Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

October 17, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Lots Of “Experts” Quoted In Article, But Our Principal Is Only One Who Knows What He’s Talking About…


Large share of grads from some high schools require remediation at Sacramento State is an article in today’s Sacramento Bee that highlights the large percentages of high school graduates who are required to take remediation classes at Sacramento State University.

Our school, Luther Burbank High School, is targeted for having a higher percentage of graduates being required to take these courses than another other local school.

Various “experts” claim the reasons behind this including lack of collaboration between colleges and high schools and inadequate information about the expectations of college, and suggest that the Common Core Standards will somehow help this problem.

Fortunately, our principal is able to inject the one piece of common sense and accuracy into the over-simplified analyses offered by others quoted in the article:

The problem often starts well before high school, said Principal Jim Peterson. Burbank faces additional challenges, as 72 percent of its 1,776 students are considered low-income, and about a quarter were English learners last year.

“In the case of our school, demographically, a lot of our students … come to us below grade level,” Peterson said. “We work diligently as a team to get them thinking about college and get them moving in that direction. We push rigor in the classroom; nevertheless, we have kids that need some catching up.”

June 17, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

All My BAM Radio Shows – Linked With Descriptions


As regular readers know, I’ve been doing a weekly ten-minute online BAM! Radio Show for the past year-and-a-half. In each show, I’ve interviewed guests who have contributed to one of my Education Week Teacher columns. They’ve been pretty popular, with nearly 30,000 downloads each month.

I thought readers might find it helpful if I put links with descriptions to each show in one place:

5 Ways Teachers Can Work Around an Awful Textbook
with Mary Ann Zehr and Christopher Lehman

Teacher Leadership: What It Is, What It Is Not with Aubrie Rojee and Regie Routman

Force-Fitting Technology Into Your Classroom: Pros, Cons and Surprises with Suzie Boss and Ken Halla

What Are the Unique Challenges Female Educators Face? with Rusul Airubail, Shanna Peeples, and Megan Allen

My Biggest Teaching Mistake and What I Learned from It with Ekuwah Moses, Julia Thompson, Roxanna Elden

If You Have ELLs in Your Class, but No Curriculum, Do This… with Annie Huynh and Wendi Pillars

Teaching and Learning Without Reflection is Like… with Barry Saide and Mary K. Tedrow

What Is Grit? Can Grit Be Taught? Who Is Responsible for Grit? with Ebony McGee, Kristi Mraz, Christine Hertz

Personalized Learning: Another Buzzword or a “Must-Know” Teaching Strategy? with Allison Zmuda, Diana Laufenberg, Pernille Ripp.

Closing the Teacher Diversity Gap: What It Takes with Dr. Travis Bristol

Three Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Teaching with Val Brown, Julia Thompson

Overwhelmed: Help for Those of Us Whose Lives Are Out of Balance with Debbie Silver

Would These 5 Tips Make You More Open to New Teaching Practices? Sally Zepeda, Bill Sterrett, and Pete Hall

Encouraging Other Teachers Who Work with English Language Learners with Sonia Nieto, Alicia Lopez

The Three Best Ways Teachers Can Encourage Support for English Language Learners with Jennifer Connors, Diane Staehr Fenner, Sydney Snyder

Teaching Strategies 2.0: What Is a Digital Portfolio? Why It Matters with Rusul Alrubail, Michael Fisher

The Do’s and Don’ts of Effective Professional Development with Rick Wormeli

Why Some Teachers Stay, While Others Quit with Sharon Jacobs

A Second Look: Teacher Attrition at High Poverty Urban Schools Karen Baptiste, Pia Wong, Yvette Jackson

How Small Learning Communities Create Powerful Climates for Academic Success with ReLeah Cosette-Lent, Ted Appel

How Are Common Core Standards Impacting Teaching Math to ELLs? with Ben Spielberg, Denisse R. Thompson, Gladis Kersaint

Exploring the Difference Between Student Participation and Student Engagement with Jennifer Gonzalez, Bill and Pérsida Himmele

Fitting Technology Into the Common Core Standards: Do This, Don’t Do That with Michael Fisher, Andrew Miller

What Are Good Examples of Reading Lessons Aligned to Common Core Standards? with Cheryl Dobbertin

What Are the Differences Between Project-Based, Problem-Based and Inquiry Learning? with Jeff Wilhelm, Suzie Boss

What Are the Best Ways to Teach Literature in the Age of Common Core? with Nancy Steineke, Sean McComb, Bill and Pérsida Himmele

