Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

May 20, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Video: Bill Clinton’s Commencement Speech Is Quite Good

I learned about Bill Clinton’s speech at Howard University from The Atlantic’s post, The Best Commencement Speeches of 2013, and it’s quite good.

I couldn’t find a written transcript, but here’s a good excerpt The Atlantic published:

But the most important thing is that we are all 99 and a half percent the same … The half a percent matters. It gave Einstein the biggest brain ever measured. He made pretty good use of it. It’s a good thing. That half a percent means LeBron James is hard to stop if he is driving for a basket. The half a percent matters. But so does the 99 and a half percent … And when you leave here I want you to never to forget for the rest of your life in the good times and bad that we live in an interdependent world and we’ve got to pull it together which means to be a good citizen you’ve got to something sometime for someone else because they are just like you are.

You can see what other commencement speeches over the year I’ve found worth watching here.

June 4, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Excellent Commencement Address On Failure By Atul Gawande

I’m a big fan of Atul Gawande’s writing, and have previously written about his work on instructional coaching.

Yesterday, he gave an impressive commencement address on “Failure and Rescue” at Williams College.

You can read it here (and I’d strongly encourage you to do so), but here’s my quick summary and his ending:

He points out that perhaps we don’t need to encourage people to take risks and make mistakes — we all are going to have our fair share of failures no matter what. The key, though, is in planning for that possibility and what we do with it:

So you will take risks, and you will have failures. But it’s what happens afterward that is defining. A failure often does not have to be a failure at all. However, you have to be ready for it—will you admit when things go wrong? Will you take steps to set them right?—because the difference between triumph and defeat, you’ll find, isn’t about willingness to take risks. It’s about mastery of rescue.

I’m adding this to The Best Posts, Articles & Videos About Learning From Mistakes & Failures.

December 1, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best “Quotes Of The Day” In 2013 – Part Two

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A few months ago, I begin periodically posting “quotes of the day.”

In addition, I regularly highlight quotes from guests writing at my Education Week Teacher column.

Here are my favorites since I published The Best “Quotes Of The Day” In 2013 – So Far six months ago:

The Myth of Teachers Not Changing is a post by Larry Cuban.

Here’s an excerpt:

Policymakers-dressed-up

Close Reading and Far-Reaching Classroom Discussion: Fostering a Vital Connection is a paper written by Catherine Snow and Catherine O’Connor for the International Reading Association.

It offers some important warnings for all educators. Here’s an excerpt:

We-celebrate-the-move-to

Do student test scores provide solid basis to evaluate teachers? is an article from Stanford’s Graduate School of Education that reports on new research by Edward Haertel, emeritus professor of education. The professor recently published a report on the use of Value Added Measures.

Here’s an excerpt:

FromDostudenttestscoresprovidesolidbasistoevaluateteachersStanfordGraduateSchoolofEducation

Why Do Teachers Quit? is an interesting article in The Atlantic.

Here’s an excerpt:

Anywhere-between-40-and

Nelba Marquez-Greene, whose child was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School last year, had a guest column published in Education Week — A Sandy Hook Parent’s Letter to Teachers.

Here’s an excerpt:

Your-courage-will

The Associated Press published Facts, figures as students return to the classroom.

Here’s an excerpt:

The-average-teacher-in-a

The New York Times published a number of responses to an article on teacher “churn” in charter schools (see An Eye-Opening Article On Charter School Teacher Turnover).

Carol Burris’ response is phenomenal.

Here’s an excerpt:

When-teachers-stay-in-a

NPR interviews several educators, including Rafe Esquith, at More Than A Number? Educators On What Standardized Testing Means.

Here’s an excerpt from the NPR interview:

I-went-to-a-Common-Core

I’m a big believer in the use of storytelling in teaching (see The Power Of Stories for more details on how I do it).

Once Upon A Time At The Office: 10 Storytelling Tips To Help You Be More Persuasive
is a good article from Fast Company on the same topic.

Here’s an excerpt:

Studies-carried-out-by

The article also mentioned this nice quote from Ira Glass:

Great-stories-happen-to

Peter Bregman wrote a good, short post for the Harvard Business Review titled “A Question That Can Change Your Life.”

Here’s an excerpt:

Heres-the-question-Id

In light of the big Washington Post news earlier this year , Dan Pink tweeted out a link to Jeff Bezos commencement address at Princeton. Here’s an excerpt:

My-grandfather-looked-at

When Can You Trust a Data Scientist? is a very thoughtful article that I’d recommend to all teachers and, particularly, to anyone doing research in the education field.

It includes several criteria to consider when deciding if one should trust a “data scientist” or anyone who does research. Here are two:

Two-things-to-look-for

Practical Tips for Overcoming Resistance is a post from The Harvard Business Review.

Here’s an excerpt that shares the best classroom management advice anyone can give — and listen to:

When-you-are-faced-with

‘There Is No Such Thing As An Unmotivated Student’ is the title of one of my posts over at Education Week Teacher. The “line-up” of contributors is impressive, with guest responses from Cris Tovani, Josh Stumpenhorst and Eric Jensen.

