Learn About “Feelings”

As I shared last month (see Beginning A New “Best” Series Of Interest To ELL Teachers), I’m beginning to create an updated series of “Best” lists for Beginning English Language Learners. They will ultimately replace the resources I have on my outdated website.

I began with:

The Best Resources For Helping ELLs Learn About Sports & Other Fun Activities

The Best Resources For Helping ELLs Learn About U.S. Money

The Best Resources For Helping Beginner ELLs Learn About Space & Planets

Many of the links are the still-active ones I copied-and-pasted from my website. Please let me know if you have additional suggestions of sites to add:

Feelings Interactive

Feelings Picture Dictionary

Feelings Matching Game

Feelings Spelling Game

Feelings Vocabulary Test

About Face

Feeling Memory Game

Mood Maker

Feelings Game

Many Emotion Exercises

Quizlet – Feelings

Feelings Exercises

Feelings Pictures

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