Teaching English Language Learners (ELLs): Five Strategies That Work with Judie Haynes, MaryAnn Zehr

The 10 Best Strategies for Teaching Vocabulary in the Classroom with Katie Brown, Marilee Sprenger

Maker Movement, DYI, 3D Printers: New Fad or Real Path to 21st Century Skills? with Laura Blankenship

What Is Your Advice to Educators Who Want to Write a Book? with Marjorie McAneny, PJ Caposey, Alan Sitomer

Differentiated Instruction and Tracking Students: Is It Time to Reconsider? Laura Robb, Regie Routman

Effective Classroom Management: Do This, Not That with Pernille Ripp, Dr. Bryan Harris

How Can We Increase the Ranks of Teachers of Color? with Gloria Ladson-Billings

Are Caring and Relationship Building Compatible with Implementing Common Core Standards? with Mai Xi Lee, Sean Slade

How Can Teachers Meet Common Core English Standards with English Language Learners? with Maria Montalvo-Balbed, Debbie Zacarian

Can We Effectively Evaluate Teachers Based on Factors Teachers Completely Control? with Ben Spielberg and Ted Appel

Student Engagement Versus Student Compliance: How Much Does It Really Matter? with Debbie Silver, Dr. Bryan Harris

What Are the Myths and Misconceptions Around Formative Assessment? with Nancy Frey

How Can We Help Students Appreciate the Value of Learning Geography? Elisabeth Johnson, Kelly Young

Close Reading: What It Is, What It’s Not with Chris Lehman

Accountability: What are the Alternatives to Using Test Scores for Teacher Evaluations? with Julian Vasquez Heilig, Ph.D., Ben Spielberg

How Can We Make Math More Engaging and Accessible to Students? with Dr. Anne M. Collins, Sue O’Connell

What Is the Best Way to Train Student Teachers? with Emily Geltz, Linda Rief

How Can Teachers Best Manage Race and Class Issues In Schools?  with P. L. Thomas, Ashanti Foster

Second Thoughts: Teacher Attire, Does it Really Matter? with Roxanna Elden, Renee Moore

How Is Globalization Changing How and What You Teach? with  John Spencer, Diana Laufenberg

How Can Teachers Meet the Common Core Requirement for Complex Reading? with Amy Benjamin, Wendi Pillars

What Are We Losing By Eliminating Arts From the Curriculum? with Virginia McEnerney, David Booth

What Can We Do to Develop a Culture of Success in our Classrooms? with Heather Wolpert-Gawron, Chris Lehman

How Can History Teachers Make the Curriculum More Engaging? Peter Pappas, Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez

What Are the Best Ways for Teachers to Work With School Counselors? with Leticia Gallardo, Mindy Willard

How Can We Help Students (And Ourselves) Stay Organized? with Julia Thompson , Ariel Sacks

How Can Administrators Help Create an Engaging Curriculum with Anne Reeves, Kelly Young

Dissecting Grades: What Do They Mean, What Are They Worth? with Rick Wormeli

How Can We Help Students Handle Loss and Grief? with Mary Tedrow, Stephen Lazar

How Can We Differentiate Instruction More Effectively? with Carol Tomlinson

What Are the Real Benefits of a 1:1 Program? What Are the Biggest Challenges? with Alice Barr, Dr. Troy Hicks

How Can We Get All Students in Our Classes Thinking and Learning All the Time? with Bill and Pérsida Himmele, Jim Peterson

What Are the Five Best Practices to Promote Better Student Learning with Diana Laufenberg, Jeff Charbonneau

What Do We Need to Do to Better Support English Language Learners? with Karen Nemeth, Judie Haynes

How Can We Reduce Teacher Attrition at High-Poverty Schools? with Barnett Berry, Ilana Garon

Why Precisely Do Teachers Leave High Poverty Schools? with Angel L. Cintron Jr. and Paul Bruno

What Are the Habits of Lifelong Readers, How Do We Instill Them? with Donalyn Miller

What Are the Basics Every Teacher Should Know About the Maker Movement? with Sylvia Martinez, Tanya Baker

Character, Grit, Perseverance: Magic Bullet? with Jason Flom and Debbie Silver

How Do We Increase Involvement Among Parents Who Are Already Overwhelmed? with Darcy Hutchins and Mai Xi Lee

March 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

My New Podcast: “How Can We Get All Students in Our Classes Thinking & Learning All the Time?