Here’s an excerpt:

Motivation-doesnt-come

Response: Helping Students Develop a Desire To Read At Home is another post over at Education Week Teacher. It includes responses from Donalyn Miller and Myron Dueck, and I throw in my own ideas.

Here’s an excerpt:

Students-who-are-engaged

Response: The Best Advice On Doing Project-Based Learning is yet another post over at Education Week Teacher. Suzie Boss provides the primary guest response, along with many suggestions from readers.

Here’s an excerpt:

By-connecting-classroom

You might be interested in exploring the other 1,200 “The Best…” lists…..

December 1, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The Best Videos For Educators In 2013 – Part Two

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Here’s the latest in annual The Best…” posts….

This post includes my choices for videos since I posted The Best Videos For Educators In 2013 – So Far six months ago.

You might also be interested in:

The Best Videos For Educators In 2012 — Part Two

The Best Videos For Educators In 2012 — Part One

The Best Videos For Educators In 2011

Part Two Of The Best Videos For Educators — 2010

The Ten Best Videos For Educators — 2010

And you might also want to see The Best Funny Videos Showing The Importance Of Being Bilingual — Part OneThe Best Videos Illustrating Qualities Of A Successful Language LearnerThe Best Video Clips Demonstrating “Grit”; and The Best Fun Videos About Books & Reading.

You might also want to check out The Best Video Collections For Educators and The Best Video Clips On Goal-Setting — Help Me Find More.

Here are my choices for The Best Videos For Educators In 2013 – Part Two:

Perseverance (grit) is one of the key qualities researchers have found to be essential in a successful language learner, as well as other learners.

Here’s a video demonstrating that quality that I’m adding to The Best Videos Illustrating Qualities Of A Successful Language Learner:

As I constantly tell my students, the ability to identify patterns is a key to higher-order thinking and to language-learning.

This would be a great video to play — at first, without sound — and have students try to identify the pattern in the images they see…

This is from Yahoo News and is a great illustration of “thinking outside the box”:

Here’s another “thinking outside the box video:

I’ve written in my New York Times column about how I use optical illusions with English Language Learners, and I certainly use them when teaching perception in my Theory of Knowledge class. You can many that I’ve previously posted here.

Here’s a new neat one created by Honda and puts many different illusions into one short video:

Here’s the newest Hans Rosling video:

I’ve written extensively in my books and in this blog about the lessons I use with students to help them want to develop more self-control.

And I’ve also shared new videos from Sesame Street highlighting their emphasis on teaching self-control, grit, and respect this season.

My high school students love the Sesame Street videos, which I use as a short “refresher” during the year after we do our initial lesson on self-control.

This one on “The Waiting Game,” though, is the best one yet. In it, Cookie Monster demonstrates each of the strategies that Dr. Walter Mischel recommends that people use (and that he saw children apply in the marshmallow test) to enhance their self-control.

I’ll be showing the video to students and having them identify each of those strategies:

I’m adding this great video from The Center For Teaching Quality to The Best Resources On Being A Teacherpreneur:

I Wonder How Many Of Our Students Hear This When We Go Over Classroom Rules?:

I’ve previously shared a thirteen minute version of Bloom’s Taxonomy According to Andy Griffith, which you can find at The Best Resources For Helping Teachers Use Bloom’s Taxonomy In The Classroom.

The video’s creator has now edited its length down considerably. Here’s the new version:

Last year, John T. Spencer began a great Twitter hashtag called #saidnoteacherever.

I brought together a collection of them at A Sampling Of The Best Tweets With The #SaidNoTeacherEver Hashtag.

Now, some teachers have done a short video person — unfortunately, without giving credit to John and the original source. But it is pretty funny. And if you go to watch it on YouTube, people have made some pretty nice additions in the comments.

This next video is the best one I’ve Seen On Perseverance & Resilience.

This video is part of a new TED-Ed Lesson titled There’s no dishonor in having a disability. You can see the entire lesson here.

All I can say is…Wow.

I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The Importance Of “Grit.”

Tom Whitford was kind enough to share this fun video on Twitter. It’s the first in a series (you can see the rest by going directly to YouTube).

Everybody will enjoy it, but especially ESL teachers:

I’m adding this next video to The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset”:

I’ve previously posted about George Saunders’ recent commencement speech. Here’s a video of his address:

I’m adding this video to A Collection Of “The Best…” Lists On Infographics:

You can read more about NASA’s latest video on climate change showing what happens to the United States.

I’m adding it to The Best Sites To Learn About Climate Change.

This is a short video on scaffolding from Beyond The Bubble, a history site about which I’ve previously posted.

Thought it talks about history, its scaffolding recommendations can be helpful in any subject.

I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Differentiating Instruction.

“I shall either find a way or make one” has been attributed to Hannibal, though he probably didn’t say it.

This goat seems to exemplify that expression — no matter who said it.

I’m adding it to The Best Video Clips On Goal-Setting.

Edublogs has created this video on “What Is A Blog?”

I’m adding it to The Best Sources Of Advice For Teachers (And Others!) On How To Be Better Bloggers and to My Best Posts For Tech Novices (Plus A Few From Other People).

You might also be interested in the other 1,200 “The Best…” lists I’ve posted.

November 1, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Videos For Educators In 2013 – Part Two

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Here’s the latest in annual The Best…” posts….

This post includes my choices for videos since I posted The Best Videos For Educators In 2013 – So Far six months ago.

You might also be interested in:

The Best Videos For Educators In 2012 — Part Two

The Best Videos For Educators In 2012 — Part One

The Best Videos For Educators In 2011

Part Two Of The Best Videos For Educators — 2010

The Ten Best Videos For Educators — 2010

And you might also want to see The Best Funny Videos Showing The Importance Of Being Bilingual — Part OneThe Best Videos Illustrating Qualities Of A Successful Language LearnerThe Best Video Clips Demonstrating “Grit”; and The Best Fun Videos About Books & Reading.

You might also want to check out The Best Video Collections For Educators and The Best Video Clips On Goal-Setting — Help Me Find More.

Here are my choices for The Best Videos For Educators In 2013 – Part Two:

Perseverance (grit) is one of the key qualities researchers have found to be essential in a successful language learner, as well as other learners.

Here’s a video demonstrating that quality that I’m adding to The Best Videos Illustrating Qualities Of A Successful Language Learner:

As I constantly tell my students, the ability to identify patterns is a key to higher-order thinking and to language-learning.

This would be a great video to play — at first, without sound — and have students try to identify the pattern in the images they see…

This is from Yahoo News and is a great illustration of “thinking outside the box”:

Here’s another “thinking outside the box video:

I’ve written in my New York Times column about how I use optical illusions with English Language Learners, and I certainly use them when teaching perception in my Theory of Knowledge class. You can many that I’ve previously posted here.

Here’s a new neat one created by Honda and puts many different illusions into one short video:

Here’s the newest Hans Rosling video:

I’ve written extensively in my books and in this blog about the lessons I use with students to help them want to develop more self-control.

And I’ve also shared new videos from Sesame Street highlighting their emphasis on teaching self-control, grit, and respect this season.

My high school students love the Sesame Street videos, which I use as a short “refresher” during the year after we do our initial lesson on self-control.

This one on “The Waiting Game,” though, is the best one yet. In it, Cookie Monster demonstrates each of the strategies that Dr. Walter Mischel recommends that people use (and that he saw children apply in the marshmallow test) to enhance their self-control.

I’ll be showing the video to students and having them identify each of those strategies:

I’m adding this great video from The Center For Teaching Quality to The Best Resources On Being A Teacherpreneur:

I Wonder How Many Of Our Students Hear This When We Go Over Classroom Rules?:

I’ve previously shared a thirteen minute version of Bloom’s Taxonomy According to Andy Griffith, which you can find at The Best Resources For Helping Teachers Use Bloom’s Taxonomy In The Classroom.

The video’s creator has now edited its length down considerably. Here’s the new version:

Last year, John T. Spencer began a great Twitter hashtag called #saidnoteacherever.

I brought together a collection of them at A Sampling Of The Best Tweets With The #SaidNoTeacherEver Hashtag.

Now, some teachers have done a short video person — unfortunately, without giving credit to John and the original source. But it is pretty funny. And if you go to watch it on YouTube, people have made some pretty nice additions in the comments.

This next video is the best one I’ve Seen On Perseverance & Resilience.

This video is part of a new TED-Ed Lesson titled There’s no dishonor in having a disability. You can see the entire lesson here.

All I can say is…Wow.

I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The Importance Of “Grit.”

Tom Whitford was kind enough to share this fun video on Twitter. It’s the first in a series (you can see the rest by going directly to YouTube).

Everybody will enjoy it, but especially ESL teachers:

I’m adding this next video to The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset”:

I’ve previously posted about George Saunders’ recent commencement speech. Here’s a video of his address:

I’m adding this video to A Collection Of “The Best…” Lists On Infographics:

You can read more about NASA’s latest video on climate change showing what happens to the United States.

I’m adding it to The Best Sites To Learn About Climate Change.

This is a short video on scaffolding from Beyond The Bubble, a history site about which I’ve previously posted.

Thought it talks about history, its scaffolding recommendations can be helpful in any subject.

I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Differentiating Instruction.

“I shall either find a way or make one” has been attributed to Hannibal, though he probably didn’t say it.

This goat seems to exemplify that expression — no matter who said it.

I’m adding it to The Best Video Clips On Goal-Setting.

Edublogs has created this video on “What Is A Blog?”

I’m adding it to The Best Sources Of Advice For Teachers (And Others!) On How To Be Better Bloggers and to My Best Posts For Tech Novices (Plus A Few From Other People).

This is a wonderful video, and great, engaging English practice!

Here’s a very good video I’m adding to The Best Resources On Differentiating Instruction:

I’ve written in my books and here on my blog how I use the concept of “gratitude” in class (see The Best Resources On “Gratitude”).

My colleague Katie Hull did a simple and powerful lesson using one of the resources on that “Best” list and I thought I’d share it here.

It’s based on an experiment and video that “Soul Pancake’ did (the video is on that list, but I’ve also embedded again in this post).

Katie gave her students this writing prompt (which is very similar to the question used in the video):

Close your eyes and think of somebody who is really influential in your life and/or who matters to you. Why is this person so important?