How Can We Get All Students in Our Classes Thinking and Learning All the Time? is the topic of my latest nine-minute BAM! Radio podcast (it will also be a topic next month in my Education Week Teacher column).

My guests are Bill and Pérsida Himmele, and Jim Peterson.

April 17, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo

Visualization Update

Regular readers know that I’m a big believer in helping students use visualization techniques in the classroom (see My Best Posts On Helping Students “Visualize Success”).

I’ve continued to do it this year, and a good portion of my students seem to be taking it seriously (during the one minute time we do it each day students have the option of doing it or just being quiet). Though I haven’t taken the time to compare English assessment results this year as I have in the past (those who do it have typically had bigger increases), it’s clear that just taking the one minute of calmness helps the classroom atmosphere in general. It’s pretty obvious that on the days we forget to do it, things can often be a bit crazier.

About half of my mainstream ninth-grade students visualize; about two-thirds of my advanced English ninth-grade class do it; and about three-fourths of my Intermediate English students do so. As part of their regular Friday reflections, I periodically ask students if they are visualizing and, if they are, ask them to write what they see. Students know there is no negative consequence if they are not.

One change I’ve done the year based on the suggestion of our great assistant principal Jim Peterson is to have students take a few seconds before they visualize to look at their “goal sheets” that they have completed and decide which one they want to focus on that day. Also, at his recommendation I encourage students to not only see themselves working towards their goals, but also notice how they’re feeling when they are seeing themselves be successful.

Here are recent comments students have written as part of the Friday reflection in response to my question about what they are visualizing:

I see I’m reading really well and speaking English really well.

I see myself can speak a lot of English.

I visualize that I reading the book.

When I’m doing my visualizing I see myself doing a conversation in English with my friend.

I do not visualize — I just stay calm and breath.

Yes, I visualize. When I visualize I see me succeeding in the things I want to accomplish such as winning the breakdance tournament.

Yes, when I visualize I see myself doing work and talking.

When I visualize, I see myself reading, doing all my classwork and cleaning my binder.

I see myself reading a lot of books.

April 2, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo

How We Can Help Our Students Deal With Stress

Last week, I wrote a fairly popular post titled How Stress Affects Our Students (& Their Parents) — Plus, How We’re Trying To Help. In it, I shared the results of new research studies, and explained what I was doing in the classroom.

As a follow-up, I asked one of our vice-principals, Jim Peterson, to offer some additional suggestions on how teachers can help students (and anyone else) deal with stress. Jim, who also happens to be a behavioral therapist and a clinical hypnotherapist (check-out his site, Alpha Mind Coaching) is very talented, and I’ve written about him several times in this blog. I also share some of his helpful classroom management ideas (especially with challenging classes) in one of the chapters in my upcoming book. You can read about how I have applied his advice in Have You Ever Taught A Class That Got “Out Of Control”?

Here are some of his additional suggestions how how we can help students better cope with stress:

“Breathwork” is one of the most universal forms of stress reduction, especially in eastern cultures. One technique that’s good for kids, because it’s visual, is to have them visualize breathing in light, positive energy and breathing out negative energy. “In with the good, out with the bad.” Talk with the student to find out what image or idea (It’s good to include the word “idea” since some people are less visual, and you don’t want them getting caught up in trying to get an image if one isn’t coming to them.) resonates best with him or her. A common one is a bright sparkling cloud for the inhalation and a dark stormy cloud for the exhalation. They can even inhale smiley faces and exhale angry, sad or frustrated faces.

I start out by having them inhale deeply and hold it for ten seconds before they exhale After doing this five times, I have them continue with this visual or idea as they continue breathing normally. At this point, they are not trying to control their breathing like they did during the first five cycles, but rather, are now observing it. This is basically a visual meditation.

The second note I’ll make on lowering stress is the power of writing things down. When I train clients, some of whom are teenagers, how to write things down, their stress drops and their productivity increases. The vast majority of people who are stressed out have less to do than they realize. The mere act of writing a list of everything that you have to do, then reading over it, will lower your anxiety as is takes each one of those items out of that parade through the city that we discusses. The steps of prioritizing those items and attaching due dates to each will lead to a dramatic increase in productivity, which could be an article unto itself.

I think these are great ideas that I’ll certainly be applying.  Jim also thinks that meditation can also be a good stress-reduction tool.  What have you found that has helped your students handle stress better?  And, have any of your schools taught meditation techniques?