She also shared what she had written about her father as a model. After students wrote it, and shared in partners, she showed the video. Then, she encouraged people to to share what they wrote with the person they wrote about — in fact, some students felt they wanted to share it right then by calling.

Tears were shed.

You might also be interested in the other 1,200 “The Best…” lists I’ve posted.

June 17, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Videos For Educators In 2013 – So Far

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Here’s the latest in my mid-year“The Best…” posts….

You might also be interested in:

The Best Videos For Educators In 2012 — Part Two

The Best Videos For Educators In 2012 — Part One

The Best Videos For Educators In 2011

Part Two Of The Best Videos For Educators — 2010

The Ten Best Videos For Educators — 2010

And you might also want to see The Best Funny Videos Showing The Importance Of Being Bilingual — Part OneThe Best Videos Illustrating Qualities Of A Successful Language Learner and The Best Fun Videos About Books & Reading.

You might also want to check out The Best Video Collections For Educators.

Here are my choices for The Best Videos For Educators In 2013 – So Far:

Jason Flom shared this great video on the importance of making mistakes. I’m adding it to The Best Posts, Articles & Videos About Learning From Mistakes & Failures.

This demonstrates both the disadvantages of extrinsic motivation and the importance of helping our students develop creativity. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On “Motivating” Students and to The Best Sources Of Advice On Helping Students Strengthen & Develop Their Creativity:

Here’s a cute video that would be a fun introduction to the lesson on self-control in my book, Helping Students Motivate Themselves (and it could be used with any of the other ideas I share in The Best Posts About Helping Students Develop Their Capacity For Self-Control).

A willingness to take risks is an important quality of a language learner, which is why I’m adding this video to The Best Videos Illustrating Qualities Of A Successful Language Learner:

Story, Imagery, & the Art of 21st Century Presentation is a very good video of Garr Reynolds on presentation skills. I’m adding it to The Best Digital (& Non-Digital) Storytelling Resources.

Here’s a great video animation created by Scott McLeod where he imagines a conversation between a policy maker and an educator about “teacher accountability.”

I’m adding it to A Collection Of The Best “Laugh While You Cry” Videos.

Dan Pink has posted a nice and short video demonstrating the importance of asking good questions.

I’m adding it to….The Best Videos Showing The Importance Of Asking Good Questions.

You may have heard about the late David Foster Wallace’s amazing commencement address from several years ago at Kenyon College. A video, using his audio, was unveiled on the Web, and has since been seen millions of times. Here’s the video (you can read the transcript here). Here are previous posts where I’ve also highlighted particularly notable commencement addresses:

This TED Talk video from Rita Pierson on “Every Kid Needs A Champion” is a great one. I had never heard of Rita Pierson before, but she makes great points. I wonder how and why she got connected to Ruby Payne? (see The Best Critiques Of Ruby Payne).

I’m adding the video to The Best Resources On The Importance Of Building Positive Relationships With Students.

This is a great entertaining video, and it got me wondering if it could be a model for some class projects — would it make sense for students to create similar videos demonstrating the historical transitions in, let’s say, the rule of law, or how children were treated (or, as one reader suggested, changing scientific beliefs)? You’d want to be very, very careful (and I’d probably avoid it) with using it to examine racial and gender attitudes, but there may very well be other attitudes that would be worth examining. At the very least, the video will offer a few minutes of enjoyable entertainment:

What a great video to help teach “Perception” to IB Theory Of Knowledge students:

Here’s another short video that would be great to teach “perception” in IB Theory of Knowledge classes. Thanks to Michelle Henry for the tip:

The PBS News Hour aired an impressive report on project-based learning in a Kentucky school district. I’m embedding the video below, but it might not come through on an RSS Reader:

Watch School District Uses Project Based Learning Over Testing on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

The report refers to an interesting program in that state called “districts of innovation. You can read more about them here and here.

I’m adding this info to The Best Sites For Cooperative Learning Ideas and to The Best Articles Describing Alternatives To High-Stakes Testing.

The Anti-Defamation League has launched an “Imagine a World Without Hate” video and action campaign with the posting of this pretty amazing video. It can be used in many ways, including as part of a “what if?” history lesson. That’s why I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Teaching “What If?” History Lessons:

Rick Wormeli shared these two very useful videos of education researcher John Hattie:

I’m adding this excellent video on how African men are stereotyped in Hollywood movies to The Best Geography Sites For Learning About Africa. It’ll be a great way to also get my ESL students to start talking about how they feel their cultures have also been stereotyped.

The wonderful StoryCorps stories on NPR are great pieces to read and listen to on the radio. They also have converted a number of them into short video animations, and many of them (though not the one I’ve embedded below) are closed-captioned.

Here is one of my favorites — with the late, great Studs Terkel:

I’m adding this video to The Best Resources About Wealth & Income Inequality:

The well-regarded documentary The Finland Phenomenon is now online for free and is embedded below. I learned about its availability via a tweet by Pasi Sahlberg, which also included a radio interview. I’m adding it to The Best Resources To Learn About Finland’s Education System.

The Gates Foundation  released a new one of Hans Rosling’s “magic” world data videos (you can see his previous ones I’ve posted here). Check it out:

The eagle in this video certainly illustrates an example of perseverance. I’m adding it to The Best Videos Illustrating Qualities Of A Successful Language Learner:

I’m adding this video to The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset”:

NASA released this video showing temperature changes in the world since 1880 and including 2012 — it’s an updated version of one they’ve released in previous years. I’m adding it to The Best Sites To Learn About Climate Change.

What A Great Video To Show The Importance Of Modeling & Support:

Dan Pink was interviewed on CBS, and it really gets at some key elements of motivation and goal-setting. There’s nothing new there for people familiar with his work, but it’s a great piece to show to colleagues and to students. I’ve embedded it below, though am not sure if it will show-up in an RSS Reader:

I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On “Motivating” Students and to The Best Posts On Students Setting Goals.

Eduardo Briceño is the Co-Founder, with Dr. Carol Dweck, of Mindset Works:

I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset.”

I wouldn’t put this next video in the same class as the other ones on this list, but I think readers might still find it useful. Eye On Education, the publisher of my new books on student motivation, Helping Students Motivate Themselves and Self-Driven Learning, have just posted a short video clip from a webinar I did for them.

In it, I share three strategies that can help students develop intrinsic motivation:

Feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at the 1,100 other “The Best…” lists and consider subscribing to this blog for free.

May 22, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Michelle Obama On “Grit”

This past weekend, Michelle Obama spoke at graduation of Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High School in Nashville.

You can read the transcript of her entire speech here and watch it here.

However, I want to focus on the few minutes she spoke about “grit.” First, I’ve printed text excerpt, and then I’ve embedded a video of just that portion of her speech (I don’t think the video will go through on an RSS Reader).

I’m adding this post to The Best Resources For Learning About The Importance Of “Grit”

What I learned was that when something doesn’t go your way, you’ve just got to adjust. You’ve got to dig deep and work like crazy. And that’s when you’ll find out what you’re really made of, during those hard times.

But you can only do that if you’re willing to put yourself in a position where you might fail. And that’s why so often, failure is the key to success for so many great people. Take Steve Jobs, who was fired from Apple early in his career, and now his iPods and iPads and iPhones have revolutionized the entire world. Oprah was demoted from her first job as a news anchor, now she doesn’t even need a last name. (Laughter.) And then there’s this guy, Barack Obama, who lost — (applause) — I could take up a whole afternoon talking about his failures, but — (laughter) — he lost his first race for Congress, and now he gets to call himself my husband. (Laughter and applause.)

All jokes aside, the point is, is that resilience and grit, that ability to pick yourself up when you fall. Those are some of the most important skills you’ll need as you make your way through college and through life.

And here’s the thing, graduates: These qualities are not ones that you’re born with. They’re not like the color of your eyes or your height. They’re not qualities that are beyond your control. Instead, you can dictate whether you’ll have grit. You decide how hard you’ll work. So I want you to make those choices right now, today, if you haven’t already done so. Make those choices. I want you to tell yourself that no matter what challenges you face, that you will commit yourself to achieving your goals, no matter where life takes you.

May 19, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Video: “This Is Water”

You may have heard about the late David Foster Wallace’s amazing commencement address from several years ago at Kenyon College. A few days ago, a video, using his audio, was unveiled on the Web, and has since been seen millions of times. Here’s the video (you can read the transcript here).

Here are previous posts where I’ve also highlighted particularly notable commencement addresses.

May 5, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

President Obama On Perseverance

President Obama gave the commencement address at Ohio State University this weekend. Here’s what he said about perseverance. I’m adding it to The Best Resources About learning The Importance Of Grit:

Which brings me to the second thing I ask of all of you — I ask that you persevere. Whether you start a business, or run for office, or devote yourself to alleviating poverty or hunger, please remember that nothing worth doing happens overnight. A British inventor named Dyson went through more than 5,000 prototypes before getting that first really fancy vacuum cleaner just right. We remember Michael Jordan’s six championships; we don’t remember his nearly 15,000 missed shots. As for me, I lost my first race for Congress, and look at me now — I’m an honorary graduate of The Ohio State University. (Applause.)

The point is, if you are living your life to the fullest, you will fail, you will stumble, you will screw up, you will fall down. But it will make you stronger, and you’ll get it right the next time, or the time after that, or the time after that. And that is not only true for your personal pursuits, but it’s also true for the broader causes that you believe in as well.

So you can’t give up your passion if things don’t work right away. You can’t lose heart, or grow cynical if there are twists and turns on your journey. The cynics may be the loudest voices — but I promise you, they will accomplish the least. It’s those folks who stay at it, those who do the long, hard, committed work of change that gradually push this country in the right direction, and make the most lasting difference.

June 27, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

June’s Best Posts

I regularly highlight my picks for the most useful posts for each month — not including “The Best…” lists. I also use some of them in a more extensive monthly newsletter I send-out. You can see my previous Best Posts of the Month at Websites Of The Month.

These posts are different from the ones I list under the monthly“Most Popular Blog Posts.” Those are the posts the largest numbers of readers “clicked-on” to read. I have to admit, I’ve been a bit lax about writing those posts, though.

Here are some of the posts I personally think are the best, and most helpful, ones I’ve written during this past month (not in any order of preference):

No, The Dancing Guy Does Not Teach The Best Leadership Lessons

Part Two Of “Can’t Economists Stay Away From Schools?” — My Worst Fears Realized

Video Of Yong Zhao’s Keynote Speech At ISTE

Variations On “The Benjamin Franklin Effect”

“First Year Highlights: Helping Our Students Become Better Readers”

Guest Post: Here’s What Was Missing From The Wall Street Journal’s Column On Teacher Evaluation

Wow, MarQueed Could Be One Of The Best New Web 2.0 Tools Of The Year

Collaborate On An Essay With Nietzsche, Poe, & All Your Favorite Dead Writers

Being Reminded Of The Consequences Of Losing Self-Control Doesn’t Help; Asking About Goals Does

What Are The Best Sites For Smartboard Resources (& For Other IWB’s)?

“21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity”

Can’t Economists Stay Away From Schools? Don’t They Have Enough Other Things To Do?

“ImageSpike” Seems — Almost — Just Like “Thinglink”

This Sure Is One Impressive Interactive Infographic On The Civil War

Teachers’ Union Unveils Site To Share Lessons

“First Year Highlights: Student Motivation”

Yet Another Reason Why We Need To Be Positive With Our Students

“BeeClip.Edu” Looks Great

Subject Matter Knowledge Versus Pedagogy?

On The Importance Of Being Positive In Class

“Stories are about 22 times more memorable than facts alone”

How Students Evaluated Me This Year

“Check This” Is Another Super-Easy Way To Create A Webpage

This Is Really An Extraordinary Video…

An Even MORE Useful Infographic On “Smart Teaching”

“Response: Several Ways We Can Help Students Develop Their Creativity”

“‘What Money Can’t Buy’ and What it Shouldn’t Buy”

“Test Scores vs. Entrepreneurship”

“Did You Ever Grow Anything In The Garden Of Your Mind?” — Great PBS Remix Of Mister Rogers

This Post By John Thompson On Gates Is Candidate For Best Ed Policy Commentary Of The Year

“What If?” Slideshows From My English Language Learner Students

Qwiki Is Back! (Though It Never Really Went Away)

“Part Two Of Several Ways We Can Help Students Develop Good Habits”

“Tank Man of Tiananmen”

“You Cannot Make A Plant Grow — You Can Provide The Conditions For Growth”

U.S. Department Of Education Tries To Put Lipstick On A Pig

“You’re Never Going To Keep Me Down”

Excellent Commencement Address On Failure By Atul Gawande

More Evidence Reinforcing The Importance Of Connecting To Student Prior Knowledge

“Croak.it” Lets You Easily Record a Thirty Second Message

A Very Good Article On Metacognition

Here’s Another “Wow!” Site From Google — The “World Wonders Project”

Part Two Of “How I’m Helping My Students Try To Avoid The “Summer Slide””

How I’m Helping My Students Try To Avoid The “Summer Slide”

“Several Ways To Connect With Disengaged Students”

Free Resources From All My Books

“Film Story” Is A Very Impressive Site

June 4, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

“You’re Never Going To Keep Me Down”

 

As regular readers know, I’m a big fan of Robert Krulwich from NPR.

He just gave a very impressive commencement address that he reprinted at his NPR column.

I sometimes wonder how many of the so-called “school reforms” that we and our students are subjected will help further what Krulwich calls the “three important things.”

Here’s an excerpt from his speech:

Because schools like the College of the Atlantic teach you three important things. Other places teach them, too, but I suspect they do it better here. First, they get you comfortable with how to explore and question and learn. Second, they teach persistence. After all, you finished your senior project, made your deadlines, you are graduating. Not everybody made it, but you did. (Congratulations.) And finally, this is a place that teaches that you aren’t stuck with the world you’ve been handed. You can change this world. You can imagine a different one. You can dream. I’ll get back to that in a minute, but all three — the learning, the persisting and the dreaming — they all protect you. Yes, you’re going to get bounced around in the real world, but these three gifts will teach you how to bounce back.

I call this The Chumbawamba Principle, proclaimed by a small group of philosophical musicians in Britain, who said, when facing misfortune:

I get knocked down.
But I get up again.
You’re never going to keep me down ..

…..And this persistence, knowing how to learn, that you can learn, this knowledge will protect you all your life. It will keep you in the game.

I’ve embedded below a short clip from the song Krulwich references (if you’re reading this on an RSS Readers you might have to click through to see it). I’m adding it to The Best Videos Illustrating Qualities Of A Successful Language Learner.

July 28, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

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

'make mistakes' photo (c) 2010, Mike Gifford - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Check out my New York Times post for English Language Learners is on pronouns, learning from mistakes, and J.K. Rowling. It includes a student interactive and teaching ideas….

One of the chapters in my book, Helping Students Motivate Themselves, talks about strategies and lessons to use with students about learning from mistakes and failures. I thought I’d put together a “The Best…” list that some additional related resources.

Here are my choices for The Best Posts, Articles & Videos About Learning From Mistakes & Failures:

What Does Learning From Mistakes Do To Your Brain?

Of course, Michael Jordan commercial is a classic:

On the importance of failure by Cedar Riener

There’s a great website called “Admitting Failure.” (thanks to Change The Equation for the tip)

Here’s a video book trailer called “BETTER BY MISTAKE: The Unexpected Benefits of Being Wrong by Alina Tugend”

A portion of the next video is absolutely fascinating video is absolutely fascinating and shows the stages Picasso went through in order to complete a painting. It’s a great example of him making “mistakes” and learning from them. It’s by Derek Sivers, and it’s called “Why You Need To Fail.” At 9:10 he shows the Picasso footage and provides a great narration to it (thanks to Greg MacCollum for the tip).



What Is The Accurate Edison Quote On Learning From Failure?

Kevin D. Washburn has written an excellent post at The Edurati Review titled Learning from Mistakes Takes the Right Feedback. Here’s a short excerpt from it, but it’s really worth a visit and a “full read”:

“Dr. Robert Brooks (2007) suggests couching feedback in “we” statements. For example, rather than telling a student that a response is incorrect and to “try harder,” Brooks suggests, in one-on-one conversation, saying, “ strategy you’re using doesn’t seem to be working. Let’s figure out why and how we can change the strategy so that you are successful.” Such a response invites a careful investigation of the mistake and makes the interaction a problem-solving experience. A classroom environment that welcomes error as a gateway to learning contributes to better feedback responses.”

Here’s a TED Talk: Tim Harford: Trial, error and the God complex:

9 Reasons Why Failure Is Not Fatal

And, here are two “bonus” posts:

The Ten Worst Teaching Mistakes by Richard M. Felder

Sue Waters wrote a great post titled “Here’s My Top Five Mistakes Made By New Bloggers — What Are Yours?”

Why Do Some People Learn Faster? is the title of a column by Jonah Lehrer in Wired. He reviews a study that highlights the importance of learning from mistakes and failures, and ends the article with :

The problem with praising kids for their innate intelligence — the “smart” compliment — is that it misrepresents the psychological reality of education. It encourages kids to avoid the most useful kind of learning activities, which is when we learn from our mistakes. Because unless we experience the unpleasant symptoms of being wrong — that surge of Pe activity a few hundred milliseconds after the error, directing our attention to the very thing we’d like to ignore — the mind will never revise its models. We’ll keep on making the same mistakes, forsaking self-improvement for the sake of self-confidence. Samuel Beckett had the right attitude: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”

The Art of Failing Successfully is also by Jonah Lehrer and is about the same study. However, column is a bit different and appeared in The Wall Street Journal.

How Struggle Leads to Learning is a report on a study involving three-year-olds, but I suspect it might be applicable to others, too.

“We Should Celebrate Mistakes”

A rather complicated (at least to me) study found that high-performer physicians (those who appeared to most likely prescribe an effective treatment to a patient) were far more likely to pay attention to learning from their mistakes than low-performers. These “low-performers” were more likely to demonstrate confirmation bias and focus on their successes. I actually think that study might be an important one, and I just need to set aside some time to review it again…and again until I understand it.

I’d probably only use parts of video with students, but it makes some good points on the value of mistakes.

Videos Of Students Celebrating Making Mistakes

Hearing about scientists’ struggles helps inspire students and boosts their learning is a pretty self-explanatory headline about the results of a new study.

Learning From Brilliant Mistakes and Finding Opportunity in Failures are both articles and videos related to Paul J.H. Schoemaker’s book, ‘Brilliant Mistakes.’

Mistakeville is a site where users can their mistakes and what they learned from them.

study is a few years old, but it’s new to me. It comes via ASCD, and found that children above the age of twelve are more likely to learn from their mistakes than younger kids.

Kevin Washburn discusses several research findings and expands on them at What should we be teaching? I was particularly struck by what he said under “Initiative and entrepreneurialism.”

Fascinating Study On What Learning From Mistakes Does To The Brain

The University of Pennsylvania gives “Brilliant Mistakes” awards to “people whose mistakes were most productive.”

Telling students it’s okay to fail helps them succeed — study is the title of a Valerie Strauss blog post about a recently published study. Here’s an excerpt from her post:

Telling children that it is perfectly normal to sometimes fail at school can actually help them do better academically, according to newly published research.

The results of three experiments by French researchers are not definitive but they are intuitive; kids who don’t feel overwhelming pressure to do well all the time are more likely to feel free to explore, take academic chances and not fall apart if they make a mistake.

Here are three other reports on the same study:

For Better Learning, Failure Is An Option

Reducing Academic Pressure May Help Children Succeed

Standardized Test Scores Can Improve When Kids Told They Can Fail, Study Finds is from The Huffington Post.

Videotaping Helps ESL Students Recognize Their Good Mistakes – and Learn from Them! is from Eric Roth.

“When You Fail, You Are Learning”

Teddy Roosevelt On Failure

When Have You Ever Failed at Something? What Happened as a Result? is from The New York Times Learning Network.

Sowing Failure, Reaping Success: What Failure Can Teach is also from The New York Times Learning Network.

Excellent Commencement Address On Failure By Atul Gawande

Reducing Academic Pressure May Help Children Succeed is a report on Science Daily that begins:

Children may perform better in school and feel more confident about themselves if they are told that failure is a normal part of learning, rather than being pressured to succeed at all costs, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Don’t “Quiet Fix” your mistakes

What Drives You Through Setbacks — An Olympic Example is from Dan Mulhern.

Math Mistakes is a cool website I learned about from Dan Meyer.

Failure Is the Next Opportunity is from The New York Times.

Why Journal Your Mistakes? is from The Mistake Bank.

Star math teacher applies the power of failure, squared is from The Globe and Mail.

Embracing Failure is a nice collection of useful articles from Diana Laufenberg.

“Fail Again, Fail Better” is a useful video compilation of quotes about failure. Unfortunately, one of them — by Ernest Hemingway — is not quite classroom appropriate:

To Fail Or Not To Fail — That Is The Question

I’ve posted a few times about the importance of, to borrow from Carol Dweck, “celebrating” our mistakes. We humans should take advantage of that ability, as “Rubes” comic strip demonstrates:

Source: gocomics.com via Larry on Pinterest

Failure Preferred, Actually is by Rick Wormeli.

Quote Of The Day: the difference between “blameworthy” & “praiseworthy” failure

I don’t understand the number in infographic related to Einstein, but I still think it can be a useful tool:

Quote Of The Day: Talking About Failure

 

 

Making Friends With Failure is a good piece at Edutopia.

“How To Make Better Mistakes”

Quote Of The Day – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on stumbles: ‘There’s always a next move’

Video (& Writing Prompt): “A failure isn’t a failure if it prepares you for success tomorrow”

Grit, Failure & Stuff Like That

Additional suggestions are welcome.

If you’ve found list helpful, you might want to consider subscribing to blog for free.

You might want to also view the over seven hundred other “The Best…” lists.

June 9, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
3 Comments

My Personal Responsibility Lesson For This Friday

Yesterday, I posted about how I was thinking of using part of President Obama’s commencement speech for a lesson on not blaming others.

Since that time, I’ve developed a simple hand-out that some of my colleagues and I are going to use this Friday. It’s a half-day, and all of our classes are much shorter.

You can download the sheet here.

Here is what it says:

TAKING PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

Don’t make excuses. Take responsibility not just for your successes, but for your failures as well.

The truth is, no matter how hard you work, you won’t necessarily ace every class or succeed in every job. There will be times when you screw up, when you hurt the people you love, when you stray from your most deeply held values.

And when that happens, it’s the easiest thing in the world to start looking around for someone to blame. Your professor was too hard; your boss was a jerk; the coach was playing favorites; your friend just didn’t understand.

— President Barack Obama

1) Please think about times when you have blamed someone else for your mistake. Write about at least one time here:

2) Please think about times when you have taken responsibility for your mistakes. Write about at least one time here:

3) Next time you feel like blaming someone, what could you do instead? What could help you remember to do this?

I’m planning on beginning the short lesson by explaining that when things don’t go well for us, we can easily try to blame it on someone else. I’ll then say that President Obama spoke at a high school graduation ceremony earlier this week, and he commented on that tendency.

I’ll put the quote under the document camera, and then read it.

Next, I’ll review each question, and quickly give my own answer to each one as a model.

Then, I’ll pass out the sheets and ask students to answer each question (I may need to encourage them with a few ideas/suggestions). After a few minutes, I’ll ask them to share their responses verbally with a partner. While that’s going on, I’ll circulate and look for particularly insightful answers, and tell those students that I’ll be calling on them to share what they wrote with the entire class in a few minutes.

After partners are done sharing, I’ll call on those particular students, and then ask if others would like to tell the class what they wrote.

With a quick wrap-up, we should be done.

Any suggestions on how to make it better are welcome.

I’ll write about how it goes…

June 7, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

How I’ll Use Part Of The President’s Kalamazoo Speech

President Obama gave the commencement address today at Kalamazoo Central High School today.

It didn’t seem especially great (you can read the entire transcript here and see videos here and here), but there was a portion that I’ll be using in a lesson next year.

I’m planning a lesson on the problem of blaming others, and have written about it a couple of times already — see Creating A Lesson On “Blaming Others” & Need Your Help and Looking For Movie/TV Scenes Showing People Taking Personal Responsibility).

The President made some comments related to that topic that I’ll use as part of it:

That brings me to my second piece of advice, and it’s a very simple one: Don’t make excuses. Take responsibility not just for your successes, but for your failures as well.

The truth is, no matter how hard you work, you won’t necessarily ace every class or succeed in every job. There will be times when you screw up, when you hurt the people you love, when you stray from your most deeply held values.

And when that happens, it’s the easiest thing in the world to start looking around for someone to blame. Your professor was too hard; your boss was a jerk; the coach was playing favorites; your friend just didn’t understand.

Showing students this short video clip, and asking them to first think of times when they have blamed someone else for their mistake and, then, asking them to think of times when they’ve taken responsibility for them, might be a good piece to include in that lesson.

And, speaking of blaming others, here are two recent articles on this subject that I might have students read or, at least, use in my lesson plan:

How To Stop the Blame Game

Blame is Contagious, Except When People Have High Self-Worth